Red Fox, £4.99, ISBN 0-09-986050-3
The Legacy Of Vashna is the fifteenth gamebook in the Lone Wolf series. Would you believe that 27 years have passed in this series since Flight from the Dark? Of course, thanks to your special powers, you don’t look a day over 25 or so. At any rate, it is perhaps inevitable that the evil god Naar – or Joe Dever, because let’s face it, they are the same person – finally runs out of ideas to vex Lone Wolf and decides an encore of the Vashna fiasco.
Yes, it’s back to the Maakengorge again in this one. Read the review of The Chasm of Doom for information on Lord Vashna and the Maakengorge if you are not familiar with their story. Lord Rimoah – who isn’t dead yet, by the way – who has appointed himself your taskmaster tells you that there are strange and sinister happenings over the Maakengorge: storms, strange lights, and such. Naturally, you “volunteer” to travel over to Magador, have a talk with President Kadharian, and investigate the strange events over at the Maakengorge. Who knows what you will find in the Maakengorge?
For a campaign featuring familiar faces and places, The Legacy of Vashna is not as bad as I initially feared. There are interesting developments, and the ship that carries the Acolytes of Vashna is certainly intriguing. But the campaign is also on the dull side because it’s very linear, and the options offered actually allow slight deviations from the script set down by Mr Dever before sending you back to the main path. You can die, but that will be mostly because you are a new player starting out with low stats and lacking buffed weapons obtained from previous gamebooks, and therefore you end up getting low numbers using the Random Number Table.
The confrontation with the big bad villain is tough, however. You can avoid it, but you have to solve a badly worded riddle with no genuine solution, at least, not the solution that matches the answer as decided by Mr Dever. Therefore, unless you cheat, you have no way of avoiding a physical fight with the villain. This annoying flaw cripples my enjoyment of the campaign tremendously.
And seriously, what’s Gwynian the Sage’s story again? Is he Joe Dever’s author avatar? That guy pops up at the most inexplicable moments.
All in all, this is an okay gamebook, but veterans of this gamebook series would agree that there are better gamebooks in this series, including, yes, The Chasm of Doom.