Saturday, December 8, 2012


He-Man and the Memory Stone is a 1985 Masters of the Universe “adventure game book” written by Jason Kingsley, devised by Roger Hurt, and illustrated by Judith Wood and David Glen. Here, Skeletor drains Man-At-Arms’ memories, and He-Man sets out to get them back.

This is a choose-your-own-adventure-style book in which the reader makes choices for He-Man; He-Man also has hit points, which he can lose in various ways. It’s notable that is the only He-Man book of its kind, and, given its audience, it does a few things well. The book rewards common-sense choices; there’s very little guesswork involved as to whether a particular decision is the smart one. The die-based combat isn’t all that difficult, especially compared to something like the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks (which, admittedly, were for a substantially older readership), although hit point loss is mostly due to unlucky rolling rather than bad choices. In short, you have to be either really unlucky or persistently stupid to get killed, and it rarely feels cheap. And the serial Ladybird canon discrepancies are minimal here.

But He-Man and the Memory Stone also has some of the same problems as many other books in the genre: false choices that lead to the same path, questionable plot developments (e.g., Battle Cat leaving) to make the paths work, and transitions that aren’t always smooth. There are a couple of memory questions, which is a good idea for a younger audience, but depending on your path, you may never have gotten the answer you need. The book is also somewhat limited by the fact that there’s only one real ending (that is, an ending where you don’t lose and have to start over), which stands in sharp contrast to most other books of this type. (There’s also an appalling lack of commas herein, but that’s a different class of nitpick altogether.)

There’s not a great deal of art here, as text boxes fill most of the pages. However, most of what there is is fair. I was surprised to discover that Robin Davies’ name isn’t on this book anywhere; a great deal of the art looks like his work.

While it may not be the pinnacle of the genre, He-Man and the Memory Stone is a worthwhile diversion for He-Man fans.   


Read it HERE; you’ll need a die to play.