Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

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Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by This Old Neon » 25 Aug 2015 14:36

Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game
by Brian Johnson


Ian Livingstone’s Deathtrap Dungeon (Puffin, 1984), the sixth installment in the Fighting Fantasy Gamebook series, pits the reader in a dungeon that promises a substantial reward for anyone who emerges victorious. Prior to the reader’s attempt, no one has survived the challenge, making it more of a cruel setup on the part of the host of the contest, Baron Sukumvit, than an actual contest. Nevertheless, the reader and five other adventurers decide to make an attempt at beating the odds. The quest will not be easy.

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Re: Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by Kong Wen » 25 Aug 2015 15:43

The only one of these I have ever played is The Riddling Reaver by Steve Jackson (he did some of the seminal Fighting Fantasy ones).

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A friend of mine tracked down a copy and re-bought it out of pure nostalgia, although we haven't played it again since. I should pester him about that.

I do remember failing an awful lot.
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Re: Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by VictorViper » 25 Aug 2015 16:54

Great read, share! I was sadly ignorant of these as a kid, but have since played and bested the Warlock of Firetop Mountain. A wonderful gaming system I lament missing in my youth.
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Re: Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by Kiwi the Tortoise » 25 Aug 2015 17:03

I have this one.


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Island of the Lizard King

Never managed to beat it as a kid.
I remember one of the earlier choices which either makes you fight pirates or a giant enemy crab.
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Re: Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by Sharecrow » 25 Aug 2015 17:41

These are all extremely tough. In this play through I'd forgotten about my provisions like an idiot - I could have made it further.

I wanted to note a bunch of these are on iOS and are almost perfectly faithful. They may be on app stores for other smart phones too...not sure.

I had this one, the first Warlock of Firetop Mtn, Citadel of Chaos (quite tough - lots of variables and instant death situations), Forest of Doom (probably the easiest one I've played), and City of Thieves. I also have a super hero one but the name of it escapes me. I'd had a space one at one point but I'm not sure what happened to it. I played the hell out of these when I was in middle school and high school.
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Re: Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by Kong Wen » 25 Aug 2015 18:00

Sharecrow wrote:I wanted to note a bunch of these are on iOS and are almost perfectly faithful. They may be on app stores for other smart phones too...not sure.
Email me a line or two and I can edit something in at the end.
Over men and horses, hoops and garters, lastly through a hogshead of real fire.
In this way Mr. K. will challenge the world!

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Re: Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by Pluvius » 25 Aug 2015 22:13

I always preferred Lone Wolf myself, since it was a long serialized narrative. Though to be fair I've never actually played any of the Fighting Fantasy books.

Incidentally, there's a pretty sweet-looking video-game realization of Lone Wolf on Steam, which supplements the standard gameplay with a tactical-RPG-esque battle system. There are other "Choose Your Own Adventure Plus" games on there as well. As for Fighting Fantasy, in addition to the new games (also on Steam, of course), there were a bunch of games that came out on non-PC computers back in 1984. They basically were primitive versions of what you see today, except for the first game which was an old-school maze game. Deathtrap Dungeon also got a video-game release back in 1998 that's on Steam, though it's more your typical PSX-era action game with a bad camera and controls.

Rob

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Re: Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by MerlinDrazziw » 26 Aug 2015 07:59

Sharecrow wrote:I wanted to note a bunch of these are on iOS and are almost perfectly faithful. They may be on app stores for other smart phones too...not sure.
Found around six Fighting Fantasy games on the iOS AppStore, also a bundle of 3: Fighting Fantasy - Ian Livingstone - Tin Man Games

Never played/read this kind of novel or even seen them. Slightly interested, but maybe not enough to try them out.
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Re: Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by Kong Wen » 26 Aug 2015 14:25

MerlinDrazziw wrote:Never played/read this kind of novel or even seen them. Slightly interested, but maybe not enough to try them out.
They're pretty fun. The prose itself is usually fairly light/stock, but I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into linking multiple possible narratives based on both reader choices and randomness.

It's probably worth noting that the game mechanics are significantly boiled-down compared to more devoted systems-based RPGs. There aren't a lot of attributes to keep track of, decisions are based on what's presented in the book so you don't need tons of skills and mechanics to dictate how they're used, and most of the original books only use standard 6-sided dice. (Some of the later/advanced books adapted a d20 system, but I haven't played those.)
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Re: Deathtrap Dungeon: A Game within a Game

Post by MerlinDrazziw » 26 Aug 2015 15:27

Just re-read the article fully and try to get an idea of the mechanics. I take it that it's a 'single-player' adventure, but where do the other contestants come from? Are they just elements of the story? And do you have any influence on their outcome?

As for the mechanics being boiled down .. seems perfect as a start in this kind of role playing. Wish there was some kind of demo for the iOS installs, or a free comparable game.
Grt. Merlin

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