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Dueltrack

Series: Car Wars Adventure Gamebooks #3
Translated Into: Haiteku robotto RB-4 [ハイテク・ロボットRB‐4] (Japanese)
Author: Haring, Scott
Illustrators: Holloway, James (Jim) (cover)
Carroll, Dan (interior)
Release Date: February, 1987
ISBN: 0880384433 / 9780880384438
Length:400 sections (plus introduction)
Number of Endings:20
User Summary: You're an autoduellist whose friend is a famous inventor. Unfortunately, his latest creation, the RB-4 robot, creates a controversy which threatens your life.
Demian's Thoughts: This book is a nice change of pace from the last two. While the previous books were both fairly linear, this one uses a structure that's less common in gamebooks and which is well-suited to mystery stories like this one -- there's a central section with lots of options, and the reader follows various paths from this one section, keeping track of time in the process. By being in the right places at the right times, the player can advance the story. It has a pleasantly non-linear feel to it, and the execution here is largely successful. Another nice touch is the fact that, while the story ends in a gigantic battle, the author provides optional alternate rules for players who just want to get things over with in a timely fashion. My only real complaint is that the book is too difficult for its own good. Clues and leads are exceptionally hard to come by, leaving the reader wondering what to do next much of the time. This problem is made much worse by the way the book all-too-frequently relies on random chance -- some events are determined by a simple unmodified die roll. This is unfortunate, since it means the player can do nothing to affect these events; if the rolls at least used skill scores, strategic character creation could be used as a work-around to figure out which events were important and which were red herrings. As it is, though, all one can really do is grow increasingly frustrated. After I had been playing for a few hours, I started finding myself wanting to give up because I couldn't think of anything new to try and I didn't feel motivated enough to retry the same old path in hope of having better luck the next time around. Still, it could have been worse, and for the most part the book is a success. Sometimes being a little different helps a lot.

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