Talisman of Death was one of the very popular Fighting Fantasy adventure books you may remember from yesteryear. UK based company Laughing Jackal, who seem well connected with original authors Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, have brought the game to the PlayStation Network.
This may sound like common sense – which means I’m probably wise to repeat it; your experience of the new PlayStation based Talisman of Death will really depend on what your expectations where.
Had you imagined that the game would somehow be like a CRPG then you’ll be disappointed. If you thought it would have battle chess like graphics then you’ll be disappointed. If you thought it would use the EyeToy to watch you roll dice then you would be disappointed.
If you expected only the pages of a book with push button selection for pages then you’ll not be disappointed. Actually, Laughing Jackal does offer something of an experience upgrade by providing an alternative to dice and the traditional Final Fantasy conflict resolution. That’s a wise idea. There’s something horribly artificial about pseudo dice rolling action on the screen.
My opinion of Laughing Jackal’s Talisman of Death conversion started low. My mistake? I attempted to read the instructions. Page after page after page of content that failed to engage me or be useful could not be skipped. I suppose the poor designers had to imagine a situation in which someone who had not previously experienced Fighting Fantasy and had no idea what to do would pay for the download and want to read the manual. Urg.
I started to enjoy the Talisman of Death once I simply bashed on with the story. Of course, Livingston and Jackson deserve much credit here – my first attempt was to try and die, through bad choices, as soon as possible. Despite being a total jerk, taking lots of risks and forcing some foolish situations – I was still in the adventure. It now had my interest!
The feeling I have from playing the game is that Laughing Jackal have neither the cash nor the inclination to re-invent the wheel here but that they are loyal FF fans through and through. That works for me. I had the most fun playing Talisman of Death when I cranked up Spotify, turned down the TV and pressed on with the adventure aided by a glass of wine (or two, okay; more).
Yes – there will be a Warlock of Firetop Mountain adaptation coming. It’s the classic that all adaptions of Fighting Fantasy tackle at some point.
Disclaimer: My copy of the PlayStation Talisman of Death game was provided for the purposes of putting together a review.