Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 23, 2013 14:09:17 GMT
I finally found a fair and just way to beat this book! The option is well hidden, but by following the path of certain hidden alpha characters, there is a super-secret option within the text that will help you to clear Razaak without having any of the items/stats necessary, and is in my humble opinion the only 'proper' and fair way to beat the book.
I wasn't sure how to respond to this, but then I discovered that Jon Green had already encoded the only real answer into his latest gamebook as follows: P151 L5 W6 Ch6 P237 L4 W8 Ch8 P294 L3 W2 Ch2 P386 L7 W5 Ch4
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 23, 2013 14:24:59 GMT
Aw, c'mon! I painstakingly dug out letters that were even in the correct case! Ok.... It says Go-Go-Gadget-Mallet-WHACK!
Hey, I've been laid up with flu for a week, totally housebound I needed something to do and I thought it was a pretty funny idea; getting all the way to Razaak, him starting to bombard you with various forms of black magic and BAM! You simply hit him with this:
Last Edit: May 2, 2017 0:19:31 GMT by thealmightymudworm: Re-replacement of Inspector Gadget mallet pic
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 23, 2013 14:29:18 GMT
NB: I've just looked back, it's my error... It was the upper-case 'W' of Werewolf I was going for, so it should have read P208 L6 W1 Ch1 not P208 L1 W1 Ch1. Just a typo. Sorry. Now corrected in original post
Oh boy. I was looking forward to this book, having heard so much about it, especially in the harshness department or the Ian's gone mad (or berserk) department ... ...and short story: it's all true!!
But a bit of background first. As you can deduce from my opening paragraph, this is a new book for me. A bit unbelievable, as this is a Livingstone with a cool cover and looks vaguely like a dungeon crawler from far away, two things that would have been right up my alley as a youngster. Must have been low on cash at the time or disinterested in the medium... Doesn't matter; I've now been able to enjoy this "masterpiece" of pain.
Well, let's start with the good to get it out of the way... I mostly enjoyed the book. As an assumed fight cheater, mind you, it's interesting enough, with pretty decent writing and some more or less imaginative action, and wonderful art by John Sibbick that's set the mood properly. Now, though, if I had been playing straight, I'd probably be cursing my mouth off right now. The sheer difficulty of the whole book is simply mind-numbing. There's so much, I'd probably write a whole book myself trying to describe it. Lucky me, most of you have experienced the pain of trying to find all the items and numbers hidden in the most ridiculous of places so I don't really have to point them all out. An Herculean task if there ever was one.
Still, a lot baffles the mind. Some of it is in the poor wording or laziness of structure and is insignificant, but some of it feels like the Gargantis stepped on your big toe. Like Greenspine already pointed out, what the hell is this setup? Why does a Wizard has to decreed that undeads will flood the earth if the seal is broken before 110 years? It's never explained and leaves us feeling like that particular Wizard probably doubled as a lawyer from hell. Then there's Yaztromo... The guy seems pretty sure that you are going to accept this impossible task without a single word of protest. Sure, there would be no game otherwise, but a little bit of asking nicely would already have been a start. Especially that the old fool goes into details about how terrible and impossible this mission is going to be before saying something like: of course you are going to go...? Hey, I'm not Tom Cruise! Go where, old man? Are you mad? Fetch the sword yourself, you old fool, I'm not going in there without mercenaries while you send your army to distract the Necromancer... Or something close. And by the way, why wasn't the book titled: Crypt of the Necromancer? Would have make more sense.
Then there's other stuff that makes you cringe like the Clay Golem standing between you and your horse so that you can't use the animal to flee. Yeah. I thought I was in a field, in the open! I'm not in a dungeon, Sir Livingstone, I'm outside. Let me run around the slow mound of mud, come on! Open up the options here. Or that Glass Orb that Livingstone wants you to break. Hmm. I've got a glass orb here, I could try looking into it, touch it, keep it in my backpack... but you want me to break it? Why? Obviously, it's either something nasty or good but why force me to be out of character? I'm a civilized dude. I just don't feel like breaking the damn globe. Just make me take it along and break it accidentally somewhere else; I'm only travelling through damn hills and fields of stones, after all. And don't get me started on that damn Skeleton Lord. I felt lucky already that the bag of bones ask me about the price of Hammers in Port Blacksand... just imagined if he'd ask the price of Maces or Short Swords... or the price of an Ale in the Black Lobster. I would have been utterly screwed.
