TSR, $2.25, ISBN 0-7497-1485-9
Conan the Outlaw allows you to be – who else? – Conan the Barbarian himself. Do take note, though, that because this is a gamebook meant for little kids, all the sex and violence typically found in a Conan the Barbarian story has been thoughtfully excised. The end result, fortunately, is still so much fun.
As per the title of the gamebook, you are a 17-year old Conan of Cimmeria, currently an outlaw due to a mess that resulted after you avenged the death of your father. Currently, you are on the run from the forces of the evil witch Vammatar the Deathless. You thwarted her plans recently, and, after you escaped her dungeon, she swore revenge. When the campaign opens, you are working as a farmhand in Brythunia. However, Vammatar’s forces soon catch up with you, and you will have to choose to flee or stand your ground.
This gamebook is actually quite linear, comprising several short story lines branching off from a common starting point. Clearly, the fact that this gamebook is part of a series called Endless Quest is up there with the existence of Santa Claus as lies we tell our children.
Nonetheless, each of these story lines are just so much fun. The endings, when they arise, feel like natural progression of the story instead of some abrupt “Oops, and now you die, bwahahaha!” stunt pulled off by Mr Moore. The narrative is guarded and simple – the kids are reading, after all – but they are never boring. The replay value comes from discovering all the story lines present in this gamebook, and each run is just so entertaining.
Really now, who would have thought a gamebook with one of the more popular muscle-bound meatheads in charge would be so amusing?