Demian's Gamebook Web Page

Item - The Forest of Doom

(Original (Star), UK 1st printing (C&W) [1st])
(Original (Star), AU 1984 2nd printing (PH&B) [12th])
(Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 2nd printing (C&W) [14th])
(Original (Zigzag), UK 1985 1st printing (C&W) [18th])
(Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front), UK 1987 2nd printing (C&W) [23rd])
(Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Unnumbered), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th])
(Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 27th printing (Clays) [27th])
(Original (Dragon, Black text), UK 28th printing (Clays) [28th])
(Original (American), US 1st printing)
(Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (Clays))
(Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W))
(Scholastic (Standard))
To see more images, switch to Edition View.

Combined Summary

Online Full Text: Internet Archive (Wizard S1 (Standard), AU printing)
Series: Fighting Fantasy (1982-1995, Puffin) — no. 3
Fighting Fantasy (2002-2007, Wizard Books Series 1) — no. 8
Fighting Fantasy (2009-2012, Wizard Books Series 2) — no. 13
Fighting Fantasy (2017-, Scholastic) — no. 4
Alternate Title: Forest of Doom
Contained In: Fighting Fantasy Box Set 2 (Collection)
Fighting Fantasy Box Set 3 (Collection)
Fighting Fantasy Gamebox (Collection)
Fighting Fantasy Gamebox 1 (Collection)
The Forest of Doom: Software Pack (Collection)
Translated Into: El bosque tenebroso (Spanish)
Chernoles'e [Чернолесье] (Russian)
De fördömdas skog (Swedish)
A floresta da destruição (Portuguese)
A Floresta da Destruição (Portuguese)
A floresta da morte (Portuguese)
La foresta maledetta (Italian)
La Forêt de la malédiction (French)
Der Forst der Finsternis (German)
Gorata na obrechenite [Гората на обречените] (Bulgarian)
Hammeren i Monsterskogen (Norwegian)
Hukatuse mets (Estonian)
Kauhujen metsä (Finnish)
Ondskabens skov (Danish)
Het onheilswoud (Dutch)
Prokletý hvozd (Czech)
Unmei no mori [運命の森] (Japanese)
A végzet erdeje (Hungarian)
Adapted Into: Forest of Doom (Role-Playing Material)
The Forest of Doom (Video Game)
The Forest of Doom (Digital Gamebook)
The Forest of Doom (Merchandise Item)
Author: Livingstone, Ian
Illustrators: Ball, Robert (Scholastic (Standard) - cover; Scholastic (Porthole) - cover)
Corben, Richard (Original (American), US 1st printing - cover)
Krizan, Vlado (Scholastic (Standard) - interior; Scholastic (Porthole) - interior)
McCaig, Iain (Original (Star), UK 1st printing (C&W) [1st] - cover; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 27th printing (Clays) [27th] - cover; Original (Zigzag), UK 1985 1st printing (C&W) [18th] - cover; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front), UK 1987 2nd printing (C&W) [23rd] - cover; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Unnumbered), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th] - cover; Original (Dragon, Black text), UK 28th printing (Clays) [28th] - cover; Original (Star), UK 1983 2nd printing (C&W) [2nd] - cover; Original (Star), UK 1983 4th printing (C&W) [5th] - cover; Original (Star), UK 1983 5th printing (C&W) [6th] - cover; Original (Star), UK 1983 7th printing (C&W) [8th] - cover; Original (Star), AU 1984 2nd printing (PH&B) [12th] - cover; Original (Star), UK 1984 1st printing (C&W) [13th] - cover; Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 5th printing (C&W) [17th] - cover; Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 2nd printing (C&W) [14th] - cover; Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [20th] - cover; Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 2nd printing (C&W) [20th] - cover; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th] - cover)
McKenna, Martin (Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W) - cover; Wizard S2 (Large, Embossed) - cover; Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (Clays) - cover; Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W) - cover; Wizard S1 (Standard), AU printing - cover)
