Post by thealmightymudworm on Dec 16, 2013 0:19:27 GMT
The mysterious sorcerers of Solani Island have protected the local people from danger for many years. Now, it seems, their power has been usurped. An evil force holds sway across the land, an evil that seems to hold the power over life and death itself!
A hero is urgently needed to journey to Solani Island and discover what has happened to the wizards. Dare YOU be that adventurer? Who knows what terrible fate awaits you on the island where death rules? There is only one way to find out. Are YOU brave enough to solve the mystery of Solani Island?
Well. Another Keith Martin title, and certainly not one of his most memorable ones. I think I've only ever played through this book once, so don't rely on me for specific information - I'm looking for that from you! What do you all think of this book? Nicholson's artwork is pretty fantastic and detailed, if nothing else. For those of you who are thinking of replaying it soon, take note of the following from Titannica Wikia:
• (79) should link to (146) instead of (46). • The inscription in the illustration opposite (97) should read "BJQDMF" not "BJQDNF". • (221) should read "roll four dice" not "roll your dice". • (236) should refer to "provisions" not "possessions". • On the "Adventure Sheet", there is a time elapsed box instead of a presence box. • Additionally, there is poor pagination on (1) and (397), where it is not obvious that further options are given over the page.
It's got a lot of the problems of Martin's later books: too many extra rules, too many instructions to eat meals, having to visit places in exactly the right order, converting unpronounceable names to numbers, collecting way too many items and more bugs than a cheap Cypriate hotel.
However, I like this one because it's actually involving. There's a real sense of mystery to it all and there's a mounting sense of dread as you get nearer to uncovering what went wrong. It's that which sets it apart from the likes of Tower of Destruction and Night Dragon.
For a start there's a misprint. The message should read: TPVZSD UGF BJQDMF - BCE Z TPVZSD. You're not converting letters to numbers, you need to solve the code to spell out a message which will give a vague clue as to which section to turn to. To solve the code you need to alternate how you manipulate the letters. If you need more help, ask away.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Dec 16, 2013 0:24:38 GMT
And another thing! I am enjoying this book too. Great atmosphere, a little bit of mystery goes a long way! I also very much appreciate the shipwreck start to the story. Obviously every adventure requires you to be pretty much on your own, but this story makes a logical start where loads of you set off, but only you survive the shipwreck.
You're right of course, it should be a K. I seem to remember there's a similar misprint in the code in Vault of the Vampire. Though in that case the illustration displayed the correct code.
I also like the atmosphere in this one and the way you gradually solve the mystery. It's got a lot of the elements I dislike about Keith's later books (pointless extra rules, overly long, having to do things in the right order, needlessly complex), but the story and atmosphere (not to mention the illustrations) carry it. I also like the sense of tragedy to it - the villains weren't really that bad in the grand scheme of things, but their carelessness caused a lot of harm and suffering to everyone around them.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Dec 16, 2013 0:26:08 GMT
As a point about this book, I think the author was so concerned with trying to stop people cheating that the amount of things to take note of can get a little out of hand! Having said that it is very well written/constructed and I can understand the pride of authorship thing that would want people to do it properly!
And I’m back in unknown territory after a brief stop at Livingstoneland. Not that Keith Martin is unknown to me at this point, quite the contrary, but simply that it is another new book for me, one that I don’t particularly recall from my youth, but this isn’t surprising since by that point in time, I must have started drifting away from FF towards videogames and such, feeling my teenage hormones kicking into high gear.
I’ll get right to the good stuff : Russ Nicholson! Incredible pieces of art on display here, but then again, this book is full of zombies and other putrid things that go bump in the island and Nicholson always excelled at those. So many sick and twisted illos in here, one awesome sitting wizard blasted by fire can excuse all the little mistakes like the zombie’s arms casting a weird shadow on the sand in illo # 1.
So, I’m still not sure if I was under Nicholson’s charm, but, on to the bad stuff : …not really much, I’m pleased to report. Sure, I’ve read about the usual complaints about Mr Martin, about the abuse of fighting rules and such, the provisions fest, the absolutely ridiculous amount of stuff you can end up carrying around, and those complaints are absolutely legit. But perhaps because I was cheating with fights anyway, none of these really bothered me at all.
I think what it boils down to is that the atmosphere and overall concept is so well done that I ended up suckered into the story, be damn all the incongruities or other things that make you go whu? Sure that damn door puzzle was weird, even translated, and I’m still not sure if I figured it out by luck or not, but that other paper puzzle was simple, fun and just fitting with the story. And that’s mostly what I loved about that book, everything seems to gel together pretty well.
You’ve got your usual Keith Martin style central hub, where you can kind of move freely about; but they are small and restricted to specific area, which works well. Just like the main story is set on an island, making it work well as a microcosm of sort. Monsters are horrific and mostly of the undead kind (lots and lots of undead!) and fits the overall theme. The rest of the cast, mostly bad guys but not always, are always in synch with the world that surrounds them. You never have a WTF moment when you feel that the author is playing god with you by inserting stuff that don’t belong. You feel like there was a genuine thought process that went into the creation of this world and it’s scenario. The built-up is nice and slow, and when you reach the last parts, the reveals are satisfying, even if the last encounter might be lacking a bit in the epic department. Like that middle of the road cover. Still, tough book!
