A rather confusing and messy maze which gets you nowhere

Chasms of Malice - Luke SHARP

I have noticed that reviews on many of the Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks tend to be scattered elsewhere on the Internet, and while I would like to add them to Booklikes so that others have the benefit of considering them with the books (if they actually do read the reviews, especially up around this end of the series) I am also well aware of the original author's rights to the work, and really don't want to add them to Booklikes without their permission (which I am not allowed to do anyway). Further, if they wished, they could always open up a Booklikes account and add them themselves.

Anyway, the couple of comments that I read on this particular gamebook tended to suggest that it was really bad and in a way I am inclined to agree with them. The book itself seems to be just one complex maze through which one simply stumbles around blindly. Further, there are a number of inconsistencies within the story, and it is also very easy to get lost in the maze. One section of the book has you moving through what appears to be a maze, but in reality is not because there is only one way through this section to go because if you make any other choice you die.

This book is set in another region of the World of Titan, apparently one set aside for Luke Sharp's adventures (there are three of them including this one). Basically a shield that prevents a great evil from breaking out on the world has been stolen and it is currently being destroyed so that this great evil can be released. As it turns out you are the sole surviving heir of the original monarch, though as it also turns out, you are like the third apprentice undercook in the castle kitchens, and your true heritage is only found out in this hour of need. You are then dragged out of your rather pathetic position, given a powerful sword, and thrown into an underground maze of caverns and told to save the world, before the metal hatch is slammed down on top of you and locked. To me it sounds more like you are a random prisoner being used for some bizarre blood sport as opposed to a hero destined to save the world (though there are a couple of gamebooks in which you do participate in some bizarre bloodsport).

One of the other disappointments is that you are told that there are a number of lieutenants of this great evil that you have to find and kill, but finding them is quite difficult, and even if you do find some of them, killing them is an even bigger problem because they tend to be surrounded by a heap of guards. While it is suggested that you actually do not need to kill them, it does make the combat at the end of the adventure a lot easier, however you also need to find some special cavern to make your sword more powerful, and if you can do that (I couldn't find it), then it makes finding and killing the lieutenants redundant.

There are a few interesting concepts introduced into the book, such as one strike combat. This allows for quicker combat against enemies but the drawback is that it makes it much easier for you to die. However, since one strike combat tends to occur only against orcs, it should make it easier for you, unless of course you have bad stats, then you are in trouble. Also, it can be easy to miss large sections of the adventure, but the maze like structure of the book makes it hard to know where you are heading and what you need to actually find. At least in many of the other books the structure of the adventure makes it easy to navigate on subsequent tries.

The other thing introduced was the concept of cooking food. If you have food you can eat it and gain 2 stamina, however if you can cook the food (and only where you are given an option to do so), you get 4 stamina. Oh, you also have a cat companion with you that happens to be some powerful god. The cat can be used 9 times (surprise, surprise), and I found this to be an interesting addition to the adventure. However, despite all this, I found adventure to be quite disappointing (though will probably attempt to run through it again in the future when I get myself another copy of it).

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/461996749