David Sarkies's Reviews > Scorpion Swamp

Scorpion Swamp by Steve Jackson
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's review
Jun 21, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: gamebook
Recommended to David by: Primary School
Recommended for: Gaming geeks like myself
I own a copy , read count: A few

Written by the other Steve Jackson
21 June 2012

Well, there a couple of things that I must mention and the first is that I have suddenly discovered that there are two Steve Jackson in the gaming industry. Initially I always through that the Steve Jackson of the Fighting Fantasy books and the Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson games were one and the same person, however it turns out that they are not. The Fighting Fantasy Steve Jackson is based in England and the Steve Jackson Games Steve Jackson is based in America. I will not say that never the twain shall meet because, guess what, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson present Scorpion Swamp by Steve Jackson (Steve Jackson Games).
In a sense I thought that is was one of Jackson's experimental books because he does seem to experiment more than Ian Livingstone does, who seems to find a formula that works for him and then runs with it. Livingstone has experimented, but it seems the books that he wrote used the basic formula that was introduced in Warlock of Firetop Mountain and 'perfected' in Forest of Doom.
Scorpion Swamp moves away from the standard formula in two ways, the first being that you are not required to simply move in one direction through the adventure, but rather you can travel about the entire swamp and visit the same location multiple times. In fact it is not the case of entering the swamp at one end and leaving at the other, but rather going into the swamp, completing your quest, and then leaving by the route through which you entered. The second thing is that there is not just one quest, but three of them, one for a good wizard (find the berries of a magical plant), a neutral person (find a path through Scorpion Swamp), and for an evil wizard (kill three masters and bring back their amulets).
The actual adventure is smaller than the others, most likely because there is a lot of space taken up with you returning to a location you have already visited. Secondly this is the first adventure where the first paragraph does not immediately throw you into the adventure, but rather you spend some time wondering around the town obtaining your quest and then going out to complete it. Magic is also introduced into this adventure, however it is very restricted, with only one place in the adventure when you can restock spells. If you are neutral it is implied that you can use good and evil magic, however you never have the opportunity of getting your hands on any good or evil spells, that only happens when you contract your services to the relevant wizard.
I have also noticed that the commentaries on this book have begun to wind down with people simply marking it off as read and then moving on, or simply cutting and pasting generic comments about the Fighting Fantasy game books. However I still believe that there is enough uniqueness in the books to actually write something worthwhile about them.
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