Hero's Challenge: Sagard the Barbarian
McCaig, Iain (interior)
|User Summary:||You journey to a jungle region south of Hitaxia in search of a lost city where immense power and wealth await you. Meanwhile, two powerful enemies are plotting to destroy you.|
When the time came to review this book, a thought I never before considered myself capable of crossed my mind: "what a drag, I have to read another gamebook." Indeed, my worst fears were confirmed: whereas books 2 and 3 introduced some flexibility which made them bearable, this book has none of it. There is little to say here that hasn't been said in my previous reviews: once again the book is filled with battles – both individual and mass combat – which are heavily stacked in the player's favour. While there are several paths through the book, the encounters and the story are for the most part so unimaginative it seems like a rush job (there is one exception, at most). As in the previous book, it's possible to defeat the final enemy with just one lucky die roll, an author trademark that does little to increase interest. The only enjoyable aspect of this book is that some of Ian McCaig's illustrations (on about the only occasion when a British artist did work for an American gamebook) are great, and that's about it.
Overall, the series feels unfinished, especially because it's possible for the player character to become separated from his main love interest in the third book, and while a future reunion is hinted at, it doesn't ever happen. In this book the authors hint at subsequent books, but fortunately they didn't publish any. As a reader, you would do well to spend your time somewhere else.
The fourth and final book of the series, although it doesn't seem that that was the intention as the book ends with you heading off with a new girlfriend to her kingdom. Turns out to be the best of the lot.
The book begins with a jungle sorcerer who steals different body parts from men to make himself physically perfect (an ancient plastic surgery addict?) deciding he needs the heart of a brave man -- Conan, er...Sagard!
The book starts with you getting captured by the brother of a sultan you killed in an earlier book. A fun escape leads you to recruiting an army of ex-slaves to travel south in search of the wizard. It has a very southern land desert and jungle feel to it with some fun individual encounters.
The artwork is great, and like previous books, some few scenes are well written, such as when you meet your love interest, Uruthu, and when she sacrifices herself to the gorilla men, as well as the voodoo zombie encounters; however, these are few and far between.
As there are no more books, we can assume that Sagard happily lives with his new princess lover in her jungle kingdom.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the plot summary.|
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