The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (video game)

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The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Warlock of firetop mountain spectrum cover.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s) Crystal Computing, Neil Mottershead, Simon Brattel[1]
Publisher(s) Puffin Books
Platform(s) ZX Spectrum
Release
Genre(s) Arcade adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is an arcade adventure video game released in 1984 for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer. It is loosely based on the adventure gamebook of the same name (the first in the Fighting Fantasy series) written by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, and published by Puffin Books in 1982.

The game was sold both as a regular cassette-only release, and (at a higher price) as a "software pack" edition that included a copy of the original Fighting Fantasy title.

Gameplay[edit]

As a third-person arcade adventure game, the player takes the role of an adventurer on a quest to find the treasure of a powerful warlock, hidden deep within Firetop Mountain. The treasure is stored in a chest with fifteen locks, with the keys guarded by various monsters (e.g. orcs, slime moulds and spiders) in the dungeons of Firetop Mountain. The adventurer (equipped with a bow and a sword) must attempt to retrieve the keys, with an added feature (over the game's predecessor, Halls of the Things) being the ability to open and close doors to block the path of pursuing monsters. Gameplay varies with each new game as the maze is randomly generated.[1]

Development[edit]

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was announced in issue two of Micro Adventurer magazine, which published a feature on the expansion of Penguin Books children's imprint Puffin into the science fiction software market with the video game The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, hoping to emulate the success of the book title.[3] The game was announced as the first in the "Puffin Personal Computer Collection"[4] line together with three other unrelated titles (based on science fiction titles by author Peter K. McBride).[5]

Gameplay: the adventurer (white), monster (purple), randomly generated maze walls (red) and life bar (yellow).

Puffin contracted Crystal Computing, who had developed the fantasy game Halls of the Things, to create the game.[6][7] Game designer simon Brattel stated "We ended up doing it quite by accident — we simply bumped into Steve Jackson, one of the authors of the book, in Currys one day — we got talking, he came back and looked at Halls and liked it."[8]

According to hidden text within the game's code the developers only had three weeks to complete the project.[9] The Peter Andrew Jones artwork for the original title was used for the video game cover.[10]

Puffin Books briefly continued the trend of adapting the Fighting Fantasy titles into video games, with early titles The Citadel of Chaos[11] and The Forest of Doom[12][13] being released for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 respectively.

Reception[edit]

ZX Computing described the game as simply a "variation" of Halls of the Things, but praised the inclusion of the book as it encouraged children to read.[14] Micro Adventurer also commented on the similarities, stating that "it is so similar that it would be pointless buying both games".[5]

CRASH magazine criticized the control scheme (the number of control keys and the developer's decision to use the horizontally adjacent N and M keys to move the player's character up and down) but also claimed the game less difficult and confusing, and with better graphics.[1] Computer and Video Games expressed disappointment that the game had little resemblance to the original Fighting Fantasy title.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Warlock of Firetop Mountain review, CRASH, issue 1, p.13, Newsfield Publications Ltd, February 1984
  2. ^ The Warlock of Firetop Mountain at GameFAQs
  3. ^ Penguin Launches into SF Software, Micro Adventurer, issue 2, p.7, Sunshine Books, December 1983
  4. ^ Puffin advertisement for the four launch titles of the new range. Printed in Sinclair User issue 22 (p.16) and CRASH issue 1 (p.7)
  5. ^ a b The Warlock of Firetop Mountain review, Micro Adventurer, issue 4, p.24, Sunshine Books, February 1984
  6. ^ The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, in-game instructions
  7. ^ a b A Thing is a Thing is a Thing, Computer and Video Games, issue 29, p.151, EMAP, March 1983
  8. ^ As Clear as Crystal, Popular Computing Weekly, 26 January-1 February 1984 (p.26), Sunshine Publications Ltd.
  9. ^ Spectrum Easter Eggs, equ.in. Text referred to reads "We apologise for the game being boring but we were literally only given 3 weeks to write it". Archived September 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Steve Jackon and Ian Livingstone, Puffin Books, 1982
  11. ^ http://www.uvlist.net/game-156749-The+Citadel+of+Chaos
  12. ^ http://www.thehouseofgames.net/index.php?t=10&id=271
  13. ^ http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0001842
  14. ^ Booked!, ZX Computing, issue 4, p.119, Argus Specialist Publications Ltd, April/May 1984

External links[edit]