TSR, $2.00, ISBN 0-88038-020-9
Have you ever wondered whether the Endless Quest gamebook line was designed solely for Rose Estes? The question here is whether it is created to accommodate her or serve as a quarantine to stop her from bothering the acquisition editors.
Oh yes, Revolt of the Dwarves. You shouldn’t assume that there will be an epic campaign here, full of clashes and dramatic, titanic struggles because this wouldn’t be part of the Endless Quest line if it had any of those things. Instead, you play an eight-year old, Galen, and your companion is your puppy that fortunately can’t talk. The dwarfs mentioned in the title are of the King’s Guard, the regiment that serves as the human Prince’s bodyguards and mules. Led by Captain Sneed, they decide to take back what they believe is owed to them by the humans they serve – the land, lots of money, the usual – and your parents are captured by them while they are marching towards the capital. Left on your own, you have to warn the price and stop the rebellion. Oh, and you barely give any thought to your parents – maybe you hate them because they are jerks, who knows.
This one is one of the more restrictive gamebooks even for this line: your choices are mostly predetermined, as pages after pages go on and on like a bleeding kiddie novel. You barely have to make any decision, and when you do, there is only one “good” choice – the most obvious one too – and the other choices either railroad you towards that good choice, or lead you to filler scenes and abrupt endings. Most bizarre is how often you are expected to blindly trust strangers at face value – even dwarfs and lizardfolk – or get dumped into bad endings. Your character is an eight-year old; given how often the campaign requires him to just go along and follow anyone that beckons to him, it’s a wonder your character weren’t killed or worse ten pages into the campaign.
There is also no decent portrayal of the dwarfs. Like other villains in this gamebook line, they are stupid, cowardly, ugly, fat, etc – but here, even with an opportunity to suggest that maybe the dwarfs are entitled to some degree of autonomy instead of being expected to serve their human bosses 24/7, the campaign instead chooses to portray dwarfs that choose to remain subservient to humans as good ones, while those that dare to think even a little differently are fat, ugly, stupid, and of course, evil.
Revolt of the Dwarves are clearly written for kids under the age of ten. Even then, these kids likely have more interesting things to do.