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Item - Unjust Desserts

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(American edition)
Series: Nintendo Adventure Books — no. 11
Translated Into: Farligt frosseri (Swedish)
Author: Wayne, Matt
Illustrators: Wray, Greg (cover)
Koehne, Josie (puzzles)
Dates: March, 1992 (American edition)
November, 1993 (British edition)
ISBNs: 0671742094 / 9780671742096 (American edition)
0749715464 / 9780749715465 (British edition)
Length: 121 pages (60 sections)
Number of Endings: 12
User Summary: It's Yoshi's birthday. Unfortunately, somebody has put something bad in the cake....
Demian's Thoughts:

It usually takes me, at most, a couple of hours to get through one of the books in this series. This one took me weeks, not because it was especially challenging, but because it was so awful I could barely motivate myself to read more than a couple of pages at a time. For one thing, the premise is stupid. It's a sort of take on Fantastic Voyage, with Mario getting miniaturized and exploring the inside of Yoshi. An interesting idea, but it's done in a totally ludicrous way -- Yoshi is filled with plumbing. I realize that this is a fantasy series and there's room for all manner of strangeness... but this particular strangeness seemed without charm or even fantasy logic. At no point did the story engage me. Of course, I don't really read these books for the story, so the book might have been saved by good gameplay. Alas, the gameplay is probably the worst I've seen in the series. Every bad puzzle idea previously used in the series is dragged out again here; pointless foreshadowing puzzles were especially annoying. There are also multiple points (see pages 4 and 81) where the puzzles that determine which choice the reader should make are completely random and can be successfully answered either way. Why not just flip a coin? It would waste less time. There are also some puzzles that don't even try to have anything to do with the plot; why should counting matching pictures of Bowser (on page 45) determine whether Mario stays put or goes exploring? The crown jewel of bad design, though, is the puzzle on page 99. The game is designed so that there are two successful paths, and each requires that certain items be found early on in order to survive later. The only way to get one of these items on one of the two paths is to answer the puzzle on page 99 incorrectly! I'm not sure if this is a typo or an editorial oversight, but it's quite irritating regardless. It's not the only inexcusable flaw -- it's possible to reach page 77 and be told that you have escaped from some bugs even if you have never encountered them. I wonder if these errors were fixed in the Swedish translation. In any case, I'm greatly relieved to finally have put this miserable book behind me. Alas, my enthusiasm for finishing the final book in the series has been somewhat muted by this experience; I'm glad there's not much more to go.

My High Score - 1050

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Fireguard's Thoughts:

I can't avoid comparing this book to Pipe Down! While that one didn't knock my socks off, it provided a fun read. Unjust Desserts, on the other hand, could well be the low point of the series. For starters, on page one it's already resorting to a plot that's been used by the series; a birthday party that goes bad. Not to mention it's the only other book in the series to have mistakes on its inventory sheet. I also didn't like the integration of the old coin scoring system mixed with the straight point awards, especially the silly parts where what Mario does next is determined by how many points the player wins at a mini-game. I guess the creative juices were running low after ten books. It's a shame as I still like a lot of the early books from this series.

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Shadeheart's Thoughts:

‚Äč[Rating: 0/10]
[Recommended? NO]

Tedious beyond belief, and more nonsensical than a donkey on stilts in a field of hay, "Unjust Desserts" manages to take the crown as the series' low-point. 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". The story is utterly exhausting with its narrative set-up, awfully arbitrary puzzle execution, irredeemably bad ideas for a foundation and ability to be written in a way where nothing stands out no matter how weird it is. Literally taking the cake, the lack of logic on display is truly breathtaking - not only does the story sell itself as a defiant rip-off of several other works, it lacks any resemblance whatsoever to the source material - not in how it was conceived, nor in how it is written. Perhaps worst of all: the quality takes a nose dive when introducing puzzles, most of which are entirely irrelevant and make as much sense as the senseless "story"; did any of these books get proofread?

As an "old-fashioned" Nintendo fan with standards to uphold I cannot recommend this book, not even as 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

Errata:The score card shows a feather instead of a Starman.
Special Thanks:Thanks to Fireguard for the errata.
Users Who Own This Item: B0N0V0X, Dirk Omnivore, egokun, Fireguard, jdreller, katzcollection (American edition), plowboy, Ryuran333 (British), Sheridan77
Users Who Want This Item: bbanzai, Cyan, exaquint, Hugues, MasterChief, Mr ?, nelsondesign, NEMO, Pseudo_Intellectual, Radical347, Von Scotty, waktool, Waluigi Freak 99

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