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The Curse of Naar (Lone Wolf) Paperback – 21 Oct 1993
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|Paperback, 21 Oct 1993||
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The story here has Naar on the verge of getting a powerful item which Lone Wolf has to race to rescue. Equipped with a Necronomicon analogue, he's dispatched to the Plane of Darkness, where he has to find his way through a number of levels to reach the throne room of the Dark God Naar himself. The structure is rather like a platform computer game - to access later areas, Lone Wolf has to defeat or bypass the master of the level before, and obtain an item which makes the gateway passable. Often this requires making choices or remembering details - the wrong choice, in this book, usually means death. Each area of the Plane of Darkness has a different master and represents a different aspect of evil - there's a chaos zone, a fiery zone and so on. Be prepared to face a series of increasingly difficult bosses before reaching the core.
This is one of the best of the Grand Master novels, albeit rather linear. Each of the sub-areas has its own feel and aesthetic, which is brought out strongly in the writing and images. It's action-packed, and the layers of bosses convey a real sense of battling deeper and deeper into the domain, although it doesn't really feel big enough to be an entire "plane". There's few choices which really affect the path taken, with a lot of reliance on skill checks, dice rolls and life-or-death choices. There were a couple of disappointments for me. One frustrating aspect of this book is that you have to battle your way through multiple planes of darkness, just to get back to where you were at the end of the last book. Couldn't Lone Wolf just have done this at the end of Book 19 and avoided having to deal with all the demonlords? The other disappointment is that you don't actually get to fight the Dark God Naar himself - only his champion, Kekataag. The title and the cover image give the impression that you'll actually get to pwn a god, which would be pretty cool, and make up for how overpowered Lone Wolf has become by now. Still, this compares favourably with most of the Grand Master series, and the entire Lone Wolf project is extremely impressive.
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