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Item - The Screaming Spectre

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Series: HeroQuest — no. 2
Author: Morris, Dave
Date: 1992
Length: 148 sections
User Summary: In the novella, an old wizard is haunted by what appears to be the ghost of his former master and it's up to one of his apprentices to save the day; in the HeroQuest scenario, a wizard has to find a magical item for the mysterious Cabiri; in the gamebook, a trainee wizard must cross the abyss at the edge of the world to save his master from captivity in the strange land at the other side.
dArtagnan's Thoughts:

This is a fun book. The novella may basically have the same plot as an episode of Scooby Doo (and like Scooby Doo, you'll have worked out who the villain is in 5 seconds), but Morris's writing is fast-paced and colourful enough to hold interest to the somewhat contrived and rushed conclusion. The HeroQuest scenario looks quite interesting though in my experience the game can verge on boring with only one player and a GM. The gamebook plays like a watered down version of Morris' earlier Eye of the Dragon with the majority of the decisions involving which spells to cast and which would be better saved for later on. The small amount of sections lets it down a tad in that progression of events is quite linear, though generally there are quite a few ways to deal with each encounter, which adds somewhat to the replayability. Not that this book is easy - the battle system means that odds are often not much in your favour in fights and you are often severely punished for choosing the wrong spells to cast. Still it shouldn't take too long to work out the best ways to deal with the encounters and get to the oddly humourous ending. I was a bit disappointed though that despite the fact that your character is supposed to be exploring a new country that no-one was supposed to know about, too many of the creatures and people you meet are fantasy cliches. A bit more imagination could have made this more memorable, but it still manages to be quite entertaining.

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Special Thanks:Thanks to dArtagnan for the summary.
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