Barter, Malcolm (Original (Star), UK 1st printing (C&W) [1st] - interior; Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W) - interior; Wizard S2 (Large, Embossed) - interior; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 27th printing (Clays) [27th] - interior; Original (Zigzag), UK 1985 1st printing (C&W) [18th] - interior; Original (American), US 1st printing - interior; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front), UK 1987 2nd printing (C&W) [23rd] - interior; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Unnumbered), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th] - interior; Original (Dragon, Black text), UK 28th printing (Clays) [28th] - interior; Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (Clays) - interior; Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W) - interior; Wizard S1 (Standard), AU printing - interior; Original (Star), UK 1983 2nd printing (C&W) [2nd] - interior; Original (Star), UK 1983 4th printing (C&W) [5th] - interior; Original (Star), UK 1983 5th printing (C&W) [6th] - interior; Original (Star), UK 1983 7th printing (C&W) [8th] - interior; Original (Star), AU 1984 2nd printing (PH&B) [12th] - interior; Original (Star), UK 1984 1st printing (C&W) [13th] - interior; Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 5th printing (C&W) [17th] - interior; Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 2nd printing (C&W) [14th] - interior; Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [20th] - interior; Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 2nd printing (C&W) [20th] - interior; Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th] - interior)
Dates: 1983 (Original (Star), UK 1983 2nd printing (C&W) [2nd])
1983 (Original (Star), UK 1983 4th printing (C&W) [5th])
1983 (Original (Star), UK 1983 5th printing (C&W) [6th])
1983 (Original (Star), UK 1983 7th printing (C&W) [8th])
March, 1983 (Original (Star), UK 1st printing (C&W) [1st])
1984 (Original (Star), AU 1984 2nd printing (PH&B) [12th])
1984 (Original (Star), UK 1984 1st printing (C&W) [13th])
1984 (Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 2nd printing (C&W) [14th])
1984 (Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 5th printing (C&W) [17th])
February, 1984 (Original (American), US 1st printing)
1985 (Original (Zigzag), UK 1985 1st printing (C&W) [18th])
1986 (Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [20th])
1986 (Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 2nd printing (C&W) [20th])
1987 (Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front), UK 1987 2nd printing (C&W) [23rd])
2003 (Wizard S1 (Standard), AU printing)
February, 2003 (Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W))
September 7, 2017 (Scholastic (Standard))
ISBNs: 0140316043 / 9780140316049 (Original (Star), UK 1st printing (C&W) [1st], Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 27th printing (Clays) [27th], Original (Zigzag), UK 1985 1st printing (C&W) [18th], Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front), UK 1987 2nd printing (C&W) [23rd], Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Unnumbered), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th], Original (Dragon, Black text), UK 28th printing (Clays) [28th], Original (Star), UK 1983 2nd printing (C&W) [2nd], Original (Star), UK 1983 4th printing (C&W) [5th], Original (Star), UK 1983 5th printing (C&W) [6th], Original (Star), UK 1983 7th printing (C&W) [8th], Original (Star), AU 1984 2nd printing (PH&B) [12th], Original (Star), UK 1984 1st printing (C&W) [13th], Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 5th printing (C&W) [17th], Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 2nd printing (C&W) [14th], Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [20th], Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 2nd printing (C&W) [20th], Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th])
0440926793 / 9780440926795 (Original (American), US 1st printing)
1407181289 / 9781407181288 (Scholastic (Standard))
1840464291 / 9781840464290 (Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W), Wizard S1 (Standard), AU printing)
Length: 400 sections
Number of Endings: 3 instant failures, 1 victory, plus death by Stamina loss or bad Luck.
Special Thanks: Original (Star), UK 1st printing (C&W) [1st], Scholastic (Standard), Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 27th printing (Clays) [27th], Original (Zigzag), UK 1985 1st printing (C&W) [18th], Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Unnumbered), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th], Original (Dragon, Black text), UK 28th printing (Clays) [28th], Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (Clays):
Thanks to Ryan Lynch for the cover images.
Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front), UK 1987 2nd printing (C&W) [23rd]:
Thanks to James Thompson for the cover scans and Ryan Lynch and Ben Nelson for the superseded images.
Original (Star), AU 1984 2nd printing (PH&B) [12th]:
Thanks to Ryan Lynch for the cover scans.
User Summary: You encounter a dying dwarf and decide to finish the quest that he gave his life attempting to complete: to enter a dangerous, monster-filled forest in search of a precious hammer that the dwarfs of Stonebridge need to fight off the trolls that threaten their home.
Demian's Thoughts:

