Three years ago when I beat Dungeon Master for the 1st (and only) time I picked up a crushed copy of Chaos Strikes Back - the Expansion Set #1.
Chaos Strikes Back (CSB), released in 1989 two years after the original game, is legendary for its unfairness and difficulty. Frankly I didn't plan on playing it for more than a few hours. And that's exactly what I did at the time. It’s essentially Dungeon Master 1 but with a completely new smaller dungeon that is supposedly mind crushing and built to frustrate. It didn't sound nearly as thrilling as my experience with the original, which had a big learning curve for me but was very enjoyable. To this day there's nothing quite like the genius of the spell system in that game.
Anyway, DM1 was SO hard for me but also such a glorious achievement. I felt like I beat the game by the skin of my teeth and near my wits' end. To end a game like that is about as good as it ever gets, where when it happens you're at first shocked you did it, then a massive rush of relief and pride fills your entire being. The game is so great; I'm sure it gave me new white hairs, though.
I really picked up CSB so I could play around with the very cool character Utility Disk that I'd read about. It allows the modification of the character graphics, which I had a lot of fun poking at back then.
These are some of the light-touch modifications I made at the time.
Anyway, recently my friend walldog not knowing I had Chaos Strikes Back disks (and crushed box), alerted me to a listing on Ebay. Near-mint box (let's say A-). FTL boxes are notoriously flimsy and often total junk. This one looked great and was the most complete box I'd ever seen. So I made a bid. To my astonishment, I won with that single bid!
It not only came with everything you can think of - manual, reg card, advert for hint book, both disks) but also the rare coin (now I have 2) a "map" (?) and [drumroll] a spiral-bound Adventurer's Handbook! That's the actual hint book the advert promoted for $15 BITD!
Even has an original FTL sticker! Only thing lacking from my DM, CSB and DM2 collection is an original CD Soundtrack which is as rare as an Amiga Rejuvenator. That quest continues. But this makes me want to give CSB a chance again. Must. Finish. Pools of Darkness!