Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death

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Rating: 5.0/5 (18 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre Image The successful series of Fighting Fantasy novels, created by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, is seeing somewhat of a resurgence of late. Thanks to the coming of age of digital distribution services, the interactive novella has found a new home amongst the digital interactive media, first on iOS devices and now having arrived on the PlayStation Store as a Minis title. Compatible with both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable (PSP), Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death is an interesting reinterpretation of that very first Fighting Fantasy publication, and not in the way you might be expecting.

Developed by the British studio also responsible for the warmly received OMG-Z and Cubixx HD, Laughing Jackal, Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death is a Electronic Theatre Imagecomprehensive redesign of the original novel, attaching plenty of visualisation to the once limited pages of the book. Illustrations may have been presented in the novels, but here in Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death on PlayStation, there’s much more besides.

The game begins with the player being dealt a series of cards. For those entering the game for the first time the option to re-roll their character is perhaps pointless, as no explanation is offered as to what these cards represent: potions of skill, stamina and luck may be fairly obvious, but what effect on the gameplay commanding cards such as The Pool or The Lion will have on the gameplay does not become apparent until the player is well versed in the game’s progression.

That progress can be slow at first, for while the decision to incorporate a page turning mechanic and automatic selection is obviously a product of smart design, until players become familiar with the structure of the game every challenge is a significant one. Whether this is due to the originalElectronic Theatre Image novel or this specific adaptation will be down to interpretation, but for all those times gamers complain about hand-holding when beginning a game, here in Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death a few more pointers may have been welcome.

The only accomplice the player has is the Log book: a well designed catalogue of their equipment, the people they have met and a chart of their progression. An additional bullet-pointed list of the decisions made would have been welcome, a simple timeline as opposed to a scroll through a number of unnecessary pages to reach a point of interest, and though the option to step back a decision may be demanded by some, Electronic Theatre believes that this would undo the element of decision making. Just as with titles such as Heavy Rain or the recently released Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the point of making a decision in Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death is that through living with the consequences you have an adventure; being able to step back and change an unwanted decision would make the game far too binary.

The presentation of Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death is commendable. As stated above, the additional imagery does create a more absorbing experience; one clearly designed for the digital age. It’s not exaggerated to the Electronic Theatre Imagepoint of grand CGI battles between the player’s character and armies of trolls, rather a compliment to the original delivery of the Fighting Fantasy novels. In that respect also is the background music: ambient and unobtrusive, as easily mutable as it is decoration for the experience.

As a digital reinterpretation of the Fighting Fantasy novels, Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death proves to be an enjoyable first attempt. Despite the minor flaws in the presentation the overall experience is one that is easily recommendable to any fans of the original novel series, or those who had been intrigued but never quite taken the required steps to embark on their own Fighting Fantasy adventure. It’s a game that can be bought at a pocket money price, and yet can deliver just as many hours entertainment as a full price retail release.

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