Golden Dragon Fantasy Gamebooks
Le Château des âmes damnées (French)
De fortabte sjæles slot (Danish)
Ushinawareta oni no shiro [失われた魂の城] (Japanese)
The Castle of Lost Souls, Part 1: The Champion (Mini-Adventure)
The Castle of Lost Souls, Part 2: The Quest (Mini-Adventure)
The Castle of Lost Souls, Part 3: The Demon Road (Mini-Adventure)
The Castle of Lost Souls, Part 4: The Evil Eye (Mini-Adventure)
Hartas, Leo (interior)
July 11, 1985 (original)
December, 1986 (American edition)
July 6, 2013
0425094170 / 9780425094174
0583307620 / 9780583307628 (original)
1490526129 / 9781490526126
|User Summary:||You are hired to find and destroy an evil demon who keeps the soul of a dead man imprisoned.|
After a rough slog through Curse of the Pharoah, Golden Dragon ends on a somewhat mundane story. By the end I was carrying around so much weird junk I had to double-check I wasn't reading an Ian Livingstone book. At least in Castle of Lost Souls you don't make it all the way to the end only to scream, "I'm supposed to have found WHAT??!"
On the whole, the book is pretty much average. The encounters aren't bad although they sometimes verge into the comical, and your demonic nemesis isn't all that intimidating as gamebook end bosses go (for my complaints against Curse of the Pharoah, the one thing I can't say is it lacked for fearsome villains). If you've read this far into Golden Dragon you might as well finish it up, but otherwise this book isn't really worth bending over backwards to read.
This book has a somewhat weird history. Its first version was serialized in Games Workshop's White Dwarf magazine (which at that time had a much larger coverage of role-playing products than it does now) from April through July 1984, making this possibly the earliest solo adventure written by Dave Morris. It's also the only gamebook-related project in which Dave's then fiancée, Yve Newnham, participated. Unfortunately, I'm unable to comment on the differences between the White Dwarf version and the Grafton Books one, since I've never been able to peruse the former. However, I can say this seems sort of a strange choice to end this series with, as it is clearly a gamebook directed at beginners with adventure gaming in general (as the magazine version must have been). Castle of Lost Souls is considerably less difficult than your usual Golden Dragon gamebook, but it's still pretty good.
This adventure consists mostly of gathering several items, then travelling to the castle mentioned in the title to do battle with the demon. The writing is, for the most part, of lesser quality than that found in previous Dave Morris books, but the book has several saving graces. One of them is Leo Hartas' return as illustrator, which certainly adds a lot of flavour to the book. I also liked the fact that there is a lot of flexibility - there's often more than one way to obtain an item you need, and some of the sub-quests can be indeed entertaining and interesting. There is also more than one way through the castle to the final goal, which adds replay value to the book The opportunity to explore several different settings (village, wilderness and castle) is also a plus. The authors seem intent on showing the many possibilities of different settings - there are several opportunities for social interaction (with all sort of results) in the village, while the encounters in the wilderness and the castle are usually well-designed and representative of the dangers one can find in those settings. The illusion maze, for example, is particularly clever.
Overall, the book is not too difficult. There are many items which will allow you to overcome most obstacles quite easily, but there are still some hurdles here and there which may lead to failure if you are not careful. Figuring the correct way, however, shouldn't take too long. The rather low level of difficulty and variety of settings mean this is an excellent choice to get started with gamebooks, as it offers many varied adventures while keeping frustration to a bare minimum. People with more experience, however, may find it too easy for their taste. I don't consider it an essential read, but it's not bad.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the plot summary.|
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Golden Dragon #6 Character Sheet