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Item - Aventura en las Estrellas

(third printing)
(fourth printing)
Series: Editorial Andrés Bello: Science Fiction Gamebooks — no. 67
Alternate Title: Adventure in the Stars (literal English translation of title)
Authors: Balcells, Jacqueline (Marty Aboitiz de)
Güiraldes (Camerati), Ana María
Balcells, Alberto I.
Larraín, Ana María (afterword)
Illustrator: Jullian, Andrés
Date: 1987
ISBN: 9561304619 / 9789561304611
Length: 110 pages
Number of Endings: 10 (only one victory)
User Summary: It's the Twenty-fifth Century, and Venus has been colonized by mankind. Now the entire planet is in danger of being conquered by an evil race of lizard-like creatures. Together with Poncio, your pet robot, you embark on a mission to find the source of their power -- the evil Mandragor Tree -- and destroy it before the human race is exterminated.
Guillermo's Thoughts: This book starts out promisingly; unlike many other books aimed at this age group, the player is given a clear goal to accomplish and the action begins right from the first page. However, this is mostly a disappointing book. My first complaint is that the book is ultra-linear; there is only one path to victory, so the vast majority of choices are of the "if you're right, the story proceeds, if you're wrong, you fail" type. Some people might like this kind of book, but for me it's frustrating to read an interactive book with almost no alternative satisfying paths to explore, since this cuts down the replay value of the book. The linearity problem wouldn't be that bad if the book were really challenging, but it's not. At almost every point, the authors try so hard to dissuade the reader from picking the "correct" choice that after a few tries the way to victory becomes obvious.

The writing isn't very good; although there are a lot of non-player characters in the book, almost none of them are developed in enough detail to be particularly interesting, with the possible exception of the robot sidekick, who seems to be the true protagonist of this series. This book feels more like a fantasy adventure than a sci-fi one because of the inclusion of several mythological and fantastic creatures which can be encountered by the player. The artwork is of very uneven quality, with some excellent drawings and others that are just awful.

Although the story is rife with references to Star Wars and Isaac Asimov (this is obvious just by looking at the cover), the science fiction in the book is silly and scientifically implausible at times (ancient nuclear warheads reused as fuel for spaceships? Come on!). The story has some good moments, such as some exciting (though brief) space dogfights, and an encounter with a two-headed giant with a split personality, but these moments don't save the book from mediocrity. This isn't worth investing much time on, and I hope the later volumes are better.

More reviews by Guillermo

Errata:Some editions incorrectly list the ISBN as 956-13-0461-8.
Special Thanks:Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the plot summary and third printing cover scan.
Users Who Own This Item: Guillermo (Third printing, magenta cover), katzcollection (orange cover)

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