Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:17:43 GMT
greyharp: Reading through this one again for the first time in years and found an error that really buggers up your map, if you're drawing one.
Paragraph 250 says "You pass a doorway in the left-hand wall..." It should in fact say the "right-hand wall", as the east/west passage you are in shortly turns right (south) and then right again (west), before shortly coming to a door in the right-hand (northern) wall, which is the other end of a couple of rooms that lie behind the door at 250.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:24:41 GMT
hynreck: I'm heading deeper into the territory of unread FF. I remember Temple of Terror from my youth but never played it. I remember often being close to buying it but never did; must have picked the newest Lone Wolf instead!
New cover vs. old: meh, not sure. The original's got a certain charm to it, the right setting; not sure though if it represent anything specific in the story. The new one looks great, straight out of Lord of the Rings, but isn't anything special. Plus, thanks to Titannica, as always, I know that Ian asked Martin McKenna to do a close-up on the mutant Orc, while his intention was to display him in it's entirety. Ian should have trusted Martin's instinct on that one, a full-body Orc would have been better, at the very least more recognisable with it's two long knifes and the possibility of adding a bit of Vatos behind. As it is, you can barely put the huge face into the right story context.
Inside illos: they are okay most of the time, I guess, but I'm not particularly fond of the artist. Some of them seems to be rushed or slightly amateur, not that I could do any better... Take the giant Centipede. It barely resembles what I would imagine a giant Centipede to be...
Story-wise, I thought that, after the dreadful Freeway Fighter, ToT was a whole lot better. Not my favourite Livingstone but it's evident that the man strength lies way more in the fantasy realm than any scify ripoff. As usual it's real easy to get screwed in this book, but I thought that, in all fairness, with a bit of trial and error, there were also plenty of opportunities to get more health and even skill. I was a bit surprised, in fact. Add to that the choice of different magic and the Messenger of Death and there's a lot to keep attention to and even a bit of variety in every playthrough.
Overall I liked the book. It kept me interested till the very end, without being too much annoyed by bad luck, even when I needed to start over (the contrary to a Livingstone book would have been surprising).
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:38:32 GMT
Should have been the Messenger Of Death, or the Night Horror, or Malbordus himself, or something else that doesn't appear in several other books.
Absolutely. All the more so as this particular Orc is on a completely pointless divergence from the correct path. It looks as if Ian found himself a couple of sections short of the magic 400, and decided to pad out the adventure to the required length with a random dead end containing a ludicrously OTT fight.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:40:01 GMT
hynreck: Small observations: That mistake with the Bronze Idol becoming a Stone Golem... The "nearly" dead warrior in the corridor before warns us about passing in the shadow of the stone... but can't finish his phrase before dying. Seems obvious he's talking about the idol in the room after, so that would mean 2 mentions for stone, one for bronze. Perhaps, it was supposed to be stone all along and at the last minute Ian (or somebody) changed it to the less common bronze description?
It's a bit annoying to find that Malbordus succeed in his mission when you fail to find all the Dragon artefacts, even though you might have up to 4 in your pockets. Wasn't he supposed to find all 5 of them to succeed too? There should have been a scene or a mention on how he or one of his slaves steals them from you or something... Maybe one final confrontation (even if it's a dead-end confrontation...).
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:41:22 GMT
oakdweller: ***SPOILERS AHEAD***
It's quite straightforward in its approach: a trek to a lost city which has two basic paths, followed by a dungeon crawl. The obligatory Livingstone shopping list returns, but the inclusion of the five DEATH letters makes hunting for the dragon artefacts a lot more engaging.
The trek that you start out on across the Desert of Skulls is a bit dull, mainly because once you've chosen your path you're travelling in a straight line until you reach Vatos. Back in 1985 I'd never heard of basilisks and I enjoyed meeting a giant sandworm again for the first time since exploring Firetop Mountain. Decades later I'm a bit more demanding of what I expect of FF encounters; it's not so much a case of being jaded, but of needing a bit of depth and variety beyond rummaging in my backpack or casting spells.
Partly due to being able to change direction, the action is a lot more involving inside Vatos itself. The Night Horror may have an unimaginative name, but the mysterious rod-weapon that this predator carries being magically connected to the fabric of its room is an ingenious way of inflicting revenge upon anyone who kills it. The effect that the golden rain has on you is simple, but is made all the better for seeming harmless until you cast your next spell. Leesha has a Cleopatra-like languidness which makes her far more interesting than big boss Malbordus is.
