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Item - Escape from Castle Quarras

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Series: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks — no. 3
Translated Into: El castillo de Quarras (Spanish)
A fuga do Castelo de Quarras (Portuguese)
Kuoorasu-jou kara no dasshutsu [クォーラス城からの脱出] (Japanese)
Den magiska stenen (Swedish)
Nel castello di Quarras (Italian)
Tyrannens juvel (Danish)
Le Voleur de Karass (French)
Author: Niles, Douglas
Illustrators: Easley, Jeff (cover)
Nelson, Mark A. (interior)
Date: June, 1985
ISBN: 088038252X / 9780880382526
Length: 189 pages (202 sections)
Number of Endings: 34 (25 deaths, 6 setbacks, 3 victories)
User Summary: You are Derek Shadowalker, a retired thief of the Robin Hood variety. An old friend informs you that the king's present cruelty is due to an evil sorcerer and a magical gem, so you set out to put things right.
Demian's Thoughts:

This isn't a bad gamebook, though it's somewhat imperfect. On the negative side, there are a few minor continuity errors (though nothing like the problems with the previous book), the plot is very familiar, and a victorious path can feel rather short. On the positive side, there's strategy and challenge to be found here, and it takes quite a few tries to get through successfully (though victory is certainly attainable).

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Fireguard's Thoughts:

While the title doesn't fit -- you try to break into rather than out of Castle Quarras -- I found the situations and writing above average for the series, and the book to be an enjoyable if quick read.

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

(review based on the Spanish translation)

This is a very good gamebook, and it will probably appeal to you if you enjoyed Midnight Rogue and are in search of another gamebook which allows you to play a thief character. Overall, this book is outstanding in every respect: the writing is atmospheric and engaging, there is a good balance between stealth, use of thieving skills and combat (giving this book a feel much like that of the Thief series of computer games which came out years later), and there is a strong strategic element which involves choosing a maximum of four items of inventory from a list presented at the beginning of the game. The book is carefully constructed to reward a good choice of items from the beginning, but most importantly, the adventure will be challenging no matter which ones you choose.

The design of the adventure deserves a separate mention. Instead of constructing the book so that there is a single, narrow and long path to victory, the author chose to design the book so that there are many different ways to reach the final goal, each with some degree of difficulty. A consequence of this is that the paths through are shorter than in the average gamebook, but that wasn't really a problem for me, since the ending and the final showdown often differ depending on which way you take. Furthermore, even after having completed the book two or three times it's quite fun to continue replaying so that you discover all the dangers Castle Quarras holds. Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend this book if you can find it.

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Kveto's Thoughts:

This was my first Super Endless Quest book, and it's quite a good one. The combat system is much more developed from Pax Tharkas, and the added fun of choosing your equipment for the adventure helps. I like the fact that you have the option of being completely unarmed for the adventure.

You play Derek Shadowalker (dumb names are common in Super Endless Quest books), a retired thief. Your mission is to sneak into a wizard's tower and steal a gem, a solid if unoriginal plot if there ever was one. The book does a good job with the "sneak" atmosphere feeling somewhat like "Tower of the Elephant" by Robert E. Howard. I like the solo aspect of the mission. It has some fun set pieces like the fight with the gargoyle on the cover and an underground catacombs flooded with water and filled with zombies.

A pretty cool book, even if the title is completely backwards (not escape but an infiltration).

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unclefunny's Thoughts:

This book is a sentimental favorite of mine, not only introducing me to this series but the overall concept of gamebooks that are more involved than CYOA, which never really got my attention. Decades later it still holds up pretty well. Kharseron is as well-developed a villain as one encounters in these books and there are several other memorable monsters, traps and puzzles to keep the player on their toes. The element of choosing your supplies adds strategy without complicating the gameplay.

Two critiques: As other users have commented, the book is quite short and while the multiple-paths-to-victory design is good, there are a few that aren't really fleshed out; I would have liked to have see some of the shorter routes discarded in favor of providing the player with more dark corners of the castle to explore. Also, as a thief, it seems like Derek doesn't get to use his stealth ability all that much (though, certainly it is essential when having to hide from the nefarious wizard.)

Still: a strong adventure that gives the reader a clear sense of purpose with the mission and has good replay value.

More reviews by unclefunny

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