Wizard Books, £4.99, ISBN 1-84046-528-X
Fantasy, 2004 (Reissue)
Meet Malbordus. He is, according to the author, “born evil”. Conveniently enough, he is also an orphan so it’s not like there is anyone to stand up for the poor guy. Taken in by Darkside Elves in Darkwood Forest – hmm, do you remember seeing any Darkside Elf while playing Forest of Doom? – he turns out to be even more evil.
And now, Malbordus will take a test to prove to his guardians that he is bad-ass: he will travel to the Desert of Skulls, locate the “lost city of Vatos”, pick up five “Dragon artefacts”, and use these artefacts to bring the Dragons of Vatos to life. And then, he will tell them to fly him back to Darkwood Forests where he will lead a massive army to take over the world. Really, do you remember seeing anything that remotely resemble evil horde material while playing Forest of Doom? Are we talking about an army comprising those fungi keepers?
How do you know all this? Yaztromo the Wizard arrives at Stonebridge, Ian Livingstone’s favorite dwarf hovel, to tell those dwarves of this and naturally, our powerful know-it-all wizard is too busy to handle this matter. Probably has to settle some dispute with the dwarf girlfriend and such, you see, so he needs a midget to die for the cause. In fact, later on, Yaztromo will pretty much sacrifice a midget to pass over an item to you, an item that he could have given you earlier if he has his mind in the right place instead of shoving his wand into helpless rear ends of dwarves too cowed by him to say no, it hurts, so please take it out. Still, he gives you a choice of four spells you can cast throughout your adventure, at a Stamina cost of course.
For a “lost city”, Vatos is surprisingly easy to find. However, surviving it is a different story. Not only can you die in difficult combat encounters, you can also fail by not locating the necessary items needed. This is, after all, a gamebook by Ian Livingstone, so don’t forget to stuff any junk you find into your pockets and hope for the best. There is also an Angel of Death who will kill you once you uncover the five letters that spell “DEATH” in certain locations throughout the campaign, but don’t worry, it’s actually not that hard to avoid finding all five letters. And after all that hard work and multiple runs to discover the one true way to victory, you will confront Malbordus, who turns out to be an ugly and powerful but utterly boring guy who seems to have forgotten his magic when he has to battle you. Come on, he’s the big bad sorcerer, right? Where are the fireworks?
Temple of Terror has a very stupid plot, pointless random wandering in a maze, and lots of looting. In other words, this is a typical gamebook from this author, a munchkin’s idea of a dream come true but a pretty forgettable affair for everyone else.