Some of the ways in which encounters can be resolved is weak. There are far too many coincidentally useful items and this wound is poked raw by giving little or no reason as to why they work. Leesha is vulnerable to giant sandworm teeth? That's OK, but please give some reason in the text as to why she is. The Night Horror's weakness appears to be an allusion to The Hunchback of Notredamme, but it's tenuous. Eye stingers can't stand the sight of onyx? Ermmm, well I might even accept a text omission here if there was at least some sort of classic mythological link (as with garlic for vampires for example). I've looked it up and apart from some general beliefs from the Ancient Greeks and Romans that onyx gave them connections to their gods, plus a strange story about the rock being made from the clipped fingernails from the sleeping Venus, there's nothing that I can find relating to eyes. I'm open to correction from any geological mythology experts out there of course. Basically, either some background research to find something from mythology or some simple references in the text to explain Ian Livingstone's own reasonings would've been a massive improvement.
The art is far too basic and uninspired to provide much additional atmosphere to the text. There are a few monster shots which are quite good (Messenger of Death, the basilisk...), but most of it is too cartoony, especially the Sand Snapper and the caterpillar - sorry, I mean centipede. Also, what in the name of all that is decent is going on with that pair of skeletons (274)?! I agree wholeheartedly that the original cover with the serpent guard is a masterpiece which has now been usurped by an executive blunder.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:42:13 GMT
khaxzan: You made me actually get out of my chair, walk across the room to the bookshelf, and get TOT to look at 274. I don't see anything wrong with the skeletons. Now, I'm seated again, and am ready to read a different post.
The more beautiful and pure FF is – the more satisfying it is to corrupt it.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:43:03 GMT
You made me actually get out of my chair, walk across the room to the bookshelf, and get TOT to look at 274. I dont see anything wrong with the skeletons. Now, I'm seated again, and am ready to read a different post.
Really? Oh well, perhaps it's just me. Sorry for the unnecessary exercise this has caused.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:46:35 GMT
greenspine: According to Out of the Pit:
The hypnotic gaze of an Eye Stinger is very powerful, but it can be disrupted by a pure black object, such as a piece of polished onyx or jet. If it sees such an object, its eye will be confused and will close, allowing its victim to escape.
According to Out of the Pit: The hypnotic gaze of an Eye Stinger is very powerful, but it can be disrupted by a pure black object, such as a piece of polished onyx or jet. If it sees such an object, its eye will be confused and will close, allowing its victim to escape. There is no entry for Night Horror.
I forgot about Out of the Pit (which is currently in my classroom cupboard at the moment anyway). That explanation makes perfect sense of the onyx idea.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:51:47 GMT
Great reviews by the way, would you ever consider reviewing amatuer adventures???
Thanks Khaxzan, glad to hear that the reviews are entertaining you. I'm not sure about amateur adventures. I am a bit of a technical ignoramus, so I don't know my way around the Net too well (which is why it's taken me so long to sign up to this forum). As such, I've only ever played one amateur adventure - I can't remember for the life of me what it was called or even which site it was on. The adventure was OK, if a bit straight forward, but I found rolling the virtual dice a lot more wearing than I thought, so I abandoned play. So I'm going to have to disappoint you I'm afraid and say probably not. I'm a great believer in never saying never though...
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 16:53:21 GMT
craze b0i: I remember buying this because the cover looked so great. The game itself is a let down though, there is a brief choice of routes at the beginning, after that the desert trek is just the same tedious string of unavoidable fights. Even the city is pretty linear, not much deviation beyond 'go left/right have 1 encounter then back to the main route'. Plot-wise the author seems to jump the shark more than a few times. Oh and the difficultly level of some fights is pretty stupid.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 17:00:08 GMT
fido815: Apologies to any fans of the book...this is just my opinion.
