The Citadel Of Chaos has a very similar premise to The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain, in that you must venture into a place with loads of monsters, traps and groups of doors from which you can only choose one (it seems never in Fighting Fantasy gamebooks do you peek through a slightly open door - it's all or nothing, every time), ultimately facing off against an evil magician. There's no treasure at the end of Citadel though, at least as far as I know, cause I didn't complete it. Nope. Didn't even get as far as the villian, Balthus Dire, which is a pity as apparently Steve Jackson put many hours of planning into how the final battle would work.
I didn't start so well, rolling a skill level of seven, stamina 20 and luck eight. In this gamebook, you get a bunch of spells, of which the dice were kind and gave me fourteen. With such low skill, I chose several 'creature copy' spells, which create a clone of your opponent to fight on your side. What I needed in the end were levitation spells, but I'll get there in time.
So at the entrance to the, er, citadel, were an ape with a dog face, and a dog with the face of... yep, an ape. Interesting. So far, so it seemed Steve Jackson had run out of ideas after only one book. I told them I was there to stay the night, and walked right in, which apparently is what you do when confronted by a pair of Wuzzles.
The first person I came across once inside was a dying man, whom I ignored. He wanted my stamina spell, and with such a low skill level, I decided I was going to need it more than him! Besides, if I gave it to him, it'll encourage panhandling, and there are enough beggars in the Fighting Fantasy world already! I came across some later on, who weren't happy till I'd given them every gold piece I owned...
Anyway. Something you don't do in Citadel it turns out is hang around places for too long. Much like the crypt in Warlock, hanging around almost anywhere on this adventure results in flaming shit being thrown at you or your arrest. Even in the library (where I learned the 3-digit combination to Balthus Dire's room, which is laughably short - even in a world where most doors can be broken down with a decent shoulder barge - and suspiciously convenient for a 400 section book) too much loitering can get you locked up in a cell guarded by a two-headed bipedal snake. Not that it happened to me, not at all...
Another place I hung around in too long inadvisedly was the wine cellar. In Warlock, drinking rum gave me stamina. In Citadel, drinking wine gave me hallucinations, and made me tell people things I should have kept secret - whoever said Fighting Fantasy gamebooks weren't realistic?
So after some rose wine, I told the winemaker I was not a travelling herb salesman, as had been my cover story thus far. No, I was actually on my way to kill his master, Balthus Dire. D'oh. A fight inevitably ensued, something I would've expected after rum, but not a couple of glasses of red. Ah well.
Perhaps I should've taken some with me further on the adventure, as I soon ran into a crazy biatch in bed who wanted presents. I offered her a silver mirror, which she didn't care for - considering she was attempting to shoot me with beams of fire from her eyes, perhaps I shouldn't have bothered! The book asked if perhaps I wanted to offer her a spider-man in a jar... WTF? I love some of the items you get asked if you have, the ones you never do always sound way more interesting. Like the cheese, from Warlock. The closest I came to cheese this time around were some berries. But berries you can put in a pouch or something. Cheese you need to wrap, and the book didn't say anything about having a roll of gladwrap in my rucksack.
So how did it all end? I encountered the ganjees, who were basically like disembodied banshees, flying around screaming and whatnot. I ran towards the door on the other side of the room, not realising it was a door OUT of the citadel. D'oh. I'd used my only levitation spell earlier, when a staircase became a 'super fun happy slide'. My 'broken body' landed in a 'crumpled heap'. Ouch.
So, all in all, I'm guessing The Citadel Of Chaos would be easier to complete than The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain, not that I managed either. I say this because I've attempted the latter so many times without ever succeeding, and am pretty sure once I knew what spells to choose at the beginning of the former, it wouldn't be that difficult. None of the monsters I encountered were that much of a threat, and it's not like there are keys you need to collect in the right combination in order to succeed.
This book isn't as well known as Warlock, which is perhaps to be expected. It's very similar, without being as ground breaking; and has a pretty lame cover. The one here doesn't exactly look like mine; the other one on the Wikipedia page is closer, but mine has the text of the one above. Weird. The newer cover is better, but that two-headed snake thing looks nothing like the illustration in my copy, which I think is closer to what Jackson probably intended. There's no way my unskilled fighter could have defeated the monster on the new edition's cover!
So that was Citadel of Chaos, and I'm 0/2.
Monday, 25 February 2008
Posted by Dan at 20:11