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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Fantasy with an ancient historical feel
Jonathan Green was one of the later writers of the Fighting Fantasy but still managed to produce three of the last seven books in the original series, and some of the best. He has subsequently authored several new adventures since the books have been reprinted in the last few years. In fact, it is only Jonathan Green and joint founder Ian Livingstone who have written new...
Published on 25 Sept. 2012 by Alaran

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curse of the interminable dice rolls
'Curse' was the last book published in the dying throes of Penguin's 'Fighting Fantasy' series, by which time many jaded fans had stopped reading (including me - I got it out of the library once but couldn't be bothered to finish it).

So, here it is again over a decade later, the latest re-release by Wizard books, with a fresh look and nostalgia on its side;...
Published on 4 May 2007 by S. Lucas


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curse of the interminable dice rolls, 4 May 2007
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S. Lucas - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Curse of the Mummy (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
'Curse' was the last book published in the dying throes of Penguin's 'Fighting Fantasy' series, by which time many jaded fans had stopped reading (including me - I got it out of the library once but couldn't be bothered to finish it).

So, here it is again over a decade later, the latest re-release by Wizard books, with a fresh look and nostalgia on its side; how does it fare?

One good thing to start with is the quasi-Ancient Egyptian theme, a unique one for FF, with similarities to films like 'The Mummy' that help the reader immediately engage with the setting. Another is the evil Cult of the Cobra, whose periodic appearances help to keep the adventure flowing, rather than reducing to a puzzle-solving exercise.

Which it easily could. The author is Jonathan Green, which means FF veterans will know what to expect: a fiendishly difficult adventure where if you make one incorrect decision or have a few unlucky dice rolls you'll be dead, either immediately or in several paragraphs' time when you realise you missed that vital object or piece of information. It'll take a dozen or more attempts to get through this one; heck, it'll take 3 or 4 goes just to find Akharis' tomb.

In a first for the Wizard series, 'Curse' has been re-edited to make it easier in this new edition - and indeed several of the nastier monsters have been toned down. (In one glaring proofreading error, the reduced Skill 8 Giant Scorpion is still referred to in the text below as having Skill 10). Even so you'll still find yourself dying often, restarting and re-rolling a lot of the same fights over and over again if you want to complete it without cheating. In one notable example, 'there are 15 Mummies in the group (each Skill 9, Stamina 12). You must fight them all one at a time.' Ouch! My aching wrist!

This is a pity, because the game mechanics are good, a lot of the individual puzzles and encounters are well-thought out and engaging the first few times through, and the final confrontation is suitably climactic, if you haven't given up long before you reach it. And hey, I like my FF adventures to be difficult.

Overall then, this is a worthy member of the FF canon, worth having a bash at if you're a fan, and a must buy for any collector - but probably not the best choice for someone new to the series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, but frustratingly hard and very long, 25 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Curse of the Mummy (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
This gamebook, credited to Jackson and Livingstone but authored by Jonathan Green, is set in an ancient Egyptian pyramid-themed setting centred on mummies. Like the rest of the Fighting Fantasy series, it is a second-person gamebook in which the reader takes on the role of a player-character who has to complete an adventure through a combination of choices of actions, problem and puzzle solving, and successful dice rolls. The apocalyptic scenario will be familiar to readers of Jonathan Green's other gamebooks, such as Spellbreaker, Knights of Doom and Bloodbones. Green's gamebooks follow a predictable pattern, with several villains, a long multi-sectioned storyline and a fiendish difficulty level requiring the player to defeat numerous hard opponents and follow all the various side-paths the author has worked into the story. They also tend to be well-written on the level of scenario construction, with plenty of atmosphere and a clearly themed setting.

As a story, the book is suitably epic, if rather one-dimensional. Starting out in the port city of Rimon, the player-character is handed a quest from a short-lived companion: to stop an evil cult from resurrecting the evil mummy Akharis. This requires first of all travelling to some ruins by an oasis, where a puzzle will have to be deciphered to learn the location of the mummy's tomb. The player must then venture into the tomb, finding a way through its winding, splitting passageways to the mummy's burial chamber and beyond. Rather unbelievably, the tomb leads down to an underground river and then an entire underground city, where the player will take on the villains of the piece, including Akharis - twice - and the cultist high priestess, as well as a supporting cast of mummies and cultists. Along the way, the player will encounter a plethora of mummies, guardian spirits, snakes and other desert-themed enemies and allies, as well as a couple of the ancient gods themselves. It's simplistic, rather B-movie-ish, but at least sticks to the scenario pretty closely.

