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Item - Curse of the Werewolf

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Series: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks — no. 12
Translated Into: La maldiciĆ³n del hombre-lobo (Spanish)
La maledizione del lupo mannaro (Italian)
Varulvens forbandelse (Danish)
Author: Martindale, Chris
Illustrators: Hildebrandt, Tim (cover)
Fabian, Stephen (Steve) (interior)
Date: February, 1987
ISBN: 0880384328 / 9780880384322
Length: 191 pages (220 sections)
Number of Endings: 36
User Summary: You are Feral, a warrior cursed by an evil wizard to transform into a wolf. You set off in search of vengeance and a cure.
Demian's Thoughts:

While I really like the premise of this book, it doesn't come together very well. First of all, the book itself seems kind of hastily thrown together; on page ten there's some text saying "Art A" where presumably an illustration was supposed to be inserted, and throughout the book the word "millennium" is spelled wrong. The game design itself is rather unthrilling as well, having several inconsistencies and relying too much on random chance. This could have been a wonderfully unique gamebook, but as it is it's decidedly unsatisfying.

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Fireguard's Thoughts:

Having just finished the spectacular Howl of the Werewolf, I decided to pick a similar title up and give it a run-through. Curse of the Werewolf, where to begin? You can guess that it involves your transformation into a werewolf, then your search for a cure, so let's get right to the gameplay.

You aren't automatically a slavering man-beast once the curse takes root; most of the time you waver between humanity and lycanthropy. As a half-beast you're a better fighter (even in armed combat, which is weird. Must be something like the Teen Wolf gift for basketball, I reckon), stronger, and have sharper senses. If you allow yourself to become a full werewolf, or circumstances force it onto you, you're better still, but have little to no control over your actions. Aside from that it's pretty much your standard AD&D book in terms of mechanics. Every so often you roll a skill check and try to beat a certain number. There's a special weapon you can find, which again is weird in a werewolf book, but except for your experience and hit point scores Curse requires very little bookkeeping.

There's two main paths through the book, one which I found satisfying (if abrupt at times), and another that involved combat with a variety of interesting monsters. Aside from having more potential to show the downside of your powers, though, I didn't enjoy the second as much. I did like that (SPOILER WARNING) it's possible to achieve a happy ending yet not be cured of your affliction. Howl of the Werewolf by comparison had no interest in showing that maybe there's life after lycanthropy (/SPOILER) Compared to Howl of the Werewolf, Curse is still the lesser of the two books, but a bad read it's not.

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

(review based on the Spanish translation)

This book is one of the high points in the series. Indeed, what could be more appealing than playing a warrior who at the start of the story is cursed with lycanthropy and must find a way to cure himself? The book is entertaining and action-packed, and there is more challenge involved in skill checks than is usually the case in this series. There are many different ways in which the adventure can develop, and it's rewarding to play the book again and again in order to find them all. There is also an innovative gameplay element involving the curse of lycanthropy, which is built into the game system so that the character's abilities and self-control diminish as time passes and the curse takes its toll.

The only problem with the book is that, as Demian mentions, which subplot you end up playing depends on a combination of player choices and the results of die rolls. It's true that this makes the book feel random, but I did not find it frustrating to play again and again in order to discover all the secrets the book holds. Overall, an excellent gamebook.

More reviews by Guillermo

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