|Both covers for this book. Why does he remind|
me of the puppet from Tales from the Crypt?
I'm not sure why, but I suspect that the cover may have something to do with it. It had a fine enough cover back in the day, but something about the original's image of a hunched and decrepit old man that looked as if he was about to fall over and break his hip, just didn't really inspire you to grab a copy in the same way that a vicious dragon or a bloodthirsty vampire would. The modern version is certainly more energetic. Although, when I look at them as an adult, I really do appreciate the original's atmospheric colouring and moody shadows.
First up, I'll mention the rules I'm playing these books by. No turning back to a previous page if I don't like the decision I chose. Play through all combat sequences and required tests by rolling dice, rather than just pretending victory. Basically 'play it fair and as it's meant to be played, no cheating'.
|The powerful mage Yaztromo|
No, really. He's powerful.
Either way, to kill the sorcerer again, I need to pick up the sword from the adventurer who slew the sorcerer in the first place, who is living up at a local lake, and is a skeleton now for some reason. Right. Well, no point sitting around, off I went.
I'd rolled up some fairly decent stats - not 'Conan the Barbarian' good, but not 'keel over and die if a goblin sneezes on me' poor either. Dumbledore gave me a healing potion with enough for five solid gulps, and the advice that I should look for magical amulets. In FF games, that's always a clue. "Look for keys", "Look for dragon's teeth", "Look for magic amulets". It basically translates into "If you don't find these items, you may as well just start over again, because you're screwed if you don't find them."
This adventure didn't seem especially punishing or unfair, but a lot of the encounters I stumbled across felt rather disjointed. I'll explain this as I go. The first problem I came up against was a swarm of tracker-jackers that assaulted me near a river. Much like Katness in The Hunger Games, I was very lucky with my dice and managed to only suffer a few small scratches that were of no huge concern.
Also, pendant of sanity. Best item over. One of these days, I'll set up a stall on the seafront and sell pendants of sanity to tourists.
I killed a few chameleons, and painted myself with their blood. The book told me that it had magical powers, but when I tried it, I found that I was immune to their blood. For some reason. Either way, I was now a man running around with chameleon blood on my face, waving a pendant of sanity around. For some reason I don't think the pendant is working.
|I feel a little|
uncomfortable with this...
I killed a few goblins, found a rhyme carved on a rock, and things were looking very positive for a while until I came to a forest. I followed another figure I seen in the forest, hoping it was the fabled adventurer skeleton dude, only to find that he was a 'black faerie'.
A black faerie. I checked the illustration, and sure enough, he had dark skin. Black faeries are, according to the book, "the most evil of all faeries". He also had a gang. Who mugged me. Yeah....
Racial overtones aside, they stole everything I had, including my pendant of sanity. Although as it turned out, it was the healing potion I would soon need most of all. I escaped, set up camp, and was attacked by fire beetles.
Now seriously wounded, I staggered onwards towards my goal, when suddenly a woman riding a gryphon flew down and killed me.
|You can see where I had to scrub out|
ALL my inventory items. Ouch!
I don't understand who the woman is, or why she attacked me. She literally just flew down and started thumping me with her gryphon. Was she a bandit of the skies? A local mad woman who'd stolen some poor gryphon, tamed it and took it for a joyride? If she was a mad woman, would my pendant of sanity have helped at all? We may never know...
Overall this is a pretty solid book and I definitely enjoyed trying it out. I'd like to give it another shot at some point. The environments feel suitably wide and descriptive, and the combat is paced well (not too much, not too little), although losing all your items is always a beast when playing these games. I can't believe that nobody took the chance to modify the 'black faeries' description though...