This book is really quite typical of the early fantasy-themed entries in the series -- it's relatively plotless, it features minimalistic writing that's extremely short on dialogue, and it doesn't do anything particularly unusual with the core rules. Really the only thing that distinguishes it from the past two adventures is the fact that it's set in an outdoor environment, which makes a nice change from the claustrophobic dungeons of its predecessors. Unfortunately, despite the mild novelty of its setting, the book isn't all that memorable. Apart from introducing Yaztromo and the dwarfs of Stonebridge, it doesn't contain much that I'd consider terribly imaginative. Of course, the less-than-thrilling story could be forgiven if it were supported by great gameplay. Alas, that's not really the case here...

The adventure is highly item-driven, which is something of a trademark of Ian Livingstone adventures; unfortunately, though, it's not done very well here. At the start of the adventure, you can purchase a wide variety of magic items, and this part of the game is roughly equivalent to picking spells in the previous adventure, though it's more tedious since you have to pay different amounts of money for different items. What I found really disappointing, though, was the way that these items are ultimately used. When you come to a place where you can use an item, you are asked if you have it. If you do, you use it successfully; if not, something bad happens (though rarely something fatal). This isn't very exciting -- I'd much rather be given a list of items to try and have to figure out which one works; that would be more suspenseful, and it would also offer the potential of multiple solutions to certain problems. As things stand, encounters are either boring or frustrating, with little middle ground.

Another major problem with the book is the way it loops back on itself. If you reach Stonebridge without both parts of the hammer, you have a chance of going back to section one, restocking with Yaztromo and starting all over again. I definitely like the possibility of a second chance (and third chance, and fourth chance...), and it's a nice way of balancing the fact that you have basically no hope at all of finding the hammer on your first try. Unfortunately, this leads to all manner of continuity problems, since the book doesn't even try to address the possibility that you've already slain monsters and taken treasures. This leaves the player wondering how to handle things the second time around, and it interferes with the realism of the book. The problem couldn't really have been fixed without greatly increasing the size of the book, but that doesn't change the fact that it detracts from the reader's experience.

Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh -- although this book isn't particularly exceptional, it's also far from being a disaster. It's a fun diversion, and it seems free from errors as long as you can suspend your disbelief about the whole looping thing. Its art isn't bad, either. In fact, compared to some of the unplayable, broken garbage I've encountered during my time as a gamebook collector, it shines like gold. Within the context of this series, though, it's average at best and rather seriously flawed at worst. It's not a classic, but it's worth playing if you're a completist (or have nothing better on hand).

More reviews by Demian

Florik's Thoughts:

I remember playing a friend's German copy back in the Eighties. I never finished it ... but now I did, having acquired the Scholastic re-release.

Surprisingly, I was not disappointed. Not at all. It was quite the no-brains exercise in mapping and fighting that I had hoped for. None of it too hard, really, not even the fighting, unless you roll up a hero with skill 7.

I'll readily admit there is no logic behind it all. There is not much of a story, either. It's just a forest dungeon, with short paragraphs - and I prefer them to be short, as I have to reread many of them on each playthrough. It feels a bit like playing a roguelike on a PC. Sometimes, that is just what I want to do.

There are several distinct paths through the forest. Occasionally they unite. Not all of them lead to victory. However, if you spend gold pieces on information, you will find the optimal path more easily. And while there is a shopping section right at the start, you'll have enough money to acquire more than half of the catalogue, which leaves you with a good chance to grab the right stuff. Also, those items do get used. Buying lots of stuff and using it soon after is fun.

I see two interesting experiments in this early Fighting Fantasy book. Both went wrong, but let's have a look anyway. One, if you fail to find what you need before you reach your destination, you can restart with your current character, which makes no sense, as every collected treasure, every defeated monster magically reappears where it was. Two, there is a fight near the end where you face two opponents at a time - not sequentially. It's a lot of hassle, keeping track of which of your rolls can do damage and which are purely defensive, doing no damage. I prefer the standard combat procedure, even if opponents queueing to have a go at you may seem a bit illogical.

