I get confused easily when things have the same names as other things, y'see.
Anyway, this is another of Jonathan Green's books, so I expect a lot of promise and experimentation in it. On the other hand, it's fifty-sixth in the series so I expect that the editors didn't even glance at it in order to help debug any of it. I don't know what to think of it yet, except that it has a gnarly cover showing a big red puppy dog. If I had a puppy like that, I'd call him Mister Tiddles.
The stats are all normal, and like most FF books by this point it has an honour and time score to keep track of. And you also get to pick four special skills, I have chosen Battle Tactics, Riding, Tracking, and the ability to banish evil spirits by thumping random peasants on the street and screaming "The power of Christ compels you!" until they run away in terror.
|The actual Knights Templars|
No sooner has the king finished announcing that what this terribly important and vital mission needs is one lone warrior to save everyone (I'm the Jack Bauer of the Fighting Fantasy world, you see), than a giant ghostly horseman flies into the chamber and screams "Beware!" at us. I leap up and pelt it with holy water until it buggers off and leaves us alone. The king is to relieved that he does something that nobody else in these books has ever done before - gives me the key to his royal armoury so that I can take as much free stuff as I want!
Sadly I can only manage to carry a rather nice shield and helmet, which I take with me as I get onto my trusty steed and ride off into the sunset. Before long I come across a crowd of discontented beggers and lepers, who get angry when they see me riding along with some rather shiny armour. They opt to try to attack me, so I ride through them to escape, but I'm given a penalty to my honour score. Which is odd, because I personally consider it more honourable to choose the option which would result in NOT chopping apart some defenseless beggers.
I soon ride into a town, and my character states that there is a local sage who may be useful to talk to, if he isn't too busy talking to the animals as he tends to do. I get directions to his little hovel in the woods, but by the time I get to him I find that he's been murdered, which saves me from making yet more Radagast jokes. His spirit tells me that the clerics are evil (boy, I could have told you that! I still remember the clerics of beat-you-around-the-head from a few gamebooks earlier!) and I get the chance to search his house for clues. I manage to grab a small bit of glass and a bit of wood carved like a boar, then read a little book about cockatrices, before the sage's pet own chases me out of the store.
The next day I ride off into the forest and track down the giant boar, which I make short work of due to my tracking skills. Taking its tusk as a trophy, I'm about to head back to the lord's castle when I hear some creepy voices off in the middle of the forest. I find a mischevious cleric who seems to be playing silly games with an amulet that lets him control plants. I chop down his thorn elemental, kick him around a bit and nick his magical amulet. In reward, the lord of the land gives me a small task force of warriors that I can lead against the forces of darkness. Finally, someone with some bloody sense in one of these books!
As I make my way out of town, I am attacked by two men in a dragon costume. Actually, I kinda pick the fight, to be entirely honest. You see, they're putting on a bit of a pantomime, and their friends are busy pickpocketing the audience while they're watching the dragon. I walk up to it and tell it to stop their foul deeds, at which point the men in the dragon costume shoot fire out of its nose at me. I'm so confused that all I can do is hit it with my sword until it breaks. Sadly the rest of the crew escape.
But yeah, they chain me down and summon a powerful monster called Darkthorn. I manage to escape from the chains, but my awesome exorcism power doesn't work on Darkthorn. Running out of ideas, I try using the plant control amulet on it, but it seems that using the magical power of the evil elder gods own minions against it doesn't do much, except make it very happy. It rips my limbs off. And then eats me. It truly is a mean, green mother from outer space.
Knights of Doom didn't have any massive editing problems after all. In fact, it ran very smoothly. The artwork complimented the atmosphere nicely, and it keeps up the sense of tension throughout. It's a very well built gamebook and one I'd definitely recommend picking up if you can find a copy. I didn't get half as far as I'd want in it, but for a first playthrough I think I did alright. I'd rate this very highly, and definitely consider it a solid read. If it had come earlier in the series, I think it would have garnered far more attention as a strong piece, but tragically it was published rather late in the line and was therefore overlooked. So I'd urge you not to overlook this one, too.