Sorcerian 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 MSX 2, 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 Windows95/98 -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.