More reviews by Florik

Kveto's Thoughts:

An early example of the series (and famous enough to have its own Wikipedia page), I owned this one as a wee lad.

A fairly standard forest type adventure, you search for two goblins who each have a section of an ancient Dwarven hammer. You can purchase magical items at a shop outside the forest (I always felt these magical 7-11's really cheapened the idea of magic in the fantasy settings, making it too commonplace).

There are two main paths through the forest. You will generally need at least two passes through the forest to succeed. The book is nothing special although the artwork is generally good. It has a few memorable encounters, such as a fight with a furry catwoman, a guy who has his foot caught in a bear trap (who steals from you if you help him) and a barbarian staked to the ground and left to die, who also attacks you if you free him. (One thing I like about Livingstone books is you often get punished for being kindhearted, which is counter to the morality in most early gamebooks).

Generally okay, nothing special here.

More reviews by Kveto

utfanatic's Thoughts:

A disappointing read. I had fonder memories of this book from childhood.

To best put it, this book is... tedious. You play a sword for hire, wandering the Northlands. You run into a dying dwarf who asks you to retrieve his village's hammer so they may fend off the trolls. The hammer is in the Forest of Doom. You set off, following his map, buy magic items from a wizard in a tower at the beginning of your quest, and are off into the woods. I made a map of my routes, found the items necessary eventually, but basically just quit the book. It was that boring for me.

There is very little characterization, encounters take place too quickly, writing is bland. The book basically consists of: picking myriad paths, fighting, finding an item, repeat. This is the most disappointing gamebook that I have read since I returned to reading gamebooks. Granted, that is partially due to my having fond memories of it, rather than having no memories of it. Eventually, I just put the book down. There is so little motivation for your character and you don't really feel a part of the world. To me, when a gamebook not only fails to excite you about discovering what will occur next, but induces you to quit reading, it is a poor one.

The book is incredibly basic. As well, not nearly enough logical choices are offered, and far too often, the author makes decisions for you to bypass possible routes. There are also often very dumb, illogical choices presented.

On the plus side, there are a few interesting encounters within the forest. Unfortunately, they last not nearly long enough, and are few and far between.

It is with regret that I cannot recommend this book unless you are brand new to the world of gamebooks. Perhaps then one might enjoy it.

