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The King's Demon

Series: Robin of Sherwood #1
Translated Into: Il demonio del re (Italian)
Demônio do rei (Portuguese)
Authors: Staplehurst, Graham
Mason, Paul (uncredited)
Illustrator: Nicholson, Russ
Release Date: 1987
ISBN: 0140322949 / 9780140322941
Length:400 sections
Number of Endings:11 (not including failure by loss of points)
User Summary: You are Robin Hood. News reaches you that Sir Jean du Melusine, a dangerous Frenchman, has arrived in England to assist the evil King John. Obviously, you decide to do something about this unfortunate event....
Demian's Thoughts: This is a nice start to the series. It's not too hard, giving lots of opportunities to heal up and avoiding too many pointless instant death situations, but it's challenging enough that it's unlikely to be won on the first attempt. It took me about five tries to claim victory, but I never found the book too frustrating or repetitive. Although the major events of the story take place in roughly the same order each time through, there are enough choices that the reader can interact with the set events in a number of different ways; it never just comes down to an irritatingly-hard series of dice rolls, as far too many gamebooks tend to. I also very much enjoyed the game system used here -- the mechanics add excitement to the story rather than just slowing it down. I wasn't too pleased by the wound diagram illustrations, though -- they're so detailed that they're not very useful for keeping track of anything; in fact, without referring to the rules on wounding, I could never have figured out which boxes went with which body areas, or even which parts of the pictures were supposed to be boxes. I wasn't overly impressed by the story at first, perhaps partially due to my lack of familiarity with the Robin of Sherwood TV show, but once a few pieces fell into place, I enjoyed it. My biggest complaint, apart from the hard-to-use wound diagrams, is that victory seems to come rather quickly if it comes at all; perhaps I was just lucky, however. In any case, flaws or not, this is a book worth reading.

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