Bantam, $3.50, ISBN 0-553-26887-2
If Planet of the Dragons seems to start abruptly, that’s because it takes off from where Invaders Of The Planet Earth ended. Despite the cover art depicting two young ladies on the run from a dragon, the campaign sees you assuming the role of a male character and the menacing dragons here are metallic or robotic in nature. So much for judging a gamebook by the cover, eh?
So, you have escaped the invaders of Earth, only to have your life pod crash on the planet called Tambor. It’s a hospitable planet that is a lot like Earth, except for the nasty dragons. Basically, you now have to find a way to stay alive and wander around. There are basically two main story lines here, with many ways to get there – you either find a way back to Earth, or you liberate Tambor from the threat of these dragons and become a hero. Of course, you can also die, but with this being a Choose Your Own Adventure gamebook, the curtains fall before the really gory parts take place.
This one is a fast-paced campaign with what seems like a threat lurking at every corner, either from the dragons or from the native predators. You may find allies among the natives or even a displaced Earthling or two. While none of these elements is particularly original, Mr Brightfield puts them together and incorporates them into his campaign is a seamless manner that works to create a vivid and intriguing setting. The gnome-like Derns, right down to their stereotypical nerd-like affinity. There are plenty of interesting and even zany scenarios here, and the story paths are longer than those present in a typical gamebook of this line.
There is a solid combination of pacing, atmosphere, character, and replay value here to make Planet of the Dragons one of the more memorable gamebooks in this line.