But you get the point. So, when all's said and done, I had fun with the book, but I can understand so much better people's frustrations too. I'm bound to be myself when I try it proper one day.
...I mean, Razaak, that crippled thing with the lazy arm that needs spells like crazy to defends itself is actually as strong and agile as the Gargantis?? Just... wow. Livingstone must have felt IN THE ZONE when he wrote that one.
And by the way, why wasn't the book titled: Crypt of the Necromancer? Would have make more sense.
I think according to Warlock magazine, that was the original title (or The Howling Tunnels, which was maybe too obscure), but perhaps it was considered a little dark for kids, so they changed it, which is weird because Razaak is many things but not really ever described as a Sorcerer.
Kinda like how Agglax suddenly went from being a Shadow Demon to a Zombie Lord for the Wizard edition of Armies of Death, even though he has sod all to do with Zombies except use them as throne bearers. Mind you he also has bugger all to do with shadows and demons also...
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 23, 2013 14:48:49 GMT
From TUFFF (in May 2010)...
Just a thought - since Ian is apparently writing a new FF gamebook maybe we should all start spamming his Twitter account with suggestions, so we don't get another puerile abomination like Eye of the Dragon ("written with 20 years experience in the gaming industry" my foot!).
I think according to Warlock magazine, that was the original title (or The Howling Tunnels, which was maybe too obscure), but perhaps it was considered a little dark for kids, so they changed it, which is weird because Razaak is many things but not really ever described as a Sorcerer. Kinda like how Agglax suddenly went from being a Shadow Demon to a Zombie Lord for the Wizard edition of Armies of Death, even though he has sod all to do with Zombies except use them as throne bearers. Mind you he also has bugger all to do with shadows and demons also...
I've a feeling that at the time Puffin would have thought that having the term "necromancer" in the title would be a big no-no, potentially driving parents away from buying the range for their children.
(328) Despite your best efforts, you find yourself decaying in front of a computer screen. Your adventure ends here.
Well, whatever good reasons they had doesn't change the fact that I hate censorship of any kind so that's sucks. Didn't know that bit about AoD, ditto for Livingston writing a new book... Let's hope he's in a good mood.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 23, 2013 15:04:53 GMT
This book has always held a special place in my heart. Not only was it my first gamebook ever, it was my first fantasy novel ever! I remember it clearly; Back in 5th grade, my classmate had a copy of the danish translation lying on his desk, due to be returned to the library. The cover had me hooked immediately, with an ugly, scary sorcerer on the front and a bunch of heads getting blasted out of a burning sarcophagus behind him. It was like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom...with magic and monsters! I remember being a bit baffled by the gamebook concept at first, but once i had it figured, i just loved it.
Of course, now that i am reading through it as an adult, it's not quite as stellar. Sometimes it makes you wonder just what Ian was thinking while writing this; The code to Razaak's crypt is chiseled into a boulder standing somewhere in the Moonstone hills. Why??? And how were you lucky enough to come across it? Or how about finding the two halves of the rod of paralysis. What kind of coincidence is that? It's like when Henry Stanley traveled through the then uncharted lands of Afrika in search of Dr. Livingstone, and actually managed to find him! Well...he got me there.
Still, this book has got some values I can appreciate. The entire book is permeated by an eerie atmosphere of impending doom, the likes of which few other gamebooks can manage, and when you're infiltrating Razaak's lair, it sure does feel like you're taking the transit to hell! Which you may end up doing if you take the wrong turn. And of couse, it is graced by the wonderful illustrations of John Sibbick, who has illustrated far too few gamebooks through his career.
