Archway Paperback, $2.25, ISBN 0-671-55489-1
The Crimson Sea is the third gamebook in the Sagard the Barbarian series, and it still retains the lack of interesting challenges and the dull prose of the previous two gamebooks.
After acquiring a girlfriend, you and she now indulge in some G-rated R&R in Paradise Cove in the island of St Koal. Why you would want to live in a pirate island, only Asmodeus will know, but you shouldn’t be surprised when your girlfriend Ketza Kota gets kidnapped by a slaver and you have to embark on a long voyage to rescue her.
The Crimson Sea allows you to play the ship captain and explore the Crimson Sea, but the exploration system is random and dull. The encounters on the various islands are clichéd and uninteresting, and the pedestrian writing doesn’t liven up the proceeding. Even the penultimate showdown is anticlimactic. Poor Ketza Kota doesn’t seem to be of much value here – in the end she is removed from the picture casually and you are then shunted off for a standard hunt-the-treasure quest in the next gamebook.
The setting is interesting, thus this gamebook should be intriguing. It’s too bad the end result is actually a snooze to play.