As a gamebook, Curse of the Mummy definitely errs on the side of frustrating. Even with the rewriting of this book to reduce somewhat its original difficulty, this is still a fiendishly difficult adventure. Successful completion requires taking a long, circuitous route, solving a difficult maths problem, and guessing correctly which of the various routes to the final section is the right one. A number of items have to be collected and others not collected, on pain of the character's death; many other items are red herrings, and only at the very end does it become clear what is needed and what is not. There's still a fair number of relatively high-level adversaries, a lot of luck and skill rolls leading to death, and unlucky choices and premature shortcuts to the end which lead to sudden death. In addition, the storyline is extremely long, with very few paragraphs taken up with genuine alternative pathways and the correct route requiring the player to go through most of the side-routes available. The length can be a test of the player's patience. This is not helped by the linearity of the early sections and over-use of dead-ends and rooms which simply turn back to the other option. The dungeon crawl section inside the tomb is interesting enough, but frustrating in that one has to spend ages getting there each time. Having to replay the linear early sections every time, to get to the problem-solving part is frustrating. This kind of scenario is done a lot better in "Master of Chaos" which uses a far less restrictive gamebook architecture.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too hard!, 26 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Curse of the Mummy (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
This is a cool fighting fantasy book with it's ancient Egyptian setting, undead mummies, temples and underground crypts and puzzles. Great entertainment and everything you'd want and expect in one of this books.

However, and it's a BIG however, the only fault is that it's absolutely impossible to finish without cheating as it's not balanced in terms of the strength of your foes. In other words, this would be a brilliant book and very playable if only it weren't so damn hard as to be unfairly balanced.

The villains and enemies you face are far too strong. You're routinely pitted against creatures with skill 10 or 11 right from the beginning, when previously these were reserved to special enemies and the main bad guy in earlier book. This means you've little to no chance of surviving your way through.

To even stand a fighting chance, you've got to start with maximum stats, such as skill at 12, or you won't get anyway! It's too unfair and isn't set at a level to give the average player a chance.

Cool book worth getting, but I mark it down a little for being needlessly tough and poorly balanced overall in terms of the game combats!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Fantasy with an ancient historical feel, 25 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Curse of the Mummy (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
Jonathan Green was one of the later writers of the Fighting Fantasy but still managed to produce three of the last seven books in the original series, and some of the best. He has subsequently authored several new adventures since the books have been reprinted in the last few years. In fact, it is only Jonathan Green and joint founder Ian Livingstone who have written new adventures since Fighting Fantasy's revival.

Curse of the Mummy was the last of the original run of fifty-nine books and a great book to end on. It seems surprising that it took so long for ancient Egyptian culture to became the focus for an adventure (although a similar idea was also done in the series of Golden Dragon Fantasy game books). The idea of exploring the tomb of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh lends itself perfectly to game book format. There are tricks, traps and curses galore to explore. This, with the vast variety of creatures and gods based around Egyptian history and mythology, gives the adventure a very authentic feel, creating an in depth and sometimes intense atmosphere.

This is not merely a tomb raiding adventure though. The city port of Rimon where you begin your adventure is fully realised, giving the impression of an authentic port with its traffic, markets, crime and melting pot population. The desert you must traverse is captured by Green perfectly (far better than in other game books) and there is a real sense of disorientation (indeed, one of the most difficult trials of the book is to actually find the tomb).

The adventure is not only steeped in Egyptian culture but also features various literary allusions, most notably Polyphemus from Classical Graeco-Roman literature and elements influenced by Cervantes' Don Quixote.

Fighting Fantasy's own mythology is also well covered. Akharis may be the major villain but there is a strong sense that he is only an agent of Sith, the Demon Prince that seems to lurk behind the events of several FF books but unfortunately never makes an actual appearance. One of the highlights of this book for me are all the references to Sith and those that worship him/her, such as the Caarth and the Cobra Cult. This is also the only book I can recall in which the much mentioned Caarth actually appear.

This is a well written and constructed adventure with much depth and thought put into it which encourages plenty of problem solving and detail to engage the reader. Where it somewhat struggles is in the level of difficulty. This isn't Green's hardest adventure but the repetitiveness of journeying through the tomb every time you die can get a bit tiresome.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 July 2014
This review is from: Curse of the Mummy (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
Excellent seller. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 19 July 2014
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This review is from: Curse of the Mummy (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
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