NEC PC-8801 cover art
|Release date(s)||NEC PC-8801
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing game|
Sorcerian (ソーサリアン Sōsarian?) is an action role-playing game developed by Nihon Falcom, and the fifth in the Dragon Slayer line of games. It was originally released for the NEC PC-8801 in 1987, and was later ported to other personal computer platforms such as the NEC PC-9801, the NEC PC-88VA, the Sharp X1 Turbo, and the MSX2, for which it was released under the title Dragon Slayer V: Sorcerian. An English version for MS-DOS PCs was published by Sierra Entertainment in 1990, ports for the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Apple IIGS and Macintosh platforms were announced, but not released.
In 1997, Falcom released Sorcerian Forever for Microsoft Windows-based PCs. In 2000, Falcom released Sorcerian Original, a remake of Sorcerian for Microsoft Windows-based PCs. In addition, console versions of Sorcerian with somewhat differing content from their PC counterparts were developed: A version for the Mega Drive was developed by Sega, a version for the PC Engine CD was developed by Victor Musical Industries, and a version for the Dreamcast was developed by Victor Interactive Software.
Sorcerian is a side-scrolling action-RPG. The player can create up to ten characters, from whom up to four members can be present in a party at the same time. Each character is highly customizable, with four different classes/races (fighter, wizard, elf, and dwarf) and over 60 possible jobs/occupations (ranging from clown to exorcist) available for them to perform; each has its own strengths and weaknesses, affecting the seven primary attributes (strength, intelligence, protection, magic resistance, vitality, dexterity, and karma) in different ways, as well as different equipment limitations.
The player can choose from fifteen different scenarios, or quests, to play through in the order of their choice. The party must battle enemies and perform tasks within the given levels to clear each scenario, before moving onto another scenario of their choice. The player controls the entire party at the same time, with all four members running in a line, jumping in sequence, and attacking in unison. The party members follow behind in a manner similar to the Options in the arcade shooter Gradius (1985). Sorcerian also employs class-based puzzles, such as using a high-strength character to force open doors.
All the characters have a default starting age of 16. Each time a player begins a new scenario, a year passes by, while additional time passes by in towns as a character goes through training or enchants items. The characters age at different rates depending on their race, with humans reaching old age at 60, dwarves at 100, and elves at 200. Upon reaching old age, for every year that passes, a character can die permanently at a random time. There is also an “Advance Time” to speed up the flow of time. Another new feature of Sorcerian was its episodic format that extended across various expansion packs. Besides the default fifteen scenarios that come with the game, there were a number of additional scenario packs released. The aging system was created with the additional scenario packs in mind.
- Developed by Falcom: Sorcerian Utility Vol. 1, Sorcerian Additional Scenario Vol. 1, Sorcerian Additional Scenario Vol. 2 – Sengoku Sorcerian, Sorcerian Additional Scenario Vol. 3 – Pyramid Sorcerian
- Developed by Amorphous: Sorcerian New Scenario Vol. 1 – The Visitor from Outer Space, Selected Sorcerian 1, Selected Sorcerian 2, Selected Sorcerian 3, Selected Sorcerian 4, Selected Sorcerian 5
- Developed by Quasar Soft: Gilgamesh Sorcerian
The soundtrack to the original Sorcerian was composed by Yuzo Koshiro, Mieko Ishikawa, Reiko Takebayashi, Hideya Nagata, and Takahito Abe. The Falcom-developed Additional Scenarios were handled solely by Ishikawa. The music for the original Sorcerian was arranged by Kenji Kawai for the PC Engine CD release.
Soundtrack releases for Sorcerian include:
- Music from Sorcerian: The original score to the PC-88 version of the game.
- All Sounds of Sorcerian: The original sound again, this time in the form of medleys for each scenario, along with two arranged tracks.
- Sorcerian Super Arrange Version: A series of three albums featuring arrangements by Hiroyuki Namba. Volume 1 contains a set of arrangements from the base scenario of Sorcerian. Volume 2 contains arrangements from the base scenario and Additional Scenario Vol. 1, along with the original sound of Additional Scenario Vol. 1. Volume 3 contains arrangements and the original sound from Additional Scenario Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.
