Saturday 24 May 2008

#14 - Temple of Terror

Another brutal, brusing book from Ian Livingstone, Temple of Terror finds the series back in its familiar fantasy setting after a couple of diversions into the future.

As if to make up for lost time, Temple of Terror has it all - one good wizard and one evil wizard, phantoms, torture, deserts, pirates, spells, dwarves, sandworms, drinking, and more. And I didn't even get to the end!

Basically Allansia is under threat from Malbordus, an evil wizard (check) who only needs to locate the five lost dragon artefacts in the city of Vatos to be unstoppable - one does wonder why none of the previous evil wizards bothered looking for these MacGuffins, but hey. I'm not one to question the methods of evil wizards.

Apparently this Malbordus guy became evil because when he was born, the moon was full and howling wolves surrounded his mother's hut - it's perhaps just as well he wasn't American Indian.

The book begins with a visit to Yaztromo, the friendly old wizard from Forest of Doom, who mentioned I looked familiar. I assume this is an injoke of sorts, bla bla bla, but I died a horrible death at the hands of a wyvern on that adventure, so yah... He taught me a few spells and I was soon off, to either go across the desert or through Port Blacksand. I've enjoyed my previous wanders through the city of thieves, so thought yeah, why not.

Why not? Because I soon found myself on a pirate ship I knew was going to get its ass kicked by an approaching man-o-war. Luckily I escaped, and was soon in the desert. Dang it.

Somewhere in amongst all this I was at a bar, and bumped into a guy, spilling his three large jugs of ale. It cost a solitary gold piece to replace them - why the hell was I bothering with this quest, when I could get three beers for a buck? Jebus.

Anyway, after an arduous trek across the desert, I found the city of Vatos and began searching for the dragon artefacts. I soon came across a casket, and was asked if I wanted to open it. Considering I'd just seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I thought yeah, alright. Bingo! Dragon artefact. If only it was so easy for Indy.

An interesting twist in this book was the 'Death' creature thingee - he doesn't kill you right away, but instead leaves the five letters of the word 'death' lying about - if you read all five, you die. I only managed to read 'Th' which I suppose would just give me a lisp or something.

Something else I found interesting was that when I came across a small box with a picture of a dragon on it, I was 'surprised and delighted' to find a dragon artefact inside. Woah, couldn't see that one coming. But without the sarcasm, I truly was surprised to kill a phantom by throwing a button at it. No kidding.

In the end, the endless adjustments to my luck, skill and stamina scores were too much, and I was killed in the first attack round by a 'night horror'. This thing was almost impossible to injure, and drained your skill as you fought it. I really hope beating this thing isn't required to finish, 'cause it's a horribly unbalanced opponent to come across prior to any 'boss'. I actually came across a paragraph where you fight Malbordus (not one I was on, it was on the opposite page) and he wasn't even as difficult to beat as this 'night horror'.

So, Temple of Terror covered a lot of ground and threw the kitchen sink at it, but I think was let down by the continual battering your character goes through. I was surprised to make it as far as I did, to be honest.

My book's exactly like the one above. I'd better start hunting down some of the ones I'm missing though, before I run out! Buahaha. Four from fourteen.


Anonymous said...

You do have to fight the Night Horror to win. However, there is an item that kills it as easily and logically as killing a Phantom by throwing a button at it.

Dan said...

What, hitting it with a spool of cotton?

Unknown said...

I don't remember too much about this one, which is never a positive sign. I do remember the whole Messenger of Death thing, partly because I used that wonderfully horrific image of him pointing the finger in a collage which I did in Year 6 art class.

The 'Evil Wizard / Witch' thing gets a bit old. Out of the fantasy books to this point (1,2,3,5,6,8,9,11,14) 6 out of the nine involved an evil sorceror / wizard / witch, usually who wanted to rule the world!

foadiron said...

The Night Horror is a rock hard bastard but you're not meant to defeat him via a physical fight. Rather, it's noe of those occasions where the book inexplicably asks you if you have an item in your back pack which, for no apparant reason, you hadn't bothered with for all the other fights. Worse still, the item is only available via a test earlier on in the book.

Having said all that, I still love this adventure because it's still good (ridiculously difficult) fun.

Fido815 said...

Wow. Played TOT through for the first time. Didn't like it. There's things in the book I want to experience that I think could be really fun, but I didn't get to any of them. I found the adventure really clunky and uninspired. Ian covered in paragraphs what could have been said in one...just to fill space. 'Turn left or right?' 'Here are rats. Fight them. Pick up key'. 'Here's a humanoid creature. Buy things or trade'. I got to the Death Dog and decided to let him kill me, just so I wouldn't have to carry on. I'm much more excited at the thought of being impregnated with Sky Lord's bastardised love child than I am at the thought of playing through this adventure again.

FightingFantasyFan said...

Yeah, this one was fairly forgettable. In my own review I said "not bad, but it's not excellent either. Stumbled through a maze a dozen times, killed a wizard, turned to 400"

The Temple itself was easy compared to the Desert of Skulls. Either path beats you down pretty badly, then pits you against a sandworm (10/20). The desert was the tough part... but also the memorable part.

Cashiom McAllister said...

The magic component of this book provides a unique touch, but shouldn't it take a lot longer than a few hours to learn how to cast four spells?

That being said, I like the twin paths (by sea or by land) and the voyage to get to Vatos is just as exciting as the adventures within. I thought the travelling caravan of Abjul a nice touch -- but a bit fortuitous, wouldn'tcha say? -- and the Messenger of Death is one of the most interesting creatures in the FF universe.

"Unknown" brings up a good point. So many "evil wizards trying to take over the world" in the land of Titan! They must grow like ivy there.