Thursday 26 July 2012

Sorcerer of Siva (1981), I

Main TRS 80 Cover,   Source : Hardcore Gaming 101

The most obscure game of the Dunjonquest series is, in my opinion, Sorcerer of Siva. Developed as a standalone piece from all the main series, SOS was released only for TSR-80 and Apple II and conceptually slightly different from all the remaining part of the Epyx CRPGs. 

The game itself is quite rare to find on the collection market and even more surprisingly it's almost impossible to find an actual dump of the disk. I have managed to find all the scans of the manual (nice laid out and illustrated), instructions, various reference card but no trace of a working .dsk playable on an emulator. 

Apart from my frustration for never having tested this game, I quite enjoyed all related material and the excellent cover artwork which reminds the earliest Role Playing Games published in the seventies. 

Story wise, here's an extract from the back of the original box. 
Amulets, rings, necklaces, scepters, -oh, yes, and a pair of old boots - await you in the magical mines of Siva. Magic and riches abound. But wealth is not all you seek. 
The only entrance seals behind you as you enter the dark stillness of the mine. Armed with only a dagger and your magical abilities, you have but a few short hours to seek out the secret exit (hidden somewhere on the fifth level) before you are sealed in for all time. But beware the wandering soulless creatures that dwell in the more than 300 chambers of the magical mine, guarding every treasure and lurking beneath every trap door. 
A wizard you are, yes, who can hurl a fireball or lightning bolt to slay the blood-thirsty banshee; put an end to the deadly demon, or goad the goblin waiting to waylay you.
Your spells can create openings in solid walls and sealed entrances, heal your wounds, restore your strength, or give you the gift of weightlessness which lets you move effortlessly from room to room. Your own bravery will decide how many spells you shall bring into the mines. But beware the evil Sorcerer, who is waiting to cast his favorite spell - forgetfulness - to deprive you of your most valuable magic. 
But all is not lost... You may regain a spell or two or, perhaps, if you can discover the wondrous touchstones no archaeologist has yet found - stones with powers to increase your magical abilities. Though, expect not that these, or others, always lie still, for the Sorcerer and his minions are afoot. 
Be warned, too, that not all treasures you might find are true. Mysterious items might drain your life's blood and leave you in blackness. Will a ring bring you only wealth? Can a pair of old boots do more than protect your soleful feet? In experience lies wisdom.
Good luck! And happy mining...
Sorcerer of Siva is likely a wizard versus wizard bidimensional dungeon crawling game, where the main character has to struggle through a complex of caves: 
The Mines of Siva consist of five floors or levels containing a total of more than three hundred chambers and passages. You begin each game on the bottommost floor (Level 1) and finally exit the mines, if you are lucky, from the top floor (Level 5). Each level except the top one has several stairways leading to the next higher level. You can go up a staircase simply by using the I (or A) command.
Once you have ascended the stairs, the computer will load in the new level automatically. (If you have a cassette version of the game, you should leave your recorder in PLAY mode for this purpose.) You cannot go back down stairs. However, you may be forced to start over from the first level—from below the first level, in fact. If you step on a trapdoor, it may open beneath your feet, prompting the computer to announce, TRAPDOOR!! You will then find yourself plunging through darkness into an uncharted area of the mines called the Underworld.
Source: Sorcerer of Siva, Instructions Manual, p 20

The aim of the quest is to face The Sorcerer who is able to control many of the wandering creatures in the Caves of Siva.

Apple II Screenshot,  Source : Hardcore Gaming 101
The Sorcerer
Your nemesis in the Mines of Siva is the sorcerer. He will not attempt to kill you directly nor even inflict physical harm. Rather, from a safe and hidden vantage he directs his monstrous minions to come at you with fang and claw. Still worse, his personal attacks are directed at the very source and substance of your magic power. Each time he appears and casts a spell of forgetting, you lose your most powerful remaining spell! 
The only way to kill the sorcerer is with a well-aimed bolt of lightning. Unfortunately for you, the sorcerer (being more than a bit of a coward) will not dare confront you unless you are already battling for your life against one of the monsters of the mine! Then you must choose between defending your powers or your life! If you are unable to cast a bolt of lightning, you have no choice but to flee whenever the sorcerer appears.  
If you manage to slay the sorcerer, you will not only prevent any further loss of your magical abilities, but you will also, indirectly, eliminate those monstrous beings (such as an efreet, a djinn, or an elemental) that are summoned or created by the magic of the sorcerer.
Source: Sorcerer of Siva, Instructions Manual, p 22 

Sorcerer of Siva will be one of my main quests and in the next months along with more aesthetics and exegetical details about the manual and the game itself, I will try to source an original boxed version of the game and a playable dumped disk.


  1. This was available on eBay not too long ago. It of course went for a pretty penny. I too am intrigued by everything about it, most of all the screenshots...

    1. @Bill: I'm sure that SOS is the kind of game that can go for an average of €200. I will set a notification on my Ebay anyway and keep you all posted. However I will probably get a working dumped copy in next days and I'm confident to post a video a more screenshots.

    2. Congrats on getting the ROM image. Will it be available somewhere for general download?

    3. @Bill: I can send you in private for the moment. I will try to set a general download as well. Contact me at mustainehf(at)

  2. Hi there!

    in your opinion, may i use some old advertisement images such as this one for my upcoming Powers & Perils rpg retro-clone or i might have some legal issues should i do it?
    they are fantastic and so inspiring, never seen them before!


  3. Interesting question. As far as I know when Epyx bankrupt, some rights have been bought by System 3. I'm not sure if System 3 owns all the rights for all the old Epyx release anywya. I will investigate and I let you know.

    1. Keep in mind that a lot of the rights to the artwork reverted back to the original artists (or never left their domain in the first place).

    2. Actually, this one is easy. Note the artist copyright in the corner of Siva...

    3. Bill is probably right but I just want to check with System 3 if the have acquired the rights for all the old Epyx releases. Anyway, if I'm not wrong, Karen Gerving did many of the earlier Epyx games. Can you confirm that Bill?

    4. I meant as main Illustrator.

    5. I thought "Catacomb librarian" was referring to the ad/cover artwork? If that's the case, then the rights are with the artist, generally, and in this case, specifically, "George Barr" -

      As for the games, you're correct about the System 3 thing, but I don't think they have the whole catalog. I honestly don't know what happened to the stuff prior to the mid-80s.

  4. yes i wanted to use the ad artwork.

    now i feel disappointed after reading what you wrote about Mr. Barr holding the rights to this, although i don't think i'll go to jail if i use it.

    Is he still alive? is there a means to contacting him?

    1. Old, but alive:

  5. There is a copy on eBay currently! It was posted a few days ago. Very nice and complete copy.