Rating 1-10: 4

More reviews by utfanatic

Users Who Own This Item: aehalpin, Alarion, Alatar001 ((Star)), AlHazred, andrewholt, Aniline, Ardennes (US), Asmoderan, Auric, auximenes, B0N0V0X, badboybaggins, BarefootJimmy, Barker1952, Belgarath, bigcobra, bonhomme, bookwormjeff (US & UK), Braldt, Braxus, cayh_dilg, Citadel1963, Citanul, crazydave, Crazyscotsman, crispybacon, CSquared, Cyan, c_wickham, damieng, darkj, dArtagnan, Darth Rabbitt (American version), dave2002a, dblizzard72, dbriel, DeKoovenWolf, Demian (British edition (jagged cover, 2nd 1984 reprint) and American edition), demon of the deep lt, desdichado66, devilsboy, Dirk Omnivore, domj29, Dronak (1st reissue in FF Box Set 3), drystan, duckymolmol (Star), eadric, Eamonn McCusker, EarlOfDrumer, Ed, edwebb, egokun, Erikwinslow (US, UK ZZ), evilspoon, exaquint, Falcon (missing one page), Fearmint (Puffin: Star 10th Imp; Zigzag 14th Imp v1; Zigzag 14th Imp v2; DragonFoilSpineNum 25th Imp.), Ffghtermedic, Fido815, firefoxpdm, Florik, frosty88 (reissue), Gallicus (Limited Edition; Standard Edition), Gamebook, Garrick Muttley, Gartax, Gibraltar, gnomeza, Graham, greyarea13, Groatsworth, gryff, Gurvo, hadlee73, Haoie, Himynameistony, hoops4ever, horrorbusiness, Ian2405, Icedlake, jeff3333, jr, Jubal, juliebarkley, juski, katzcollection, khaxzan, killagarilla, killagirilla, kinderstef, kleme (American edition), knginatl (US, UK orig. numbered, UK reissue) (US, UK orig. numbered, UK reissue) (US, UK orig. numbered, UK reissue), Lambchop, le maudit, lewstherin, liam0404, MacbthPSW, Malthus Dire, MarcusP, marnaudo, MasterChief, mattender, matthaeus, MaxSpender, mcd, mir1812, mlvoss, Morthynmir, nelsondesign, NEMO ((American cover)), nerelax, Nich, ntar (US), Oberonbombadil (Star '84; Original zigzag '86), odo_ital, Office Linebacker_, Osirian08, outspaced, Pessimeister (dragon version), peterm2, Pirrakas, plowboy, Pseudo_Intellectual, qazplm (Original), redpiper05, Robert123 (Part of #1-2-3 boxed set), Rozo, ryderark (Spanish Altea Version), Sabreman, saint_k, Salpynx, sebastian, Sheridan77, sick_boy, Sir Olli (UK & US), sireeyore, skeleton, snakefire77, Soul Reaver, spragmatic, StagQuests (UK star cover signed Ian L & US), strawberry_brite, Tamerlane1396, terrysalt, ThaRid, Treble Incognito, Treguard, Tremendez, Trompe-l Oeil, truce57, twar, Twoflower, umbra682000, Uraniborg, utfanatic, Virtua Sinner, Von Scotty, Wardog, xinuz, Yalius, zat, Zolika
Users Who Want This Item: Cyan, duckymolmol (Green Zigzag), Fireguard (US), Grifter, Househeart, jeremydouglass, JiPi, MasterChief, Mr ?, mrwalker, NEMO (original,green cover on top ) (reissue cover), Nomad, SonicBlaze, ThisIslandEarth, twar, Waluigi Freak 99, yermither
Users with Extra Copies: badboybaggins
Barker1952
Cyan
devilsboy
exaquint
Falcon - missing one page
Gamebook
Ian2405 - 1 Original 'Star' Cover Edition & 1 `Green Banner' Edition Both U.K.
jr - Zig-Zag Cover
killagarilla
kinderstef
mattender
snakefire77 - original with early cover, some smudges en creases on outside but inside clean and no writing
Surcal
Vampireman
Yalius

Known Editions

Original (Star), UK 1st printing (C&W) [1st]
Original (Star), UK 1983 2nd printing (C&W) [2nd]
Original (Star), UK 1983 4th printing (C&W) [5th]
Original (Star), UK 1983 5th printing (C&W) [6th]
Original (Star), UK 1983 7th printing (C&W) [8th]
Original (Star), AU 1984 2nd printing (PH&B) [12th]
Original (Star), UK 1984 1st printing (C&W) [13th]
Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 2nd printing (C&W) [14th]
Original (Zigzag), UK 1984 5th printing (C&W) [17th]
Original (Zigzag), UK 1985 1st printing (C&W) [18th]
Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [20th]
Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 2nd printing (C&W) [20th]
Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number front), UK 1987 2nd printing (C&W) [23rd]
Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Unnumbered), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th]
Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 25th printing (C&W) [25th]
Original (Dragon, Bronze text, Number spine only), UK 27th printing (Clays) [27th]
Original (Dragon, Black text), UK 28th printing (Clays) [28th]
Original (American), US 1st printing
Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (C&W)
Wizard S1 (Standard), UK printing (Clays)
Wizard S1 (Standard), AU printing
Wizard S1 (Special), UK printing (C&W)
Wizard S2 (Large, Embossed)
Scholastic (Standard)
Scholastic (Porthole)

Please log in to manage your collection or post a review.

Related Documents

Autograph

Fighting Fantasy # 4 (Scholastic) Autographed Title Page
Thanks to Ryan Lynch for sharing this.

Play Aid

Fighting Fantasy # 3 Character Sheet

Bibliography of Items About "The Forest of Doom"

Articles

Linefeed: Computer Books, Game Books, Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Reviewed
Map of the Kingdom: Allansia, The Land of Fighting Fantasy