Played TOT through for the first time. Didn't like it. There's things in the book I want to experience that I think could be really fun, but I didn't get to any of them. I found the adventure really clunky and uninspired. Ian covered in paragraphs what could have been said in one...just to fill space. 'Turn left or right?' 'Here are rats. Fight them. Pick up key'. 'Here's a humanoid creature. Buy things or trade'. I got to the Death Dog and decided to let him kill me, just so I wouldn't have to carry on. I'm much more excited at the thought of being impregnated with Sky Lord's bastardised love child than I am at the thought of playing through this adventure again.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 17:02:57 GMT
vagsancho: Well fido815, I must say I respect your point of view but I strongly disagree with you. Temple of Terror, in my opinion, is a very good book of Ian Livingstone, we can feel the dryness of the desert around us, we can feel the abandonment that characterises the city of Vatos when we are inside her. Also I love the fact that Yaztromo do not forget about us, by sending the crucial hammer throw the dwarf, the background is better than a lot of fighting fantasy books (usually the background with Livingstone is almost always good) and the ending (the 400 paragraph) is also good. The most important weak point of some fighting fantasy books is the fact that the "atmosphere" is a little weak... well for what I said the atmosphere of this book is quite good. Not his best because after all he made giants like "City of Thieves" and "Deathtrap Dungeon" however in my opinion this is definitely a very good book.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 17:05:26 GMT
kieran: I like this one too. Not one of my favourite Livingstones, but there's a lot to like if you enjoy dungeon adventures and I do think he hid the dragon artifacts in interesting places. Vatos also has a rather unique atmosphere for the series - a cross between a typical monster-infested dungeon and a dying decadent civilisation. My only real beefs with the book are that the enemies are too hard, only one of the routes to the desert is viable and Malbordus is a bit characterless.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Oct 4, 2013 17:05:51 GMT
fido815: As I say, I've only played it once and missed out on encounters I was looking forward to, ones that I thought would be really exciting. I will definitely play TOT again and give it another chance. That was just the impression I was left with from my initial playthrough (and I accept that I may have been too harsh).
I have vague memories of the day on which I originally acquired this book: playing it while sitting in a pub with my dad, and getting frustrated because the Pterodactyl had a higher Skill than my Giant Eagle and it wasn't fair. On my second attempt I got further, but mistakenly read 38 when I should have been reading 39. Somehow the fact that a moment ago I'd been trudging through a desert, and now I was in a corridor, didn't strike me as odd, though I was confused by later references to the Messenger of Death. Even without that mistake, I wouldn't have found all five letters, as I lacked the resource which makes it possible to discover the 'E' when I reached that stage. I couldn't have won, either, because I'd taken the same route to the desert as before, determined to have the Eagle beat the Pterodactyl this time round.
No potions, and the 'one true way' paragraph is at best wildly optimistic. Still, let's see how far I get before the Sandworm eats me. Spell selection: Create Water's always good, Creature Sleep may save me a few fights, Fire has its uses, and Magic Arrow may come in handy - I forget.
On my first couple of attempts at this book, I totally missed the bit about Yaztromo handing over 25GP of his sweat cake money, which did of course make things a good deal more difficult for me. Serves me right for skimming the long paragraph - that may even be why Ian stuck the giving of the money in the middle of it.
I get hazy on directions in Vatos, but the correct route at the start is now indelibly impressed on my mind. Before long I'm in combat with two Robbers, who are too dim to set their ambush in a place where both would be able to attack me simultaneously. Just out of curiosity, I'll roll extra dice every round until one is dead, just to see how much more damage I'd have taken if they'd planned their attack more cunningly. Only one extra wound, as it turns out, but if at any point I scrape through on under 3 Stamina, my continued survival will be entirely down to their ineptitude at mugging.
Next up is a brawl with a Pirate, quite possibly one of the Belladonna's gunners. I am spared the possibility of an awkward conversation with Gargo, though: while the Pirate has no better a Skill than I, and less Stamina (even though, like a fool, I didn't bother with Provisions after the previous fight - all the more heinous as I know where I can get a free restock in this book), he gets much better rolls. Gargo will merely reflect on the tardiness of his paying passenger before setting sail for his rendezvous with the Dwarven man-of-war.
Post by TallSilentGuy on Nov 29, 2014 12:48:49 GMT
The eagle v pterodactyl battle is poorly conceived. Given that your very life depends upon the eagle winning there are too few option given. No option for fire spell? No option for creature sleep spell? Can't command the eagle to land or at least fly low? Are you allowed to use your luck to assist the eagle? I should think so but it isn't mentioned.
Today, I have decided to take a short break in my philosophy books to feel the Temple of Terror. I have no longer played any FF book for about 5 months. I Died! ah! How I hate, with all my being, to lose a Fighting Fantasy book. A disgusting and horrible feeling of waste of life! (Which i never feel when I win)