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Simon the Sorcerer
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Simon the Sorcerer 4
Who'd Even Want Contact?

Review


On January 31, 2013, I have now also played through Simon 5 and would like to give my impression of the game here. Right off the bat, it's not particularly good. While it's not as terrible as Attila described it, it was still largely disappointing. I'm glad I only paid €2.99 for the game and didn't buy it right after release at a price of around €50, as I did with Simon 4.

At the start screen there is a very unusual music, which I would not have expected from a Simon game - even from Silver Style. It sounds nice, but fits more to a concert of classical music. Simon also looks strange on the menu screen. But I thought: Well, it's only the cover picture, he'll look better in the game. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Instead of the well-liked style, which was designed to be realistic, an unreal cartoon style has been chosen. It just looks cheap and you get the impression that the developers wanted to save money.

Speaking of saving money: The budget for the music seems to have been reduced even more compared to Simon 4. There is even less music. Since this is quite little, the short music passages intended for the rooms are only played back after silent pauses in the game. These are repeated so often in the other rooms of the game that they already start to get on your nerves.

During the zoom animation on the so-called magic world, you still thought that this could become something, but the following scene is just boring. No tension, quite dull.

What's especially annoying: Simon has now degenerated into a lazy pasha and prankster Andy. That doesn't suit him at all. And the relationship with Alix is a pure marital quarrel. The latter is abducted by the aliens in the course of the story and doesn't show up again until shortly before the end of the game, let alone play any other role.

Technical modern devices like televisions and the Internet have now also found their way into the magic world, which is totally untypical for Calypso's dimension. In addition, it is implied in a scene that Simon makes dirty movies of his girlfriend without her knowledge with the camera. So something like that really doesn't belong in a Simon game! It is an adventure game and not a dirty movie!

The characters this time include both old acquaintances from the predecessor and new ones. The wolf and Little Red Riding Hood belong to the former category. The wolf comes off best here. His role has been developed further and is believable. Little Red Riding Hood, on the other hand, has been transformed into an overexcited feminist whose favorite hobby is to kick men between their legs. Great! Probably for this reason the game has rightly received its PEGI rating "12+ years". The Swampling is also back, but he's just annoying and seems to hinder rather than advance the plot. While in the first to third part he always spoke only of "friend", he now suddenly talks remarkably often of "friend Simon", which I find very inappropriate. Furthermore, the genie from Simon 2 was introduced by force, who looks completely different here and also takes on a completely different role. He is now a smoking psyhologist of the type Sigmund Freud who analyzes people. He has nothing to do with his original role anymore. I really wonder why they had to deface the genie so much for this and didn't just introduce a new character.

The story burbles along. There are no more surprising twists like in the predecessor. The resolution at the end with the aliens seems far-fetched. After playing through the game, it is possible to listen to the aliens' sentences in English in most scenes, but this isn't particularly funny; it seems more like bent humor that doesn't work.

Sure, there are some bright moments. The funniest one I found was when you had to draw up your internship contract and it had to match Simon's ideas as well as those of his boss. However, the fact that the same puzzle was therefore doubled by having to create one for the wolf as well doesn't show much creativity. At another point, when Little Red Riding Hood referred to Simon as Number Two, I at least had to smile. (Note: In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard always refers to his first officer as Number One).

The game itself is far too short. When I was on the spacecraft, I would have expected to be only a quarter of the way through the game, with most of it still ahead of me. Unfortunately, I was wrong and finished the game the same day.

After the credits, the genie Siggi (who was called Fred in Simon 2, by the way) recites Simon's profile analysis with the screen black. How exactly the profile comes about, I can't say. However, I suspect that a decision at the hammer for one of the three paths is partly responsible for this. However, the decision at this point alone did not seem to influence the final result in my test. Probably the dialogue between the moles and aliens is also decisive.

As soon as Siggi is done with it, the further fate of all characters is still reported in a supposedly funny way. This also happens with a black background, but with a freeze frame or a sparse animation of the respective character. I spontaneously had memories of 486 times. You don't really need a modern super-fast computer for something like this. In general, this whole scene seems as if the developers had a bad conscience because of the short game length and wanted to make up for it. However, it doesn't work and also ruins the rest of the Simon story.

Conclusion: I would give the game an F (can't give a better grade, because the German 5 is already an F although it didn't completely fail). I now understand the disillusionment of Attila Arnold, the former Simonology maintainer. For 3,00 € the game is nevertheless acceptable and as a Simon fan you can buy it for this price, but you should lower your expectations.

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