The dark, twisted power of the young Malbordus is reaching its zenith!
Author: Ian Livingstone
Illustrator: Bill Houston
Cover Illustrator: Christos Achilleos
"All Malbordus needs now is to retrieve the five dragon artefacts which
have been hidden for centuries in the lost city of Vatos. Each day that
passes brings him closer to them and only YOU can stop him! YOUR mission
is to reach Vatos first and destroy the treasures Malbordus seeks. But
beware! Each step you take leads you closer to your doom..."
No 14; Temple of Terror was written by Ian Livingstone and illustrated by Bill Houston. This book follows in the vein of the classic FF books. Set in medieval Allansia, you 're a battle-hardened adventurer, seeking your fame and fortune. While relaxing in the dwarf village of Stonebridge, you see the wizard Yaztromo give a speech about a 'grave' danger threatening Allansia.
It seems that a evil sorcerer called Malbordus is on the loose, threatening to take over the world/destroy it (you'd think that the government would lock 'unstable' people like this up, wouldn't you!). Before you know it, you've volunteered for mission 'certain death'. Yaztromo takes you back to his tower and explains that this Malbordus' power has almost reached it's zenith! All he needs are five dragon artifacts to make him all powerful.
There is one problem! The dragon artifacts are believed to be secreted in a ancient desert city called Vatos, lost in the wastes of the Desert of Skulls. The city is also controlled by a bird, who's populated it with loads of vicious creatures and is a real tyrant to boot! Your mission is to find Vatos, retrieve and destroy the dragon artifacts, before Malbordus gets his hands on them, thereby saving Allansia from certain doom and destruction (all in a day's work for a hard-nut like you!).
So, off you set on your hazardous mission south, guided to the Catfish river by Yaztromo's pet crow. When you arrive at the river, you're given two ways of proceeding: on foot, south across the desert or a river barge to Port Blacksand, then down the coast by ship. Across the desert is the more hazardous of the two (plus Blacksand contains an object vital to you completing your mission).
After you arrive in Port Blacksand and run the usual gauntlet of muggers and cut-throats, it's off to a tavern to get drunk, beaten up and a bed for the night. Next day you journey south on a Pirate ship and get dropped of on the coast of the Desert of Skulls (after an exciting gun battle with a warship full of Dwarves, where you're given a chance to get killed!!).
So, off you set (again) into the baking desert. After some deserty encounters (including a poisoned oasis), you find the city of Vatos. Now the adventure becomes interesting. You get to explore a deserted city, avoiding traps and finding the fairly well hidden dragon artifacts along the way. There is also a chance for you to collect some gold before you come face-to-face with your enemy Malbordus, in a desperate, hand-to-hand battle to the death (Malbordus obviously doesn't feel that it's THAT desperate, or why didn't he just fry you with some swanky spell!??) Once Malbordus is stiff and stinking, it's time to use the Dwarven Warhammer (kindly provided by a dying dwarf) to destroy the dragon artifacts and save the Allansia (why don't You use them to take over Allansia for yourself!??).
I liked this book quite a lot. It's well written, well planned, stocked with first class traps and creatures. I especially like the 'Messenger of Death'. This creature likes to torment it's prey. It creeps up behind you and whispers the word 'DEATH' an a very slow, melodramatic fashion. It then places the individual letters of the word in different locations around the city, if you accidentally see them all, it appears and sucks all the life out of you with some sort of magic (it would of been much more interesting if you'd been given the option to slice it's head off at the start!!)
The only thing that I didn't like that much was the main bad guy: Malbordus. I felt his character could of been developed more. He could of been stronger in the end battle, maybe using some sorcery like the end of Citadel of Chaos. A good book, no major weaknesses.
Follows:  Forest of Doom
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