|Remain calm while I eat you.|
|Not a clue what just happened. A more-than-likely|
death mission thrust upon me. Yeah, sure, why not?
|Run, Fatboy run!|
|Still, it's easier to understand than the logic behind|
an Ian Livingstone item hunt...
|All you need for an exciting game of Death Arrow.|
Of course, the scantily-clad Woman is entirely optional...
Well. I can't even win a FF book designed specifically with younger kids in mind. To die to an entirely luck-based die-rolling challenge is mildly annoying. The paragraphs in this book work a little differently to normal FF; each encounter is given a different number with the different ways that encounter can play out given a sub-letter. (i.e 1-A, 1-B etc) To that end, my journey was as follows:
It's hardly worth my time listing my combats; the only one was the Horned Shrieker, which had skill 7 if you are terribly interested at all. Time for a verdict. Time for...
HOW MUCH FIGHT WAS IN THIS FANTASY?
|It may just be a Goblin, but I really like the art style here.|
Illustrations: The entire book is in colour, from the images to the background of the various paragraphs of text. I assume this is because younger children may not appreciate the beauty of a black and white image; it is more aesthetically pleasing to a younger mind to see lots of bright, vibrant images. This is fine, as the images here are actually of a very high quality. The colour actually helps to bring everything to life more too, which is pleasantly surprising as I am a big fan of the black and white picture. A picture without colour leaves more to the imagination; you have to think up in your head what colours every part of the drawing should be, which to myself at least is something I enjoy doing. Of course, the nature of the fact there's only 21 separate paragraphs here mean there are less illustrations than a normal FF book, so more time can be spent colouring them anyway. The illustrations are nice, and the fact they are in colour serves the presumed purpose to enthral a younger person. My favourite is a Goblin I never met, whom I present for your pleasure. 8/10.
Monsters/other NPC encounters: Virtually every one of the 21 paragraphs involves interaction of some sort with a monster or an NPC. The Demon Spider herself is not particularly exciting; actually none of the characters are. Being aimed at a younger age group less focus is put on the character development, which is fair enough. It's disappointing for a person such as myself reading this, but this book isn't aimed at me, so I shouldn't complain. Orlando and Edge are bizarrely the most interesting characters with the banter between the two of them, regardless of how juvenile it may be. Not my cup of tea, but I can see the characters being interesting enough for the intended audience. 6/10.
Storyline/Plot: I get the feeling this book is a sort of filler story between the first one in the series and the ones that follow; nothing too much happens beyond staving off a Skeleton army by finding a Stone Giant. Still, for a younger person the prospect of stopping an army probably makes for an exciting proposition. Without the other books in this series I can't really say but it feels like the overarching storyline over the 4 books is reasonably interesting. 6/10.
Difficulty: It must be said, if this was a normal FF I would've died back at that cave with the two rings. Normally I would've chosen to try and take both rings and not heed the parchment's warning. The way this book is laid out means that each outcome of the various scenarios are usually visible on the same page. For that reason it was impossible not to notice just below the outcome I chose the text telling me that I was crushed to death if I chose to try and take both. This lowers both the fun of making the decisions and the difficulty of this book. The size of it obviously makes the whole adventure much more linear in nature too, although a younger child would potentially get confused by too much choice on where to go in their adventure. If I'd picked the magic carpet I'd have avoided the game of Death Arrow, but c'est la vie. It must be said that had I not rolled 4 1's in a row for my own movement I probably would've survived the deadly game anyway, so this isn't hard at all. I don't think it's meant to be; it'd put younger people off. 1/10.
Seal of Approval?: I'd be lying if I said I had a great time. This was slightly entertaining, but is way too short and simplistic to engage me fully. That said, this is supposed to be aimed at a far younger reader than myself. To that end, I think this book achieves everything Ian Livingstone set it out to do. I can see this appealing to a younger person, entertaining them enough whilst providing them a sort of tutorial for the harsher world of proper FF when they decide they're ready to play with the big boys now. Therefore I give The Demon Spider an honourable mention for being effective in what it tried to do, but it's not one I'd exactly want to play again, so I can't give it the Seal of Approval.
|Does what it set out to do. That's all.|
Check out Marsten's latest playthrough, in which he attempts to ride a Storm,. Its a highly entertaining read. City Of Thieves I hope to have done for you all within the next few days, but I make no promises. The moral of this is Do not pretend to be someone whom you are not. The real Prince Goldhawk would've bought that flying carpet, I was a poor imitation. See you soon folks, take care and enjoy the sun!