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Item - KGB Doublecross


Series: Sniper! Adventure Gamebooks — no. 4
Authors: Costello, Matthew J.
Greene, Harris (essay)
Illustrators: Chaffee, Doug (cover)
Hamilton, Todd Cameron (interior)
Date: December, 1987
ISBN: 0880385022 / 9780880385022
Length: 174 sections, plus maps and "The KGB and Its Activities in the United States" essay
Number of Endings: 1 good ending and 1 bad ending (led to from 19 different places)
User Summary: You're a CIA agent posing as a Canadian arms dealer and... wait, that sounds like book two. But, no, this is different. Anyway, you're an agent, and you have to go on a dangerous mission, and... Oh, never mind. It's the same as the other books, give or take a plot element.
Demian's Thoughts: This book started out promisingly. It drops the reader right into the action and creates genuine interest in what is going on. It also contains a lot of sections (relative to other books in the series), so it gives the impression that there's a lot to explore. Unfortunately, it falls on its face very swiftly. First of all, it uses the game system more than the previous volumes... much more. In fact, there are very few choices in the book. Most of the time, you read a bit, roll the dice, hope that the roll was good (which is often hard to tell), then read some more. In the long run, you have no control over the story, and in at least one place I very bitterly resented being unable to make a particular decision. This isn't a gamebook; it's more like a randomly-generated action novel -- the same events happen every time (barring death), but the details are always slightly different. Could be interesting, but it fails totally due to the fact that TSR's copy editor must have had better things to do than ensure that this book was error free. There are so many incorrect paths and reversed page numbers that it's impossible to get through the book without frequently back-tracking just to figure out why your perfect die roll led to something horrible happening (or vice versa). Attempting to correct mistakes with the game mechanics becomes so distracting that it's impossible to pay attention to the plot and characters (which might otherwise have been at least marginally interesting -- the book is not without traces of talent). In any case, it almost makes me glad that TSR practically stopped publishing gamebooks after this series -- they had a special talent for really screwing things up spectacularly! Boo, hiss, etc.

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Errata:If you thought book one was messed up, take a look at this! As in that previous confusing volume, many page numbers leading to the results of dice rolls are reversed, making good rolls turn out poorly and bad rolls turn out well. This problem exists in sections 14, 19, 32, 52, 55, 76, 82, 104, 107, 120, 155 and 162. These probably aren't the only problems, so it's best if you hold your place before turning the page so that you can go back and try the other outcome if you turn to a nonsensical results page. Also, in section 100, the results should be something like: 11 or less, turn to 144; 12 or more, turn to 75. Finally, sections 46 and 59 both have a choice that leads to 53. I don't know where this should lead, but 53 is definitely not right!
Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes, domj29, katzcollection, killagarilla, killagirilla, le maudit, mlvoss, sireeyore, spragmatic, Zolika
Users Who Want This Item: Mr ?, twar

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