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Item - Riddle of the Runaway

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Series: Starlight Adventures — no. 2
Author: Fisher, Heather
Illustrators: Bareham, James (cover)
Harvey, Bob (interior)
Date: 1985
ISBN: 0140318410 / 9780140318418
Length: 300 sections
Number of Endings: 6
User Summary: You are a junior detective on your first genuinely interesting case; your task: track down a missing heir before it is too late for him to meet the age requirement for his inheritance.
Demian's Thoughts:

This book is a little more mechanically complicated than the previous one; the introduction mentions three factors which affect play: choice (the reader's decisions), chance (the flip of a coin) and fate (determined by your zodiac sign and birthdate, which affect certain events throughout the book). Also interesting is the fact that at several points in the book, the "turn to x, then y" instruction (similar to what was later used in Life's Lottery) is given. Despite these gimmicks, the book is quite linear. There is one optimal ending (led to by several slightly different paths), and whenever a non-optimal ending is reached, the option is given to head back to an earlier point in the adventure and start again. Actually, I quite like this -- there's no sense in starting completely over once you've reached certain critical points, and while it makes the experience of playing through the book shorter, it also makes it more satisfying. The story itself is unremarkable and occasionally cringe-inducing (some of the names are pretty silly, and watch out for the stereotyped Texan), but I had fun while it lasted. It's about as good as the previous book, but for different reasons.

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