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Item - Creature of Havoc

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(Original (Zigzag))
(Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front))
(Original, eighth printing (Dragon, Black text, Number spine only))
(Original, eighth printing (Dragon, Black text, Number spine only))
(Original, eighth printing (Dragon, Black text, Number spine only))
(Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W))
(Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W))
(Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W))
(Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W))
(Wizard S1 (Special), US printing)
(Wizard S1 (Special), US printing)
(Wizard S2 (Small))
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Combined Summary

Series: Fighting Fantasy (1982-1995, Puffin) — no. 24
Fighting Fantasy (2002-2007, Wizard Books Series 1) — no. 4
Fighting Fantasy (2009-2012, Wizard Books Series 2) — no. 5
Fighting Fantasy (2017-, Scholastic) — no. 7
Contained In: Fighting Fantasy Adventure Gamebox (Collection)
Fighting Fantasy Box Set 1 (Collection)
Fighting Fantasy Box Set 3 (Collection)
Translated Into: À-sŏon gaai hàeng hăa-yá-ná [อสูรกายแห่งหายนะ] (Thai)
Amok-væsnet (Danish)
La creatura del male (Italian)
La Créature venue du chaos (French)
Criatura del caos (Spanish)
Criatura Selvagem (Portuguese)
Monsutaa-tanjou [モンスター誕生] (Japanese)
Strašlivý netvor (Czech)
Adapted Into: Creature of Havoc (Digital Gamebook)
Author: Jackson, Steve (United Kingdom)
Illustrators: Edwards, Les (Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W) - cover; Wizard S2 (Large, Embossed) - cover; Wizard S1 (Special), US printing - cover; Wizard S2 (Small) - cover; Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W) - cover; Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (Clays) - cover; Wizard S1 (Standard), AU printing - cover; Wizard S1 (Standard), US printing - cover)
Langford, Alan (Original (Zigzag) - interior; Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W) - interior; Wizard S2 (Large, Embossed) - interior; Wizard S1 (Special), US printing - interior; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front) - interior; Wizard S2 (Small) - interior; Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W) - interior; Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (Clays) - interior; Wizard S1 (Standard), AU printing - interior; Wizard S1 (Standard), US printing - interior; Original, eighth printing (Dragon, Black text, Number spine only) - interior)
Miller, Ian (Original (Zigzag) - cover; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front) - cover; Original, eighth printing (Dragon, Black text, Number spine only) - cover)
Dates: November, 1986 (Original (Zigzag))
June 3, 2002 (Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W))
March, 2004 (Wizard S1 (Special), US printing)
February, 2010 (Wizard S2 (Large, Embossed))
April 5, 2018 (Scholastic (Porthole))
ISBNs: 0140320407 / 9780140320404 (Original (Zigzag), Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front), Original, eighth printing (Dragon, Black text, Number spine only))
074347998X / 9780743479981 (Wizard S1 (Special), US printing)
1407186183 / 9781407186184 (Scholastic (Porthole))
1840463910 / 9781840463910 (Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W))
Length: 460 sections
Braxus's Thoughts:

Creature of Havoc is seen by some as the best Fighting Fantasy gamebook around. Certainly, the plot is very unique (you play the monster) and the book is almost twice as thick as The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, but I'm not so sure... why?

Well, it's just too hard! There's a huge number of sudden-death endings and many, many places where everywhere you go is an instant death. You are not likely to die in combat as your creature takes half damage as usual and you have a chance to kill your enemy instantly, but wherever you go, you will end up dying with a sudden death!

Getting out of the dungeons is hard enough, and due to a flaw in the book, it's actually impossible unless you know what you're doing (...I won't spoil it). Once you get up on land, you will want to keep your finger on the last page as almost everywhere seems to lead to the same trap. To survive, you will actually have to use items you have picked up and subtract/add the number you noted to the reference you are on. You will have to do this a number of times and if you missed the item from earlier, it's game over.

