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Item - The Siege of the Dragonriders

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(American cover)
(British cover)
Series: Wizards, Warriors & You — no. 2
Translated Into: L'Attaque des cavaliers-dragons (French)
El cerco de los dragones (Spanish)
Ryuu no musha-tachi no kougeki [竜の武者たちの攻撃] (Japanese)
Author: Affabee, Eric (pseudonym used by Stine, R. L.)
Illustrators: Norem, Earl (interior and American cover)
Kirby, Josh (British cover)
Date: August, 1984
ISBN: 0380880547 / 9780380880546 (American edition)
Length: 103 pages
Number of Endings: 18 (not counting conditional failure)
User Summary: An army of men riding on dragons have destroyed the kingdom's harvest and threatened world domination; you must discover who they are and devise a way to stop them.
Demian's Thoughts:

One of the great mysteries that plagued me for years of gamebook reading was whether or not Eric Affabee was a pseudonymous reference to the Monty Python "Eric the Half a Bee" song. Finally, years later, I discovered from Contemporary Authors that it's actually a name used by R. L. Stine. Unfortunately, though, if the name is in fact a Monty Python reference (which seems pretty likely), no other humor shows through in the writing, which is rather dry and tedious. For some reason, the author feels a need to keep bringing up old foes of the Wizard and Warrior even though these characters have never been mentioned before; without actual past references, all of these supposedly startling revelations have a way of falling flat. Despite these attempts at establishing a past history for the Wizard and Warrior, the book's internal continuity is non-existent; the paths for the Wizard and Warrior lead to completely different backstories for the adventure (and ultimately to separate successful endings, unlike the previous volume), plus there's at least one choice which makes no sense. On page 48, the Wizard is given two options -- to prevent the Warrior from attacking a dragon, or to prevent the Warrior from attacking a dragon because the Wizard thinks this will cause the dragon to take him somewhere important. This is pretty much a non-choice, but what makes it particularly frustrating is that if you think the dragon will take you someplace good, it instead eats you, but if you stop the Warrior from attacking it without having any thoughts, the dragon in fact takes you someplace good! Very strange. These flaws aside, gameplay is a little less frustrating than the previous book but still almost entirely based on luck. I didn't run out of things to try as quickly before winning this time, though I still didn't feel a particular sense of accomplishment in my eventual victory.

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Kveto's Thoughts:

This was perhaps the second book in the series I read after book #5. It's fairly okay. I like that the villain of the piece can change depending on your paths and which character you choose, giving it more replayability. The Wizard probably has the more interesting journey, eventually facing his evil brother, Warrick the Wizard (who helpfully dresses the same as the wizard but is bulkier).

It also has the cool concept of the men being trained to ride by the dragon masters rather than the other way round.

I'd rank it above book 5 but below book 3.

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utfanatic's Thoughts:

Better than the first book in this series. The warrior is actually given some meaningful choices to make aside from which weapon to use. However, too many of the wizard's choices concerning spells center on nothing but raw luck, again. Power spells are also introduced, which are extraordinary spells, not listed in the back of the book, usable only upon prompting by the book.

To echo Demian, it is odd that the backstory and ultimate foes change depending on whether you are the wizard or warrior. However, the wizard does come upon an interesting situation involving familial relations late in the book which was intriguing, but could have been executed even better.

As Demian said, a choice involving whether to ask the dragon to take you to the Dragonriders or try to stop the fighter from attacking the Dragon makes no sense. If you ask the Dragon to take you, he eats you. If you try to stop the fighter from attacking, the dragon takes you... hmmm....

All in all, it was a tad more sophisticated than the first book, and more well written, with at least a semblance of an effort for storytelling and development.

Rating 1-10: 5

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Special Thanks:Thanks to Slick for the British cover scan and Lecta Wambold for spotting and correcting a typo.
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Users with Extra Copies: Fireguard - US version, 2 two copies

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