I write to you this brief introduction, mildly annoyed with Windows Update as it fiendishly took the decision to reboot my PC overnight when it was supposed to be downloading Guild Wars 2. I guess my day off will be spent in Darkwood Forest instead then, not too bad a trade-off really as this was one of my favourites as a child. I’m fairly sure I had the ‘zig-zag’ edition of The Forest of Doom back then, which indicates to me that I had found it in a charity shop, as was an easier task back then. Being from Yorkshire, I appreciate the great outdoors and the setting, exploring deep in an eerie forest, was perfect for me. A nice change from the previous two books as well which were claustrophobic dungeon crawls.
I actually don’t remember much about the specific content of the book, but I do remember Yaztromo’s Tower though as the guy has such a bad-ass name. Fairly sure I had some sort of acorns that set fire to people too… or was that Phantoms of Fear? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
Special note has to go to the cover artwork as the image of the Shape Changer always stuck with me and was one I would just sit looking at, absorbing all the details like the strange tail-tip or the way the spines ripped through his little hoodie.
Ian McCaig is the man responsible, as he was for some other iconic pieces of Fighting Fantasy art, but we will get onto those all in good time. It’s just another reason why I’m not interested in collecting the Wizard editions of these books. To me, I think of The Forest of Doom, I instantly think of this artwork. Why replace it?
Having praised Mr. McCaig though, I’m not too sure about the main illustrator of the book though, Malcolm Barter. Along with inclusions in Out of the Pit, this was his only Fighting Fantasy book. The images in this book are a very different style to the previous two, nowhere near as dark, and while not exactly poor, the guy doesn’t seem to be able to draw a hand holding a weapon properly! I’m sure you will see plenty of examples as I scan the images for the read-through, but there are some very dainty grips out there in Darkwood Forest! A small thing, but one which leaped out to me as I scanned through before writing this.
Now then, where’s my pencil?