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Item - Footsteps in the Fog


Series: Stephen Thraves Compact Adventure Gamebooks — no. 5
Translated Into: Pasos en la niebla (Spanish)
Passi nella nebbia (Italian)
Author: Thraves, Stephen
Illustrator: Dennis, Peter
Date: 1994
ISBN: 0340606789 / 9780340606780
Length: 156 sections plus introduction
Number of Endings: 1 (not counting failure by too many murder attempts)
User Summary: You are the assistant to the less-talented downstairs neighbor of Sherlock Holmes, and you must help him with his first case: an effort to stop a series of political assassinations.
Demian's Thoughts: This is not a classic of the gamebook form by any means, but it's a bit more interesting than most entries in this series. The premise helps, for one thing -- although the writing is as heavy-handed as ever, at least there's a genuinely humorous setup. The book also requires slightly more thought than usual. A couple of choices (not many, but a couple) seem to be based in logic rather than random chance. Some of the visual puzzles provide you with a fog-shrouded figure to study and ask whether or not it is your suspect based on a list of known characteristics -- a bit more interesting than the more usual "look up an answer in a list" challenges. There's even a bit of misdirection, since making what seems like an optimal choice late in the game actually causes you to miss one of the six clues you need to win. Of course, all of the usual criticisms apply -- the game is on rails, most of the puzzles are mindless, the design is incredibly repetitive (why does this villain just keep clumsily dropping vital clues everywhere?), and the ending is abrupt and offers nothing extra to reward a winning player over a losing one. Still, if you've got appropriately low expectations about this series, this book will probably exceed them. It deserves a little credit for that.

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Guillermo's Thoughts: (Review based on the Spanish translation).

This is supposed to be a detective gamebook, but the gameplay is a far cry from Sherlock Holmes Solo Mysteries (or even Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey? in the CYOA series). As Demian mentions in his review, finding the clues needed to win - or the items you need in order to avoid getting killed - is entirely a guessing game. Still, I found the book to be quite a fun read. Recommended if you are in the mood for an evening of mindless entertainment.

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