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Item - Koopa Capers

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(American edition)
Series: Nintendo Adventure Books — no. 4
Author: McCay, Bill
Illustrators: Wray, Greg (cover)
Koehne, Josie (interior)
Dates: August, 1991 (American edition)
October 17, 1991 (British edition)
ISBNs: 0671742027 / 9780671742027 (American edition)
0749710039 / 9780749710033 (British edition)
Length: 121 pages (66 sections)
Number of Endings: 13
User Summary: Luigi has been recruited by Bowser to rescue the missing Wendy O. Koopa!
Demian's Thoughts:

I found this to be a rather surprising book. While the previous three adventures are close to trivial in terms of gameplay, this one is actually quite challenging. It's structured like some of the more frustrating Fighting Fantasy books -- it's not at all hard to reach the end of the story, but if you don't arrive with the right inventory items, you're doomed. Unsurprisingly, these items are hidden in obscure, non-intuitive places. It took a bit of mapping for me to figure out how to win. I wasn't too thrilled by this, as I felt the difficulty was more of a cheap shot than a genuine challenge, but it was strangely refreshing to see how potentially convoluted even a short gamebook like this one can be. I also enjoyed several of the puzzles on display here. While there are still a fair number of confusing or trivial challenges, I felt that some of the puzzles (mostly those involving the timing of jumps) actually captured some of the feel of playing a real Nintendo game. The worst aspect of the book was probably its actual text, which seemed to have the least flavor so far in the series, mainly because by sending Luigi off on his own, there's less opportunity for banter and conversation. It's not a big loss, though, since few people are likely to be reading these books for the character interaction....

My High Score - 1410

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Fireguard's Thoughts:

Among the line of Nintendo Adventure Books, Koopa Capers is certainly unique. As has been said, its most distinguishing features is how it actually captures some of the feel of playing one of the old Super Mario games. I found this made the dangers more immersive then most in the series, but at the same time I felt the settings were less distinctive. Say what you will about Double Trouble or Leaping Lizards, one thing they weren't lacking was variety of settings. In Koopa Capers it was more of a pain to go back and try to find the crucial items when the whole adventure takes place in the identical halls of a dank fortress and underground lava pits. And crucial they are; unlike other books up to this point where only one or two items were vital to successfully completing the book, Luigi's doomed if you don't find every single one.

Koopa Capers is a decent book--I personally think Luigi should get to be the star of more games--but in general, I'd rather have a new experience each time I read a gamebook rather than suffer through multiple attempts to find the "right" path to victory. Koopa Capers, with each part of the adventure feeling drearily similar to every other part, doesn't have the flavor to make successive attempts as much fun, and I can't really recommend it to anyone but completists.


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RyanThunder's Thoughts:

This book was hard. No, I mean it. I really had a tough time with it. But, I usually like it when I'm challenged, even if I don't show it, because video games have become just too easy nowadays. More than half of the puzzles in the book made you stop and think for a while, especially the ones with the timing of jumps. Often times I would get lost in the book, forgetting which paths are the bad ones, but maybe that was just my fault. Also, it was good to see Luigi as the star again. It's like Demian said, though: if you don't come up with the right items at the end of the book, you're doomed. It took me a while to get all the right items, and it seemed to me there was only one right path to take to get them all.

End Results:

High Score: 1410
Items Collected: Recipe, Sweat Socks, Key
Firepower?: Yes
Tries: 8 (yes, this book is hard!)

More reviews by RyanThunder

Shadeheart's Thoughts:

[Rating: 3/10]
[Recommended? NO]

Perhaps the most refreshingly challenging title in the series, "Koopa Capers" happens to rise to the occasion with its story, originality and creativity - arguably as the high point in the series - even though the inconsistency, conventions and occasional senselessness drag it down. As elementary as the other "Nintendo Adventure Books" were, this gamebook bears very little resemblance to the source material and, quite rightfully, equally leaves Mario fans dumbfounded at the mockery that is this "adventure". Praise is deserved for how quickly the writing jumps ahead into the scenario, albeit surprisingly and with less introduction than it perhaps deserved, just as the actual situation at hand makes for an exciting opportunity for lots of possibilities. Alas, the story is able to get going... though not all of the routes and endings seem to make very much sense. Despite roadblock-like puzzles slowing the pace and drama down considerably, as with other titles in the series, the backtracking heightens the challenge respectfully. However, there DOES appear to be a bit of laziness, it would seem, when putting together some of the endings or cut-off routes: in one ending, for example, Luigi finds Wendy lava-tanning and it rather abruptly cuts to an instant death - an encounter which could have been lengthened or at least reasonably worked through without taking an easy writer's shortcut out.

As an "old-fashioned" Nintendo fan with standards to uphold I cannot recommend this book despite being the strongest in the series, save as perhaps a historical timepiece to know once existed, part of the yet woefully inconsistent period in which it was written and published, catalogued not only in Nintendo's legacy but in that of child-oriented gamebooks as a whole. Really, though, with an underwhelming adventure like this... the not-so-creative series is begging for a GAME OVER. ^^

(Mysteriously disappears into the shadows.)

More reviews by Shadeheart

Users Who Own This Item: B0N0V0X, bookwormjeff (Pringles), dave2002a, Dirk Omnivore, egokun, exaquint (2nd), Fireguard, katzcollection (American edition), kinderstef (british), knginatl (US perma-bound), mlvoss, Mr ?, nelsondesign, ntar (American), Radical347, Ryuran333, Sheridan77, stonemason, twar, Von Scotty, waktool (UK 1st)
Users Who Want This Item: bbanzai, Cyan, exaquint (1st), Hugues, MasterChief, NEMO, Pseudo_Intellectual, redbluezero, RyanThunder (American version), Waluigi Freak 99
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