Today, without further ado, I’m going to start my walkthrough for the most difficult of the Fighting Fantasy books, CITADEL OF CHAOS. I found this book when I went home for Mother’s Day, which I spent mainly in the attic, because my mum only buys skimmed milk and really, what’s the point? It just makes me so cross.
While I was I up there, I found a dusty old chest, with an intricate lock. A series of images from my childhood flashed through my mind, and my hand was drawn to a silver key that I’ve worn on a necklace since puberty. Taking off the necklace, I tentatively tried it in the lock. The tiny silver key didn’t fit, so I smashed it open using Big Daddy’s signature move, the Daddy Splash. And you’ll never believe what was inside – my old collection of Fighting Fantasy books. The ground-breaking series where you quite literally chose your own adventure. And sitting on the top? The Citadel Of Chaos.
I’m not the only person with an interest in this book, but I am the best. For instance, John Stock reviewed it here, and he has this to say of the cover. “Brilliant, involving this castle on top of a rock with hordes of beasts coming out. In the foreground is a black lion in mid-roar.”
Beg pudding John, but if that’s a lion then I’m an orc with Charisma 18. You wanna come around my house and tell me what is and isn’t a lion? I’ll have you. I’ll bite your fucking everywheres, and you’ll take it because you know you’re wrong. It’s a Dark Sasquatch, you terrible shitcrash.
No, I’m not over-reacting. It’s the worst thing in the world when people point at things and say “that’s an amazing drawing of a lion” with confidence bordering on the arrogant. I’m thinking about writing another letter to Steve Jackson about it.
I first wrote to Steve Jackson when I was eight years old. I photocopied it and kept it, in case the internet was ever invented. Here it is.
As ever, I’m forgetting why I’m here, which is to start my exclusive Citadel of Chaos walkthrough, that I’m going to ask to be added to the Bible when it’s finished. Fighting Fantasy books are ten times better than the Bible, because you are the adventurer, not Jesus. Seriously, the Bible is like the least interactive book ever.
LEVEL 1 : APE-DOG AND DOG-APE
Before you get into the Citadel of Chaos, where that sod-minded sorcerer Balthus Dire is sporting a genuine boner for destruction, you have to get through a door that’s manned by these two chaps.
Jill Parslow, the Ape-Dog, and Ted Babcock, the Dog-Ape. Steve Jackson’s imagination was running amok here! When Steve looks at this opening illustration today, he must wonder what demons he was channelling, to come up with such… I normally hesitate to use the word genius. But I feel that here, I must.
I showed this picture to my best friend, and he said it was “rubbish”. I responded by hurling myself from my chair to the floor, where I made hissing grab for his calves. He stepped away from me with a sickened but fearful look on his face, and we haven’t spoken since. I wrote to Steve Jackson to tell him what my friend said. I don’t like to be a snitch, but I don’t see what alternative I had.
The fastest way to get through the book is this.
1. Pose as herbalist. Turn to 261.
2. Say the person of the name you are going to treat is Kylltrog. (You can also say Blag, but I don’t approve of puns in the fantasy environment) Turn to 81.
3. They laugh, and say that Kylltrog is a silly billy, but let you through. Turn to 251.
You’ve made it to the Courtyard. Here’s a map I made using my new pens. I missed out an arrow at the bottom, but I don’t see you paying me any consultancy fees, so FUCK YOU DOWN THE PISS-SLIT.
Now we’re in the Courtyard! To get through here, you’ll need to be EXTRA CUNNING. The courtyard is the first place you can properly die, so the heat, pressure, and… electrical resistance… are ON! But that’s all for next time, as I really have to run to the free vending machine and coax out a mocha.
Until next time, Fighting Fantasy Fans!