Remember how excellent some gamebooks actually were back in the 80s? The ones with mostly fresh ideas that we couldn’t wait for the release of? This is also a very impacting game book based largely on brainwork as there are no combat systems. Typically, this is everything Choose You Own Adventure should have been. Creepy, paced, atmospheric and relies heavily on cerebral skill to get you through. It literally doesn’t need dice or card systems to work whereby the aforementioned CYOA were dreadfully easy.
Set within the confines of a creepy hospital (that’s enough to shit some people up alone), you awaken in a very surreal version of your world. You realise quite early on some lunatic (liking it already) is stalking you to chop you up like other victims. These turn out to be witches and the author has cleverly interlaced witch folklore into the story, with the looney taking different body parts from each in order to gain special powers. But things take a turn for the worse when you discover a higher power in control of this seemingly willing slave. All throughout the adventure you feel everything is being manipulated around you from room to room, and you don’t know what random and usually gory thing is going to happen next.
All the classic Fighting Fantasy esque conundrums are here, from riddles and letter codes (like in Ian Livingstone’s Deathtrap Dungeon) , to cryptic deciphering and numbered items (Steve Jackson’s Creature Of Havoc perhaps). It’s even 400 references long. For a first gamebook from Victoria Hancox, this is an excellent debut. She has certainly drawn from her familiarities with gamebooks and experiences which have added backbone to the game and I have also been in contact with Victoria and begged that she’ll write another. She replied to me and… I’m not going to say the answer 😜.
This is what many modern gamebooks should be like, and if you like the Horror gamebooks like me… it should be the very next book you buy.
Attempts.. 6 🙂
*proudly became the first known player to complete it successfully according to the author.
Get your copy HERE.
September has seen the release of Fighting Fantasy game book Assassins Of Allansia by the Guv himself, Ian Livingstone.
Assassins Of Allansia
I recently picked up my hardback copy of the book at the Fighting Fantasy Fest 3 from the authors son, Jack. I mentioned my weirdo number 44, and asked if that copy was available as all 400 copies were numbered. He dug it out for me also mentioning it’s Ian’s weirdo number as well. Nice. Anyway Ian signed it later on with a personal message.
So, with all that aside… what do i think to this entry in the popular gamebook series?
It’s a lovely adventure to come back after the series sending up that was Gates Of Death and the fair but fatally flawed Port Of Peril. I’m old school FF and thus have noticed that this and especially Gates seem to have alternative lore to the Fighting Fantasy book many of us have read. The DECAYER in Assassins for example, is nothing like the undead looking creature inked by Tim Sell in Out Of The Pit. SEE HERE. We are also getting Earth christian names now, like Florence, Henry and Samuel. This isn’t detrimental to the book in itself but it is a thorn in an old school fans side. Makes it feel like there’s a dimension crack and reality is seeping into our beloved Titan. Hold on, 20GPs to stay on a dangerous island for how long? You can find that just bumming around for a day.
The art by Robert Ball is somewhat nicer than Vlado Krizans and given Scholastic seem to avoid the more detailed illustrations of yesteryear in favour for dummied down jagged angular repro’s I finally feel a sense of actually being on Titan again. Not much, just a bit.
I think we need to stop comparing what FF was and accept it is going to be different now a bit like any other series reboot. (Doctor Who, James Bond etc). Definitely a Livingstone book. Youll know what that means after a couple of nights on the island. The story itself is packed full of dangers and the Guv has gone out of his way to make you not want to try things out in case it causes stat penalties. Also, you could call this FF5and a half as it takes place between City Of Thieves and Deathtrap Dungeon. Not to mention an appearance of a familiar much loved character from one of them…and I dont mean Azzur or Sukumvit.
Overall, if we brush away the old school cobwebs and altering Titan lore, this is the best since the Scholastic FF revival. I hope more come out like this rather than the previous couple.
For about 23 years now I have been toying with the idea of getting tattoo’s based on the amazing illustrations from the Fighting Fantasy game book series. Well this month I finally went beserk. Starting off with the Iain McCaig filler illustration of the villainous Zanbar Bone from the book City Of Thieves.
Fighting fantasy Zanbar Bone City of Thieves
The tattooist did such an amazing job barely three weeks later I nuked some credit and had two more done. The first being Martin McKenna’s unused filler intended for FF40, Dead Of Night. Puffin rejected it though because of the religious iconography. Cowards.
Fighting fantasy dead of night
The next would be John Blanches filler from the Sorcery series which I simply call sun-orc. Sorcery was the epic four book Fighting Fantasy quest which introduced me to the entire series.
You any good at puzzle solving? Like a challenge? Here is a plethora of stuff for you! CLICK HERE
Did you know you can actually get paid to play games? I didn’t. Click this picture to learn more or here too.
Delve into gothic folklore in this enchanting game steeped in mythological creatures. Can you survive a walk through The Storymasters Tales:Weirding Woods?
Fighting Fantasy content was going to be narrowed down here and focused on my FF site, but as my internet is down until the Sky repair man can get here I couldn’t help but add this to my blog via my phone. Ian Livingstone has been at the quills again and brought us a new Fighting Fantasy title in the form of Assassins Of Allansia.
Now isn’t that an arresting title? This new gamebook of the beloved series will be released on September 5th but is available on preorder at Amazon HERE.
TURN YOUR HOME INTO A REAL CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION…
Escapoly is a mystery, co-operative, detective experience created especially for escape room, treasure hunt and logical game lovers.
Today see’s the launch of a brand new Kickstarter by renowned gamebook author Jonathan Green.
“TWAS – The Krampus Night Before Christmas is a brand new adventure gamebook (a multi-path book, very much in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks), inspired by the poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore, as well as other winter- or festive-themed classics, such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, and John Masefield’s The Box of Delights. It will be the fifth title in the ongoing ACE Gamebooks series.”
There are many reasons to back this exciting new project. From having your name credited in the book, to being an official play tester. To check out all the other rewards, CLICK HERE
The #FightingFantasy audio dramas increase this week with four new thrilling adventures by Fox Yason Music Productions. FF classics Citadel Of Chaos, Forest Of Doom, Deathtrap Dungeon and Creature Of Havoc have all been given the audible upgrade due to a successful Kickstarter project earlier this year and come together in a lovely box set or via MP3 download.
Jam with his new FF CDs
Each adventure follows the adventures of heroes from the first CD The Warlock Of Firestop Mountain and appears to slightly predate the efforts of the hero that actually completes the adventure (the successful readers of the actual Fighting Fantasy gamebook series). Vocal talents such as Rachel Atkins, Richard Rycroft and Lisa Bowerman are also joined by Charlie Higson of The Fast Show fame and author of The Enemy book series and the latest Fighting Fantasy gamebook Gates Of Death.
All in all these are great little adventure skits which fans of the series will love, with the only real downside being they seem a little short i.e. when you consider the likes of Baron Sukumvit’s labyrinth being navigated rather quickly, with only a couple of traps and three or four monsters. That’s my only personal gripe but then consider the stories are well thought out and the scripts well written. I especially love the bitchy dialogue between Vale Moonwing and Lady Lucretia. I also enjoy the way all spell incantations pay homage to the old Di Maggio spell of the first Fighting Fantasy gamebook, with basically a word associated with the spells effect said backwards then the casters’ name after it. You can tell the likes of David Smith and Violet Addison knew the lore of Fighting Fantasy before starting this project and they’ve handled it beautifully to give us a wonderful expansion on the Fighting Fantasy range. May their STAMINA never fail! To grab yourself a copy visit HERE