Endless Quest Books: Crimson Crystal Adventures
Macari, Jr., Mario D. (interior)
Williams, Gary (interior)
0880382104 / 9780880382106
|Number of Endings:||12|
|User Summary:||You are Garik, a young magician unexpectedly given the mission of defeating an evil king with a magic crystal.|
|Demian's Thoughts:||This is a rather weak book. The plot is all too familiar, the writing is a bit on the incoherent side and the Crimson Crystal-using puzzles and illustrations are pointless. Admittedly, I can't think of a much better way to use the silly gimmick of this series.|
Like HeartQuest, another spin-off from Endless Quest, this is a new series. The only difference is the gimmick of using a magic viewer to look through and find hidden messages in the artwork. Even as a kid I found this gimmicky. Also like HeartQuest, the series wasn't very successful, lasting only four books (compared to Endless Quest at 36 originally).
In this you play Garik, a low level mage set out to oppose an evil dictator. There are two main paths, one in which you oppose the dictator directly, gaining a love interest, a young thief named Andrea. On the other you gain a griffon as a companion. The book has a bit of humor with the interplay between the greedy griffon and yourself. In one scenario, the griffon can even wind up as king of your realm.
The crimson crystal is fairly pointless, but to be honest, I really don't see how it could be anything else. Without it, the book would fit comfortably into the Endless Quest series.
Riddle of the Griffon provides an interesting, albeit weak, start for this short lived branch off of the Endless Quest series. Though the plot is a bit weak at times, I nonetheless found myself enjoying this book which could, admittedly, at times, be a complete mess. Despite some weak choices and somewhat clichéd plot (young would-be hero has to set off on a quest to find an item of power to stop a tyrannical despot), the book manages to save itself with fairly interesting writing and, at least for me, some amusing moments of levity and humor -- especially between the main protagonist (Garik the low-level mage and would-be king) and the book's namesake griffon Leo Aquila -- Leo meaning "Lion" and Aquila of course meaning "Eagle," clever huh? Leo's greedy nature threatens to get a tad annoying at times but is usually countered by a snaky sense of humor and a generally lovable nature. Choices are fairly logical though more than a few are rendered rather obsolete by leading to the same result regardless of which you choose. It can be a bit frustrating at times but it's a flaw easily overlooked by the general sense of fun provided by the book.
The gimmick itself of the "Crimson Crystal" or rather the 3-D effects incorporated in the series is a bit silly and slightly pointless as, in general, these books can still be read through without the sake of the gimmick, but it nonetheless provides a bit of fun -- especially to younger readers as well as providing a sense of nostalgia for older readers such as myself. I've read a few complaints here and there about the art in this particular book and while I'll admit it can be a bit on the cartoonish side I found myself enjoying it as it seemed to fit with the rather nonsensical feel and odd bits of humor provided within the pages. All in all I consider Riddle of the Griffon to be a worthwhile book to both fans and collectors, especially those of you who, like myself, loved the Crimson Crystal Adventures' father series, Endless Quest.
On a side note, certain endings in this book can lead to Leo Aquila becoming the king rather than Garik. This odd little choice of endings provided me with no small degree of amusement.
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