So, I finally get around to Island of the Lizard King.
All I wanted was a little holiday, a little sunshine down by the seaside. I was going to drop in on my old mate Mungo, do a little fishing, drink the local booze, and maybe chase some girls.
Instead, I died, knee-deep in slime as I fought a hopeless battle against the SLIME SUCKER. Skill 10? Yeah, but deduct 2 from your own Attack Strength, so if we weren't interested in mechanically representing the combined effects of fatigue and fighting in a bog, it really is Skill 12. Maybe if I had drunk my Potion of Luck (my potion of choice in FF character creation) a section or two back I might have been able to Test my Luck through the battle. But having given a bunch of my Provisions to some old crazy up in a tree, and eaten another hearty meal after fighting the GIANT CRAB, I was only going to stumble, low on Stamina, through the jungle of Fire Island, until something whittled away the last few points.
I had very fond memories of Island of the Lizard King. It was one of the few FF gamebooks that I had completed as a boy. But now I found it all a little flavourless. The encounters had no zip, no zest. There was nothing odd, weird, interesting - and I guess that is the lesson; when designing wilderness adventures, an array of 'GIANT' versions of ordinary creatures are, by themselves no substitute for the range of encounters that might populate a dungeon, or Port Blacksand, say. Encounter-wise, the jungle of Fire Island has nothing on the Forest of Doom, let me tell you.
Or maybe my adventurer died too early in his adventure.
The poster, by the way, is for a fun, often missed Sergio Leone Western, in which James Coburn plays an Irish revolutionary with an unhealthy obsession with dynamite.