Despite poor reviews, Fighting Fantasy is actually pretty good, marred by a few flaws. Check it out

User Rating: 8 | Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain DS
Firstly, I would like to point out that as of now I haven't finished the game. In fact, I'm probably only towards the start of the game, but I've spent a few good hours with it and can probably vouch for the quality of the game. So.. Here we go!

Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, is reminescent of the old-school CRPG (Computer Role Playing Games (right? O_O)) that were all the rage in the.... 19....90s? Something like that. I don't know, I'm not a history book. Anyway, it's the typical western rpg cross Dungeon Crawler. Kind of like the Elder Scrolls series, minus the extensive amount of choice and npc interaction. You basically go into a giant keep, kill lots of monsters, loot their bodies, do quests for people (killing x monsters, finding y item, etc.) and other similar tasks. You build your character, level up, buy new items, find items, equip them, etc. To the games credit, it all works pretty well. The autosaving and suitable save points makes the game very accessible for both short and long play sessions

There is still some choice within the game, and some interaction with NPCs, but not to the same level you would find in an Elder Scrolls game.

The game starts with you generating your character through a series of questions. Your answers will effect what character class you're character will be. Alternatively, you could just Manually Create your character via attributes and abilities (Nothing new here, as far as inovation goes. It is a very accesible, and familiar character creation system)

I hope there isn't a size limit for reviews... -.-

*cough* Anyway. Well, yeah, you make a character and start off... well, pretty much straight into the game, really. There's a short tutorial teaching you about managing equipment, which is done through a slick touch screen interface.

Oh, right. Controls. Probably should mention that. If you've played any FPS on the DS, you'll be familiar with the controls. Movement is controlled by either the directional pad or the A B XY keys depending on left/right hand, and the touchscreen is used for looking around and operating shortcuts (eg, using a potion quickly, or using a spell) and operating other stuff (opening quest log, map, etc). The controls work very well in this sense, especially the touch screen interface. For the record, you can also use the other four buttons (so, A B X Y if you're right handed and the direction pad if you're left handed) for looking up down left and right. I recommend against this, as it is pretty uncomfortable and hard to look around in comparison to the slick touch screen vision.

Point is; the controls work well. A lot of the reviews complain about the controls, but they evidently have no idea what they're talking about. They were probably trying to play using the buttons, instead of the stylus. Silly

The graphics are actually pretty impressive. The environments are in 3D, similar to what you'd see in something like Metroid Prime Hunters or something similar. The environments also look pretty good overall. The weapon on your screen and the enemies and npcs are 2D sprites, however, similar to what you'd see in Doom or other old First Person shooters. However, this looks surprisingly good; I would rather have good 2D sprites then crappy 3D models. So overall, the graphics are pretty good.

Now, the sound is something I'm not entirely content with. While the combat sounds or all pretty much what is to be expected, I was a bit distraught at the lack of music. There is, pretty much, no music in the game. Instead, there are 'ambient' sounds which are meant to add to the mood. While, true, the sounds DO add to the mood, most of them are quite repeditive and get annoying after a while, especially if you're revisiting areas. Also, several areas have no ambient sounds, or really annoying ones, which leaves something to be desired.

Wow. It's just as my teachers used to say. "Murray, you speak so much yet you say so little". I talk way too much. Oh oh. I'm talking to myself. Crud.


Another minor problem I have is the inconsistency with the difficulty. Firstly, the game can be extremely difficult at the start, depending on what you create your character to be. In my original attempt at fighting fantasy, my attacks did barely anything and I had to rely entirely on my fireball spell, which wasn't all too good either way. Instead I focused on a power heavy mercenary, which has been going well so far. However, suddenly all the rooms I had been going back and forth from got stronger enemies, just suddenly! It took me completely off guard. I guess this is a good way to increase difficulty considering you tend to revist several areas, but it just took me by surprise, I guess.

Also, I'm having trouble progressing due to two blue spirit enemies which seem to barrage me with bullets and... well, kill me quite quickly. Luckily, you can reload at the start of the room you entered, so I guess that aleviates the burden a bit.

Also, there's this lockpicking minigame, where you have to use the stylus to carefully navigate around and knock in all the pins, reach the exit within the time limit, and do so without bumping anything else. While the lower difficulty locks this isn't very hard, but the harder dificulty locks are impossible. I haven't been able to successfully unlock a harder difficulty lock within the brief timelimit. Maybe I just suck though. Geez.

OVERALL (Yes, I've finally stopped rambling!) Fighting Fantasy is a very good role playing game/dungeon crawler on the nintendo DS. It is a welcome addition to the (lacking) Western styled rpg's on the nintendo DS (We have a lot of ... non-western ones though) and it's good to finally have something like this in realtime (as opposed to Orcs and Elves, which was turn-based).

For anyone looking to pick up an addictive, and occasionally challenging RPG or dungeon crawler for the Nintendo DS, Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is a worthy title, that gives you the full experience of old-school dungeon crawling awesomeness in the palm of your hand.

Corniest. Review Ending. Ever

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