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on 14 August 2006
Sci-fi Fighting Fantasies are generally less popular than the more standard fantasy adventures, but they offer interesting options for authors in developing new game systems for things like robotic and starship combat. Star Strider, Robot Commando and Rebel Planet are among examples where the idea works - the author has created an interesting problem or quest, a believable fantasy world and a set of problems the reader is motivated to solve.

Unforunately in the case of Sky Lord, much of the storyline is like a bad B-movie plot. A lot of it doesn't even make much sense - a creepy villain tries to usurp a galactic king (huh?) by cloning and replacing his staff (why not just clone the king instead?); there's a random castle on one floor of the bad guy's fortress, owned by a harmless eccentric (what's he doing in there anyway?) but taken over by evil pirates who want to hold you ransom (for whom?) or cut you up (why?); you crash-land on a planet which handily happens to host someone with the power to reverse time - who just happens to be within walking distance of your crash site - and who just happens to have owned a droid you're likely to have just salvaged several light-years away... I didn't find a lot of it either interesting or believable.

The only difference from regular FF is the use of starship combat, and the factors determining this are so predictable in their effects as to render it almost pointless. The book is also frustratingly difficult for two reasons - firstly a lot of pages are devoted to a couple of very annoying floor-puzzles; secondly a lot of the "right" choices are so counterintuitive as to really take away from the problem-solving aspect of the adventure. With it being so lacking in believable storyline and so discontinuous and random, I'm barely motivated to figure out the ways past the various problems.

It has its moments - I rather liked the gelatinous blob chase subsection (though this is more like a self-contained miniquest than part of the adventure) - but overall it's one of the poorest FF books about. If you're after sci-fi solo adventuring then try the books mentioned above instead, or better yet get your hands on the two Star Wars gamebooks.
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on 2 November 2012
This is certainly one of the more bizarre Fighting Fantasy books, but, most of the time, not in a good way. This is essentially to do with how it is written, not in the quality of the writing but in the construction of the adventure. There is, perhaps, the semblance of a reasonable story. The end does seem to find itself a bit and the last few events are original and enjoyable (apart from the final paragraph which just feels out of place).

For the bulk of the adventure, however, attempts at originality just become annoying random events that lack any cohesion. There is very little in the way of plot threaded through the adventure and you will find yourself continually in strange situations that pop up with no explanation and bear no relevance to the plot. Many of these involve frustrating games of chance which could have been vastly improved with a bit more thought. There are continuous scenarios where the reader will find themselves randomly turning pages simply to get out of something that has no sense. This is not an adventure you can complete by using reason.

There is a widely varied selection of characters, many of whom are intriguing. L'Bastin himself is not your normal gamebook villain. But it is a shame that most of these characters are spoiled by the author's tendency to favour stupid names like Longnose and Redneck.

This was the last full science fiction effort from the FF range. It would, perhaps, be a little unfair to say that you can see why from this book. But then the science fiction genre always seemed to struggle in the FF books.
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on 24 July 2014
Excellent seller. Highly recommended.
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