Thursday, September 08, 2016

New 'Warlock of Firetop Mountain' Video Game Available on Steam

When the first 'Fighting Fantasy" gamebook The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was published in 1982, it helped to create an entirely new entertainment market. Fighting Fantasy gamebooks built upon the innovations of earlier interactive fiction like the Choose Your Own Adventure series and the solo role playing game adventures designed by Ken St. Andre and his compatriots for the Tunnels and Trolls roleplaying game.

Taking these two literary innovations as their inspiration, Games Workshop founders Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson created a line of books which contained both the narrative adventure and the rules for a complete role playing game. The game rules were simple, but very flexible. Throughout the series, Fighting Fantasy authors have found ways to add on subsystems that have allowed the basic mechanics to cover various magic systems, super powers, chambara-esque samurai abilities, science fiction, werewolf transformations, and much more. A complete history of the line of books can be found in Jonathan Green's excellent book You are the Hero! Green is the author of several books in the series and a fan turned professional.

The plot of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is simple. You are a hero, or at least an adventurer, who seeks to locate and acquire the Warlock of Firetop Mountain's fabulous treasure. The adventure itself was quite challenging and required players to carefully manage resources, develop mapping skills, and have more than a touch of luck. As difficult as the adventure was, it helped to spawn a total of 57 sequels and numerous books by competitors. Additionally, Warlock as been adapted as a board game, a D&D compatible adventure module, an interactive kindle book, and a couple of video games. Some of those games captured the excitement of the original, while others were less successful.

Tin Man Games recently released a new video game adaptation of the book and the results look promising. Rather than merely "converting" the book to graphic form, it appears that Tin Man has followed the lead of some of the best books in the Fighting Fantasy series and used the book and the rules as a skeleton on which to build a meatier product. This looks to be especially true with regard to the combat system. It appears that they've added maneuvers and other options to make the game more appealing to the modern PC gamer.

 You can see the framework of the original system, but options like "quick jab" and "piercing strike" add options unavailable in the original print book.

The game is currently available on Steam for the reasonable price of $19.99.

Have a look at the trailer and see if you want to risk the dangers that await you in Zagor's mountain stronghold.

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