It's been a long day at the coal face so please excuse any grammatical faux pas.
#8 Scorpion Swamp
Written by Steve Jackson (USA) This has to be the most D&D influenced title of the whole series. Not that thats bad, as a matter of fact, it makes this one of my favourites to replay.
The whole thing just oozes RPG charm. From the characters you encounter to the interactions you are able to take with them, you can tell that Jackson knows his stuff where RPG's are concerned. TBH I wouldn't mind playing through a multiplayer version of this adventure with my friends!
The book stands alone in the way it has been written. There is a heavy emphasis on mapping and revisiting sites, rather than the more traditional linear storyline. On that subject, this book is again interesting in that it allows for multiple quests within the swamp itself! Not only that, but when in the swamp the sections are written to account for whether or not you have just stumbled across a nasty situation or if you have already dealt with whatever it was that was trying to make you dead (and there's a fair bit of that to be had)
It's a little hard to explain suffice to say you should just read it!
It wouldn't be right to not talk about the art!
Supplied this time by Duncan Smith (in his one and only appearance for Fighting Fantasy - which I think is a great shame) It fits the book perfectly. Most of the encounters get a pic, some get more! Its all very D&D as I mentioned before but it all adds to the classic feel of the adventure. The cover is the popular choice of depicting a powerful nasty from the story, and I reckon its pretty appropriate (I suppose a scorpion might have been an obvious choice...)
Favourite pics from the book? Def this one =)
I mean how Dungeons and Dragons is that!
And last, but by no means er, THE last, er review...
#9 Caverns of the Snow Witch
Thats how this one feels.
Don't get me wrong, it has some very good points and the title alone is awesome enough to be turned into a film. Its just not that well put together =(
You start out already on a quest (of sorts) Then find yourself on another, complete that and get given ANOTHER quest to undertake, see that one through and get railroaded into one more before completing that AND THEN HAVING TO DO ANOTHER THING!
Now I do like a story that throws a few surprises at me and variety is the spice etc etc. But honestly it just saps the life out of the original idea! THE SNOW WITCH!
This is a shame as the book does offer some great encounters. Its lighter on traps than some but makes up for it with a couple of good puzzles (of sorts) and does add some story driven tension that impacts positively on the game play. The Frozen, magical ice fortress of the Witch is well populated with foes and (in one of the books better moments) friends and allies, all of which does still make it enjoyable at times.
Art wise? This one uses a duo of talent to fill its pages with Gary Ward and Edward Crosby providing pen and ink illos (not sure how that came about or how it was divided?) And again this is the only appearance of their art to be shown in an FF book. Probably some of the most original ink illos to appear for a fantasy setting, the work is characteristically 'heavy' in feel but it comes off well and does a lot to add to the 'alien' quality of the creatures you encounter.
The cover is a great piece by veteran illustrator Les Edwards (he of HeroQuest cover fame, among many others) And accurately depicts a gruesome scene from the book.
A fairly fast read with a few good bits and, if you like roller coasters, one hell of a storyline!
So thats it for a bit, I'm currently trying to finish the next book so give me a sec!