Saturday, 8 October 2011

#59 - Curse of the Mummy

Curse of the Mummy is ridiculous. It's the only gamebook I've written about so far (and I've written about almost all of them now) which I had to play three times (in less than 45 minutes) in order to get enough material.


After rolling SKILL 7, STAMINA 19 and LUCK 7, if I'd known any better (perhaps by reading past reviews) I wouldn't have bothered leaving the tavern the book begins in. Apparently it's impossible without maximum stats, maximum luck with the dice and a minimum of playing by the rules.

Anyway, you start the adventure as a broke mercenary who's just washed up in the town of Rimon after your ship was suck by pirates. To earn a bit of cash, you meet a dodgy guy with a moustache and sign up for a mission which is literally to save the world from the resurrection of some ancient Egyptian (but not Egyptian, this is Titan after all) pharoah.

And instead of hiring Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger, he gets me, a guy with so little skill and luck, I'd probably be likely to kill myself refilling my jug at the bar.

(The book's intro throws in a reference to Atlantis for some reason, which would be baffling if Titan didn't already have a Japanese region that isn't Japan and an area suspiciously like the Middle East. This mummy apparently dates from before the sinking of Atlantis, when the three continents of Khul were one - hundreds of millions of years I assume - which means this book really should have been called Curse of the Long Buried Fossil.)

So just hired, my boss Jerran and I leave the bar, and are set on immediately by a few of the fossil Akharis' followers. I take the leader, that being a thing a guy with a skill of 7 does, and he takes one of the others. I stumble, and he puts his hands around my throat, but I manage to shake him off thanks to my dice, who've decided to be nice - for now.

We kill two of them, and a third flees into the crowd. We give chase, but there's some clown down the road who decides to release his fucking black lion just as we're passing by, and it kills me.

Long-time readers of this blog will know by now if I'm killed before I've even finished my first drink, I start again. This time, I roll SKILL 7, LUCK 7... oh fuck. FFFFFUUUU... what are the chances of that happening twice? 0.07 percent, that's what. (incidentally, (1/36)x(1/36) is 0.000771604938, which is the conversion rate for square inches into square yards. Coincedence? Yes.)

Play #2: We let the cult members run away, and Jerran gives me 30 gold - so instead of quitting while I'm ahead, we go shopping.

I buy some rope and grapple (always comes in handy), lantern (yep), a healing potion (my SKILL is 7), poison antidote (obvious), a torch (bound to rummaging around in dark tombs) and of course, a crystal pyramid (rarely a gamebook goes past without me needing a crystal pyramid).

And lots of food. At one point in the book I'm told to eat two meals or lose 2 STAMINA for each meal. How about I skip two meals, then eat one to offset the hunger? Author wasn't thinking.

Heading out of town, we make camp, and are attacked by a giant scorpion which has either a SKILL of 8 or 10 - the text has both - and has two attacks per attack round, and the ability to administer poison. WTF? Already? So I roll over and die again.

I'd only been reading the book about 15 minutes at this point, so let's pretend I won that battle with a flawless victory, and keep on going, eh?

Jerran can't do the same though, he's dead, no second - or third - chances. The book tells me I bury him the next morning, which I can only assume means I needed someone to spoon that night. Why else would I sleep with a corpse?

Heading towards the Shaman of the Spirit Rock ('cause pseudo-American Indian characters belong in a Titan-based gamebook about Egyptian mummies and Greek mythology) I eventually come across some roadside succulents. Forgetting for a second the book keeps a poison rating, I eat some, and it's poison. Of course. It's called 'barbthorn' I'm told, which would have been a good thing to know BEFORE I ate it.

My next obstacle is a group of rock-throwing bloody baboons. I fight a couple of them, then the leader (whom I called 'Caesar', of course) and the dice are especially kind, scaring the crap out of the others who flee.

With a whopping 3 STAMINA, I climb up the Spirit Rock (yay, rope and grapple) and meet Lopar, the Shaman - whom of course has a dog's head. He asks me a riddle I get on the first try (hint: ♫ Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day... ♫) and he tells me I'll need lots of magic shit to beat Akharis. No shit, sherlock. I gain a solitary LUCK point for this wondrous insight, and head on.

(He did say something about a 'Demon Prince Sith' though, just to throw another culture from a long time ago into the mix).

The next day, I find a ruined temple type thing which reminds me less of ancient Egypt and more of the one from Lost where Ben's "judged" by ***spoiler*** the Man in Black. Anyway.

There's a map there I'm meant to understand, and I don't, so it's game over. Not sure if there's a key, or a clue from a previous paragraph or what, but I have no idea what the answer is. Sure, I found it within 10 seconds by flicking through the book, but I've already died twice and thrice is pushing the rules of the blog a bit far, so I call it a night.

It was only then I read those previous reviews and realised I was probably lucky to get as far as I did with SKILL and LUCK of 7! Twice.

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My friend Jarrod who's lending me the last few FF gamebooks I need to complete this blog has his own blog you can find at http://vom-krieg.blogspot.com. He describes it as "a blog about boardgaming, wargaming, painting and modeling" and that's pretty spot on. Check it out if that kind of thing tickles your fancy, floats your boat, tests your luck, and all that.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi! First I wanted to compliment you on this blog and thank you for your efforts. I'm an old time FF fan who's fortunate enough to own all of the books and I enjoy reading about other's attempts to complete these adventures.

I would like to comment specifically on the "Curse of the Mummy" because I have a soft spot for that book and I think it often gets a bum rap. I realy enjoy the plot and the story, especially since it is the only FF to feature a second attempt by one of the Demon Princes to conquer Titan, that Prince being the Sith you mentioned in your article. I like the extremely challenging fights in spite of the high mortality rate and I respect the book's design as a puzzle. There truly is an optimum route through, but finding it will take dozens of deaths and a high willingness to explore.

There's no doubt this FF has a ton of very difficult enemies and you need a Skill score of at least eleven to have a prayer of making it through. Aside from that, though, the book plays fair. There are no "dice deaths", such as your perish if you don't roll a one or a two, like in Crypt of the Sorcerer, Spellbreaker or Chasms of Malice. There is no ridiculous need to fail a Skill or Luck check in order to win, like in Knights of Doom or Black Vein Prophecy. As long as you can win the fights, you can win the book, and the only "cheating" you need to do to accomplish that is to only play when you roll up a character with a Skill of 11 or more. Unlike the other books I mentioned, it is perfectly possible to win this one fairly; it'll just take a lot of work :).

Simon Atford said...

Hullo!

Your comment about Atlantis shows still seem a wee bit confused about the geography and history of Titan. According to "Titan the Fighting Fantasy World" Atlantis was sunk below the waves by the gods who also divided the continent Irritaria into three: Allansia, the Old World and Khul.

Great blog though by the way.

foadiron said...

Absurdly high skill required for this one (you have several skill 10-11 enemies to face). I'm glad the author weakend them for the reprints and I wish that others had had the good grace to do so.

Still, the book does feel somewhat epic and I suppose the location is a bit different...

hunky gymmy said...

does anyone knows how to decipher the location of the tomb at pg 346?

Anonymous said...

does anyone know how to decipher the location of the tomb in pg 346?

Joomua Tng said...

Reference 346 and 326.

At the center of the map at 346 is the temple you are at.

The location of the Tomb is at the square between the OASIS and the TUNNELS. (clue is at 326. the builders etc leaves the RIFT between the OASIS and the TUNNELS.)

1 square = 10 km. (clue they travel 30km to the edge of the hill, where they rested for 3 days at the TEMPLE).