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Item - Island of Secrets

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Series: Starlight Adventures — no. 3
Translated Into: L'isola dei misteri (Italian)
Author: Jordan, Kim
Illustrators: Jones, Steve (cover)
Wilkes, Peter (interior)
Date: 1985
ISBN: 0140318925 / 9780140318920
Length: 350 sections
Number of Endings: 11
User Summary: You've been hired to work at a Greek villa, and in the process you get to have an exciting summer vacation near an archaeological dig.
Demian's Thoughts:

This book offers yet another set of mechanics different from the proceeding books; this time around, there's a Luck score to keep track of which goes up and down and measures ultimate success, plus dice rolls need to be made from time to time. Pretty simplistic, really. The book itself is one of those adventures where time moves along no matter what you do, so it's important to do the right things at the right times. The first time I played, nothing of note really happened and I felt pretty left out. The next time around, I began to discover clues and become intrigued. This satisfaction lasted for quite a few play-throughs as more and more of the mystery was revealed, but eventually I began to get frustrated, mainly because certain major plot revelations require lucky dice rolls. Because of this, it became progressively harder to retrace my footsteps and, after a certain point, caused subsequent readings to muddle rather than clarify the plot. I was eventually successful, but by that point, the book had overstayed its welcome. Other weaknesses, including weak continuity (some characters are introduced twice on some paths while others appear abruptly) and poorly-written romance which never naturally melds with the plot, further detract from the experience. With less reliance on luck and a little more refinement to its design, this could have been a pretty good mystery adventure; as it is, it's tolerable but not quite worth the time it takes to play.

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