Saturday, 9 August 2008

#25 - Beneath Nightmare Castle

I don't really have any memories of Beneath Nightmare Castle - when a single FF book cost as much, if not more than I earnt a week it was inevitable I'd miss some. The horror genre isn't particularly up my alley either, so I wasn't sure what to expect here.

But I sure as hell didn't expect to die four pages in!

I rolled 7/20/7, and willpower 12, which didn't bode too well. Basically, I'd suck in a fight, but would persevere anyway, never a good combination.

In BNC, you're back in town to see an old friend, Baron Tholdur, but something's gone horribly wrong - the town seems oddly quiet, and your old friend is under the control of a powerful wizard, or something. I never did work out what exactly was going on.

This is partly down to the fact there's no picture for the first entry, nor the introduction. It's straight into the story, what little story there seems to be so far. Not surprised though - the artwork throughout is pretty poor, though I've read elsewhere some of it was taken out prior to publication. If it was anything like the art that made it through, I've no idea why. It's pretty lame.

So a guy cuts me free and buggers off, so I decide to check out where I am - and am captured, bludgeoned unconscious, and tortured - without loss of stamina, which I think is weird, until I'm told I'm dead. The same thing would have happened had I ignored the voice offering to cut me free. Damn.

Well within my restart boundaries, this time I high-tail it out of there at first chance. I can't bash the door down though, and have to fight no less than six swordsman. Come on! Not only have there already been two or three oppurtunities for instant death, but I have to fight six dudes, armed only with a skill of seven? And I can't even use my full complement of stamina - if they get me down to two, it's all over. Seriously?

Only a lucky succession of dice rolls keeps me alive, and my character decides it's time for a drink, and wanders off to a tavern for rest. Err, I've played enough FF books now to know going to a tavern is not usually a good idea when you're low on stamina, but I've no choice it seems.

The tavern owner is a mate of our old friend Tholdur, and tells me to hunt down the town's oldest man, Huw, for advice. I do, but not before coming across a 'crate of limbs' that seriously threatens my willpower.

The old guy, whom I have to assume is Welsh going by his name, isn't a lot of help. He asks for the ring Tholdur gave me, I hand it over, he makes me do a simple test and lifts my initial willpower and stamina by a point. Hmmm. Skill and luck, now that would have been useful!

Anyway, I follow his directions into the keep, kill an ogre, he shows me his secret passageway down, I take it, and am captured again. This time however, I'm taken straight to the Baron, who doesn't remember me. Hmmm. After killing and escaping from my captor, I trip and fall into some kind of slime thing, which eats me. Hmmm.

I don't know about this one. Everything was a bit vague, but not in the Creature of Havoc kind of way; it always seemed like a wrong move would end in instant death, which made it hard to get too involved in the story. The cover and art didn't inspire me, and the writing seemed a little bland.

Or maybe I'm just not a fan of the genre Beneath Nightmare Castle falls into. Others have rated it highly.


Deb Clague said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this one...haven't read it yet (but do own it).

I bookmarked the link with the other review/spoiler...I've been looking for a site with spoilers for FF for months but haven't found any decent ones. I only resort to cheating after playing for eons, but sometimes I need resolution and they come in handy ; )

foadiron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
foadiron said...

I love the cover for this one but the interior artwork is some of the worst there is. Also, the silly fight with 2982 people right at the start of the book is a real grinder and shouldn't be there. The same goes for some of the later fights, which take place with silly skill 5 creatures or even lower - what's the point? They don't stand a chance. You even have to kill some children at one time! Luckily the bastards are only a pathetic, laughable skill 4 or something.

What a joke of a book!