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Item - Into China

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Series: Sniper! Adventure Gamebooks — no. 3
Author: Greenberg, Dan
Illustrators: Chaffee, Doug (cover)
Hamilton, Todd Cameron (interior)
Date: November, 1987
ISBN: 0880385014 / 9780880385015
Length: 104 sections, plus maps
Number of Endings: 2 good endings (one better than the other) plus 2 bad endings (one led to from 20 different places)
User Summary: You are a CIA agent with a respect for China, and one of your most brilliant Chinese foes has decided to defect, under the condition that you assist him in his efforts....
Demian's Thoughts:

On a whole, I should have enjoyed this book more than the previous two. The simple fact that its main character is a bit more reasonable and interesting than the violent ultra-patriots of the last two volumes would be sufficient reason to mark this the best of the series so far. The fairly well-developed plot doesn't hurt either. Still, I just didn't find this to be as satisfying a read as it should have been. The gameplay is disappointingly linear, for one thing, so that most of the choices are really non-choices, either pushing the reader back on track or leading to unavoidable death whenever the "wrong" choice is made. The combat situations are also rather inadequately defined by the rules, though this doesn't impact the gameplay too much since no matter how you interpret the fighting system, it's pretty hard to lose most battles. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the book's characters are just too exaggerated to be even remotely believable. This would have worked better if the author had exercised a bit more restraint, but as it is, the idiot is too idiotic, the geek is too geeky, and the stereotypical bad English is too stereotypical. If you can mentally tone down the one-dimensional characters, though, this is a decent read... it's just not a great gamebook.

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