Written by Luke Sharp, artwork by David Gallagher.
Yes siree, time for another playthrough. This time we're delving into Fangs of Fury.
This is yet another one of the books I didn't own as a kid. In fact, the only experience I had of it was with the Fighting Fantasy poster book, as it included the cover art as one of the posters. It's a rather confusing image showing what I assume to be an orc, wielding a small axe and a GIANT FLAMING SWORD. The orc seems to either be in the middle of being caught by a giant snake, or riding it from tree-top to tree-top. Both of which are unusual situations to be in.
This book changes up the formula of "go and kill evil wizard" for a bit, by asking you to go and restore the power of six stone dragons that are protecting a kingdom. Said kingdom is under attack from a typical evil baddie type person, and the eponymous YOU are asked to head off to steal some sacred fire from the heart of a volcano, so that you can re-ignite the power of the stone dragons.
And just to make sure that you don't decide to ditch the quest and go off on holiday or anything, the court wizard fits you with a bracelet that will blow you up if the kingdom is invaded. Because he's a dick like that.
t this is definitely not the kind of thing that you would expect the good guys in any conflict to be doing. Therefore my new theory is that the invading army is actually trying to STOP the council of courtly wizards in this kingdom from summoning some kind of horrible dragon-type monster, and they've just sent me off to go and get their last requirement they need.
I know that's not the actual storyline as written, but it makes more sense. So I'm going to refer to it throughout this playthrough. Deal with it. I need some small amusement here, the book is by the same writer as the truly awful Chasm of Malice, and it shows.
My character isn't much of a combatant, but that doesn't seem to matter much because I don't run into all that much in the way of combat. The adventure starts as I'm thrown into an emergency exit tunnel at the basement of the king's castle, with words of very forgettable advice ringing in my ears. Before long I've emerged from the tunnel and I'm promptly spotted by a few goblins.
The cell hosts a crazed old priest, who tells me that he is there purely to help me on my quest. He then attempts to explain some kind of very metaphysical concept involving dice, which outright doesn't make a lick of sense. It's so badly explained that I had to read over it several times to make any sense, but I think it amounts to something like this - if I see an illustration in the book that incorporates cubes, I can roll dice and have a chance to acquire some cubes. The priest doesn't explain why I should want to do this or what benefit it has to me, and the entire thing just doesn't make much in-character sense either. This is just so jarring and poorly explained that I don't even know what the purpose of it is supposed to be.
At some point, there is either a large battle or a small skirmish. I don't know which it is, because the writer doesn't tell me. I get caught up in the middle of the fight, and before long I have the chance to rescue a knight who I'm familiar with. I save his life by slaying one of the goblins, but the knight opts to take his own life instead. I can only assume that a wizard genuinely did put some kind of 'goblin disguise spell' on me at some point, because there is no justifiable reason for the knight to commit suicide at that point if he doesn't genuinely feel that I'm about to kill him anyway.
At this point in reading, I took a break to cook dinner and watch Les Miserables.
By the time I got back, the warrior woman was leading the character away from the goblin encampment and into a forest. She wouldn't or couldn't speak, so instead opted to draw some stick figures in the ground, and then ran off to fight some kind of forest monster. She leaves me alone with no indication as to who she was, or why she rescued me. Possibly this is expanded upon later in the book, but I don't survive that long.
The sailor gives me his small boat to ride out to an island, or a harbour, or to somewhere. Again, the book doesn't really give a clear explanation. What it does do, though, is tell me that when I get out into the middle of the lake/ocean/sea/body of water, I am immediately pulled under by a giant octopus monster which eats me. Which frankly comes as a bit of a relief.
I want to have something positive to say about this book, I really do, because I think that the internet lacks a lot of positivity. There's too many 'grumpy' or 'angry' reviewers, and it's become cynical and stale. God damn it, I want to have something GOOD to say here!!
I have another book already lined up for my next playthrough, though. Battleblade Warrior. Let me check what number that is in the series... oh god it's 31 oh god no...