"Highly recommended to those who like old school and to anyone looking for a different type of RPG adventure"
The Caverns of the Snow Witch is a direct revision (which includes an option to play using the original artwork and font type) from the Fighting Fantasy series of books written by Ian Livingstone. (This is the 9th book of the series, circa 1984.) This D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) genre choose-your-own-adventure style book plays exactly as the original book form minus the physical dice. (Paper and pencil are optional.) Here the dice are built in. Roll for stamina (health), skill (fighting ability) and that all so precarious luck. Once the character stats are established time for some adventure which includes choosing directions (usually at the infamous 'T' junctions), making decisions (fight that creature or sneak past) and death, if one is defeated, in combat, by a poor decision, or when one's luck runs out, literally, and it always does eventually.
The D&D style books, the precursors to RPGs and their ilk, are as challenging as any AAA game in modern day and as unforgiving as any bullet-hell.
Storyline: Start as a hired sword to protect a caravan going to a snowy hamlet deep in Ice Finger Mountains. The hamlet is attacked and the caravan owner offers 50 gold to track down and eliminate who or whatever slaughtered the inhabitants. Off to find the monster (man or beast) with 50 gold gleaming in the eye but with no weight in the pocket, the adventure begins.
Gameplay: This book is divided into four separate sections: 1) Tracking down the beast 2) The Caverns of the Snow Witch 3) Beyond the icy caverns and 4) Breaking the curse (of course there is a curse, a death curse to be precise. No villian lets the "hero" live if they can help it, even if the villian dies first. An auxium of Villiantry.)
As I stated before this game is unforgiving, and the "hero" often dies. However, just with a book, the player has the option to go back a page or two and try a different route or option. There are also unlimited bookmarks (the equivalent of fingers between the pages) if the player needs or wants to try an entirely different direction or make different choices. (I suggest bookmarking often, at any place with choice and especially before battle). Plus there is the all-important, and often can save your xxx, DICE SHAKE. The dice shake is when the player seeing they just rolled an extremely low number like boxcars (1 and 1) on their white dice and who or what they are fighting just rolled a higher number on their red dice. This higher number will damage the "hero", if not outright kill them. So the player has the option to quickly (like in maybe in a second) click on the dice again before they settle to get a reroll. One reroll per dice throw, and the player has to be fast.
There are three modes to this game. 1) Reader's mode (or cheater's mode) which allows the player unlimited health regeneration and the option to avoid all battles and poor decisions by using 'free choice' (which opens all options available to the player even ones they are not 'entitled' to have). 2) Adventure mode or normal mode, play with the stats rolled in the beginning of the game. (Remember the DICE SHAKE works here too.) 3) Hard mode play with a handicap is both stamina and skill (half for both) making battles much harder to win. (Not recommended unless the player knows exactly where all the stamina, skill and luck power ups are.)
An excellent example of the D&D genre, the storyline is tight and moves along fast, challenging and unforgiving, where battle damage affects the player and poor decisions can have lethal consequences. A fun read and extras include a brief history of Fighting Fantasy and the "find" art gallery depicting both the original and updated illustrations.
Highly recommended to those who like old school and to anyone looking for a different type of RPG adventure. (WARNING: READING is NOT optional and spamming will get the player killed, very quickly.)
Community review by joan4003 (March 29, 2016)
Joan would much rather give up her day to write but that requires a substantial income and in-coming paychecks for said writing ability.
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