The original publication of this was the first adventure gamebook I ever played. After almost three decades it still stands up well. A lot of the successful elements of the previous six books are incorporated here. However, there is less of the 'game' element that can be found in 'Deathtrap Dungeon' or 'Forest of Doom' or the infiltrate and assassinate kind of quest found in 'Citadel of Chaos' or 'Warlock of Firetop Mountain'.
In this adventure you must instigate and lead a rebellion against the tyranny of the Lizard King. This is not a quest you can do solely as an individual. The reader must free slaves and raise an army. This is where the book is a little different to it's predecessors. Although leading an army was innovative at the time, it is relatively uncomplicated and forms a small section of the adventure. Such battles have been handled much better in subsequent FF books, most notably 'Armies of Death' by the same author.
Inevitably you face a lot of lizard men, but the author does his best to vary this with lizard men on dinosaur steeds or with various mutations such as two heads. The greatest mutation is, of course, the Lizard King himself. The symbiant Gonchong is one of the most inventive creations of Fighting Fantasy. It makes the Lizard King more intriguing as a character and adds a twist to the storyline. The Lizard King is a strong opponent but with the right equipment and information he can be substantially weakened.
There are perhaps more allies to be gained in this adventure than many others. The most useful ally is a shaman who essentially fulfils a similar role to Yaztromo or Nicodemus in other adventures.
'Island of the Lizard King' isn't too hard to complete and there isn't a great variation in the route you can take. Fire Island is quite well portrayed though and you gain a geographic sense of how it must appear from your journey. The underground mine and the prison fort are typical Ian Livingstone constructions but the river setting and scenario are more inventive. And it is some time into the series before an island setting is used again.
This is another strongly written and structured adventure from one of the series' founders and the only time that the lizard men of Titan get given the attention they deserve. It would be good to see a new adventure published that concentrated on the civilisations of the lizard men and/or the Caarth.
Book arrived quickly and was in good condition. Although it had been used (as was made clear) it was still in ok condition considering the age of the item. Brought back a few memories and my son is now getting into adventure books.