Island of the Undead made me feel good overall. I am easily able to imagine it being turn into a fantasy film of epic proportion, well, epic Willow-style if you will. I’d say that so far, along and slightly topped by Vault of the Vampire, this was my favourite Keith Martin. …or maybe I just have a thing for undead.
This was one of two new-to-me FF books that I discovered in the Tunbridge Wells Oxfam bookshop while down south to visit family. Knowing that a thorough search of the setting would be required, I let curiosity override caution, and wound up thrown to my death while attempting to climb the storm-tossed ship's rigging.
And this is the first FF book to feature a fight in section 1. Considering how recently my attacker drowned, I think it unlikely that he'd be in the state of decomposition depicted in the accompanying illustration. Despite the 'no sword or shield' penalty, I soon leave him deader, and while I'm on the beach I decide to search for useful debris, or possibly Neville Shute and Chris Rea.
Checking out a wrecked boat, I go diving for the items on the sea bed. I imagine that the instruction to 'roll your dice' is a typo, and should actually be 'four dice', otherwise the rolls are going to be that bit too easy. I still succeed, and don't fare too badly in the subsequent fight against the Squirting Octopus (which sounds more like the sort of thing you'd find in the bathroom toys section of a catalogue than a dangerous enemy).
Checking my loot, I now have the capability to do normal damage, the necessary component for casting GUM (but, alas, not the relevant knowledge) and a bottle of olive oil. Well, if one of the challenges in this adventure involves whipping up a salad dressing, I'm on my way to being able. Fighting the Balsamic Vinegar Elemental for one of the other ingredients could get nasty, though.
I don't actually know the way through this book yet, but it strikes me as being a little early to emulate Virginia Woolf, so I ignore the lighthouse for the moment. Maybe the southern woodland is worth investigating next. No, bad choice. I lose two meals to a recursive occlusion, and then meet a hermit to whom I have not been properly introduced. He wants a substantial bribe, and nothing I own interests him. I can understand why he might be interested in alcohol (I'm presuming that 'grog' is intoxicating liquor rather than the Half-Orc from Creature of Havoc) or potions, but what use has a tree-dwelling recluse for gold items?
As I've probably already failed, I might as well continue exploring and see if I can find out what else I should have done before going down to the woods today. Discovering a free-standing stone archway, I walk through it, and am immediately disappointed to find that it doesn't teleport me or disintegrate me or do anything at all. A thorough search of the area is likely to involve Testing my Luck, which is liable to end in failure, and unless Russ has been indulging in further artistic license, the inscription at the top of the arch suggests that whatever interesting thing happens here only takes place at night, so I prepare to waste another meal, and settle down for a long wait.
Right, so this is the location of the moonlight market, and the barrows only come out after dark. Investigating without a lamp is almost certain to get me killed, but I reckon I'm doomed anyway, so I might as well have it happen during a traditional subterranean loot-hunt. And straight off I run into a Barrow Guardian with bad breath and a variable Skill. Well, that was quick.
Post by cyranotheswordfish on Apr 8, 2015 14:19:19 GMT
Despite owning Island of the Undead for a few years now, I'd never previously got very far in it - something to do with a Ghoul, I seem to remember. As such, I was actually rather excited going into it this time, as at the very least it would be a new experience.
In the event, the exeperience turned out to be not just new, but highly enjoyable. Something about the setting and the writing just seemed to click with me (I found the whole thing to feel very similar to Legend of Zagor, which is probably the gamebook I've played the most) and, aside from the aforementioned Ghoul (doesn't it normally take 4 hits to paralyse you? I know it's a 'Greater' Ghoul, but it still seems a tad harsh) I thought the whole thing seemed reasonably well balanced, as long as you started with decent stats. I was lucky in that I seemed to find something close to the true path on my first try (well, I missed the diamond which is a pretty big issue, but I had nearly every other item and piece of information I ever got asked for).
I do have some criticisms, but their relatively minor. The rate at which you get through provisions seems a bit fast and there do seem to be rather a few errors, which is poor, even if you can just look them up and work around them. Also, the whole thing seemed to go on for quite a long time - I didn't mind, but it did stand out.
In total, I needed three tries, ending as thus:
Unable to advance due to lack of Diamond That Ghoul got me Victory!
Also, the whole thing seemed to go on for quite a long time
I think that's the big problem with Keith Martin's books (after the first two), they go on too bloody long.
i don't mind it if the story feels epic. the final victory would only be the more satisfying.
the main gripe i have with Keith Martin and Jon Green's early adventures is there is always ONE essential battle that you must face and that battle is always hugely in your disfavour despite there being helpful items strewn throughout the book that you won't be using due to them being needed elsewhere.