Have you recently read the Fighting Fantasy Gamebook? This area of the website has been set aside as a way for fans to comment on the Gamebook and let each other know what they think of the plot, twists, encounters, traps, paths, puzzles, rules and monsters? Let us and other fans known by emailing us with your review at firstname.lastname@example.org. Preferably we would like to see you write a minimum of two or three paragraphs or more than 200 words with an honest opinion on what you liked, didn't like or would have liked to have seen done differently, Please also add a rating; this is traditionally given using a scale from one to ten. You can read other fans opinions below, some of which were originally sent to us and hosted on the original AFF website and Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks.com
- Laurence Sinclair (Originally sent & posted on AFF)
Ah, doom. In the entire English language it is possibly one of my favourite words. Not to mention, a god DAMN, cover! Indeed, going by first impressions alone this book is simply awesome, but one must dig a little deeper than that.
You have a mission thrust upon you by a dying dwarf. Retrieve the hammer that can unite his people against the Trolls, or all is lost. The only problem; it's in two pieces, and they are somewhere within the Forest of Doom, Darkwood.
This book introduces the concept of money, and the procurement of items. Steve Jackson gave us magic, Ian Livingstone gave the same thing in a different form; magical charms and potions bought from Yaztromo the wizard. It's an ignominious introduction for a character soon to become a regular in the FF series, a mere purveyor of trinkets, and creator of frogs. While his stock may sound exciting, the fact that none of the items has any form of description makes choosing what to buy almost completely down to chance. In The Citadel of Chaos, at least we were told the general effect of each spell.
Luckily, no items are essential for success in this adventure. What you buy may help you out a little, but you can get through with just your sword and an attitude. This is early Livingstone, before the success of Deathtrap Dungeon turned him into a creator of lethal stories that required a full shopping list of items to finish. Some lament the loss of the freedom that this book offered, but personally I'm glad that Ian saw the error of his ways.
The encounters in the book are more of a generic fantasy variety rather than the bizarre and sometime disturbing creatures that populated the first two books. This could be because it is set out in the open, where more natural creatures are bound to be encountered, but I had trouble finding any form of 'doom' in this forest. Even if you reach the dwarfs without the hammer, you can walk around the forest to look again!
I cannot fault the writing of the book, merely the fact that it follows a style merely not to my taste. If you like open and forgiving books that have a solution for every problem, then this is the book for you. This, more than any other, holds true to the promise that anyone, no matter their stats, can get through the book. For me, however, it just lacks any challenge, or even a sense of urgency. The dwarfs seem to be in no rush to get their hammer back, and this contradiction of the storyline is what really got me. A little consistency would be nice.
Rating: 3 out of 10