A quest to learn the fate of a coven of wizards

Island of the Undead - Keith Martin

Not only is this one quite long, but it is also quite difficult in that there are a couple of puzzles that you need to solve to be able to determine the paragraph number. There is even one puzzle where the riddle is written in code, so you have to decipher the code before solving the riddle (and codes and riddles have never been my strong point). This adventure also has an incredible number of objects that you need to collect, though fortunately you are told if you need to record a specific number (such as the paragraph in which the object was found). Martin is quite clever in using numbers in this book, as there are items that are used multiple times, meaning that you have to multiply the number on the item using different multipliers. Another trick that he uses is having you turn the letters of the word into its numerical values, and then adding them all together.

Anyway, unlike many of the other Fighting Fantasy books, this one you begin with basically nothing other than a knife and some clothes. The reason for this is because you begin the adventure as a humble fisherman living in a small fishing village. For years the villages in the local area were protected by wizards living on an island off shore, which included them keeping away ferocious storms. However suddenly the storms began to pick up again and the villagers suspected that something may have happened to the wizards, so a group all pile into a boat and go and investigate. However halfway across the straight the boat is overturned by a massive wave leaving you the only survivor.

While the introduction to the adventure suggests that you can complete it with minimal skills, this is not quite true, especially since the first few monsters are really tough and all you have is a little knife (especially the ghoul in the ship wreck which you must kill to get the magical sword simply because without a magical sword you cannot complete the adventure). Despite the name, there isn't actually all that many undead on the island, and once you move away from the beach the number begins to drop. I actually liked this because many of these books seemed to involve only undead and demons and I had begun to miss the good old normal monsters (though there are no orcs or goblins anywhere, which is probably because people find these monsters a little boring).

Still, I quite liked this adventure, though as I suggested, it is quite long namely because you need to visit all of the locations on the island to be able to complete the adventure successfully. By the time I got to the lower levels of the black tower I simply wanted to get to the end of the book, so I stopped doing what I normally do - that is try to check out ever nook and cranny. Also, you do need to explore the locations on the island in a specific order, but at least, unlike some of the other books, you do get the option to backtrack, and also you do have the option to explore multiple parts of the locations. In a way this book is much more location centric rather that story orientated, meaning that the choices tend to focus on where you want to go rather than direction that the story is heading. It also tends to be a lot less linear. Once again I like this because with many of the linear adventures if you take the wrong path you might end up skipping a large number of important encounters which means that it becomes impossible to solve. At least with this one if you go through one door, you generally get the option to then check out the other place (if you have not done so already).

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1200254568