1984 Infocom
Designed by Steve Meretzky
Reviewed 1998 September 22

Rating +1 Linearity wide, segmented
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity moderate
Difficulty pedestrian Relevance strong
Interface text parser Real-time none

After saving the world (in Enchanter), you were made a member of the Cirle of Enchanters. Belboz, the leader of the Enchanters, has been acting strangely. When he goes missing, you set off to find him. You'll quicky learn that a powerful, evil daemon named Jeearr is behind his disappearance. Not only must you defeat Jeearr to save the world, but you must also save Belboz.

Sorcerer is mostly a pleasant romp through the land of Frobozz and the Great Underground Empire. There is a monster or two to either overcome or avoid, and a few minor characters to give things to or get things from. The land itself is well laid out and filled with interesting locations and objects. There's even a midway with rides. For the most part, though, you are just collecting the magic necessary to defeat Jeearr, and finding the way to him.

As in Enchanter, your primary activity is not getting and using objects but rather finding and using spells and potions. The challenges are well intergrated into the world. A few are very clever, but most are standard fair.

There are some problems in the overall design. If you do not have the vilstu potion when you leave the Guild Hall, you cannot come back to get it and you will not be able to finish the game. Unfortunately, you won't know this until after you've completed most of the game. You will, however, realise what you missing and where you missed it. The entire coal mine sequence is unlikely to be completable without first scouting it out, so you have to die to learn what to do and where to go. In other words, save the game as soon as you get into the coal mine. With these warnings, it is still a fun and clever challenge.

The prose in Sorcerer is very good. It is brief yet surprisingly evocative. It managaes to avoid monotony.

The design flaws do not seriously effect the game if you are aware of them, and they are very common to text adventures of this era. There's little story to propel you through the game, although the setting is well established. Since it's an easy game, it's a good introduction to text adventures.

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:

  • Enchanter
  • Spellbreaker
    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.