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5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy return to Deathtrap Dungeon., 26 July 2011
This review is from: Trial of Champions (Fighting Fantasy Gamebook 12) (Paperback)
Written by Ian Livingstone and first published in 1986, TRIAL OF CHAMPIONS is a return to his original Deathtrap Dungeon. It has been a year since an adventurer successfully walked out of the dungeon alive, and Baron Sukumvit has totally redesigned the labyrinth, offering 20,000 gold pieces to any victor this time around.

You are a galley slave for evil Lord Carnuss, and are put forward into an arena to fight other potential contestants from his slaves, to the death. The sole survivor will be sent into Deathtrap Dungeon to win the prize - for Lord Carnuss.

TRIAL OF CHAMPIONS is a fantastic, exciting gamebook. The first part deals with the arena combats, with the bulk of the book set within the dungeon itself. There are lots of battles to fight, some of them very tough, and the dungeon itself is quite difficult to survive, which adds to the thrill. A whole host of new monsters awaits inside.

This gamebook uses the standard Fighting Fantasy rules and has 400 paragraphs with wonderful illustrations by Brian Williams. The original DEATHTRAP DUNGEON was one of the best books in the series, and TRIAL OF CHAMPIONS is a more than worthy successor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 8 July 2014
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This review is from: Trial of Champions (Fighting Fantasy Gamebook 12) (Paperback)
It was entertaining.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtually as good as Deathtrap Dungeon, 16 Dec 2012
This review is from: Trial of Champions (Fighting Fantasy Gamebook 12) (Paperback)
Due to the immense popularity of 'Deathtrap Dungeon' it was inevitable that a sequel would arise. 'Trial of Champions' does not disappoint. It could never match the originality of its predecessor but in virtually every other way it equals it.

This is another stunning piece of writing from Ian Livingstone and it is clear that he was a lot more comfortable writing this type of adventure than some of the other styles he experimented with in between this and 'Deathtrap Dungeon'. The new dungeon designed by Sukumvit is every bit as atmospheric and claustrophobic as the last one. It is based on a similar, but substantially varied, layout. The false routes are perhaps not given as much attention as they were in 'Deathtrap Dungeon' but the correct route is as wonderfully detailed and addictive.

The monsters and foes are also as varied as you might expect. Although there is perhaps nothing as memorable as the bloodbeast, manticore or Pit Fiend, there is still an impressive array of foes to overcome, most notably the Liche Queen and the Bonecrusher.

The emphasis this time is more on your fellow competitors to the trial masters though. The trial masters cannot merely be fought, you must triumphs of the tests they set you according to their rules. However annoying Lexus is you cannot overcome him and must play by his rules. As in the previous foray into the dungeon your competitors end up as a mixture of allies and enemies. The samurai and the Chaos Champion are two of the most physically powerful opponents to overcome.

Instead of collecting precious gems this Trial of Champions requires the collection of gold rings. Although there are more of them to collect it is not quite as exciting or difficult as collecting those three unique gems, nor as much fun infusing them at the later stages. Aside from this much the same sort of use is made out of equipment to overcome the various challenges that crop up. Although there is a lot of equipment to be found it all bears some relevance or purpose and the author resists the urge to pile on the reader a list of useless items as he does in some of his other adventures.

Even though the main dungeon part of the book is quite similar to its predecessor the author has tried to make it a little different by providing a bit more extraneous storyline around it. This time your character is a reluctant adventurer. Captured and enslaved you are forced to endure a harsh gladiatorial competition where the only prize for surviving is to enter Deathtrap Dungeon on behalf of your master. Although this early section isn't the most exciting and most readers, I expect, would be eager to get on to the dungeon itself, this does serve a couple of good purposes. It gives the role of the adventurer a bit more character by providing a backstory and an extra incentive to survive (ie. revenge) and it also provides a main villain (something 'Deathtrap Dungeon' was without) in the form of Baron Sukumvit's envious brother, Lord Carnuss.

The difficulty level of this book is on a par with 'Deathtrap Dungeon' and pitched about right (not too easy, not too difficult). Most readers will find completing this book a steady progression. Of course those familiar with 'Deathtrap Dungeon' or Ian Livingstone's other works will have an advantage as they will no what to expect.

