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The Forest of Doom


Images:
The Forest of Doom (original cover)
(original cover)
The Forest of DoomThe Forest of DoomThe Forest of Doom (American cover)
(American cover)
The Forest of Doom (reissue cover)
(reissue cover)
Series:Fighting Fantasy #3
Fighting Fantasy Reissues (Series 1) #8
Fighting Fantasy Reissues (Series 2) #14
Alternate Title:Forest of Doom (reissue)
Contained In:Fighting Fantasy Box Set 2
Fighting Fantasy Box Set 3
Fighting Fantasy Gamebox
Translated Into:El bosque tenebroso (Spanish)
Chernoles'e [Чернолесье] (Russian)
De fördömdas skog (Swedish)
A floresta da destruição (Portuguese)
A floresta da morte (Portuguese)
La foresta maledetta (Italian)
La Forêt de la malédiction (French)
Der Forst der Finsternis (German)
Gorata na obrechenite [Гората на обречените] (Bulgarian)
Hammeren i Monsterskogen (Norwegian)
Hukatuse mets (Estonian)
Kauhujen metsä (Finnish)
Het onheilswoud (Dutch)
Onskabens skov (Danish)
Prokletý hvozd (Czech)
Unmei no mori [運命の森] (Japanese)
A végzet erdeje (Hungarian)
Adapted Into:Forest of Doom (Role-Playing Material)
The Forest of Doom (Video Game)
Author:Ian Livingstone
Illustrators:Iain McCaig (original cover)
Richard Corben (American cover)
Martin McKenna (reissue cover)
Malcolm Barter (interior)
Release Dates:March, 1983 (original)
February, 1984 (American edition)
February, 2003 (reissue)
September, 2004 (American reissue)
ISBNs:
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0140316043 / 9780140316049 (original)
0440926793 / 9780440926795 (American edition)
0743487036 / 9780743487030 (American reissue)
1840464291 / 9781840464290 (reissue)
Length:400 sections
Number of Endings:3 instant failures, 1 victory, plus death by Stamina loss or bad Luck.
Summary:You encounter a dying dwarf and decide to finish the quest that he gave his life attempting to complete: to enter a dangerous, monster-filled forest in search of a precious hammer that the dwarfs of Stonebridge need to fight off the trolls that threaten their home.
Demian's Thoughts:
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This book is really quite typical of the early fantasy-themed entries in the series -- it's relatively plotless, it features minimalistic writing that's extremely short on dialogue, and it doesn't do anything particularly unusual with the core rules. Really the only thing that distinguishes it from the past two adventures is the fact that it's set in an outdoor environment, which makes a nice change from the claustrophobic dungeons of its predecessors. Unfortunately, despite the mild novelty of its setting, the book isn't all that memorable. Apart from introducing Yaztromo and the dwarfs of Stonebridge, it doesn't contain much that I'd consider terribly imaginative. Of course, the less-than-thrilling story could be forgiven if it were supported by great gameplay. Alas, that's not really the case here...

The adventure is highly item-driven, which is something of a trademark of Ian Livingstone adventures; unfortunately, though, it's not done very well here. At the start of the adventure, you can purchase a wide variety of magic items, and this part of the game is roughly equivalent to picking spells in the previous adventure, though it's more tedious since you have to pay different amounts of money for different items. What I found really disappointing, though, was the way that these items are ultimately used. When you come to a place where you can use an item, you are asked if you have it. If you do, you use it successfully; if not, something bad happens (though rarely something fatal). This isn't very exciting -- I'd much rather be given a list of items to try and have to figure out which one works; that would be more suspenseful, and it would also offer the potential of multiple solutions to certain problems. As things stand, encounters are either boring or frustrating, with little middle ground.

Another major problem with the book is the way it loops back on itself. If you reach Stonebridge without both parts of the hammer, you have a chance of going back to section one, restocking with Yaztromo and starting all over again. I definitely like the possibility of a second chance (and third chance, and fourth chance...), and it's a nice way of balancing the fact that you have basically no hope at all of finding the hammer on your first try. Unfortunately, this leads to all manner of continuity problems, since the book doesn't even try to address the possibility that you've already slain monsters and taken treasures. This leaves the player wondering how to handle things the second time around, and it interferes with the realism of the book. The problem couldn't really have been fixed without greatly increasing the size of the book, but that doesn't change the fact that it detracts from the reader's experience.

Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh -- although this book isn't particularly exceptional, it's also far from being a disaster. It's a fun diversion, and it seems free from errors as long as you can suspend your disbelief about the whole looping thing. Its art isn't bad, either. In fact, compared to some of the unplayable, broken garbage I've encountered during my time as a gamebook collector, it shines like gold. Within the context of this series, though, it's average at best and rather seriously flawed at worst. It's not a classic, but it's worth playing if you're a completist (or have nothing better on hand).

utfanatic's Thoughts:
Click here for more reviews by utfanatic
A disappointing read. I had fonder memories of this book from childhood.

To best put it, this book is... tedious. You play a sword for hire, wandering the Northlands. You run into a dying dwarf who asks you to retrieve his village's hammer so they may fend off the trolls. The hammer is in the Forest of Doom. You set off, following his map, buy magic items from a wizard in a tower at the beginning of your quest, and are off into the woods. I made a map of my routes, found the items necessary eventually, but basically just quit the book. It was that boring for me.

There is very little characterization, encounters take place too quickly, writing is bland. The book basically consists of: picking myriad paths, fighting, finding an item, repeat. This is the most disappointing gamebook that I have read since I returned to reading gamebooks. Granted, that is partially due to my having fond memories of it, rather than having no memories of it. Eventually, I just put the book down. There is so little motivation for your character and you don't really feel a part of the world. To me, when a gamebook not only fails to excite you about discovering what will occur next, but induces you to quit reading, it is a poor one.

The book is incredibly basic. As well, not nearly enough logical choices are offered, and far too often, the author makes decisions for you to bypass possible routes. There are also often very dumb, illogical choices presented.

On the plus side, there are a few interesting encounters within the forest. Unfortunately, they last not nearly long enough, and are few and far between.

It is with regret that I cannot recommend this book unless you are brand new to the world of gamebooks. Perhaps then one might enjoy it.

Rating 1-10: 4

Special Thanks:Thanks to Ben Nelson for the dragon logo British cover scan.
Users Who Own This Item:aehalpin, Alarion, AlHazred, andrewholt, Aniline, Asmoderan, B0N0V0X, badboybaggins, Barker1952, bigcobra, bonhomme, bookwormjeff (US & UK), Braldt, Braxus, cayh_dilg, crazydave, Crazyscotsman, crispybacon, CSquared, Cyan, c_wickham, damieng, dArtagnan, Darth Rabbitt (American version), dave2002a, dblizzard72, demon of the deep lt, desdichado66, devilsboy, Dirk Omnivore, domj29, Dronak (in boxed set of 1-8), drystan, eadric, Ed, edwebb, egokun, evilspoon, Falcon (missing one page), Ffghtermedic, Fido815, firefoxpdm, frosty88 (reissue), Gallicus (Limited Edition; Standard Edition), Garrick Muttley, Gartax, Gibraltar, gnomeza, Graham, greyarea13, Gurvo, Haoie, hoops4ever, Ian2405 (1984 Reprint), Icedlake, jeff3333, Jubal, juski, katzcollection, khaxzan, killagarilla, kinderstef, kleme (American edition), knginatl (US, UK orig. numbered, UK reissue), Lambchop, lewstherin, liam0404, MacbthPSW, MarcusP, MasterChief, mattender, mlvoss, Morthynmir, nelsondesign, NEMO ((American cover)), nerelax, Nich, ntar (US), odo_ital, Office Linebacker_, Osirian08, outspaced, peterm2, Pirrakas, plowboy, Pseudo_Intellectual, qazplm (Original), redpiper05, Robert123 (Part of #1-2-3 boxed set), Rozo, ryderark (Spanish Altea Version), Ryuran333 (original), Sabreman, saint_k, Salpynx, sebastian, Sir Olli (UK & US), sireeyore, skeleton, snakefire77, spragmatic, strawberry_brite, Tamerlane1396, terrysalt, ThaRid, Treble Incognito, Treguard, Tremendez, Trompe-l Oeil, truce57, twar, Twoflower, umbra682000, Uraniborg, utfanatic, Virtua Sinner, Von Scotty, Wardog, xinuz, Yalius, zat, Zolika
Users Who Want This Item:Cyan, Fireguard (US), Grifter, Househeart, jeremydouglass, JiPi, MasterChief, Mr ?, mrwalker, NEMO (original,green cover on top ), NEMO (reissue cover), Nomad, SonicBlaze, ThisIslandEarth, twar, Waluigi Freak 99, yermither
Users with Extra Copies:badboybaggins
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Falcon: missing one page
Ian2405: Original 'Star' Cover
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snakefire77: original with early cover, some smudges en creases on outside but inside clean and no writing
Yalius


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