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Item - ULTRA Deadly


Series: Sniper! Adventure Gamebooks — no. 5
Authors: Randall, Neil
Cochrane, Jr., Alexander S. (interview)
Illustrators: Chaffee, Doug (cover)
Hamilton, Todd Cameron (interior)
Date: March, 1988
ISBN: 0880385499 / 9780880385497
Length: 192 pages (162 sections, plus maps and "The ULTRA Advantage" interview with Donald B. Bussey)
Number of Endings: 12 endings (one of which is a generic death ending led to from 18 sections, another of which is a failure led to from 11 sections)
User Summary: It's World War II, and you're a spy in Europe trying to help save the world. It's still pretty much the same as the rest of the series, but now it's historical!
Demian's Thoughts: Well, I thought, this can't be worse than the last book in the series. In a way, I was right -- there weren't as many technical flaws as before (though there certainly were some). There was even a bit of innovation -- as mentioned above, the book is historical, which is at least something of a change of pace (though now that the USSR is gone, I suppose all of the books could be considered historical). Unfortunately, the book's flaws are countless and far outweigh its virtues. Although the writing is occasionally interesting, it is also occasionally awkward and hard to understand. The book's real failing is its ultra-linear design. After a mostly-linear introduction and a totally linear (and incredibly long) mission briefing, you finally get to make what seems like a real choice... except that one of the options leads to a sudden and unsatisfying failure. This would be okay if not for the fact that you keep getting offered this choice. You might pick it once, but after that, you know it's an ending, so you always have to pick the other choice, even if you don't like it. Really, during the entire period of time that this choice is offered, the author might as well have put in "Turn to page xx" text instead of options, as it would have made no difference! And it gets worse... after a while, you inevitably come to a point where you have to roll the dice. If you make a low roll, guess where you go? Yep, right to the bad choice that ends the game! What was the author thinking here?! This isn't interactive fiction, it's linear frustration! Things get a little better after this point, but not by much. For the rest of the story, you make choices here and there, and either you live or you die. The problem is that endings vary wildly in their level of detail. Although the book has multiple successful endings, only one of them is written in a satisfying way, making the book end with a dull thud most of the time. It's a shame. This, like the rest of the series, could have been good. It's not, though, and I recommend staying far away from it.

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Errata:I only found two blatant errors. Section 48's choices both lead to totally inappropriate sections -- again, I'm not sure where they should go, but it's certainly not what's printed in the book. Also, section 106 is a bit sloppily written. The first option should end with something like "If you are incapacitated, turn to 151; otherwise, turn to 145."
Users Who Own This Item: AlHazred, Ardennes, katzcollection, le maudit, mlvoss, sireeyore, spragmatic, Zolika
Users Who Want This Item: domj29, killagarilla, Mr ?, twar

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