Dragon Books, £1.25, ISBN 0-583-30761-2
The Eye of the Dragon allows you to play as a warlock, but for some reason you can only use each spell once in the entire campaign. That sort of defeats the purpose in being a magic-user, doesn’t it? And you’re supposed to be one of the best warlocks in the land!
In this gamebook, we have a long-sunken city of Thalios that had been recently discovered. The sunken city resembles an ancient Roman city, if you want some comparison to the real world. A fabled artifact of great power, the Eye of the Dragon, is found in Thalios. However, the Kappa, a race of monstrous-looking creatures from the sea, decide that they want the Eye too, so now they have invaded Thalios and all contact with the expedition team has been severed as a result. Guess who has to go to the rescue, retrieve the Eye, and send the Kappas packing.
The setting is solid, creepy at places, and fun. There are some scenes that you will certainly remember, such as a scene with an animated statue that just won’t die. Mr Morris must have been inspired by those Terminator movies, heh. But while the campaign affords a degree of non-linearity, there are only two true paths to sure victory – which is to say, you need to have one of two special items or you will lose. Getting your hands on any of those items will require some thorough examination of every nook and corner of Thalios. I have to confess that I still haven’t found the path to locate one of those items despite almost a month of trying. Also, the combat encounters in the process are very tough, sometimes ridiculously so.
Easily the toughest gamebook in this series, The Eye of the Dragon nonetheless manages to retain a degree of fun factor. Still, I suspect the casual gamebook adventurer would most likely give up after a few runs through this tough campaign.