However, I was fond of this book and if you can be bothered to make all the notes and maps, you will be able to complete it and the sense of achievement you will get from that is far more than you will get from say, Forest of Doom. Once again, the introduction and background is far better than any other FF and Steve Jackson's writing is phenomenal.

In short, hard and frustrating, but also brilliant and one of the best. Only for experienced gamebook readers!

More reviews by Braxus

juski's Thoughts:

The following review was written in 1986 when I was a teenager.

FF24: Creature of Havoc

Author: Steve Jackson (UK)
Setting: Fantasy
Price: £1.95
Publisher: Puffin (Penguin)
Cover Illustration: Ian Miller
Inside illustrations: Alan Langford

According to Warlock 12, during an interview Steve Jackson said that this, his tenth gamebook (after FF1, 2, 4, 10, 17 and the 4-book Sorcery! epic) was sadly to be his last. I hope that isn't true, but if it is what a way to finish!

Unlike all other gamebooks, when you are playing supposedly a dashing, good-looking human, this time you're a monster. Also, defying the general conventions of Fighting Fantasy, there is no plot. (Well, not to begin with anyway.) Instead, there is 25 pages of background called "Tales of Trolltooth Pass" that creates an excellent atmosphere and is a masterpiece in its own right.

A brief summary is that a certain sorcerer by the name of Zharradan Marr (who trained with Zagor, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Balthus Dire, owner of The Citadel of Chaos) wants to rule Allansia by finding Sittlewoad (abode of the elves) using The Galleykeep (a large flying ship) to search for it, as he believes this elven village which is protected by magic and invisible on the ground will be visible from the air.

And what of our creature of havoc? Well, to begin with your life consists of chasing and eating hobbits, your favourite delicacy, but gradually you become more and more intelligent as reason replaces instinct. At first you cannot understand what others say as they speak in code, but once you know the language (by finding a certain artefact) you then know what they are talking about, although won't be able to reply back. The initial setting is Marr's dungeon but after a great deal of exploring you'll find yourself above ground.

The statistics for the creature are determined in the same way as in other FF books, except you also have an instant death ability, meaning if you roll a double while fighting your opponent is killed instantly.

This book is excellent but very difficult. If you thought escaping from the Maze of Zagor was impossible then…say no more! There are many numbers which are given to be used later on which means this book should be avoided by those that like to cheat! There is a very clever part where you deduct a number when the last digit is 7 so that a certain individual is with you to help. There are 460 references rather than the usual 400 and the ending is the best I've ever come across in an adventure gamebook. My only criticism is that there are too many dead ends. Several times two options were given and both of them killed you!

The cover, although strange is brilliant and very eye-catching, but then I think Ian Miller's covers always are. (See FF10 and also the new cover for FF2.)

The inside illustrations by Alan Langford are good, plus the colour map on the inside front cover by Dave Andrews adds more depth to the adventure.

A very unusual gamebook and an excellent one at that, especially seeing as you don't initially know what you are, let alone the objective of your quest. If you don’t buy this book you deserve to be tortured by Darramous!

Originality: 18/20. Being a monster and not knowing what to do is certainly original.
The Adventure: 18/20. Very exciting, with many numbers used to stop cheating but a few too many dead ends.
Cover illustration: 18/20. It's really weird with a little demon conducting out of Zharradan's pocket plus a dog swallowing a sun!
Inside illustrations: 16/20. All of a good standard.

More reviews by juski

Special Thanks:Thanks to Nicholas Campbell for the jagged-logo cover scan and thanks to Ryan Lynch for all other images.
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Known Editions

Original (Zigzag)
Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front)
Original, eighth printing (Dragon, Black text, Number spine only)
Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W)
Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (Clays)
Wizard S1 (Standard), AU printing
Wizard S1 (Standard), US printing
Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W)
Wizard S1 (Special), US printing
Wizard S2 (Large, Embossed)
Wizard S2 (Small)
Scholastic (Porthole)

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Play Aid

Fighting Fantasy #24 Character Sheet