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Blood Of The Zombies
by Ian Livingstone
You may have thought that Fighting Fantasy had gone the way of Top Of The Pops and Opal Fruits, but it hasn't. The 30-year old series is still running and if you want the full experience of fiddling with pencils and bits of paper, you can buy a paperback copy. Or, if you're all cool and awesome like us, you can buy it as an Android or iPhone app.
And what an app it is. Tin Man have done a bang-up job of creating something entirely modern while retaining what was so loveable about the original books. Dice are rolled with a fluid animation, there's a handwritten Adventure Sheet for keeping notes and there's even a "bookmarking" system, which is basically an autmoated way of sticking your fingers between pages so you can go back should you be eaten by a zombie.
And you will. Ian Livingstone, the co-creator of the series, has rejigged the combat system and created something that is fantastically difficult in a really fun way. The plot is pretty simple: you're a backpacking student who gets drugged and kidnapped in Romania. You wake up in a cell and find that your captor is raising an army of the undead in a fiendish plot to take over the world. You've got two objectives: kill all the zombies, and don't get eaten.
In previous FF adventures, you could twat monsters without sustaining any damage, if the dice fell your way. In BotZ, the zombies will hurt you if you don't take them out quickly. So it becomes a race to win fights, find medpacks and acquire bigger and deadlier weapons. The app gives you a choice of three levels of diccifulty; at the hardest level the game becomes all but impossible. Which, frankly, makes it even more fun.
There are a million ways to die in this book but there are also a million ways to whack the deadies, with the climax seeing you taking on 100 zombies with a Gattling gun. This is every bit as much fun as it sounds, if not more so. And don't worry, even if you do make it out of the castle, you'll still die. Livingstone is a total bastard and he's structured the game so there's only one possible way to win and it takes dozens of attempts to find it.
Obviously, this is an essential present for any old FF fans who fancy a bit of nostalgia but it's also a great place for newbies to start. Everyone involved has excelled themselves. Tin Man created a beautiful app, and Livingstone has created one of the bloodiest, scariest adventures since House Of Hell. The Fighting Fantasy comeback starts right here.