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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It all started here, 14 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
I really enjoyed playing this gamebook that spawned the fighting fantasy phenomenon. Loved the atmosphere and the slightly quirky illustrations. The division of the dungeon into green skins/undead/maze was a good idea. Pity that the maze section was so tedious.

Throughout this book, the main problem is that its impossible to tell which way to go when it says things like do you go east or west. Go the wrong way and you'll miss out a key that is essential to complete the adventure. You not know until the end and you'll just have to find out by trial and error from repeated plays which route to take.

Overall though a fun adventure. If you have read this book then you are missing out. And if you are new to gamebooks then this is a great place to start.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first star of the gamebook constellation!, 25 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
This is one of the few books in the history of literature that generated an entirely new genre (interactive novels / gamebooks): you can't miss it!
It is true that there are previous books that used similar concepts, but none of them made it as widespread and popular as this: that's why it can be said that this book generated the new genre.

The book itself is sometimes a bit naive (normal, as it's the first of a new genre...) but definitely entertaining, good re-playability and a paragon set for all future interactive novels: a door open on a new world!

This particular reprint is part of a more recent revamp / relaunch of the serie and the genre and perhaps some naivety becomes retrospectively more visible (now that there are plenty of books of this kind, that can build on the experience of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Nevertheless, this book is very valuable and enlightening.

Compared with Puffin original edition, this Wizard reprint is slightly bigger and with bigger fonts: I quite appreciated this change.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The adventure that started it all, 14 Dec 2012
It cannot be denied that this is one of the most original and innovative books ever. However, I'm not sure all of its reputation is justified. Yes it is brilliant but this is really because it is so original and innovative. If it hadn't been the first Fighting Fantasy published (and one of the earliest gamebooks) it wouldn't be regarded anywhere near so highly.

It is certainly not the best written of the FF range. Perhaps this is due to the experimental nature of the work and it being the product of two authors bringing their ideas together. Many of the passages are very brief, lacking in detail and too similar (especially in the Maze of Zagor). There are other sections of the book that are fabulously written however. The quality of writing is perhaps the most inconsistent out of all FF books.

I have always had a problem with the storyline of this adventure. This is essentially because I don't like the motivation given to the character you play. You may slay an evil warlock who threatens Allansia in the course of completing this book but that is not the incentive you set out with. Your purpose is just to steal the warlock's treasure. This is not the most ethical of objectives and it stops the reader feeling like a hero. Instead they feel more like a mercenary. I would rather play someone with either heroic or evil motives than someone driven by greed. However, I do like the idea of having a picture accompany the final paragraph. I wish the series had maintained this but this is one of the innovations that Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson introduced that unfortunately didn't outlive the first book. The intention of gaining the warlock's treasure also leads to the creation of one of the best aspects of the book, the numbered keys that prevent the reader from cheating. Having paragraphs that could only be reached by having prior information or items that possess some sort of numerical reference became a cornerstone of many later gamebooks.

If you take out the treasure seeking element though you are left with perhaps the most common gamebook format - infiltrate the lair of a sorcerer and assassinate him. Although this type of plot becomes a little uninventive and tedious as the history of gamebooks develops, it is still one of the best plot ideas and when `Warlock of Firetop Mountain' was first published it was still fresh and exciting. It is interesting that with the second book of the series, `Citadel of Chaos', that almost straight away this `assassinate the villain' plot was perfected.

In terms of the layout of the adventure this book is quite well constructed. The construction fails slightly, however, in the way that it is virtually split into two halves. Again this is due to having two authors with different techniques and approaches. It makes the book feel a bit disjointed, almost giving a sense that it is two separate adventures (it was easily converted into a two section format within `Warlock' magazine at a later date).

As might be expected there is a large variety of creatures and opponents. The authors' efforts to make them as varied as possible lay a great foundation for the rest of the series. It is clear that a lot of thought went into this. The only drawbacks are the main villains. The dragon is no more than a standard green dragon who, unfortunately, doesn't even talk. It is little more than a glorified guard dog. It would have been nice if it had a little personality. The warlock himself, Zagor, also has little characterisation. Retrospectively he becomes a great character. This is reflected within the Fighting Fantasy novels as well as later adventures featuring him. But at this early stage he is a very two dimensional sorcerer and most of the work is left to the reader. Balthous Dire, who appears as early as the second FF book, was a much better creation along similar lines.

