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The Haunted Castle of Ravencurse

(American cover)
(British cover)
Series: Wizards, Warriors & You #5
Translated Into: El castillo del cuervo maldito (Spanish)
Ookarasu no noroi no shiro [大鴉の呪いの城] (Japanese)
Author: Beach, Lynn
Illustrators: Norem, Earl (interior and American cover)
Kirby, Josh (British cover)
Release Date: February, 1985
ISBNs: 0380895234 / 9780380895236 (American edition)
0552522953 / 9780552522953 (British edition)
Length:103 pages
Number of Endings:19
User Summary: King Henry's coffers are running low, but he knows of a dangerous old castle where you can probably obtain some treasures valuable enough to replenish them....
Demian's Thoughts: As I had hoped, I found this book more entertaining than the previous one. Although thin on plot, it manages to successfully capture a bit of the fantasy dungeon crawl feel that makes so many gamebooks so entertaining. There are numerous challenges to overcome, two treasures to find, and multiple paths to victory (including a bit of non-linearity in some places; the treasures can be obtained in any order). It feels rather brief, but at least it manages to be enjoyable while it lasts. As in the third book, a map is provided at the front of the book to add flavor and help with strategy. Also like book three, this one relies a little less on random chance than the others, though it's still possible to die as a result of guessing the wrong random number, flipping a coin poorly or reading the book on the wrong day of the week; you can't have everything!

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Fireguard's Thoughts: Haunted Castle of Ravencurse is a nice little departure from the standard book in its series. The objective is a bit more complex than your average Wizards, Warriors & You book -- find the two treasures, then get out again -- leading to play sessions that are usually a bit longer and in my estimation a little more satisfying. While the success of battles and spell casting is still sometimes determined by flipping coins or the ludicrous practice of what time of day it is, just as often it seems to be a matter of simply choosing the right tools for the job. The monsters to be faced were interesting; there's the giant spider which no haunted castle is complete without, and the zombies which are tougher than you're probably used to. Definitely worth a look.

More reviews by Fireguard

Kveto's Thoughts: This is a standard dungeon (or castle) crawl, nothing more. There is really no plot to speak of. Basically, go to the castle, find a pair of McGuffins and win. One is guarded by a talking giant spider, the other by zombies (which doesn't change whether you pick the wizard or the warrior).

This was the first book in the series I read and it feels like the first book in a series rather than number 5 as it is so simple; quite a letdown after the mystery and intrigue of book #3.

I recall one memorable scene, when you play the warrior and get wrapped up in the spider's web. The wizard makes a cool effort to save you, which reminds you they are a team (as whichever character you pick usually does everything in the book with the other along as a sidekick).

As a kid, I remember being annoyed at the author's love for the "devil's dagger." If you don't bring that along as the warrior you feel screwed. Kind of annoying when there are many cooler weapons to choose from.

Overall, it's fine for what it is.

More reviews by Kveto

Special Thanks:Slick's scan of the British cover has been replaced by a higher-quality image; however, the contribution is still appreciated.
Users Who Own This Item: bookwormjeff, Chanticrow, Contrarian, dave2002a, Ed (UK edition), exaquint, Fireguard, Greeneuva, hoops4ever, horrorbusiness, Hugues, Jubal, katzcollection, Khellendros (US), kinderstef, knginatl (US, UK), Lambchop, le maudit, mlvoss, nelsondesign, Nomad, redpiper05, SherlockHolmes, spragmatic (US,UK), ThaRid (2 copies), ThisIslandEarth, Tremendez, Von Scotty, Yalius
Users Who Want This Item: Aryon, Belgarath, Dronak, Ffghtermedic, Gartax, LordJR, NEMO, Pseudo_Intellectual, Ryuran333, twar, utfanatic, yermither
Users with Extra Copies: dave2002a
exaquint
Hugues

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