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Item - The Devil's Addition


Series: Knuckleduster Interactive Western Adventures — no. 1
Author: Harris, Forrest
Illustrators: Bulmenshine, Mark (cover)
Harris, Forrest (interior)
Harris, Rick (interior)
Quilty, Chuck (interior)
Date: 1998
ISBN: 0966704606 / 9780966704600
Length: 136 pages (400 sections)
Number of Endings: 1 (led to from 54 different sections)
User Summary: The reader controls the actions of Red Lewis, a lawman in search of a murderer in the town of Abilene, Kansas.
Demian's Thoughts: While Westerns don't really interest me very much, I still quite enjoyed this book. It's one of the few gamebooks I've seen that fall into the Western genre, and one of the even fewer gamebooks that are aimed at a mature audience. The "adult content" isn't too gratuitous, and it does give the story a gritty feel which nicely complements its great attention to historical detail. This historical detail is also aided by the footnotes scattered throughout the story which are interesting, if a bit distracting. Gameplay feels fairly similar to the Boot Hill solitaire module since a lot of it involves wandering around town, but this adventure is a lot less aimless (and much more interestingly-written) than its predecessor. Still, the game design isn't perfect; successfully completing the story isn't very hard, and while there's a lot to be gained from replaying the book, the fact that you must often remember who you've talked to and where you've been makes playing without cheating increasingly difficult with each subsequent reading. Of course, this is only a problem if you play many times in the same day; I imagine that players who return and attempt to beat their high scores after leaving the book on the shelf for a few months won't get too confused... Actually, I may have to try this myself!

My High Score - 20 (1/13/2001)

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Guillermo's Thoughts: By the time this book was published, the gamebook and solitaire adventure craze had mostly died down on both sides of the Atlantic. Published by a small imprint, The Devil's Addition shows itself to be a worthy successor to both Fighting Fantasy-style books and one-player RPG adventures.

The book involves wandering around an Old West town, exploring buildings in search for clues that will lead you to capture the main villain. It shows the influence of gamebooks such as Scorpion Swamp and Robot Commando, in that the reader is given complete freedom to explore the game world. There are many opportunities to play mini-games and engage in subquests, several different ways to complete the mission successfully, and a couple of ways to bail out of the mission that nonetheless involve a significant challenge level. Coupled with the scoring system (you get points by winning fights, earning money, and achieving milestones) these features give the book high replay value. Finding all the possibilities that the book offers will take many read-throughs, making it a great experience overall.

You should not expect a very detailed game system here; there is no character creation, and no stats beyond money, score, and "bonus points" (expendable points that allow you to tilt die rolls in your favor). As in the AD&D Adventure Gamebooks, combat and other situations are resolved by rolling dice above a certain number, and no stats are given for your opponents. This simplicity does not detract from the RPG experience, however. It should also be noted that while Demian's review may suggest that completing the adventure is easy, in reality it is anything but. There are many potentially lethal situations and the die rolls can be very unforgiving. Completing the adventure and achieving a high score requires choosing your fights carefully, as well as using bonus rolls strategically. Overall, an outstanding gamebook.

My high score: 33 (6/7/2016).

More reviews by Guillermo

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