Tower of Destruction

YOU become pissed off, hungry for revenge! On the way home from a trading expedition, a flying sphere in the sky blasts fire and destruction on your village, killing most of your friends and family, and leaving everything else in flames.

This time, there’s no king sending you to pick up a stolen McGuffin. It’s revenge.

You pack a lunch and your sword, and begin the trek northward across the tundra in search of the sphere. Then you find out that this savage rain of destruction was only a test, a prototype of a much larger weapon of mass destruction.

And with that, your quest for revenge is now also a quest to save the world.

 

Review and Opinion

For a start, it’s written by Keith Martin who did Vault of the Vampire and Revenge of the Vampire. So that’s cool! But it has so many errors that in parts it isn’t playable. The number series puzzle, the misprinted clock puzzle, the mis-named items, … It’s questionable whether the book could be won with 12/24/12 without cheating a bit.

However, the writing is quite good and makes up for all of that. The descriptions of the ice palace, the visuals I get of trekking the polar tundra, the description of the sphere in its crater/valley, the desolate remains of a once-great city, … very nice stuff that kept me immersed and enjoying it despite the problems.

And the illustrations! Pete Knifton really outdid himself here. The golems, the castle, the night demon, … outstanding stuff here.

So yeah, despite the difficulty and the bugs, this one was really a fun and engaging time. I spent several evenings playing, and will surely revisit the Tower of Destruction again.

 

Errors

There are so many errors. The simpler ones are a few misnamed items so you’re asked to sell an item that you don’t think you have, or don’t know that you have a magical ring because it was never described as magical, or a path that’s named incorrectly so you can get directions mixed up. Much worse, some of the puzzles are broken due to bad logic or bad printing, so the book isn’t really playable without some cheating.

On 378 you find a dead Snow Fox. But the idea is to sell it to a merchant, where it is called a Silver Fox.

Pages 4 and 138 are muddled up. When you first encounter the Ice Castle on 306, you’re given a choice to use the gatehouse (138) or to scout around and try a door at the base of the tower (4). At 138 there’s a trap “at the base of the Great Tower” and then you go off to “as you approach the gatehouse” on 4.

On 263 you’re asked to help a ghost, but there’s no option for having already freed the ghost. On 357 you get shamed for it and lose honor. I make the judgment call that if I already freed the ghost, I don’t take the penalty. That’s just silly.

The puzzle on 200 to get the bird statue, is screwed up. This would be a numerical series called A000447: 0, add 1 squared (1), add 3 squared (1_+9=10), add 5 squared (10+25=35), add 7 squared (35+49=84), add 9 squared (84+81=165), add 11 squared (165+121=286). But they skipped a step, and added 11 squared then 13 squared, coming up with 205 and 374 instead of 286 and 455. Oops! Kind of a big deal, too, because you need the bird to get into the cathedral to get the sword, …

On 57 as you’re coming down the stairs, the left and right rooms are switched. They were on your left and right as you came up the stairs, now of course you’re facing the other way.

In the top floor of the tower (72) there is a white beam to 252. However, after you talk to Mealin (300 or 80) that option to 252 is now called the green beam.

Maelin’s puzzle (15) is unreadable in my edition. I know the answer is 80 (10×1 = 10, 5×4 = 20, 3 x 10 = 30, …) but in this printing the arrow heads are blurred and/or missing, so you would never be able to see that.

In the cathedral, if you don’t have the silver brooch, then a few things don’t make sense. If you don’t have a brooch, then you’re asked if you have incense which would dispel the spirits (which appeared if you had a brooch). If you have neither, then the spirits (which never appeared) are dispelled.

From the crossroads past the ice gate, the left path is 189. This asks about a silver medallion, or else sends you to 88. If you come at the crossroads again from one of the other paths (3) then that path is now 88, without the option for a silver medallion.

There are references to “a magical ring” which protects you from fire. This is evidently Tasrin’s ring, at least that’s how everybody else plays it since there aren’t other magical rings. The ring’s own description though is that it’s “a plain silver ring” and there is no indication that it is magical, so it’s not at all clear.

 

Maps

 

 

Publication

Keith Martin

Illustrated by Pete Knifton

1991

Book 50 in the series

 

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