|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
When it comes to Adventure and RPG games, Simon the Sorcerer has a huge heritage from which to draw. Zork, Sierra's venerable King's Quest series, and Leisure Suit Larry are a few of the titles that come to mind while researching the genealogy of Simon the Sorcerer. Simon the Sorcerer II (StS2) comes to us by way of the German porting house Epic Interactive, and the game is a solid and stable port from start to finish.
Because Mac users get to skip the first adventure and hop right into its sequel, one might think they'd be lost and that the plot (and therefore the entire game) would be lost on them. This is not the case for several reasons: 1) The documentation gives a brief rundown of the events of the first game. 2) The NPCs allow you plenty of opportunity to learn about Simon's past. 3) It probably won't matter anyway because this game is so random and whimsical that it has little to do with the first adventure in the first place except for some returning allies and the resurrection of your evil nemesis, Sordid.
The game play of StS2 is straightforward enough: you are a young sorcerer captured by your evil nemesis in a realm were magic is real and non sequitur is the call of the day. For an adventure story, I was disappointed by the linear nature of the plot. Not that taking a wrong turn will kill you -- you can't get killed in StS2 -- you are required to solve complicated and nonsensical puzzles in the precise order or you'll find yourself pounding your head on your desk as you try to figure out exactly what to do with the Swamp Shake you get from the MucSwampy's Kiddie Meal and where you use it. StS2 has the potential to be a very long game, and not in a very good way, either. I had to resort to online walkthroughs more than once to solve several of the more baffling puzzles.
In some ways, StS2 reminds me of the classic text-based (and extremely witty) adventure, Beyond Zork, requiring the players to detach themselves from reality as we know it in order for them to be able to make the connections silly enough to put the seemingly random items gathered together in illogical ways to solve puzzles. Hint: Pick up everything that's not nailed down. You will use it. Whatever it is, you will use it. If you don't know what you can grab, you can simply hit F10 and all interactive items on the screen will be highlighted briefly.
Although StS2 isn't rated, if it were it would garner a T. Simon is a character who at times I really didn't like. He's rude, crude, sexist, sarcastic, disrespectful, and downright mean at times. He's the kind of guy you kind of hope would get the short end of the stick on more than one occasion, and here's why that's not a good thing: You play that rude, crude, obnoxious, etc., guy. Not only can the humor be sophomoric at times, it's very British in spots. If you aren't up on your British humor, then you'll lose some of the jokes.