Lastly, I would like to apologise if my grammar is somewhat lacking. English is a secondary language to me.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 23, 2013 15:11:19 GMT
***SPOILERS AHEAD ***
The extreme and cruel difficulty of this book has been well and truly vilified by others, so I'll just make my own comments on this aspect brief. As I mentioned in my Masks of Mayhem review, it was when the series was getting into the 20s that the message was coming through that fans wanted the books to be 'hard'. Unfortunately there was obviously little or no specificity concerning what a 'hard' gamebook entailed. I don't mind the odd bit of against-daunting-odds dicing occasionally, but not if it is crucial to winning the ultimate victory. For example, there's a really tough hydra-type being towards the end of Crown of Kings, but it is not essential that it is even encountered to win the victory. In Crypt of the Sorcerer it is verging on pointless to fight Razaak with anything less than the full twelve SKILL points, and even then it is ridiculously difficult to get far without the him winning two consecutive rounds (which, as most of you probably know is fatal for you). Considering how easy it is to lose SKILL during the game, keeping hold of the maximum score is a miracle in itself - damn that Iron Eater! Only once have I ever managed to kill Razaak without fudging the dice at all - the glee I felt from having achieved the impossible was quickly doused when the book killed me off because my STAMINA had fallen below six. As such, this is the earliest book that I have never won. Has anyone on this forum actually beaten this one with no cheating what-so-ever? I think that most of us are agreed that gamebooks are not fun when the difficulty is down to dice rolls, but can be hugely enjoyable if it is down to a complex game structure.
The heart sinks before the adventure even gets started when the background has Yaztromo warning us that, "We'll need to find Razaak's sword and a number of talismans and amulets that will protect you from the necromancer's magic..." No kidding. I didn't bother to count up the number of nik-naks that need to be dug up for this foray, but they must number at least twelve. It's not funny anymore - I want to return to Neuburg Keep, where at least the big-boss items aren't essential. As others have pointed out, the way that most of these items are just chanced upon in the wilderness is terribly unconvincing. At least the dragon artefacts in Temple of Terror had a reason to be where they were. The item that really rankled me though was the skull ring, which although not an essential item, is still an important one that the book 'wants' you to be able to use in order to find the Rod of Paralysis. In order to get the ring it is necessary to commit murder. Not justifiable self-defence from a villain, but the cold-blooded slaughter of a man who showed no signs of malice in the slightest. In Seas of Blood this sort of behaviour fits because you are a pirate and it even worked in Scorpion Swamp if working for the evil Grimslade, even though you're not essentially 'evil' yourself. Crapt of the Sorcerer, however, is a goody-goody mission to save Allansia from the forces of darkness. If you have to carry out evil acts yourself then - even if you can overcome those nasty dice rolls and win through - there is still blood on your hands. Incidentally, does anyone else sometimes wonder about where some of these magic items in FF books actually come from - or who made them? Sometimes some background is given, but when it's absent I always wonder what the story is behind it. Here, I puzzle over the barbarian girl on her griffin and how she came to have a magical shield. Many items found in the books are probably all made together by consortiums of wizards as custom-made items requested by adventurers, nobles, megalomaniacs, etc. I can just imagine the poor apprentices being humiliated by the grand wizards for producing sub-standard goods, "You call this an enchanted letter-opener? It's pathetic! Look, it hasn't even got a number stamped into it." Talking of objects, I noticed that there is yet another bloody mirror that you can acquire. I'm not sure that it actually has a practical use for this book, but it made me realise that Freeway Fighter is probably the only Livingstone title which doesn't have one in it somewhere. If you were adventuring on Titan, knowing some of the typical items that would prove useful, only a half-wit would venture out without at least a mirror, a silver item, garlic, holy water and some rope. Yet...we all do it...
The companions that you meet in this adventure, Symm and Borri, stay with you for a surprising amount of time. Meneldur made a comment after my Caverns of the Snow Witch review, claiming that there is no difference between Redswift and Stubb and the Crypt duo. I hadn't played the book for a while, so my memory of Symm and Borri was hazy, but now that I have played it again I have to agree that there is little difference. Symm is a bland do-gooder whose only hint of depth comes when he teases Borri. The dwarf fairs a little better, having a penchant for trivia and idle chatter, but is still rather cardboard.
