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Item - Shark Attack!


Series: Super Eye Adventure — no. 4
Author: Chevat, Richard (Richie)
Illustrators: Zimelman, Phillip K. (cover)
Roblin, Chuck (interior)
Zone, Ray (interior)
Date: January, 1996
ISBN: 0553483242 / 9780553483246
Length: 104 pages
mdcowboy's Thoughts: Rating: F

*SPOILERS*

This is one of the worst gamebooks I have ever read. I didn't expect much from it, as it is clearly intended for children, but it's bad even for its target audience.

Let's start with the story. You're a kid who's on a two-week vacation with your aunt, a famous marine biologist named (get ready) Jacqueline Koostow. While you're mucking about in her new mini-sub called the 'Pink Mollusk', you accidentally turn it on, and boom, you're off on an undersea adventure! You have to fight through many obstacles on your quest to get back to your aunt's ship, the 'Cowlipso' (seriously).

The main problem with this book is the writing. Apparently, Richie Chevat thought it would be a great idea to make his book "funny". Sadly, his idea of comedy is just to make stupid and lazy jokes that involve zero creativity. You can see this above, with your aunt, but also with other characters in the story, the most egregious example being the unfortunate soul that serves as our main villain in nearly every one of the book's storylines, the infamous Captain Kneemoe.

Kneemoe is commander of the 'Nawtalus', and his dream is to open a chain of underwater malls. He is searching for the mythical lost diamonds of who-cares to fund the undertaking, and the only thing he wants more than them is to kill the great white shark named Morly Dick. Yeah, plagiarism much? He's Captain Nemo, Long John Silver, and Captain Ahab rolled into one. Whose estate should sue first?

The other characters aren't any better, completely lacking in personality and depth. We have a mermaid, who is played as your typical tomboy, her milquetoast brother, Kneemoe's incompetent comic relief crew, a cliched pirate named Davey Jones and... that's it. A small, boring cast. I would like to say more, but really, there's nothing to these cardboard cutouts.

The humor that doesn't fall into the category of lazy ends up being just plain bizarre. In the beginning of the book, the sub sinks to the bottom of the ocean. To get help, you try the radio, and when you can't figure out how to operate it, you look in the 557-page owner's manual for instructions. The manual has 50 pages on the history of the radio, and the science of radio waves, but no info or anything about the radio on the 'Mollusk'. What kind of sense does that make? It's played for laughs, but it's just too strange to be funny.

But what about those awesome stereograms? Can't those save the book? No. Actually, they make things worse, as they show you every danger, and allow you to always make the choice that will save your bacon. I hear that some people have trouble getting them to appear, so it's no problem for them, but integrating stereograms into a gamebook was a horrible idea in the first place. They ruin everything.

It isn't even worth playing through for the ending. Every single one, even the good ones, end with the same lame puns that are littered through the rest of the book. They give you a very empty feeling, and none of them are the least bit satisfying.

So, in conclusion, this is a book that fails on every level. The writing is dumb, unfunny, and completely lacking in drama. The choices are baited, obvious, and consistently pointless. The characters are devoid of personality, and are often merely plagiarized from other material. The endings are hollow and unfulfilling, and finally, the book itself is too short and provides too little variety to make you read through more than once or twice.

Avoid this book like the plague.

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