- Perfect Collection Sorcerian: A set of 3 2-disc albums containing various arrangements of the base Sorcerian soundtrack, similar to the Perfect Collection Ys album series.
- Sorcerian Forever I & II: Two albums containing upgraded versions of the Sorcerian base scenario soundtrack, similar to the Music from Ys Renewal releases.
American music changes
Because Romancia: Dragon Slayer Jr. was never released to English audiences, Sierra removed references and altered which songs played during the "Dragon King" level of Scenario II. Further tracks were changed in other levels, but this may be due to a bug, as the original Japanese track order (minus "Dragon King") is maintained in the English Musician's Guild.
|Original Japanese song||American song replacement||American level||Japanese origin|
|Survivor||Beautiful Day||The Stolen Scepter||Additional Scenario Vol. 1|
|Luwan and the Dragon||Bloody River||Cursed Oasis||Lucifer's Floodgate|
|Dark Swamp||The Seal||The Master of Dark Marsh||Tower of Thieves|
|Romacia Kingdom||Evil Shaman||Dragon King||Garden of the Gods|
|Azelba Kingdom||Bloody River||Dragon King||Lucifer's Floodgate|
|Vaides||Survivor||Dragon King||The Stolen Scepter|
|Peaceful Forest||Beautiful Day||Riddle of the Red Jewel||Additional Scenario Vol. 1|
|The Heavens||Harp||Garden of the Gods||Garden of the Gods|
|Harp||The Heavens||Garden of the Gods||Garden of the Gods|
|Evil Shaman||Cave I||Garden of the Gods||Ice Cavern|
|Cave I||Cave II||Ice Cavern||Ice Cavern|
|Cave II||Beautiful Day||Ice Cavern||Additional Scenario Vol. 1|
|Forest||Village||Curse of Medusa||Curse of Medusa|
|Village||Medusa||Curse of Medusa||Curse of Medusa|
|Medusa||Underground Fortress||Curse of Medusa||The Missing Magician|
|Underground Fortress||Fire Elemental||The Missing Magician||The Missing Magician|
|Fire Elemental||The Cave of Life||The Missing Magician||The Water of Life|
|The Cave of Life||Pounding Heart||The Water of Life||The Water of Life|
Computer Gaming World reviewed the PC DOS version in its October 1991 issue. They noted it has "an interesting feature or two" and liked the game's division into many miniquests, stating that instead "of the usual long adventure, this one sports fifteen separate small quests" which "allows for a certain amount of variety". However, they disliked the magic system, and stated "the action is arcade in style, which is typical for a Japanese game, and some will find this irksome" but noted "this is not just hack-and-slash, as there are puzzles to be solved along the way". The magazine concluded that Sorcerian was a "good for a change of pace" for those comfortable with "arcade" action.
In 2008, game designer Hideki Kamiya listed Sorcerian among his favorite games of all time, citing it as one of the games that influenced his work. During production of Platinum Games title Scalebound, Kamiya said he was inspired by Sorcerian as well as Hydlide 3. He noted the influence of Sorcerian's fantasy theme, "gigantic monsters," different scenarios, "expansive possibilities", "tons of adventures" and enemies such as a hydra boss and "lots of amazing dragons".
- John Harris (July 2, 2009). "Game Design Essentials: 20 RPGs – Dragon Slayer". Gamasutra. p. 13. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- "News and new products". Dragon (149): 79–80 . September 1989.
- Sorcerian at Allgame
- Sorcerian (PC), GameCola.net, October 30, 2010 Archived November 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- Kurt Kalata. "Dragon Slayer". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- Scorpia (October 1991). "C*R*P*G*S / Computer Role-Playing Game Survey". Computer Gaming World. p. 16. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Hideki Kamiya. "Hideki Kamiya's Blog: A Self-Introduction". Facebook. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
- Falcom Official Site (Japanese language)
- Sorcerian Data Room (Japanese language)
- Sorcerian at MobyGames
- Hardcore Gaming 101: Sorcerian
- iTunes page for iOS version