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Fighting Fantasy (2002-2007, Wizard Books Series 1)
Fighting Fantasy (2009-2012, Wizard Books Series 2) — no. 10
L'œil d'Émeraude (French)
Eye of the Dragon (Mini-Adventure)
April, 2005 (Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W))
1840466421 / 9781840466423
(Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W))
407 sections |
|User Summary:||A wanderer tells you where to find a dragon statue of immense value, but also poisons you to make sure you live up to your promise to split the proceeds with him.|
I've reached a saddening conclusion: despite being one of the pioneers of interactive fiction, Ian Livingstone isn't and never has been that good at writing it. I won't deny I enjoy Forest of Doom and Deathtrap Dungeon on one level, but I first read them when I was nine and expected less from books back then. Not to mention I have fond childhood memories now. Caverns of the Snow Witch and Island of the Lizard King aren't bad gamebooks, but "bland" sums them up accurately. Unlike the Golden Dragon book of the same name, which was one of the best entries in its all too short series, Eye of the Dragon is an Ian Livingstone book of the absolute worst kind. I'm not familiar with the short adventure from Dicing with Dragons this book is adapted from, but if it's anything like this, Ian should've left it alone.
I've never particularly enjoyed dungeon crawls and this book reminds me of the worst reasons why. You wander from room to room, fighting a bevy of random and frustratingly bland monsters, finding a bunch of annoying vague items where every single one is as likely to curse you as save your butt, and constantly face the soul-shattering decision of whether to choose the boring left passage or the boring right passage. And just why is there someone operating a general store in this isolated, monster-infested dungeon? If you were going to let the player buy supplies, fine, but why couldn't it have been before he got to the dungeon? The way it's done is almost parodical.
Besides the genius who makes a living from a shop in a hidden dungeon, what are such a random collection of creatures as a BLACK DRAGON, MASTER SWORDSMAN and even a boss monster stolen wholecloth from the underrated House of Hell -- right down to the only weapon that can hurt him -- doing in this isolated dungeon? If it were some madman's idea of a trial of champions that'd be one thing, but it's just a collection of stone rooms hidden beneath the forest floor.
Even if you're willing to put up with all this and a sidekick named Littlebig, all you've got to look forward to is a climactic battle with a dull villain and an ending full-on as lame as the one in Crypt of the Sorcerer. While I'm grateful to Ian for the fact that Fighting Fantasy exists, this book proves that if anything his powers have only dulled with age. Let's hope if Ian contributes another book to the new line it's at least something he's buckled down and done from scratch.
Beyond bad. Terrible. The worst FF title. It's a flat and uninspired cave-crawl, cluttered with random set-pieces, somehow feeling more unplotted and confused than typical FF dungeon wandering. You could write a computer program to generate a better FF book. If George Lucas had created Fighting Fantasy and returned to write another book, he would write something like this - except maybe not as bad.
|Paul T's Thoughts:||
Nothing is better than the brilliant choices, the awesome plot and the wonderful writing and imagination that pour forth from this book.
Choosing repeatively between the right passage and the left passage, without knowing anything about either is what makes Fighting Fantasy books so awesome, so let's do it twenty times in a book. And other brilliant choices like when you see a plain treasure chest in the room, do you open it or leave?! It took me centuries to decide if I should open the unguarded treasure filled chest, or walk off. Other brilliant choices include deciding whether to throw 1 gold coin into a non functioning wishing well, staring into a mirror with a 50 foot IT'S A TRAP sign, and choosing whether to open the door. AGAIN.
This is deeply engaging book, and I could feel every brain cell in my head being put into full use, especially when I met other humans, and I was confronted with the thrilling attack for no reason-talk-leave choice AGAIN. WHOMG!
And the challenges you go up against are so imaginative, you’d think they were divinely inspired. I mean you will know true fear when you face the likes of a GOBLIN, a GIANT SPIDER or even an EVIL WIZARD.
And MAN the plot and writing of this book are brilliant. Some dude has found some stature in the bottom of a dungeon in Darkwood forest. The statue is worth 335,000 gp, because people in Titan like to pay large amounts of gold for crap. And naturally, rather than sell the statue and retire in luxury, the old owner decided to put in a dungeon and somehow fill it with monsters and obvious traps. No one would think to look in there!
And naturally when some guy asks you to drink slow acting poison that will kill you in two weeks, you see no problem at all with doing so. But all though he intends to screw you, he was at least courteous enough to switch his poison with grape juice, ruining his brilliant evil plan.
And of course, although you’ve been warned that touching the statue without the two emeralds will result in your death, if you reach the statue with one emerald, instead of looking down one of the exciting right/left passages, you touch anyway. SMART.
Those of you with one or more brain cells may have figured out this is something of a joke review.
Humour aside, this is a meritless piece of crap. If anyone but Ian Livingstone or Steve Jackson has submitted this crap to Wizards, they'd have burnt it into little cinders.
It really is nothing more than a bunch of poorly thought out clichés meshed together. The choices are every bit as inane and stupid as I have made out, and there is nothing of any merit here. If Wizards publish any more new adventures, I seriously pray they're better than this.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Nicholas Campbell for the cover scan and Fireguard for the plot summary.|
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Known EditionsWizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W)
Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W)
Wizard S2 (Large, Embossed)
Wizard S2 (Small)
Fighting Fantasy Reissues #21 Character Sheet
Thanks to Ben Nelson for providing this file.