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1. Team 5 of series 7
From TES issue 44 (March 2007)
 [Related Image] Series 7
Quest: The Cup.
Dungeoneer: Ben Dryer.
Advisors: John, Tim and Ben.
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Home town: Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Team score: 5 out of 10.

A laudable effort from series 7, led by one of the cockier dungeoneers ever to grace the Dungeon with his presence. Interestingly, Ben's was the final death of series 7 (during episode 10 of 15) as the subsequent two dungeoneers (Julie and Barry) both won.
 [Related Image] Level One: Ben meets Romahna in the dwarf tunnels. As usual, the dragon wardress is not in the sunniest of moods, but she escorts Ben out of the tunnels and into the clue room, where she gives him several useful bits of information, particularly that he will need a firestone in order to pay Smirkenorff for a flight to level two, and that Lord Fear has acquired a new monster called the Brollachan. From a small barrel, Ben picks up a mop and a set of skeleton keys, leaving behind a bar of gold. A meeting with Sidriss follows, in a room with a wooden table, which is (apparently) part of Hordriss and Sidriss's home. Sidriss assumes that Ben has come to do the cleaning, because he is carrying a mop. She asks him to start cleaning by the table:

"Father may be a mage, but that doesn't stop him from being a messy eater." - Sidriss.
 [Related Image] Ben's mopping reveals the spell INSIGHT written on the floor. This has to be used in the Fire Room, where a firestone has been left on one of the isolated sections of floor. It is a tricky, dangerous task to retrieve the firestone and exit safely, but the advisors guide Ben well and the task is completed successfully. In another dwarf tunnel, Ben finds a spyglass, through which Lord Fear and Lissard reveal that they have captured Fidjit and sealed off the level by placing guards at every exit. Lissard also reveals that the password is the name of Lord Fear's new monster. Ben then encounters Fidjit trapped in a pillory, and eventually agrees to release him with the skeleton keys.
 [Related Image] Fidjit accompanies Ben to the end of the level, where, as promised, there is a sentry on guard. He demands the password from Ben, and the team just about manage to remember the name Brollachan from their meeting with Romahna. The guard abandons his post, Fidjit unlocks the large metal door, and Ben steps onto Smirkenorff's back. Smirkenorff is more than happy to accept the firestone as payment, and flies Ben to the Rift of Angar, and level two.

Level Two: Brother Strange makes a brief appearance to warn Ben about the vast numbers of trolls hanging around level two, before the team makes use of another spyglass. The first half of the sequence sees Lord Fear and Brollachan arguing about what dungeoneers are for (eating, not questioning, Lord Fear asserts) and the second half sees Lissard explaining to Fear that he has scattered the letters of a mighty spell throughout level two, making it all too obvious that the team's task in the level will be to collect these letters.
 [Related Image] The clue room follows, where Ben picks up a red key and a jar labelled Darkness. The first letter of the spell is also collected here - C. The key is used almost immediately to release Marta from a locked chest. To say thank-you for this good turn, Marta reveals the combination for the Trial by Spikes, to the sound of echoing troll-steps in the distance. In this room, the letter I is added to the broken spell.

In the next room, the team makes its fatal error. The chamber appears to be empty apart from two small stools, and Treguard and Majida discuss how strange it is that there is no spell letter in the room. This is the only clue the team has to open the Darkness jar, and they don't pick up on it! This is hardly surprising, as it is far from obvious that they are supposed to do this, and the sound of troll-steps getting ever closer makes it very hard to decipher the one, very obscure, clue. So it is that Ben exits the room without the third letter, thus sealing his fate.
 [Related Image] A meeting with Sylvester Hands follows, which is typically comic and pointless. Ben has to persuade Hands to get off the barrel he is sitting on, as part of a letter is protruding from beneath it. When Ben has annoyed Hands sufficiently, the loathsome vagabond goes off to get his magic rope, leaving Ben free to move the barrel, revealing the letter D underneath. However, with one part of the spell missing, the quest is already doomed. Ben is killed off at the Trial by Spikes, which the team attempt competently and calmly, despite Majida's erroneous opinion that they are too slow!
 [Related Image] The fact is that the production team are determined to kill them off here, and the advisors guide Ben so well that the rotten producers have to stick a huge troll in the way before they can make the team die! With the advisors' (and our) view of Ben totally obscured, the final set of spikes is heard to give Ben a pretty severe enema, snuffing out the chance of having a winning Ben for the third series in a row!

Summary: A canny, intelligent team who were fun to watch, despite Ben's somewhat annoying style of dungeoneering. They should have made it to level three, but an obscure error eventually brought a premature (and painful) end to their quest.

[Previous team: Team 4 of Series 7
Next team: Team 6 of Series 7]

Provided By: Eyeshield, 2007-05-21 10:45:15
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