Simon the Sorceror II

Title           Simon The Sorceror II
Game Type	Adventure
Players		1
Compatibility	Amiga with AGA or GFX card, 68030+, 16 Mb RAM
Company		AdventureSoft/Epic Interactive
HD Installable  Yes
Submission      Seppo Typpö ( Profiled Reviewer

This game goes into the annals of Amiga gaming history as one of the
longest conversion jobs ever. The Amiga version was announced years ago
but fell into development limbo until the brave developers Peter
Mulholland and Paul 'Foundation' Burkey took the helm and delivered the
goods. With the help of Epic Interactive, the Amiga gamers were finally
able to play the long awaited sequel of the old Amiga classic.

The game comes on one CD and runs on moderately equipped Amigas. Since the
first version landed in Amiga shops, a batch of updates for the game have
been released, and it is highly recommended to install the latest one from
the internet in order to maximise your game-playing pleasure.

Once the game is installed, the player gets to watch the long humourous
intro with credits which nicely brings you up to date to the happenings
that preceed Simon's new adventure. This is especially helpful to those
who missed the first episode, but StS veterans will enjoy it too as it
brings back fond memories.

The plot of Simon the Sorceror II starts where the first game ended. The
main character is a young wizard named Simon, who has to once again fight
agaist an evil wizard called Sordid. Many of the characters of the first
game make on appearance in the sequel too and some of the jokes can only
be understood if you have played the original. There's lots of humour
sprinkled into the plot, and the main character has plenty of witty
remarks at his disposal - mostly aimed towards other characters but also
to insult the unsuspecting human player. Whether you think this 'in yer
face' feature is good or bad is a matter of personal taste - I found it
sometimes fun, sometimes downright annoying.

The game is played with a traditional LucasArts-style icon interface which
is showing its age a bit (well, to be honest this game IS quite old). Not
only are there too many icons to learn, but their functions are not always
very clear. The player really has to learn what each button does, which
probably makes the game harder to play than it ought to be.

The graphics look good and animation is fluid. The voice acting is quite
competent and there are subtitles in English, German and Italian for those
who prefer to read the dialogue instead of listening to it. You can select
both, but I found that voice-acting and sub-titles were not perfectly in
sync so I chose the voice acting only. Another reason for choosing this is
that there's no in-game music - so without speech you are playing a sort
of 'silent movie' version which has a dramatic effect on the overall
playing experience.

Forgetting the audiovisuals for a moment, I found the actual plot a bit
disappointing. The sequel seem to have lost some of the sparkle of the
original, and the whole game feels a bit old hat, a tired and worn old
hat, at that. There's little here you have not seen before. The rather
uninteresting plot is not helped with the sometimes wildly illogical
puzzles that the game sports. If there's something I hate in adventure
games it is when the player cannot solve puzzles with his (or her) brain
but needs to rely on trial and error (or even cheating) in order to defeat
the game developers' logic.

Despite the criticism above I still had enough warm feelings towards the
game to push through and eventually complete it, but even with the
refreshingly 'different' ending scene, the overall impression of the game
was slightly disappointing. Maybe all those years waiting for this
conversion to happen had raised my expectations a bit too high. Please
note that my main criticism is targetted towards the plot and the game
mechanics  - the actual game conversion is pretty much faultless.
Messieurs Mulholland and Burkey have done an excellent job and also
provided good customer support with the updates. A shame the actual game
does not achieve the same high standards the original did. With a better,
funnier story the game could have been excellent - now it is just another
(if highly competent) adventure in the Amiga software catalogue.

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