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Captain America: Rocket's Red Glare

(British cover)
Series: Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Gamebooks (American) #2
Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Gamebooks (British) #2
Translated Into: Capitán América, El brillo rojo del cohete (Spanish)
Captain America, Sous le feu des missiles (French)
Author: Novak(-Grubb), Kate
Illustrators: Butler, Jeffrey (Jeff) (cover)
Kupperberg, Alan (interior)
Redding, Pat (interior)
Release Date: 1986
Length:215 sections
User Summary: As Captain America, you must foil a plan by the supervillain Viper to spread deadly weaponry across the United States.
darkatx's Thoughts: The second gamebook of the series, Captain America: Rocket's Red Glare is rather bland, much like its starring hero. Bear in mind, this is arguably the weakest book in the entire series.

The artwork is merely adequate and even the book cover is guilty of this fact. At the time, Captain America was overshadowed by the likes of the Hulk, Spider-man and the X-Men at Marvel, so it would only make sense that the end result would be a half-hearted attempt at a gamebook.

Some promise is shown with the opening sequence in the training room (if chosen by the reader) making for an intriguing read. Here, the reader is almost given a glimpse of the multi-character interactions that were to be found in the upcoming Uncanny X-Men gamebook.

Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. All the excitement and momentum comes to a screeching halt and its pacing never recovers.

The story is extremely brief, very linear and lacks subplots of any kind, hence its rather short run length. Considering my gamebook neophyte status, I was able to beat this book rather handily! Dice-rolls, on average, were simple enough and the choices relied more on common sense than anything else.

This all leads me to believe that the majority of Marvel gamebooks were targeted for a much broader (and somewhat younger) readership. With that in mind, it makes for an adequate gamebook yet its message might be lost on the younger portion of its audience. It's easy to see that most comic lovers would find its ending unsatisfactory and fairly abrupt.

All in all, it's a mediocre entry but can still serve as a quick fix for those with an hour to kill.

More reviews by darkatx

Guillermo's Thoughts: (review based on the Spanish translation)

This is an adequate, but unexceptional gamebook. One of my major complaints about it is that the design and gameplay aren't really that interesting: the book is extremely linear and rather short, and die rolls determine much of what will happen in each game session. If you are successful in most die rolls (a likely possibility, since skill checks aren't hard at all), you'll breeze through the book. Judging from my experience (I played it through twice), you usually have to miss several skill rolls in succession in order to reach a bad ending. If you miss some rolls but later succeed at others, you'll have access to at least a couple of subplots which on the surface look interesting, but none of them is too long and they either lead to partial success or reconverge on the adventure's ultra-linear final section. The excessive influence of skill rolls in determining how the story progresses, coupled with the fact that the adventure feels rather short no matter how you fare in it, meant I didn't really enjoy this adventure much.

When choices are introduced, one of them will usually only make the present encounter easier to resolve, and the other(s) will make it slightly more difficult. I can't help but wonder why the author didn't try to work some of the subplots into legitimate sections of the adventure which required player choice and strategy to be accessed, instead of designing this die-rolling fest.

This book is probably an adequate diversion for the casual reader wanting to kill a couple of hours, but it's an unsophisticated, weakly-designed gamebook for the connoisseur. Don't go out of your way to read it.

More reviews by Guillermo

Kveto's Thoughts: Another good entry to the series. While it feels a bit more linear than the last one, it's still a fun adventure.

The adventure starts out with a fairly boring training sequence at Avengers headquarters, which can be skipped. The adventure really gets started when the mercenary the Constrictor gives you a tip that sends you to battle Backlash and Nitro.

It involves a fairly good super-villain plot by the female terrorist/nihilist Viper. She has hijacked a number of rockets from the U. S. government and plans to sell these to various political organizations around the world to launch against their enemies. It feels like one of those plots that could actually work. An interesting one is that there are two rival orgs, one is a pro-Dr. Doom organization, pointing out that Dr. Doom is the best ruler Latveria has ever had.

The book is well-steeped in Marvel knowledge, including many minor facts (such as Nitro only functioning with a cure for his condition received in a comic fight with Spider-man).

The biggest drawback to the story is that it keeps trying to saddle you with a pair of uninteresting SHIELD agents. It's like the writer doesn't want to miss the opportunity for banter between characters.

But a fun book overall.

More reviews by Kveto

Special Thanks:Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the plot summary and Brett Easterbrook for the British cover scan.
Users Who Own This Item: andrewholt, Ardennes (US), B0N0V0X, bigcobra, bookwormjeff, brujeria!, crazydave, darkatx, dArtagnan, dave2002a, Dirk Omnivore, domj29, edwebb, Egghead Nurse ((UK Edition)), firefoxpdm, Fireguard, Gartax (pdf), Gibraltar, Harvey, katzcollection (American edition), killagarilla, kinderstef, knginatl (US), le maudit, Malthus Dire, mlvoss, mrwalker, nelsondesign, nerelax, plowboy, Pseudo_Intellectual, redpiper05, Sir Olli, sireeyore, Treguard, Uraniborg (UK), Yalius, Zolika
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