There was a time when LucasArts and Sierra weren’t the only companies involved in making great point-and-clickers, as Adventure Soft also delivered intriguing puzzles and witty writing that poked fun at the fantasy or even computer games genre. The first two Simon the Sorcerer titles can be called true classics that have already been released in digital form, so does the new HD upgrade do justice to their legacy?
The first game tells the story of young boy Simon who’s drawn into a fantasy world and has to defeat the evil sorcerer Sordid. Unfortunately, he’s not much into magic or actually cares about other people, so it becomes a journey of talking people and creatures down, while trying to save the world and to get back to his own reality. Nothing has changed in the new version content-wise, so there are the same funny dialogues with great voice acting accompanied by catchy music, often obscure puzzles, and other remains of classic adventuring. The second game about Simon returning to the fantasy world and being hunted down by Sordid and his apprentice for revenge is a much improved sequel with even more puzzles, characters, and self-referential humor to boot.
The presentation and controls for both titles have been reworked, and it seems not everyone is happy about this, considering that the games have only received negative votes so far. It’s understandable, because to be honest, the filter used to make the graphics shinier, looks pretty ugly, something that can also be done with emulation program Scumm for free. The classic pixel art style is definitely lost with the new graphics, which is a shame, because the backgrounds and characters haven’t really aged that much to be replaced by the smoothing filter.
However, one shouldn’t be so harsh with these releases, IMHO, because the games now offer hotspots, a huge advantage over the originals, as I still remember hunting pixels for items that couldn’t be seen in the backgrounds. Having all-new icons and animations as well as quick actions using right-clicks might be useful, but it remains to be seen how it works. Completely new game menus and a new save/load system is another cosmetic change. Of course this doesn’t warrant a purchase, especially since there are remakes/remasters that have been handled with more attention to detail, but as it’s also possible to use retro settings to play with original graphics, music and even controls, there is at least a way to enjoy these games as they were intended to be played. Of course then the question remains why one should bother with the releases in the first place? The addition of the soundtrack, original manual, an art book and the old version as a legacy editions are certainly welcome, though.
The games are now available for PC and mobile devices, while the former has a 10% launch discount that will last until April 10, 1pm UTC, with an additional 10% discount if one buys both titles together. Owners of the original games (that are now replaced in digital stores by these versions) get 50% off instead.
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