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Warlock of Firetop Mountain Reviews

Have you recently read the Fighting Fantasy Gamebook? This area of the website has been set aside as a way for fans to comment on the Gamebook and let each other know what they think of the plot, twists, encounters, traps, paths, puzzles, rules and monsters? Let us and other fans known by emailing us with your review at mail@fightingfantasy.com. Preferably we would like to see you write a minimum of two or three paragraphs or more than 200 words with an honest opinion on what you liked, didn't like or would have liked to have seen done differently, Please also add a rating; this is traditionally given using a scale from one to ten. You can read other fans opinions below, some of which were originally sent to us and hosted on the original AFF website and Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks.com

Warlock of Firetop Mountain Review 3

- Bryan Spargo (Originally sent & posted on Advancedfightingfantasy.com) FF1 cover

In the early 1980s, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone united to develop an intriguing new concept - the gamebook. Their gamebook line, Fighting Fantasy, was a combination of Dungeons & Dragons and the Choose Your Own Adventure series of children's books, yet the FF rules were simpler and easier to learn than D&D and the text was more mature than the childishness of CYOA.

The first book in the innovative series, "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain," co-written by Jackson and Livingstone, was published in 1982 and immediately became the benchmark for which all later Gamebooks would be compared.

Twenty years after its original publication date, "Warlock" is still an engaging read. Jackson and Livingstone throw at the reader a wide variety of monsters to fight, from typical D&D fare (Orcs, goblins, dwarves, and an ogre) to the undead (skeletons, zombies, a Wight, and a vampire) to a dragon and the tile warlock himself.

All of these enemies are skillfully interwoven into the story, with each given an area of the mountain in which it dwells, allowing the reader to feel as if he/she is progressing through increasingly difficult encounters through the mountain. For the final two confrontations, the dragon and the warlock, Jackson and Livingstone allow for either swordplay combat or innovation on the player's part by using what the player has found/learned during the adventure.

While "Warlock" as a whole may not be as difficult as some of the later FF Gamebooks, it isn't a pushover, either, giving an average character a fairly decent challenge. Defeating the dragon and warlock in back-to-back encounters via swordplay (if the reader so chooses) is no easy feat.

The maze, even if the reader is actively mapping the mountain, still presents a challenge in navigating through it. And, in what would become a Livingstone trademark, the reader will have needed to find certain numbered keys during the adventure. Only by adding the numerical values of the correct keys will the reader discover the passage number, which in turn will lead to the end of the adventure and the warlock's treasure.

While there may be a couple of Gamebooks in the Fighting Fantasy series that are better, there is no denying the power, innovation, and importance of "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain." This is the original, and still one of the best, Gamebooks ever published. Highly recommended.

Overall grade: 10 (out of 10)


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