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Publisher: Runesoft    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: 601    RAM: 16 MB    2x CD-ROM

Simon the Sorcerer II
November 9, 2001 | Kit Pierce

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That said, the designers of this game had humor in mind from the start, and it is a genuinely witty and self-aware story most of the time (Simon constantly speaks to the screen (you), and refers to the script writers and such). StS2 purports to be a send-up of classic fairy tales and it accomplishes that goal while dragging numerous references to pop culture along with it. Fast food, Back to the Future, The A-Team, C.S. Lewis, Walt Disney, the Arthurian Legends, and Shakespeare are among the many subjects treated with the utmost irreverence. That list is by no means inclusive. Even the manual for the game is funny and abusive, setting you up for your experience in the game. If you like one-liners, obscure references, sarcasm and spoofs in general, StS2 will appeal to you.

The sound ranges from decent to absolutely annoying at times. Some NPCs happen to have idiosyncrasies so annoying that you'll find yourself leaving the screen you're on just so you won't have to listen to any number of annoying sounds for one second longer than you have to. The voice acting is accomplished by a small handful of performers, and it is passable. Not great, but pretty okay. If taken in the right context, the so-so voice acting can really play up the campy atmosphere the game builds, so it's not all bad. If the sound becomes too much to bear, it can be turned off entirely and the dialogue toggled as text in its place. As a credit to the game, StS2 features full spoken dialogue (speech in English, German and Italian subtitles). A simple menu option changes between languages mid-game.

The graphics, while quite imaginative and colorful, are extremely dated. Yes, the locales are varied, and the animations are fluid and everything has been painstakingly hand-drawn, but besides that there's not much to say about the graphics in general. You can play windowed or full screen -- that's clever. If you get wistful for the original King's Quest series at times, Simon the Sorcerer II should be able to fill the void in your heart, but the game was designed for a 320x240 PC VGA display. StS2 may have been quite breathtaking four years ago, but by today's standards they don't stand up. However, any Mac that can run OS 8.5 will be able to run StS2. The minimum system requirements are extremely modest: The game requires at minimum any Power Mac with a CD-ROM and 16 MB RAM running OS 8.5 or later. Some of the original Power Mac 6100s meet this requirement -- that makes StS2 a very backward compatible game.

Other complaints include: funky save/load system, no keyboard shortcuts for actions and the game always plays the introduction when loaded. Minor praises include: the F5 key skips through cut scenes, it runs fine in Classic on OS X and the game ran bug-free for me.

For those looking for a quick return to the classic adventure games of the recent past, this game can do in a pinch. It isn't a very kid-friendly title -- Simon has far too many bad behaviors a child can mimic and the humor isn't child-appropriate. The replay value is limited to say the least. Its follow-up, Simon the Sorcerer 3D, also being ported by Epic Interactive to the Mac for release in the near future, promises to be a better all-around title for a modern release if for no other reason than its 3D graphics engine. Epic is doing some great work porting some terrific A-list titles. It's a shame that Simon the Sorcerer II with its limited appeal is coming too late to market to be listed among them.

Simon the Sorcerer II
Publisher: Runesoft
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