Citadel of Chaos : The Walkthrough

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.
citadel-cover.jpgI’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.

letter-to-steve.jpg

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.

citadel-1.jpg

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.

citadel-map.jpg

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!

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13 thoughts on “Citadel of Chaos : The Walkthrough

  1. Citadel of Chaos – That takes me back. I remember nearly finishing it once (getting to the top of the Citadel) before chosing the wrong option and getting sent right back to the fucking start. I developed a tactic of keeping a finger in the pages I had been through so I could retrace my steps which never worked as I couldn’t remember which finger represented which step in the chain and I looked like some weird book feeler with the fingers of both hands embedded deep within the pages like a word-baker kneading book bread. “Citadel” is the four colour problem of Interactive Fiction. Its just not possible.

  2. That’s dragged up a rather unpleasant memory. For reasons that escape me now, I used to do these with my mother. One night she caught me placing the die in the cup such that when I “rolled” said die, it alighted on an advantageous number. She was outraged and the game ended, accompanied by disapproving tutting from my sofa-bound Dad. My life summed up in a shit anecdote.

  3. I used to love these books. But I remember I once got in a frustrating cycle, going through the same six or seven pages over and over and over again. I thought I was trying different answers, but I always ended up back where I started. Of course, I may have just been shit at CYOA books.

    I always wanted to write one too, but instead of being set in a fantasy kingdom, it guides you through the awkwardness of adolescence. YAY!

  4. Aah. Forgot about that. They used to put “mazes” in them. There was definitely one in “Citadel” that would send you round in fucking circles. I used to hate those in adventure games too:

    “You are in the forest of Gondor. You see paths leading in all directions.

    Exits are N NE E SE S SW W NW UP DOWN

    >>>”

    I remember filling graph paper pads up with this shit before realising it didn’t make any difference to chart a map, you simply had to hit the right combination in a row.

    Cunts.

  5. Oddly I came across a copy of the Citadel of Chaos the other day, no not like THAT (although I must admit the image of frantically pumping jizm over a cheezy ’80’s fantasy book is… not outside the realms of possibilities) anyway – the thing was I moved to a new desk at work and there it was, in the drawer of my new desk. Which makes me wonder, when I see people staring at their screens with furrowed brows, are they really designing a new database schema or trying to decide whether to levitate (p200) or throw the Orb or Zorb (p12).

  6. my fighting fantasy books are boxed up and ready for sale on ebay, as they have been for the last three years. i can’t remember finishing a single one. even ‘battle blade warrior’, with all the robots and dinosaurs.

  7. Shit yeah. I was just thinking about a Lone Wolf book yesterday where one of the attacks you could do was YELLING at your enemy so loud their mind literally fucked up into pieces and they fell off a ladder.

  8. I don’t think anyone has ever successfully completed Citadel of Chaos. I reckon they all just cheated, like when I got to the end of Deathtrap Dungeon, but found that I had the topaz, not the diamond, and so couldn’t open the door, so I just pretended that topazes and diamonds are so much alike that your average magical door probably couldn’t tell the difference, and that the door got tricked into opening.

  9. Weirdly enough i was rooting around in my attic the other day and came down with a copy of Forest of Doom by Mr. Jackson.
    I never heard of Citadel of Chaos though, I think that one was too advanced for the likes of me. With the simple CYOA books i would keep my fingers in last few pages as mentioned above by robertdee.
    when it came to the ones that required a fucking DICE(!) it seemed far too much like hard work or navigating your local park with a compass and ordinance survey map.

  10. My two other favourites were “Trial of Champions” (the sequel to “Deathtrap Dungeon”) and “Portal of Evil”, the latter having a magnificent illustration of an evil caveman leading an evil stegosaurus out through the titular evil portal:

    http://homepages.tesco.net/~parsonsp/assets/images/ff37.jpg

    This brave fellow has catalogued all of our favourites. To be frank it gave me an erection:

    http://homepages.tesco.net/~parsonsp/html/fighting_fantasy.html

    On the down side I realised that I owned nearly all of these titles at one time and never completed a single one.

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