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Item - Daredevil: Guilt by Association

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Series: Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Gamebooks (American) — no. 8
Translated Into: Daredevil, el hombre sin miedo, Trampa para un superhéroe (Spanish)
Author: Costello, Matthew J.
Illustrators: Butler, Jeffrey (Jeff) (cover)
Dee, Jeff (interior)
Statema, John (interior)
Date: 1988
Length: 181 sections
User Summary: You are Daredevil, and an investigation into illegal dumping quickly leads you into something much more threatening: a sinister plot to smear your name and force you out of circulation.
darkatx's Thoughts:

Now for the Daredevil entry, which is rather timely seeing as his television debut is just in a matter of days!

One thing of note is that the artwork is the best of all the gamebooks (The Wolverine gamebook would have won it if it weren't for that glaring villain oversight in a few of its pages). No visible errors nor distracting anatomy that jumps out at you throughout its pages. Some of the line work is a bit light but Statema's work shines here, the classic inking style is clearly his own while the lighter touch is at the hands of Jeff Dee.

The story is compelling and reads like a thriller building up to a climatic action finale, something Spider-Man: City in Darkness failed to achieve. There are some hard rolls to overcome but there is a fair bit of wiggle room in this story to still get a positive outcome. There aren't many endings to this book which lowers the replay value a fair bit. Still it manages to get a few things right and would benefit from a few more pages featuring multiple endings and maybe some sudden death scenarios as well.

Not too shabby, this one is definitely the top half of the group of 8 Marvel gamebooks. Worth your time to give it a go, Matthew J. Costello did a fine job with our Man without Fear.

More reviews by darkatx

Fireguard's Thoughts:

I never thought much of Daredevil or the gritty street crime he fights, and was planning not to think that much of the gamebook he starred in. Once again, there's egg all over my face. The last book in the Marvel Super Heroes series is by far the best.

Although on the small side, only a hundred and eighty-one sections, the book does a lot with the space it has. The writing and imagery are some of the strongest I can remember in a gamebook, making for one of the most immersive reads I've ever had from interactive fiction. The book is also rather challenging, with a four usually being the minimum roll to achieve success, and some action sequences requiring multiple rolls one after another. Fortunately, the writing makes the adventure tense enough that the difficulty is another involving factor rather than a frustrating one. Something about the more realistic setting is more interesting than the outlandish situations put up by the rest of the series, where the player-hero is surrounded by strangely garbed villains, monsters and robots.

Characterization is at its strongest in the series here. As I said, I didn't think Daredevil was that interesting going into the book, but as I read more and more I started realizing just how complex he was for being a seemingly run of the mill martial artist who prowls the streets of New York. I wasn't familiar with Daredevil's supporting cast before I opened the book either, but I found their interplay with the character both interesting and realistic.

As good as it is, the book does slip from time to time, and when it does the results are usually jarring. For instance, when the descriptions involve colors, which a blind protagonist shouldn't know about. There's also one roll I noticed where the appropriate skill's base value is higher than the number the player is told to beat.

I heartily encourage people to read this book. Even interactive fiction readers who don't like superheroes will probably find something to enjoy. Not perfect, but comes closer than most books of its kind, especially of its series. 9/10

More reviews by Fireguard

Guillermo's Thoughts:

(review based on the Spanish translation)

This book was authored by a designer who would become famous in later years for the computer game The 7th Guest. Also, one of the illustrators, Jeff Dee, is the co-creator of the classic superhero role-playing game, Villains & Vigilantes. In spite of these credentials, its quality level is pretty much like that of City in Darkness and Rocket's Red Glare: an adequate but unexceptional gamebook. Its best quality is the storyline, which is intriguing and engaging. The writing, while being at some points rather arid, at some others does an interesting job with Daredevil's blindness, managing to convey an effective atmosphere through the use of his other senses. Nonetheless, the book is marred by its extreme linearity among other things (there are a couple of choice points that introduce some variety, but most of the diverging plot-lines are far too short and pointless). Most of the time will be spent making skill checks, and while some of these are successful at creating feelings of tension at appropriate moments, the story will follow the same general path no matter how many of them you succeed or fail at. Though I might be wrong, it doesn't seem like you'll run out of Health points or reach an instant ending no matter how you fare in the adventure in general, thus meaning there isn't much real strategy to the gameplay. You'll probably not realize this at the first or second try due to a disproportionate amount of the skill checks requiring very high die rolls to succeed. However, since the supply of Karma points in this adventure is almost incredibly scarce, and in most cases it matters little whether you succeed or fail, it's clear soon enough that it's better to hoard as much Karma as you can so you can use it in the last few skill checks of the adventure. The ending will differ only depending on how you fare in those last few checks, and then the outcomes will only range from partial to complete success. All these factors result in the book having very limited replay value.

Overall, this is a book which might be worth reading due to an exciting storyline, but there's not much interest to be found in the gameplay. Average at best.

More reviews by Guillermo

Kveto's Thoughts:

This the last of the Marvel Super Heroes gamebooks produced and it goes out on a decent entry. This one features Daredevil, the blind ex-lawyer, who has never been one of my favourite heroes.

As Guillermo mentions, this book has a lot in common with the first book, City in Darkness, but feels much shorter. It involves a frame-up and minor mystery, and I don't think it's a spoiler to mention the Kingpin is involved because every comic with Daredevil has to feature the Kingpin in some way. While each book has the 7 standard FASERIP characteristics from the role-playing game, they normally give one extra, for example Spider-man got a skill in webbing, Captain America in his Shield, the Thing got piloting, for some reason they needlessly give Daredevil 3 extra skills: Acrobatics (which should be covered by Agility), Agility with billyclub (likewise), and Enhanced Senses (which could be covered by Intuition). It feels like overkill.

It does a relatively good job with the characters but it feels like you do a lot more skill checks than choices. Since you have no say in the development of the character's skills, it feels that you are dragged along by the dice rolls.

Overall, it would make a decent, if unmemorable comic book, but if you want a superhero mystery set in Manhattan, then City in Darkness did it better.

More reviews by Kveto

Special Thanks:Thanks to Guillermo Paredes and Fireguard for the plot summary.
Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes (US), auximenes, B0N0V0X, bigcobra, bookwormjeff, darkatx, Eamonn McCusker, firefoxpdm, Gartax, hoops4ever, jdreller, katzcollection, kinderstef, knginatl (US), le maudit, lek (PDF), mlvoss, nerelax, Sheridan77, Sir Olli (US), sireeyore, waktool (US 1st), Yalius
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