Secret of the Silver Blades is "more linear" than other installments, that does not make it "linear". Linear is an absolute, it is left to right, one thing gets done and then it's on to the next, areas previously gone to are no longer accessible, there is no wiggle room, period. It's a side scroller. That's linear. Anything else, is degrees of non-linear. Anybody that says Secret of the Silver Blades is linear has never played a typical JRPG, that's for sure.
Wouldn't be the first time Scorpia took a crap on a good game. There's nobody else I love taking their very own words in order to review the reviewer quite like Scorpia.
It's still a much more massive game than it's previous installment, Curse of the Azure Bonds, the shortest of the entire series. I would have some negatives to say on Secret, in that it's easily the most boring due to one long and very repetitive area. However, it's extremely memorable of a game.
The 2nd Buck Rogers game would be the only Gold Box game not to grace the Amiga, and that was due to the overall disappointing sales of the first. Not just on the Amiga, but period, it did not sell what they were hoping it to, and thus they decided it was not worth porting to the Amiga. I believe I read that SSI's original offer to TSR included branching off into other franchises. This is partly why TSR chose SSI when other companies, including EA, offered much more money to them for the rights to the D&D rules.