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Caverns of the Snow Witch by Ian Livingstone
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This is nowhere near the quality of the previous Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and I can actually tell you why. I first encountered this particular book back when Fighting Fantasy was becoming popular and Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone decided to release a magazine dedicated to the series. The magazine was called 'Warlock' and I believe only six were ever released (which is not true, there were a lot more). However in one (or was it two) of the magazines Livingstone presented this game book, but adventure in the magazine only went up to where you kill the snow witch and then it ended. Since there was not enough for a full blown book, to release it they decided to tack a further adventure onto the end.
The story has you travelling up north with a trading caravan when you discover that the outpost you are heading towards has been destroyed by some ravenous beast. So you decide to set off into the mountain to find this beast, which you do when you also meet a trapper fighting it. You kill the beast but the trapper is dying and he tells you about the Snow Witch and how she wants to plunge the land into eternal winter. You then set off into the mountains, find her caverns, and then proceed to kill her.
That was the end of the original adventure, however in the book you must then escape from the caverns, which you can easily do, but the ultimate combat is difficult as she has become a spirit and you must defeat her by outwitting her with a game similar to rock, paper, scissors (it uses discs, and you must actually find the discs before you can play it). However once you manage to outwit her, the book isn't over as you then travel to Stonebridge with a couple of companions, and then onto the Moonstone Hills when you learn that you have been hit with a Death Spell and must then do one final thing to complete the adventure.
One of the interesting things about the forth part of the adventure (it can be divided into four: 1) finding the cavern, 2) killing the snow witch, 3) escaping the cavern, 4) defeating the death spell) is that you travel past a number of places from earlier books (with hints that you have not completed the books yet). You past Firetop Mountain (and wonder about the Warlock), cross the river that winds through Fang, and then arrive at Darkwood Forest where you learn that a hammer has been stolen and lost in the forest, so your dwarf companion goes off the find it (no doubt dying and passing the quest onto the adventurer from book 3). In a way it is kind of like a memorial tour of some of the earlier books.
As I said it is not the best as the four sections really are only four different adventures with minimal choices, though there are a couple of places that if you make the wrong turn you pretty much fail the adventure. Hints for the necessary items are taking the weapons from the trapper's hut, finding the stake and the flute, finding the discs, and not paying the ferryman to take you across the river (you need to meet the dark elf, otherwise you will die). There is one other thing: you need to climb the tree to the tree house and kill the man orc - he has something important as well. Still, not the best of the adventures, but now I guess I am going on to The House of Hell. ( )
  David.Alfred.Sarkies | Apr 28, 2014 |
Badly plotted for an FF adventure, being very linear with too many difficult battles at the beginning, although it's almost worth it for the woodcut-style illustrations which are among the best I've seen in a gamebook. ( )
1 vote Moomin_Mama | Feb 7, 2010 |
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A brave trapper dies in your arms and lays the burden of his mission on your shoulders. But time is running out - will you take the challenge? Originally published: Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984.

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