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Stop that Witch!

Series: Endless Quest Books: Crimson Crystal Adventures #4
Author: Clark, Mary
Illustrators: Parkinson, Keith (cover)
Macari, Jr., Mario D. (interior)
Release Date: September, 1985
ISBN: 0880382511 / 9780880382519
Length:143 pages
Number of Endings:16
User Summary: Your entire village has been turned into lizards by a shapeshifting witch and you must restore them with the help of a rather inept cleric.
Demian's Thoughts: This is the only book in the series which doesn't feature a Crimson Crystal in the story; a magical coin is used here instead. The plot is based around another fairly typical fantasy quest, but its use of humor makes it a little bit more tolerable than many similar books. The game design is adequate as well, though a couple of the choices are of the rather pointless "do you wish to give up?" variety.

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Kveto's Thoughts: The last Crimson Crystal story, in which you play a ranger who teams up with a cleric named "Sparks" to try to save your village from a witch disguised as a dragon. The crystal gimmick is actually a coin that gives you special vision. However, it freezes you when you use it, making overuse a potential danger (I'm sure the reader still took this option whenever offered; that's the selling point of the book).

The story is okay, if not very memorable. The cover art is excellent with a red dragon flying at you menacingly. The interior artwork is some of the worst, most amateur I've ever seen. It's hard to imagine the artist got paid for it. It really took away from the enjoyment of the story.

Like all of the Crimson Crystal books, quite skippable.

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Nomad's Thoughts: Another classic entry in this all too short-lived series. I've read this book on a few occasions, trying out all the different choices (including those bound to lead to disaster), and I've always found myself enjoying this particular entry in the Crimson Crystal Adventures books. It has several qualities I enjoy in a gamebook, including an interesting enough (though at times a bit bullheaded) protagonist in Hedge the fledgling ranger in training, a bumbling but trustworthy companion Kor-Kiran or "Sparks," the overly nervous but all around courageous and good hearted cleric, an interesting if not a bit overdone plot, and of course, elements of humor. The writing in this is one of the best in the series in my personal opinion. Not taking itself overly serious yet providing a sense of adventure and excitement to the reader. My only real complaint with the writing is at times it provides an overly heavy-handed emphasis on trusting in your friends and their abilities. Granted this is a good moral lesson for the reader -- especially the younger readers that this book is targeting as its main audience, but at times it just felt a little too forced to me.

The art is a bit below par coming off as sloppy and amateurish at times, but the book compensates for it with solid, fun writing. The 3-D / Crimson crystal gimmick is exchanged in this particular entry for a "magical coin" that essentially boils down to the same effect regardless. Not really a necessary ingredient for the gamebook and at times rather pointless, but it adds a certain fun degree that is sure to at the very least please younger fans. All around a fun gamebook and an excellent addition to readers of all ages.

More reviews by Nomad

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