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Item - The Forbidden Gate

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(back cover)

Series: Knightmare — no. 5
Author: Morris, Dave
Illustrators: Rowe, David (uncredited)
Thwaites, Jan (interior)
Date: 1992
ISBN: 0440863171 / 9780440863175
Length: 71 pages (novella), 97 sections (gamebook)
Number of Endings: 10 (not including passages which only result in death under certain circumstances)
User Summary: In the novella, three children from the present day somehow find their way to Knightmare Castle; in the gamebook, the reader must travel to a distant island and retrieve the egg of a dragon.
Demian's Thoughts:

The change in tone between the last book and this one is definitely dramatic. The gritty and historical stories of the past four books have been replaced by an exaggerated, anachronism-filled tale more reminiscent of the Zork books than anything else. I can't say I'm pleased, though the book is not without merits. The novella, if nothing else, is admirable for including a blind character without being heavy-handed about it. The gamebook, though the shortest so far in terms of sections, actually feels much lengthier than early adventures, and by forcing the reader to choose from a long list of skills (ranging from seafaring to gambling), it flows slightly differently on each trip through. Additionally, codewords are used to keep track of certain events, meaning that things early in the adventure can change events later down the line. While it's a shame that the feel of the earlier books could not be retained in the changeover to a younger audience, at least some creativity went into the game design....

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