Magnet Books, £1.75, ISBN 0-416-52520-2
While Where the Shadows Stalk, the first gamebook in the Forbidden Gateway series, tackled Welsh mythology coupled to the tentacled horrors from a typical HP Lovecraft horror fantasy, the sequel Terrors Out of Time offers a darker and more menacing take on Egyptian mythology.
If you have managed to complete the previous campaign, you may remember that an artifact you found in the monster-infiltrated mines of the previous book had been snatched by an unidentified person. Here, you give chase to that person right to the Egyptology section in the British Museum (which is near your home, apparently)… where he vanishes after jumping into a mummy’s coffin! You follow suit, and thus you find yourself in a brand new and entirely different adventure, one where you attempt to stop a cult of the Egyptian goddess Het from summoning her into this world. You will find unexpected allies along the way, but be warned, you will also need to discover some means to pierce the villain’s defenses and kill him off for good.
Terrors Out of Time is slightly disappointing in the sense that this is more like a long chase fraught with danger rather than a slow and creepy immersion into a nightmarish scenario. However, there is no shortage of memorable deadly confrontations and spooky encounters here. Let me put it this way: this one features simply one of the most terrifying plane rides in any gamebook I’ve read.
The difficulty level is significantly reduced compared to that of the previous campaign, although this doesn’t mean that this one is a walk in the park. It’s just that combat encounters here are no longer near-impossible to win if your character has low starting stats. But there are still plenty of deadly encounters and scenes of sudden death. Let’s hope you are not too unlucky in your die rolls because this is one campaign where an unlucky roll can mean a most undignified end. The final encounter with the big bad boss is still tough, though, so let’s hope you haven’t hemorrhaged too many Stamina, Endurance, and Mentality points by the time you have to duke it out with this opponent.
Terrors Out of Time is a different but still very entertaining, tough, and chilling horror gamebook to play. I like it. It’s a most fitting conclusion to a gamebook series that tries to offer something out of the ordinary.