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!