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The Forbidden City

(British cover)
(American cover)
Series: The World of Lone Wolf #2
Platform: Web Browser
Translated Into: Le Cité interdite (French)
La città proibita (Italian)
Skuggornas port (Swedish)
Die verbotene Stadt (German)
Authors: Page, Ian
Dever, Joe (editing)
Illustrators: McCaig, Iain (British cover)
Corben, Richard (American cover)
Bonner, Paul (interior)
Release Dates: March, 1986 (British edition)
May, 1987 (American edition)
October 30, 2003 (Project Aon release)
ISBNs: 0099447800 / 9780099447801 (British edition)
0425097102 / 9780425097106 (American edition)
Length:310 sections
Number of Endings:26 (not including failure by loss of points)
User Summary: Having found the Lost Tribe of Lara, you now must use their powers to locate the Shadow Gate to the Daziarn Plane so that you can proceed with your mission.
Demian's Thoughts: This book is a dramatic improvement over its predecessor. The writing has more flavor, and the characterization is stronger. The previous book had a tendency to describe the personalities of its characters without actually showing how they acted, but this one does a much better job of making its characters seem like real and interesting people; where book one might have described a character as having a sense of humor, this one instead includes humor in the dialogue. The game design on display here is also a lot more fair than the previous book -- I managed to win on my second attempt, and while my first death seemed a bit arbitrary, I found the experience of playing without cheating to be completely possible (and thus worthwhile). I suppose it helps a bit that the book allows you to grow in terms of magical abilities and Willpower points, though I don't see it being impossible to win even with a completely fresh character. The biggest criticism I can level at the book is that it's a bit short; I wonder why it's so far short of the usual 350-section length found in Lone Wolf books....

More reviews by Demian

Kveto's Thoughts: The second book in the Grey Star series might be better than the first. You gain 10 more willpower points and an extra spell power, which makes the adventure more achievable.

You reached the lost tribe of Lara who provide you with a guide to find the magic gate. Urik is a kind of comedy shaman who has some helpful skills. You are carried by a giant bird to a swamp and then to a lost city. there is a kind of interlude where you help a secret society lead a revolt against the witch-king's forces.

I decided to try to get through the book without the most obviously powerful spell, sorcery. On the first two tries I died at some point, one instant death and one loss of endurance. For the third try I took sorcery and succeeded, it feels almost by accident. I'll try it again without sorcery to see if it's possible.

The story flows well with lots of opportunities to use the various spells offered. And you gain some interesting companions, but not as good as the witch Tanith from the last book. And the different settings, including the cursed city filled with insane people, are interesting.

The only problem is, like the last book, it feels a bit railroady. Sometimes they don't even offer you a choice in an obvious situation.

But overall, a fantastic book.

More reviews by Kveto

utfanatic's Thoughts: A superior game book, but like the first in this series, there are some flaws which appear, especially in the second half.

First, the good things. Building upon the history and characterization of the first book, you really feel "in character" in this book. With an extra 10 WP and another magical ability, you are primed for success. You also acquire new travelling companions who are characterized fairly well. The writing is good, and the game system works superbly. The subplot with the Freedom Guild rebels adds wonderful flavor and is handled superbly, as is your character's dream sequence where he encounters an enemy. The authors do a wonderful job as well of setting the mood and drawing you into the world and story.

As well, these authors are among the best around at communicating to the reader unique and fantastic flora and fauna, apropos to their world. You really feel immersed in another reality. There are MANY items to find within this world, adding to the excitement.

Now, I would have liked to have seen elementalism available to be used in the swamps much more. It obviously could have come in quite handy.

There is one key decision to be made at Karnali with the Kazim Stone. Make the wrong choice and your EP and WP will be substantially weakened. If you make the right choice, you are given sufficient healing along the rest of the way to complete the adventure. Make the wrong choice and you will likely die from lost EP.

The authors do tend to herd you along at times. In a number of places, they make decisions for you or give you choices which all lead to the same place. I don't care for that. There is also one instance in the Forbidden City where, if you fail to look for a comrade, you are sent to a passage which explains that you exit the city, wander for three days and die... inexplicable and lazy in my mind. The authors are better than that, especially considering they only put 310 passages in the book. It easily could have been expanded to account for more choices.

As well, there appears to be an error in entry 49 where the choices are reversed. You are asked to calculate your total WP + EP and subtract this from 40. If the number is less than 14 (which should be a good thing), you die. If greater than 15, you succeed. They have the choices reversed in other words.

Basically, as in book 1, the first half or 2/3 of the book is generally excellent, with the last half or 1/3 feeling rushed and with the authors lapsing into laziness.

However, all in all, this is a very good gamebook which shouldn't be missed.

Rating 1-10: 8

More reviews by utfanatic

Users Who Own This Item: Alarion, AlHazred, andyr, Aniline, Ardennes (US), Avenger (Berkley), B0N0V0X, Barker1952, Belgarath, bookwormjeff (US & UK), Braldt, brujeria!, casperthegoth, Crazyscotsman, CSquared, c_wickham (for Kindle only), dArtagnan, dave2002a, dblizzard72, desdichado66, Dirk Omnivore, Dronak (American), Ed, edwebb, EegahInc, egokun, firefoxpdm, Gamebook, Garrick Muttley, Gartax, gnomeza, Greeneuva, greyarea13, Grifter (UK & US), Haoie, Ian2405, Jubal, juski, katzcollection, kinderstef, knginatl, Kojiro, le maudit, LordJR, Luke, Malthus Dire, marginal_space, mattender, mir1812, mlvoss, mvstang, nelsondesign, nerelax, Nich, novelist1982, ntar (US & UK), outspaced, Pessimeister, peterm2, Pirrakas (US), plowboy (UK), Pseudo_Intellectual, qazplm (US edition), Radjabov (UK version), randrews, redeyeball, Sabreman, Salpynx (UK), Sir Olli (UK & US), sireeyore (British), SkarnTasKai (US), skttrbrain, spragmatic (US), StagQuests (UK), Superfro, ThaRid (2 copies), ThisGuy, Threepwud, Tremendez, truce57, twar, TWolf, utfanatic, wonderfly, Yalius, yermither, zat, Zolika
Users Who Want This Item: Aryon, Ffghtermedic, Lambchop, Mr ?, NEMO, SkarnTasKai (UK)
Users with Extra Copies: B0N0V0X
Braldt
dave2002a
mvstang
ntar - American
Pirrakas - US
Radjabov
Sir Olli
Threepwud
twar - (UK) Some water damage. Still good copy. No written markings.
utfanatic

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