Simon the Sorcerer

1993 Adventure Soft
Designed by Simon Woodroffe
Reviewed 2001 April 13

Rating +2 Linearity open
Reasonability reasonable Connectivity moderate
Difficulty challenging Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned menu Real-time minor

You play Simon, a boy who finds himself sucked into a fantasy world via a magic book in the attic. The land is threatened by the evil sorcerer, Sordid. The leading good wizard has brought you over to defeat Sordid. First you must become a wizard -- basically a quest for prerequisite goodies -- then you must defeat Sordid.

There's little plot here, just a quest for goodies in a land echoing common fairy tales -- it's very similar to King's Quest I in conception. Simon's world is more coherent, though, with the various fantasy elements fitting together, not just jumbled together. Simon is just the common cynical but good-hearted pubescent lad. The many characters he meets are just there to provide a laugh or two, as well as a task or an obstacle. The game succeeds at its intent: creating a fun adventure in a funny world.

The challenges are the heart of Simon. There are a lot of them, and many are interesting and creative. Several are difficult, but they are reasonable within the cartoonish parameters of the world. Almost all are inventory-based problems, readily solved by a little head-scratching, or putting together things that belong together. There are ample clues. If you're stuck, it's probably because you didn't pick something up: there's a bit of a pixel hunting problem, so watch carefully for rocks and whatnot that can be picked up, and explore scenes thoroughly. The objects aren't really small, but they can get lost in the detail.

The game is spectacularly non-linear, and not in the standard parallel-branch way, either (like Myst's ages). Each quest crosses over with others in a complicated network of dependence.

The characters are expressive cartoons over beautifully drawn backgrounds. The voice-acting is top-notch, although it's let down a bit by the script. With good music, it's a lovely game to wander through. The interface is basically good, similar to LucasArts games. It's intuitive, but it requires a bit more clicking than necessary.

Simon the Sorcerer is a straightforward, humourous quest game. It's simple goals are to present you with some devious problems and bunch of laughs to make them go down easy. It's an ideal game for the adventurer who is looking for a challenge, without much concern for a driving plot.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.

Related reviews:

  • Simon the Sorcerer II
    David Tanguay's Game Reviews
    Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.