This is another gem from the author and a highlight of the series. A sequel to 'Deathtrap Dungeon' could not have been done better and this books stands up easily in its own right. The final paragraph is also one of the better and it sets up another sequel that was later to become 'Armies of Death', completing what could be known as a trilogy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 July 2014
This review is from: Trial of Champions (Fighting Fantasy Gamebook 12) (Paperback)
Excellent seller. Highly recommended.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Game in the Gamebook, 16 Nov 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Trial of Champions (Fighting Fantasy Gamebook 12) (Paperback)
The fighting fantasy books return, bringing the unofficially named 'Fang Duology' to life again.
Trial of champions, 2nd book, is you fighting to survive slavery, before being used as a player in the 'Trial of Champions', a labyrinthine dungeon ‘game’ -Deathtrap Dungeon- filled with perils.
Like its predecessor, Trial of Champions is a lot more dynamic in structure. Your aim is to escape the maze, rather than reach place 'A', to get to place 'B' to kill enemy 'X'.
While the other books require you to fight enemies who have nothing to do with the storyline, ToC is more linear -as far as F.F. allows- with fewer detour quests to distract you. There is also more chance to double back, unlike the other books, and a lot more action happens in rooms off the corridors, meaning that you have a better idea of where you are in the game.
A clever addition is the remains of previous participants, and current 'players'. Skeletons of dead knights hold the keys to doors and the game is broken up by the periodic fights with the other players as mini-bosses, as well as the classic goblins.
Unfortunately the game does however have a few downfalls:
There are no special rules in this one, just the stamina, skill and luck rules. You are, once again, required to collect multiple items -which you then need to put in the right places- to escape, which can be frustrating. There is also a distinct lack of 'special items' and the magic that makes FF books come alive.
Nevertheless, ToC is a great FF book. Brilliant, easy to follow storyline; fantastic for new players –though slightly ‘seen it before’ to experienced gamers; much less pick-a-direction-and-hope, but best of all, classic Fighting Fantasy.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 25 Feb 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Trial of Champions (Fighting Fantasy Gamebook 12) (Paperback)
Written by Ian Livingstone, Fighting Fantasy 'Trial of Champions', was the long-awaited sequel to Fighting Fantasy 'Deathtrap Dungeon'! It takes place after the notorious Deathtrap Dungeon was conquered by an adventurer, although you don't play that same adventurer in this gamebook.
Deathtrap Dungeon's master, Baron Sukumvit, in an attempt to restore his damaged reputation, went to great lengths in redesigning and improving his lethal labyrinth to no end. After populating his killer maze with a plethora of traps, puzzles and bad ass monsters, the new challenge went out to adventurers all over Allansia. Are anyone's trousers big enough to mess with Sukumvit's new and improved Deathtrap Dungeon?
This is where the story takes a twist! Baron Sukumvit's younger brother, Lord Carnuss, who despised his older brother, was sulking on his island fortress, when he comes up with a scheme to humiliate his sibling in the worst possible way. He decided to buy a slave and enter him into the Trial of Champions, as his own personal warrior. He hoped to conquer Deathtrap Dungeon and beat his bother at his own game, forcing Sukumvit to eat a big slice of humble pie! Well, that's if Carnuss' lucky volunteer survives!
You get to take part in this year's Deathtrap Dungeon contest. To survive you have to avoid a large assortment of tricks, traps and monsters, some with seriously BAD attitude problems (Hmmm, I guess I'd be pretty angry at being imprisoned in Deathtrap Dungeon too)! To add to this you have to collect a large amount of artefacts, if you expect to get your ass through this maze in one piece. Failure to do this will usually result in a gruesome death...
The internal illustrations, by Brian Williams, were good, although not quite as cool as Iain McCaig's artwork. I also thought that it was planned and written well by Ian Livingstone. It's also stocked full of first-rate traps and puzzles, much like it's predecessor; Fighting Fantasy 'Deathtrap Dungeon'.
When I first saw this gamebook, I was excited about tackling the dangers and battling the evil denizens of Deathtrap Dungeon again. At first I was unsure whether any sequel could live up to the standards of the original, but I wasn't disappointed! I would say that this gamebook is not as good as Deathtrap Dungeon, but it certainly comes second place! It is, in my humble opinion, a worthy sequel to the original.
Overall, a good gamebook with no real bad points. Well worth reading!
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Trial of Champions (Fighting Fantasy Gamebook 12)
Trial of Champions (Fighting Fantasy Gamebook 12) by Ian Livingstone (Paperback - 22 May 2003)
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