This third Simon the Sorcerer adventure moves the series to 3D, serving up polygonal representations of the under-appreciated pointy-hatted teenage wizard and the worlds he lives in. In spite of the new look, this release stays true to the gameplay that made preceding games popular, featuring lots of puzzles, character interaction, and wry humor.
Simon The Sorcerer 3D is already third of edition of Simon the Sorcerer /Simon Sorcerer (1993), Simon Sorcerer II (1995)/ - one of the most popular point & click adventures. In the two previous outings for our hero, Simon was introduced as a cheeky but loveable teenager who was unwittingly transported to another world of magic and fantasy. For those who didn't play the previous Simon Sorcerer games here is a bit from the story. Simon was summoned by the ancient wizard Calypso, who needed Simon's help in order to defeat the evil sorcerer Sordid (the villain from the first two parts of the game) and his conniving sidekick Runt. Simon 2 ended with Sordid stealing Simon's body in order to launch his most evil and devious world domination plan yet - and leaving Simon lost and bodiless!...
Simon 3D starts with Simon's soul being reunited with his body on the roof of an Aztec temple... Simon The Sorcerer 3D features a classic adventure elements such as puzzle solving, story, and character interaction, over 60 stylish characters, and 30-60 hours of gameplay. The game seems to be quite boring at first, but try to finish it at least to the end of chapter 3 and you will see that the game isn't so bad after all. Despite the game looks ugly and dated, If you liked in the previous Simon games, you will probably like Simon The Sorcerer 3D too. But honestly I think this game will target rather hard-core adventure players with lots of patience.
The storyline of this game is fairly simple. Simon has returned after being reincarnated by his friend Calypso. The dimension Simon finds himself in is totally new and unknown to him. At the very beginning, he will need to find his way to the City of Poliganis, where his buddy Calypso is waiting. Naturally, the wicked Sordid (some of you probably know "it" from the previous games) has returned and was also reincarnated, taking a fouler and even more menacing shape than before. So, your basic task is to put a stop to his plans of conquering the entire Universe.
First of all, it is obvious that the developers have delayed the release of the game for far too long. The one thing that baffled me straight away was the disappointing 3D environment displayed throughout Simon's adventures. Believe it or not, this game is one of the many titles powered by the NDL NetImmerse 3D engine, which comes as a great shock considering its good reputation. For what reason does this game look so lame when compared to other titles that utilize the very same engine is totally beyond me. Just look at titles like Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Morrowind, Freedom Force, Munch's Odysee (Xbox), and the upcoming Call of Cthulhu. Without exaggeration Simon's 3D reincarnation is nothing more than a substandard in a multitude of countless competing titles that have made a triumphant leap into the 3D world. Next to the scanty textures and low details in the background, Simon the Sorcerer 3D features pathetic in-game character models - in all honesty, it's just triangles and squares instead of hands and legs and that destroys the feeling right from the start. Anyhow, what else can be said about the graphics for a game that truly has no place among the standards we're used to today?
Possibly the one thing that might keep you playing is the unmistakable spirit of Simon and his charming, yet ruthless English humor. Going through all the dialogs brought to mind some of the fabulous times I had with characters like Guybrush Threepwood (Monkey Island series). On occasion, Simon also reminded me off the whacked and banal remarks of the wizard Rincewind from the Discworld games; voice-overed by one of the cheery Monty Python boys, Eric Idle. Rather like these two, the character of Simon has a cynical attitude towards anything or anyone he runs into during his venturing. Although, some gags can be quite dreary, others will make you laugh and forget the sorry visuals for a moment.
Because of the unnecessarily huge 3D environment, the gameplay has suffered some major downfalls. For example, several areas are so wide that you'll begin to wonder what the hell was it all designed for. Almost every corner and location has very little to offer in terms of interactivity. There are very few items in the environment you can actually pick up or use.
Your inventory system was designed to offer a rather simple and straightforward access to all of your items. During the game you may also cycle through all of the things you carry, which allows you to swiftly access and use a specific item you're in need of.
At first, the puzzle solving will appear childishly simple, but after a while you'll realize that it will require a considerable amount of time to figure out some them. Using logic may not sometimes be the right approach. But then we know this to be true of a lot of adventure games out there. The real problem however lies in the simple fact that the player won't be able to distinguish which areas are significant and which are not. So, you'll end up hopelessly roaming around the ugly looking countryside not knowing what you were exactly set out to do in the first place. Still, the situation improves a bit when you use the "phone booth," which was meant as a nippy transport from one location to another. Although, if you use the booth too often, and if you do not explore every section on foot, there's a strong chance you might miss an important item lying on the ground or a hidden passage behind a corner.
The sound qualities of Simon the Sorcerer 3D make up for other game drawbacks. The sound effects are pleasing, the character voices were done professionally, and the music features some nice and cheerful tunes whistling in the background (although, they can become tedious after a while).
The first reports that Simon the Sorcerer 3D had gone gold were spotted sometime back in November 2000. What had happened in the meantime and why was the game delayed; I guess we'll never know for sure. In any case, it's largely due to the outdated visuals that many gamers who are loyal to the old Simon games, may refuse to play this one at all. We all know that most of the game's that have switched from 2D to 3D haven't achieved much of a status. Perhaps, one of the rare precedents of a successful change to 3D would be Escape from Monkey Island. In the end, I have to say that Simon didn't reach such success as Escape from Monkey Island. And, at the risk of sounding hackneyed, Simon should've been left in the old 2D P&C manner.
People who downloaded Simon the Sorcerer 3D have also downloaded:
Simon the Sorcerer 2: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe, Simon the Sorcerer, Discworld, Secret of Monkey Island 2, The, Discworld 2: Mortality Bytes, Escape from Monkey Island, Secret of Monkey Island, The, Maniac Mansion Deluxe
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