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The Soulforge


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The Soulforge
Series:Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks #4
Translated Into:L'Epreuve de la tour noire (French)
La prova (Italian)
Reto crucial (Spanish)
Troldmagerens prøve (Danish)
Trollkarlarnas skärseld (Swedish)
Author:Terry Phillips
Illustrators:Keith Parkinson (cover)
Mark Nelson (interior)
Release Date:September, 1985
ISBN:
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0880382546 / 9780880382540
Length:187 pages (206 sections)
Number of Endings:7 (only one victory)
Summary:As Raistlin Majere (of Dragonlance fame), you must pass the test of the Towers of High Sorcery to become a full-fledged magic-user.
Demian's Thoughts:
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This book is quite good, providing some interesting background into Raistlin's character for fans of the Dragonlance series and providing quite a challenge for gamebook readers. Its biggest flaw is a rather excessive reliance on rolls of the dice, but persistance and careful mapping can make victory possible in spite of this problem.
Guillermo's Thoughts:
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(review based on the Spanish translation)

This is the second of four Dragonlance-based books in the series, and out of them, it's probably the most interesting from the point of view of the main series. The reader here plays the wizard Raistlin Majere during his test in the Tower of High Sorcery in Wayreth, and for many years this gamebook was the only direct account of that episode (another account of the test would not be published until 1999, as a linear novel with the same title authored by Margaret Weis, which I haven't read at the time of this writing). Apparently, TSR were more willing to accept gamebooks as part of their literary canon back in the eighties.

The book itself provides one of the finest reads you'll find in interactive fiction, with excellent writing, characterization and plot development, so much it feels like you're reading a Dragonlance novel. This feature alone is enough to recommend it, though the gameplay will not be to everyone's taste. There are plenty of tough die rolls the player has to succeed at to complete the adventure, and lots of chances for reaching an immediate failure ending if you miss one. Gameplay also involves a lot of strategy since several choices demand good reasoning. Overall, this the toughest book in this series to complete successfully, so much it may feel frustrating at times.

In this book, storytelling is skillfully integrated with the game aspects, thus making the player feel more like the protagonist of a novel than is the case in most gamebooks. Definitely recommended, in spite of its frustrating level of difficulty.

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