FF58: Revenge of the Vampire

Nicholas Campbell


[Nicholas Campbell]

So you thought Count Reiner Heydrich was dead? Wrong! Despite his defeat in Vault of the Vampire, the Count is back with a vengeance and is preparing his comeback so that he can bring terror to the Old World. However, it's not clear at the start of the game where he is, and your search for the Count takes you to a monastery, Mortus Mansion, several villages dotted around Analand, and an encounter with two witches who have been entrusted with one of the Count's most valuable artefacts, before his whereabouts become known to you. Unlike Vault of the Vampire, which was restricted mostly to exploring a castle, you'll be exploring a far greater area.

Revenge of the Vampire is similar in many ways to one of Keith Martin's other gamebooks, Night Dragon, in that there is a much greater level of complexity than in most other Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. There are lots of items to collect which increase your Attack Strength, and there are many other items which numbers associated with them, which of course means that a lot of addition, subtraction and multiplication is required. When you're fighting monsters, there are usually lots of extra rules to note, and it's easy to forget about them. Then there are the extra scores to track. As with Vault of the Vampire, you have a FAITH score which starts at between 4-9, but you also have to accumulate Blood Points. You're supposed to accumulate as many of them as you can to make it easier to defeat the Count, but as with the Time Track score in Night Dragon, it makes very little difference, and an opportunity to use the Blood Points score to good effect is wasted.

As for the difficulty, Revenge of the Vampire strikes the right balance. There are few occasions where you die instantly by making the wrong choice, although I reckon that you need an Initial SKILL of at least 10 to have any chance of completing the game. As I mentioned earlier, there are several items which increase your Attack Strength, although most of them aren't easy to locate. One of them is extremely well hidden and requires you to ignore everything that you have been told, which is very sneaky indeed! And if you think that the Count can be defeated by the usual means of defeating vampires, you're wrong!

So Revenge of the Vampire seems like a rather good gamebook, and it is, although there is a lack of variety in the range of monsters that you encounter. There are no prizes for guessing that vampires feature heavily, but there are far too many ghouls and zombies for my liking. Then there are the errors - lots of them! Many Fighting Fantasy gamebooks contain some minor errors, but Revenge of the Vampire is littered with them, at least one of which is fairly severe. They may have been corrected in a later printing of the book, although I can't confirm this. I don't want to state what the errors are, but it didn't leave a favourable impression on me, and while I still think Revenge of the Vampire is good, Vault of the Vampire is better.

Rating: 7/10