So, I write this hoping my Macbook Air doesn’t randomly turn itself off like it did earlier, so wish me luck with that one.
The Citadel of Chaos was a much harder journey than the first book, as my abject failure on the first run showed. Having said that though, it actually felt like a very short journey, just one that sprawled out in many directions. Seemingly, there were routes which favoured different types of character, my route took me through very little combat for instance, which was great due to my poor core stat rolls. Were I a 12/24/12 type, I’d have been happier fighting the likes of the hydra, rather than relying on finding special items or picking the right spells. I was very disappointed that I didn’t find the location of one of my favourite Fighting Fantasy monsters though – the Wheelies! Just look at them!
Whilst assessing my failure, I did explore more of the book than I detailed in Part 3 and found a number of potential routes, but all led up to the encounter in the Black Tower with the Ganjees. The only possible way through here was by finding one of two special items, the ointment or an amulet. The Ganjees were therefore the most difficult encounter to progress from, Balthus Dire could insta-kill you if you tried to fight him with magic, but you could simply draw your sword and go toe-to-toe with him if you wanted (although with stats of 12/19, he’s a major badass) – not even an option with the Ganjees.
I enjoyed this one a bit more than WoFM though, the story seemed a bit tighter, albeit with a few holes and the encounters more diverse and challenging. I enjoyed figuring out how to pass by the Ganjees a great deal more than I did finding my way through the Maze of Zagor, that’s for certain! In general, the encounters were much more fun and polished, especially the magic battle with Balthus Dire. I liked the magic aspect in general actually, there were enough instances where spells could back-fire to prevent making them over-powered.
Special note has to go to Russ Nicholson though, the illustrator. His work in Warlock of Firetop Mountain included a cyclops statue with a very well rounded, and mildly disturbing, arse. I saw this picture and well… when I get to his next book, Masks of Mayhem, I will be on arse-watch. Russ, you’ve been warned.
I shall be going away for a few days, so it might be a little while before my next read-through, but Forest of Doom & Starship Traveller are in the post! Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to raid some new charity shops whilst on my travels too. Updates on Twitter as always.