Simon the Sorcerer 3D
This can be a cruel job. There are times when playing a game is like having your spinal cord carved slowly with a rusty 15th century saw, but you have to keep on playing because you're being paid to do it. Other times it's the reviewer who has to be brutally cruel, like a vet shooting a horse with a broken leg, because it can't walk and is in incredible pain. Simon The Sorcerer 3D has the misfortune to bring out both sides of the job.
Having looked forward to it for the best part of the year and being positively ravenous for a proper adventure game, we tried very hard to like it.
We tried so hard that blood started to come out of our ears. We tried to laugh at the jokes instead of wincing, to be interested in the puzzles instead of distressed.
But to no avail. When a game has as many broken legs as this, the kindest thing to do is shoot it.
If you've played the recent atrocities that were the new versions of Pong and Breakout, you should have no problem identifying this game's large Nocky polygons, the complete lack of detail (in backgrounds, objects or faces) and the bright colour overkill. Because you're actually walking through it, and can even select a first-person perspective to see it all with, the effect is much worse than watching your paddle slide across the screen in Pong.
The awful controls and interface do nothing to help matters, and neither do the often abysmal camera angles (which put both the original Tomb Raider and Nocturne to shame) or the extremely restrictive nature of the gameplay.
A box in the corner of the screen shows you what Simon can see, and thus examine and interact with. The problem is that the massive landscape is mostly barren and of the handful of things you come across only a few manage to grab his attention.
Did we mention it's massive? You could literally run around for hours without seeing a thing of interest, or knowing where you're supposed to go. This is meant to be part of the open-ended nature of the game, but it ignores one of the most fundamental rules of all adventure games: always let the player know what they're supposed to do next. Open-endedness doesn't mean giving the player the freedom to get totally lost with no clue as to what to do next and occasionally stumbling on to a puzzle, as Deus Ex demonstrates so well.
We won't go into the voices, because we don't want to be too insulting, but suffice to say Simon himself comes across as a really cocky little shit. The dialogue could probably win awards for its monumental failure to be funny. The jokes are either the poor attempts at humour a half-baked hack such as myself would come up with, or supposedly wittily self-conscious ones (eg "Looks like your typical fantasy game golem to me"). This type of thing has been done before, and better.
It doesn't seem to know who it's aimed at, either. The look of the thing and the puerile humour should appeal to children more than adults, but then you come across references to incest, nun pornography I and Deliverance.
There are some clever ideas if you're prepared to stick with it, but you can't help feeling they should have r opted for the old point-and-click formula (yes, we know nobody would release it) rather than a wacky Tomb Raider puzzle game. Adventure games may be a rarity, but that's really no excuse for being rubbish.
Processor: PC compatible, P-100
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode
Simon the Sorcerer 3D Screenshots
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