Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death (PSN) Review

As a child, Fighting Fantasy offered some interesting lessons in decision making; the less inviting road could bear greater fruit, running was better than fighting and, sometimes, just hit them! And now, in the rather unexpected form of a PSP mini, its back.

The game uses some simple stats, Skill Stamina and Luck to create a role playing environment, some games of chance to add interactivity and it encourages players to read closely through the text, rather than just skipping through chat and scene-setting, as is common in many RPGs. It's not a highly visual game as you'd expect (some pics here) but its graphics are neat and effective.

There's a handy zoom button, if you have trouble with the small text size, with the text doing a decent job of scene setting and explaining your choices, without going beyond brevity. At the bottom of each page are your options, normally one, two or three choices, with battles or tests of your luck helping to decide where you go. You can fight enemies, who can attack singularly or in groups (which complicates things slightly) either using dice, or a game of chance.

Throughout the book are potions, weapons and other artefacts that can boost your stats, the Log Book is used to keep tabs on your possessions, progress and overall stats. The game actively encourages players to draw a map and take notes, bringing back a little of that D&D magic to modern gaming, its good that it doesn't do it for you.

The adventure itself is a progressive affair, even if every time you die its back to the start or a rare checkpoint. You can try a different route, feel smart when you remember what not to do and there are more than enough routes that the game doesn't feel stale. It won't take a great deal of time to finish the game, but the challenge of filling the log book is enough to encourage you to have a few runs through it.

It is odd that this feels like a new way of playing games, despite the 1982 origin of the books. Hopefully this mini is one that grow into a bigger series, perhaps with enough room for a voice reading (perhaps Brian Blessed) of the story to add to the atmosphere. If you're bored of staring across the endless plains of infinity in some other RPG, give this a try and read your away across them in one easy choice!

Available on PSN for £3.49 [Laughing Jackal]
9/10 A different way to adventure for younger games and