Although Masks of Mayhem has unfair dicing in it, I was quite forgiving of the book over all because there were a number of juicy encounters which went some way to mitigating the book's short-comings. Unfortunately, Crypt of the Sorcerer falls far too short in this department too. There simply isn't enough originality, atmosphere or even credibility to most of the encounters. The attitude here is, "Hey, just stick some monsters in the caves and woods, dot around some generic objects and that's all that's needed. It's just for kids after all". Despite some longer references here and there, the prose is the flattest and weakest that Livingstone has ever written. Descriptions are lacking in awe and wonder, for the most part just relating awfully mundane details. A particularly lazy example of this takes place after a fairly tough fight against a pair of Rad-Hulks, "You explore the back of the cave and find a wooden crate" (87) No mention of the dead enemies; no eeriness or strangeness imparted as to the living arrangements of the creatures; not even a little effort given to state how far back the cave reaches. Just the plain box. There is another box left lying around later on, this time made of iron, which is likewise just pushed out with prose so bland that I wonder whether or not Ian Livingstone was yawning as he wrote it (29). Even moments which have a glint of attention put into them lack any sort of passion, such as the skulls and lone helmet which line the wall in reference 151. If only he'd read the previous two FF adventures to see how much care and attention is needed to transform locations, characters and objects into something atmospheric, unfamiliar, distinctive, unsettling and - above all - special. For me, Crypt of the Sorcerer's principal crime is not its linearity, not its cluttering of essential items and not even its unfair difficulty. Its crime is in being far too ordinary.
The artwork fairs much better than the prose, although I've always found John Sibbick to be the most hit-and-miss of all the FF artists. The clumsy Chameleonites (239), unrendered zombies (214) and unconvincing Ice Ghosts (315) are easily forgiven when we're also given that alarming dragon attacking the hot-air balloon (152) and the perfectly lit and realised Rad-Hulks (45). He's also one of the best at drawing skeletons, which is something that I've noticed some other FF artists struggling with a bit - the demonic servants (68) are especially chilling.
Crypt of the Sorcerer had had a little advance publicity in Warlock, and Titan had some appetite-whetting material on Razaak, so I was anticipating the book more than I had been BNC. It came out not long before I went to Germany on an exchange holiday, and I saved my first read for the journey. Can't remember whether or not I used dice, but given that I got as far as the meeting with Razaak, only to fall for his illusion, it seems unlikely. The German penfriend with whose family I stayed also attempted the book, and wound up throttled by the Clay Golem (though, not having found the Crystal of Sanity, he was doomed anyway).
Talking of the doomed, let's find out my stats: Sk 11 St 22 L 12 Not bad. Very good, in fact. Still got about 1% chance of surviving.
Reading the background section, I have to wonder why the sorcerer who sealed Razaak into his crypt 'decreed that it must remain unopened for one hundred and ten years, otherwise the necromancer would rise with a host of undead to destroy all life'. Either it's a badly worded explanation that it'd take 110 years to completely destroy Razaak's ability to resurrect himself, and fiddling with the crypt would disrupt the powers that were preventing him from rising up again, or the sorcerer was a bit of a git, and chose to lay down some stupid and petty rules that had a fair chance of dooming Allansia.
I set off on my quest, following the river, and am fortunate enough to roll a 1 when the Harpoon Flies attack. Starting the true path with an encounter that effectively costs the player 8 Stamina in the best-case scenario is a pretty good indication that Ian hates his readers by now. It's not something that'll affect the cheats who've been whining about the books being too easy, just the first of many kicks in the teeth for anyone who tries to play by the rules.
While I could get away with avoiding Rad-Hulk cave, that armour could come in handy. I take any Skill bonus that's inherent to an item as being retroactively usable in case of attribute depletion, so while the armour won't benefit me when I don it, it will come in handy if I hit any of the Skill penalties Ian has thrown into the book as a further poke in the eye to non-cheats. I win without much trouble, get the non-cursed armour, and continue on my way.
Make a brief detour to collect loot from the dying miner, and then I get ambushed but not unhorsed by the Chameleonites. The 'still on horseback' bonus and 'one at a time' attack pattern makes it an easy fight, and I try out the Chameleonite blood to improve my chances against the Gargantis (which is about as optimistic as my putting down a deposit for tickets to the 2076 Olympics would be). There are no side-effects. Wonder how much longer the dice will stay nice to me.
