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.
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.
Tickets are now on sale for the third dedicated fest of the popular Fighting Fantasy gamebook series. CLICK HERE TO BOOK TICKETS TODAY!
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
Yep it’s official, Fighting Fantasy Fest 3 is happening next year. Why Ian Livingstone himself just confirmed it on Twitter
Saturday 31st of August 2019 will see the third dedicated Fighting Fantasy Fest held in Ealing. Will I see you there? For updates visit fightingfantasy.com !
@FightingFantasy – Gates Of Death. The second brand new Fighting Fantasy adventure game book released after Port Of Peril in 2017s Scholastic relaunch of the series. So how was it for me?
Me after finishing Gates Of Death by Charlie Higson
After an excruciating wait from Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 up until today I finally managed to tread through the latest adventure set in Allansia. Charlie Higson of The Fast Show fame had been a fan of Fighting Fantasy for years, and has graced us with Gates Of Death, his debut epic for the series. He was invited by FF co-series creator Ian Livingstone to guest write, and has made history as the first guest writer to have his own name on the front cover of an FF book. The celebrity essence may lend the series some pulling power.
Now, you may already know that I cannot stand the internal art scholastic has chosen for these books.
Little better than cheap grayscale slap dash comic styles, and this book is no exception. It’s a shame because the beautiful realistic illustrations in the classic series is what attracted me to FF in the first place. Thankfully, Higson’s writing hits the nail on the head and saves the book with fast paced scenarios and cleverly interwoven snares for readers to get netted up in. Multi FF author Jonathan Green is said to have coached Higson and this is apparent as Gates Of Death contains a couple of similar elements to Greens work Night Of The Necromancer, although this may be coincidence. But then the lore dies.
One thing I noticed is the fighting aspect is really kept to a minimum. You could always use an alternative to get yourself out of a rut with opponents. I think I completed the adventure with only four actual melee combats. There is plenty of magic to be found and used in this adventure, three pairs of magic shoes for example. I guess he likes giving you plenty of chances to win as you only need one pair!
FF is now meant to be aimed at a younger demographic than before, although this book introduces the words ‘bum’ and ‘farting’ into the FF vocab. Not to mention a mutant with two faces on it’s bottom actually illustrated! While it’s clearly meant to bring humour it seems to cheapen the feel of the serious quest.
Overall this is a grand adventure plot, much better than the flawed ho hum badly named Port Of Peril (which barely has anything to do with the Port in question, you’re there longer in this book) …but an uneducated debut for Higson to the series. He could easily do better. 4/10
Me and Charlie Higson at FFF2 – 2017
So Scholastic have set the next six #FightingFantasy books into motion. Another five revivals and a brand new title, The Gates Of Death, should be joining us around April. Whilst not many of the die hard fans appreciated the cover art of the first six releases last year, at least they was all done by the same artist and looked generic. Unfortunately we are now met with a change in design. It’s not good.
Though one may argue the artwork is slightly more in line with the classic series (I said slightly) , it has been confined to a tiny circle in the middle of the page with about 80% the rest just a single colour broken by white lines. I’m pretty certain this is a money saving device. When you consider the full cover of art we had in the 80s – 00s this isn’t progress nor very eye catching. With the last six covers Scholastic gave the excuse they was using this type of art to appeal to an era of video gaming children. So why the change? I guess they’re admitting they was wrong and the fans we’re right and now going down the cheapest route tasting sour grapes.
The Gates Of Death will be the first ‘presented’ written FF adventure since Jonathan Green’s wonderful Howl Of The Werewolf, and from the look of it Charlie Higson (of The Fast Show fame) will be the first non series creator to have his name boldly displayed on the front cover. Prestigious that may be, but is this a marketing twist to attract his own fans to buy this new quest? Either way, I am grateful for another new story and hope it goes down well with fans expectations and spurs Scholastic to employ other guest writers too such as the aforementioned Jonathan Green, Dave Morris, Jamie Thomson etc etc
Jam meets Charlie Higson at FFF2
#FightingFantasy has exploded back into being in many forms over the past couple of years, and this evening I managed to listen to the audio story version of The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain: The Hero’s Quest. It was rather well scripted, with the vocal talents of Rachel Atkins, Tim Treloar, Toby Longworth and Harry Primus. (The former sounding in my opinion very much like the late Lynda Bellingham).
Each track is a new scene of the adventure on the CD, as we follow Vale Moonwing and her unwillingly aquired companion, Cassius Stormblade, through the mountain to defeat Zagor the Warlock. It is rather true to the gamebook from which it is based with crowd pleasing appearances from familiar monsters.
FoxYason Music Productions LTD have proven they can churn out a great audio adaptation of the popular Fighting Fantasy series’ first adventure, so it will be very interesting to see if they can bring on other gems including the ever popular Deathtrap Dungeon or hotly under-used House Of Hell.
We Titanese wait patiently in the wings…
Lots of lovely hits to my blog recently. I see there are many playing Lair Of The Lunatic which is wonderful and I hope you’re enjoying it. Not much to report here other than I now own a copy of Doctor Who And The Fescan Threat. Certainly the largest single gamebook I have ever laid hands on at 2001 references and its as big as an Argos catalogue. Seek and acquire.
So nothing else to report. In the meantime here’s my latest FF meme. Corny as cereal flakes.
Fighting Fantasy seems secure for another year after the announcement at FFF2 last weekend. With five releases of some classics and a brand new quest by Charlie Higson, mentored by Jonathan Green. Intriguingly titled Gates Of Death, this sounds like a nice juicy horror which is my favourite genre. There are of course many more fan written amateur adventures on sites such as fightingfantasy.net including my own attempt Lair Of The Lunatic.
With a strong fanbase the series continues to thrive and the last new official story Port Of Peril by Ian Livingstone managed to hit the top 20 kids bestsellers list. Scholastic must be proud, although I’d love to know how many sales were to middle aged men fans from the 1980s like us 😉