Flight From the Dark

Flight From the Dark – Conclusion



Without being presumptuous, I think it is fair to say that Flight from the Dark is one of THE seminal gamebooks from the 1980s, along with Warlock of Firetop Mountain and several others.

My faithful readers may have noticed that the path to the ‘victory’ in this book was comparatively short.  As someone that has played through this book a few times, I can say that this is due to Mr Dever very deliberately crafting a number of equally valid paths which could be followed (successfully) through to the end.  This, of course, means that each individual path is limited, rather than a strictly linear route.

There can be no doubt (well, there can be doubt, but those that doubt are wrong) that Dever’s world building is superb.  Although he works within numerous pre-existing tropes, the details of, not only Lone Wolf, but the numerous cities and peoples is fascinating.  In addition, the journey to the capital is breathtaking, and you certainly get the impression that your character is a callow youth, rather than the ‘world-beating’ master of the universe that is so often the protagonist.

In particular, the final sequence, where numerous NPCs treat you as as afterthought, rings true, and makes the SPOILER ascent over numerous books into a world-beating Kai Master easier to accept.

In terms of gameplay, the numerous routes to the final destination make for heightened levels of interest, and certainly make the book ‘winnable’ no mater how comparatively low the ‘starting’ scores are for your character.

The fight with the Gourgaz is memorable, and rightly so.  It differs from the confrontation with the Horned Cyclops (in the Way of the Tiger books) as it is built up as a significant battle against a foe who has just (mortally) wounded the Prince of your kingdom.  Taking some time and effort to kill the Gourgaz makes it an ‘earned’ victory.

In summary, this is a worthy start to an epic series.

PS. The whole ‘assuming you are a Kai Lord because you have a green cloak’ thing maybe could have used a judicious editor.

Tomorrow – Fire on the Water, the actual first gamebook I owned in this series!

2 thoughts on “Flight From the Dark – Conclusion

  1. Agree completely. Was surprised to see how short it actually is, probably seemed longer as a child because of always playing it as part of the (growing) series. Actually I wasn’t interested in Flight from the Dark when I first saw it advertised (even the blurb struck me cold) but Fire on the Water was what caught my eye and started me on wanting to try them (I honestly can’t remember did my dad buy it or did I). As a side point, I never really noticed as a child back then your being down the pecking order because I was too full of being “My Lord” and breaking Giak skulls, but since you mentioned it I can see it more clearly in both these books.

    Looking forward to Fire on the Water.

    Just one thing, I’m not sure when you were planning to say this again but I would respectfully disagree with your idea of re-rolling your stats every time you die in the later books. In Wott you didn’t lose modifiers just because you died and you won’t be losing equipment you picked up in previous books in Lone Wolf so why your stats? Basically I feel that at the moment you have decent stats and rerolling them will just lead to increased character deaths (which admittedly does have great comedy value, at least the way you do it). Even the books say that when starting a book if you’ve played a previous one you carry over your old stats, however if you’re determined that way I won’t argue the point again.

    Good luck on the water.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The stats thing……I’m a little torn. When I started, I was concerned about getting a combat skill of say 11, making it through Flight From the Dark by the skin of my teeth, and then being doomed to having such a terrible CS figure for the next 28 books. Given that I’ve finished book 1 with a CS of 17 (admittedly with a v low Endurance) I’m willing to stick with those scores, at least for the next few ‘deaths’ and to see how things go.

      And what is life and death, but an opportunity for comedy? “”Tis a tale told by and idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying…nothing.”

      Liked by 2 people

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