Simon the Sorcerer 3D
As with Escape from Monkey Island, Prince of Persia 3D, Earthworm Jim 3D or Quest for Glory V, Simon the Sorcerer 3D follows a long and twisted logic of changing hand-drawn, beautiful 2D games into ugly, crude and poorly animated 3D remakes that played like crap and made you barf. It was at that strange time when 2D art was still superior to its primitive 3D counterpart, when nobody knew what the hell they were doing and the standards of making a ‘good’ 3D adventure were lax. Granted, not all of the above mentioned games were trainwrecks, as some fared better than others. Simon, on the other hand…
Simon 3D had been in development at AdventureSoft for a whopping four years, a prolonged time period which makes you question how so many bugs slipped through. For those of you who never played the early games, here’s the spin – Simon is a 12-year old kid who gets stuck in a magical fairy tale world that is supposedly full of British humor (the jokes are actually pretty coarse and dumb). The evil wizard Sordid is freed once again, and you have to go through a maze of hideously cubist levels to set things straight.
If dated and blocky 3D graphics are your preference, then you will be in nirvana. If this game had been released in the late 1990s, the graphics would still look dated and blocky. Bushes are square, trees are polygonal, characters look like they’re made out of cardboard boxes. There are vast open areas of space that are not utilized other than to have Simon run to-and-fro endlessly. One nice touch is the phone booth which allows you – when it works, the detection radius for objects is garbage – to transport between areas and essentially let you save your game faster.
While the controls, cameras and graphics are all crude, the puzzles aren’t all terrible, but the ones that are always rely on the craptastic 3D-ness of the game. For example, at some point you have to catch certain butterflies, and this is very annoying. First because the particular butterfly you have to catch almost never appears, and second because the awful 3D makes Simon awkward to control onscreen. Then there’s the ‘free roaming’ aspect of the game, which is a fancy of way of saying that the game world is rather large. Unfortunately, it’s also very barren and devoid of anything interesting, so you’re left with ‘exploring’ what feel like endless miles of empty, blocky, nothingness until you reach your next puzzle. It feels like Morrowind if it were programmed by a thousand monkeys with typewriters.
But the real issue with Simon 3D are the bugs. Game-stopping, fun-killing bugs that will crash the program to your desktop for no reason, corrupt your saved games, prevent certain puzzles from being solved or just have character dialogues mute for no reason. In any case, there’s just not enough to enjoy in Simon 3D anyway to make the bugs, graphics and controls worth the trouble. If you’re a general fan of action adventure games, and especially if you’ve played the previous games, then ignore this one.
System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95