by JH Brennan, fantasy (1984)
Armada Books, $3.99, ISBN 0-440-92800-1
The Gateway Of Doom follows closely on the heels of The Den Of Dragons. Where we last left off, you, Pip the Wizard Basher and Dragonslayer, had slain the evil Brass Dragon that terrorized the folks of Glastonbury. That still leaves the Gateway to the Ghastly Kingdom of the Dead, however, and in this campaign, you are charged to locate the Gateway and close it. Mind you, locating the Gateway is not easy, but closing it is worse, as it involves wandering down four levels of dungeons looking for keys to the next level before battling your ultimate nemesis, the Dreaded Black Knight of Avalon.
Like the previous Grailquest gamebooks, this one is all about the pointless random wandering and throwing insanely overpowered magic and battle items at your poor opponents. However, JH Brennan delivers pure comedy gold in this baby, as you will meet such deliciously comical characters such as the Ignoble Nerd, the Math Teacher, the Little Old Lady Monster, and those adorably cuddly Minches which will overwhelm and suffocate you to death. Yes, there are still plenty of sudden deaths, but at least you will die laughing.
The Gateway Of Doom can by played straight up and honestly, but like the previous gamebooks, you're better off just cheating and enjoying instead the comedy. To give the author credit, the gameplay design is better here. You will still wander around randomly, but the author makes sure that the randomness is at least entertaining. This gamebook is easily one of the strongest entries in this hilarious series.
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