I have always considered this to be one of the easier FF books. There is a lot said about how difficult the Maze of Zagor is, but how difficult can it really be to navigate around what isn't much more than a grid system? Clear mapping, a sense of direction and some minor concentration should see you traverse the maze with ease. It is more tedious than difficult. Zagor and the dragon are both opponents that, although quite tough, shouldn't give you that many problems should you have to fight them. The trickiest element is finding the right numerical keys. This isn't too difficult though. The collecting of gems in `Deathtrap Dungeon' is an example of a similar approach that is much harder.

It is quite apparent that this book is a product of two authors learning their genre as they experiment. `Citadel of Chaos', the second book in the series, immediately remedies most of the flaws in `Warlock of Firetop Mountain'. And `Return to Firetop Mountain' and `Legend of Zagor' are basically the same sort of plot featuring the same villain but done in a much better and more mature fashion.

This books greatest legacy is its influence. It is the basis from which all FF books are developed and most gamebooks have been influenced by it in some way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 2nd generation, 28 April 2014
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This review is from: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
Loved playing these when I was younger and I have now introduced my step son and son to them.
Just as I remember them to be. Fantastic
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5.0 out of 5 stars only book my nephew would read and he loved it, 5 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
finally an adventure book that's kid manly! nephew loved this he liked that was for boys not girly and although written for children the writing wasn't 'babied' but still explained well he read it in a weekend at 10 years old once he had his xbox time and loved it. he has read one or two more in the series since but I think unless he is here & I enforce the end of xbox time then he doesn't read but first time he hasn't felt 'punished' for not being able to play xbox all day!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating in times but always fun, 1 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
When this arrived I dug into it immediately. This was my first fighting fantasy gamebook and I must say I have enjoyed 95% of the experience. That last 5% is me dying. The way you die in these books can be frustrating, but I got over that by simply accepting that I was not going to make it to the end and complete the quest (becasue they are 2 completely separate things), unless I had completely mapped the book out.

When you do map the book out, you can mostly get through it easily, which is a downside of this kind of book. But then, if you purchase a video game of comparable price, you wouldn't even get close to the amount of enjoyment you'll get from this!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best gamebook ever, 7 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
I have fallen in love with the fighting fantasy books.. they are so awesome.. i havn't played to much of this one but so far its so fun. Its like playing a fantasy RPG but you only need a pencil and paper. I reccomend all fighting fantasy books to people looking for good quality gamebooks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A new star is born!, 18 Mar 2013
This is one of the few books in the history of literature that generated an entirely new genre (interactive novels / gamebooks): you can't miss it!
It is true that there are previous books that used similar concepts, but none of them made it as widespread and popular as this: that's why it can be said that this book generated the new genre.

The book itself is sometimes a bit naive (normal, as it's the first of a new genre...) but definitely entertaining, good re-playability and a paragon set for all future interactive novels: a door open on a new world!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Fighting Fantasy gamebook is an absolute classic!, 24 July 2011
This review is from: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
First published in 1982, THE WARLOCK OF FIRETOP MOUNTAIN started the whole gamebook craze. The first Fighting Fantasy Gamebook, it uses a simple rules system utilising three attributes (Skill, Stamina and Luck) which are determined by dice rolls at the beginning of the book. The adventure is to fight your way through Firetop Mountain at the request of villagers from nearby Anvil, to slay the Warlock tyrant who is holding them in fear.

The game system is quick to use and exciting, and the story (basically a dungeon crawl) is well written. There are plenty of dice rolling combat situations to partake in too, and at a reasonable length of 400 paragraphs (which would become the standard for the Fighting Fantasy Gamebook series) this was a worthy initial gamebook for the series.

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser as all that is needed to play with this excellent book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars warlock, 7 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) (Paperback)
Buying this brought back a lot of childhood memories.Just as good as before!Thought the authors were brilliant back then and still now.
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The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy)
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) by Ian Livingstone (Paperback - 3 Sep 2009)
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