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Item - Citadel of Chaos

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Series: Eternal Champions — no. 2
Author: Thomson, Jamie
Illustrator: Longworth, Mark
Date: 1994
Length: 300 sections
Number of Endings: 21
Shadeheart's Thoughts:

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

Having grown up with the Sega Genesis game upon which the "Eternal Champions" gamebook duology was based, and having held a generally mixed to negative opinion of said game, I fully expected "Citadel of Chaos" to be an appreciable yet incomplete experience from the beginning - and to that end I wasn't disappointed. Alas, there are definitely things I enjoyed and things I didn't - and it largely boiled down to how closely I believe the book followed its own expectations of the reader. With heavy reliance on letting the ability to make choices create the illusion of a (short-lived) novelty factor, I was certainly disappointed by the relatively average writing, lack of narrative innovation, gimmicky attribute assignment, poorly-executed balancing and the overabundance of drawn-out battle sequences. What surprised me the most was how I found the timezone-hopping doesn't increase the replay value: you can expect much of the same thing no matter where you choose to go, and in a story that is kept so dark due to its set-up, the urgency is insensibly clashed with the grim atmosphere too uncomfortably to succeed. At no point did I find the story to be in any way immersive, and this threadbare excuse for an overworld comes across as cold, distant and uapproachable... not to mention how it renders any readers' emotions as obsolete.

Unfortunately, this is a gamebook experience I cannot recommend - the cheap set-up and overreliance on fitting the story into the conventions of its genres are an initial no-no, and what's more is that at no point did I find myself suspending my disbelief because of the unevenness of the book's tone and plotlines. I suggest you take a pass on this one - this is hardly better than an escapist excursion into an underwhelmingly barren world, and besides, there are plenty of better-executed gamebooks to champion out there. ^^

(Mysteriously disappears into the shadows.)

More reviews by Shadeheart

Special Thanks:Thanks to Nicholas Campbell for the cover scan.
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