The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Lifted from the pages of an ancient tome penned by the heroes Jackson and Livingstone, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is a role-playing reading journey of monsters, magic and traps. Choose your hero, enter the mountain and may your stamina never fail.

Pros

Where the book only has dice rolling combat, this game adds an extra layer of strategy with a grid and turn-based combat system. The battleground varies depending on location and the character you have chosen determines how you can attack on the grid. Different opponents have different attack types as well, so you must figure out the best way to attack. The enemy AI is not the best, but the fights are difficult enough.

For those that love the fights, there is gauntlet mode where the reading text is reduced to allow the player to focus on fighting. The characters allowed in gauntlet mode are not the same as story mode so that takes a bit of fun and variety out of it.

The game looks very nice. It does not have state of the art graphics, but the whole figurine hopping around a toylike play area looks very nice to me.

The music is good. Nothing spectacular, but does add nicely to the game’s atmosphere and it sounds better than the music of Fighting Fantasy Legends.

Despite the short main quest, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain has different characters to choose from. Each character has different statistics, skills and sub-quests. All this combined with the multiple pathways through the mountain gives the game a good amount of variety.

Cons

Only ONE game can be played at ONE time. I hated this in Fighting Fantasy Legends and I hate this now in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Why must they prevent players from playing multiple games simultaneously?

There are not enough shortcut keys! Sometimes the space bar can be used to continue, but that is it. Everything else must be clicked on with the mouse.

There are a few bugs in the game that rears their ugly heads randomly. In the eleven hours I have played so far, I have encountered one blank screen that required the task manager to kill the process and two instances of no options appearing to progress the game. When the options failed to appear, the only thing I could do was start a new game. Quitting and resuming the game would just continue the game at the point of having no options.

Other Points

There is a lot of reading, much like reading a book which is not surprising. There is a lot more reading in this than in Fighting Fantasy Legends.

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain has some plot points which are identical to the Firetop section of Fighting Fantasy Legends. The rest of the game, I can only guess, are greater details taken directly from the book.

The game has four starting characters to choose from. As you win battles in the game, souls are gained to be used to unlock other playable characters. At the time of writing, there is a total of fifteen characters in the main game and another three in a DLC.

For people that want to cheat there is a free read mode. This mode allows you to automatically win battles, choose options that are usually locked for your given situation and resurrect unlimited times. The downside of free read mode is souls are not gained from winning battles.

This may or may not be considered to be cheating, but during dice rolling it is possible to press ‘space’ to shake the dice some more.  There is a time limit of about one second before the dice stops where you cannot shake them, so it is a bit tricky to try and rig the numbers.

There are artworks that look like they were taken directly from the pages of the book The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. They can be clicked on to display between full colour and outline versions.

Biases

I have read one Fighting Fantasy book many years ago. Cannot remember which one or even what the story was about. I do remember losing every try and eventually just skipped the dice rolling and read through to the end. It was clear I could not finish it properly before requiring to return the book. The journey was enjoyable, despite the losing.

Eleven hours of game time and out of the four characters I have tried, I have only managed to complete the main quest with one character. The game is hard, like a certain book I read many years ago.

I like Fighting Fantasy Legends and have completed it on the easiest difficulty. I have not completed all the side quests though.

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