by Mark Smith and Jamie Thomson, fantasy (1987)
Knight Books, £3.99, ISBN 0-340-40601-1
The Way Of The Tiger series should have been concluded with Warbringer!, because the sixth and last gamebook in the series, Inferno!, will go down in history as one of the worst examples of a series closure.
First, the story. As Avenger, Overlord of Irsmuncast, you have succeeded in defeating the armies of Honoric from Doomover. With the army of one of the most fearsome generals in Manmarch out of the way, even the armies of the Rift fear you now. Alas, during the happy celebrations following your triumph over Honoric, your normally sensible friend Glaivas the Ranger-Lord led himself to be persuaded by Doré le Jeune to go on a "punitive expedition" to the Rift. As you can imagine, that can't end well. One month later, you receive news from two unexpected sources - your old friends Foxglove the femme fatale and Cassandra the crazy swordswoman - that Glaivas is being held captive somewhere in the Rift under the orders of the new boss, the Black Widow, and you are to bring the Sceptre personally to that place in exchange for his freedom.
So there you go, off into the heart of Orb's evil. Your trip will let you meet some interesting enemies, like Lord Sile the horny orc (keep Foxglove with you for maximum fun during these scenes), as well as reunite you with old friends and old enemies. Unfortunately, while the first few acts are mildly enjoyable, reminiscent of the first two gamebooks where you kick and punch your way through the enemies, the campaign forces you increasingly to follow a certain route. And then, the authors pull an incredible stunt where they literally drop the roof on you, prematurely abort the campaign, and leave your character in a cliffhanger ending in which you are not likely to survive without divine intervention.
To add salt to the wound, this edition of mine has a fatal typographical error that sent me traveling in a circle for almost an hour before I managed to find the correct entry to turn to.
As I've said, this series should have ended with Warbringer! because Inferno! is a cold slap in the face of all loyal readers who have stuck with and enjoyed this series so far. Collect this one for your collection, but put it on the bookshelf and pretend it doesn't exist, that's my advice. Don't let your memories of this evocative, exciting, and incredibly fun series be ruined by this gamebook!
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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