Demian's Gamebook Web Page

Item - Castle of Lost Souls

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

(Original British edition)
(Original British edition)
(Original British edition)
(Original British edition)
(American edition)

Combined Summary

Series: Golden Dragon Fantasy Gamebooks — no. 6
Translated Into: Le Château des âmes damnées (French)
De fortabte sjæles slot (Danish)
Ushinawareta oni no shiro [失われた魂の城] (Japanese)
Adapted From: 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)
Authors: Morris, Dave
Newnham, Yve
Illustrators: Elettori, Bruno (Original British edition - cover)
Hartas, Leo (Original British edition - interior; American edition - interior)
Dates: July 11, 1985 (Original British edition - original)
December, 1986 (American edition)
July 6, 2013 (reissue edition)
ISBNs: 0425094170 / 9780425094174 (American edition)
0583307620 / 9780583307628 (Original British edition)
1490526129 / 9781490526126 (reissue edition)
Length: 309 sections
User Summary: You are hired to find and destroy an evil demon who keeps the soul of a dead man imprisoned.
Fireguard's Thoughts:

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.

More reviews by Fireguard

Guillermo's Thoughts:

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.

More reviews by Guillermo

Shadeheart's Thoughts:

[Rating: 1/10]
[Recommended? NO]

With neither the glitter of gold nor the ferocity of a dragon, the "Golden Dragon Fantasy Gamebooks" aim for and deliver a decidedly mixed story within the scope of "Castle of Lost Souls". Released during what I refer to as the golden age of both fantasy literature and interactive storytelling in general (the 1970s and 1980s; only in Japan do these still have the chance to continue blossoming), as with other titles in the series there are numerous lows that keep the enjoyment from ever taking full effect. All the hallmarks of the series are in full swing, alas - the game design system is as derivative as the narrative borrows from other works, the frustrating difficulty level which is annoying mostly due to the unforgiving ignorance of embedding opportunities to heal and/or preserve health, and, to my surprise and disappointment, an overall absence of unexpectedness or innovation. There's something especially juvenile about this title, I would add, in comparison to other works in the series; this the outlier for sure, and a far easier book than I anticipated. I would also like to call attention to how, when comparing the initial releases to the reprintings, the quality of the cover art sharply declines; the illustrious, evocative cover paintings on the original covers are inexplicably replaced with ugly, minimalistic garbage (not to mention how the text itself is carried over with loads of errors and zero attention to detail)... and I cannot help but wonder why the one thing that truly worked in the first editions of these gamebooks would be taken away and destroyed.

Ultimately overstaying its welcome for its polarizing difficulty/probability levels, mismatched narrative-and-style combination and lack of everlasting substance, I cannot help but suggest that readers avoid this gamebook title (and the series in general). Don't let yourself be fooled: while there is much to love in these stories - at least in how they were originally presented - readers would not be wrong to pass on these gamebooks and keep searching for more valuable quests. ^^

(Mysteriously disappears into the shadows.)

More reviews by Shadeheart

Special Thanks:Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the plot summary.
Users Who Own This Item: aehalpin, Alatar001, Aniline, Ardennes (US), B0N0V0X, BarefootJimmy (reissue), Belgarath, bigcobra, bookwormjeff, convict7421, Crazyscotsman, CSquared, dArtagnan, Darth Rabbitt (reissue), dave2002a, Demian, domj29, Dronak (reissue), Eamonn McCusker, EarlOfDrumer, Ed, edwebb, egokun, Erikwinslow (US), Faberwest, firefoxpdm, Fireguard, Gartax, Gibraltar, greyarea13, Himynameistony, horrorbusiness, jdreller, Joe_TC, juski (original UK), katzcollection, killagarilla, kinderstef, knginatl (US), le maudit, lek, Malthus Dire, mattender, mir1812 (FLP), mlvoss, nelsondesign, nerelax, Nich, Oberonbombadil (UK), outspaced, pelle, Pessimeister, Pirrakas, plowboy, Radjabov, Robert Mammone, Sabreman, Seizure, Sheridan77, Sir Olli, sireeyore, Smidgeccfc76, SojourningScribbler, spragmatic (US), StagQuests (UK), Tamerlane1396, ThisIslandEarth, Tremendez, truce57, twar (UK), Twoflower, Uraniborg (USA), Vampireman (reissue), waktool (UK 1st), Yalius, Zolika
Users Who Want This Item: dblizzard72, Erikwinslow (UK edition), Ffghtermedic, maurizio2112, Nomad, odo_ital, Pseudo_Intellectual, sebastian, utfanatic, Von Scotty, wildtiger_aakash (I would like to have all 5 of them), zat
Users with Extra Copies: kinderstef

Known Editions

Original British edition
American edition
reissue edition

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

Related Documents

Play Aid

Golden Dragon #6 Character Sheet