I loathe the fact that if I don't murder a harmless recluse now, I will be forced to fight an exceptionally tough opponent later on. With a feeling of repugnance, I do the dirty deed, but I'm imagining that the Bonekeeper is another of those Allansians who look like Ian Livingstone, because this choice is one of the most abhorrent aspects of all FF. Oh, and would an opponet described as 'nimble' really have a Skill as rubbish as 5?
Taking my ill-gotten gains, I ride on, pausing to read an idiotically convenient bit of grafitti. The book goes from the morally repellent to the just plain stupid. Even Balthus Dire's publishing the combination to his door lock in the local guidebook makes more sense than someone randomly carving this combination into a rock out in the wilderness.
Four Goblins attack. What's the point? To have the remotest chance of winning this travesty requires a Skill that makes fights like this a foregone conclusion (shut up, Galon). Especially as it's yet another one-at-a-time battle. Thanks to my gamebook manager, the whole thing takes under 15 seconds to play out, but if I were using just a pair of dice, the fight'd waste even more time than I'm spending ranting about it.
Taking the insignificant spoils of this pointless battle, I continue until I catch sight of a forest. Maybe it's just the grim mood into which this book has put me, but I find myself thinking A Forest by the Cure. Attempting Crypt by the rules isn't far off of "Running towards nothing/ Again and again and again and again." Anyway, I head "into the trees", and am mildly startled by a Wood Demon. Another simple fight, done in well under Seventeen Seconds. More loot, plus another oh-so-convenient info-dump.
Jon Green's fifth FF book has made it clear just how much the original run of FF books wasted the potential of Werewolves. The one that attacks me At Night is just another minor inconvenience, especially as the Crystal I need to have acquired in order to not be doomed later on eliminates any risk of Failure by Lycanthropy (of which this book's instance must be the worst-handled in the range - at least Armies and Vault give a decent reason for your not returning to normal and resuming the quest the next morning).
At last I find the lake I seek, and another attack occurs. It's not so easy to dismiss the Griffin, but I manage it in the end, and take its rider's shield. Onwards to the lake, with a quick stop along the way to get the Ring of Not Dying Like I Did On the Train to Dover, and I wind up emulating my German friend instead. Sword stuck, sudden attack of idiocy causing me to stand there and tug at it, choked to death. Ian could at least have given the option of fighting on bare-handed, with a similar risk of getting a fist stuck, after which Instant Death would have been less unreasonable. Or, considering that the sword-deficient had the option of grabbing the dead Griffin-rider's weapon, why not include a chance for anyone who'd managed not to lose their original sword (and had checked out the corpse) to run back to the body and grab the one from there in order to continue the fight?
My opinion may change in seven books' time, but right now this is my least favourite FF book.
Crypt of the Sorcerer - I love this book! With any doubt, the absolutely best Fighting Fantasy book af all to me! Please someone could talk to Tin Man publish this book in Android with no change at all, but with an easy probability of Winning?!) Fantastic Book. Magical Book.
Best Background. Best Storyline. Best Evil Enemy. I've just asked Tin Man to publish this book in Android as the very next one. I explained him in details the almost undescribable magnificence of this book. And i did not forget to advise him about the necessity of, without changing it, making the Gamebook easily winnable.
i did not forget to advise him about the necessity of, without changing it, making the Gamebook easily winnable.
Easily winnable eh? gameplay-wise, they'll need something like: fix dice roll penalties (Harpoon flies, Chameleonite blood etc), allow certain Skill bonuses to be Attack Strength bonuses, start with a Potion (in addition to Healing tots), lower Stamina of Gargantis to 12, Razaak to 10, give Razaak's sword a special property against him (+2Attack strength or deal 4 Stamina damage). these are just suggestions. i'm sure there's loads of issues i've missed.
All that Tin Man has to be able to do. And more. But never he can low the skill or force of Razaak. That would be an attack to the deepest essence of the book. A total sacrilege to the magic of this Masterpiece.
His level of Stamina could easily be even greater. The force of the logic of all his level of invulnerability is far beyond my comprehension. He has a capacity of regeneration almost instantaneous. A magical potency! He is undoubtedly the most powerfull sorcerer I have ever known. An authentic Divine Force.