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Item - Robot Commando

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(Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [1st])
(Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [1st])
(Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [1st])
(Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [1st])
(Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [1st])
(Original edition, (Dragon)(Bronze text, number on spine only))
(Original edition, (Dragon)(Bronze text, number on front and spine))

Combined Summary

Series: Fighting Fantasy (1982-1995, Puffin) — no. 22
Translated Into: Comando robot (Portuguese)
La Grande menace des robots (French)
Komandir na roboti [Командир на роботи] (Bulgarian)
Komando robotů (Czech)
Robô comando (Portuguese)
Robot kommandó (Hungarian)
Robotto komando [ロボット コマンドゥ] (Japanese)
Authors: Jackson, Steve (United States)
Martin, David (cover)
Illustrator: Mayes, Gary (interior)
Date: September, 1986 (Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [1st])
ISBN: 0140321527 / 9780140321524
Length: 400 sections
Special Thanks: Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [1st]:
Thanks to James Thompson for the cover scans.
User Summary: You wake up one morning to find that all your countrymen have been placed in a deep sleep, and your ancient enemies have launched an all-out invasion with their robot army!
Fireguard's Thoughts:

It's nice when a series tries something different from the norm, and Robot Commando is about as different as it gets from the swords and sorcery milieu of Fighting Fantasy. As the cover art implies, you don't fight to save your people with a magic sword, but a huge robot! If only the book managed to capture the feeling of enormous fighting machines better; instead, it's basically the same combat as always with retreat options working slightly different. I respect Steve Jackson #2 for trying all the same, and I loved the bit about the good luck charm. All in all a commendable attempt to do something different, even if it doesn't quite reach the goal it set for itself.

More reviews by Fireguard

juski's Thoughts:

The following review was written in 1986 when I was a teenager.

FF22 - Robot Commando

Author - Steve Jackson (USA)
Setting - Futuristic (Robots & Dinosaurs)
Price - £1.95
Publisher - Puffin (Penguin)
Cover Illustration - David Martin
Internal illustrations - Gary Mayes

This is the third Fighting Fantasy gamebook written by American Steve Jackson (the previous books being FF8 - Scorpion Swamp and FF19 - Demons of the Deep). Unlike the other authors of FF, the American Steve Jackson provides three ways of completing the book, therefore three endings and Robot Commando is no exception. Each ending is stated in the book to be completely different, but I’d say that two of them are somewhat similar.

The background is as follows. The rest of your race has been put to sleep by the evil Karosseans who wish to control your home planet, Thalos. For some unknown reason you did not become affected by the mass slumber and therefore it is up to you alone to save your race, one way or another.

This book is the first in the series to introduce robots that you can use yourself and travel in. Although there is the usual individual combat, most fighting is robot vs. robot (or the odd dinosaur). Each opponent fought in this way, as well as your own robot, have the following statistics - armour, speed (slow, medium, fast, very fast), combat bonus (sometimes) and special abilities (for robots with a specific job). All affect fighting, but speed is used for escaping if an escape option is given.

The book is well-written and it's good fun stomping between the cities of Pleasure, Industry, Knowledge, Worship, etc., changing robots and fighting against others. There are lots of numbers given which you have to remember for later (which helps prevent cheating) and, like Scorpion Swamp, there is also a "have you been here before" option which means you can return to a place without having to fight a battle already won. But be warned. Sometimes you meet up with beings not present previously.

The cover is good. The robot is really great. The internal illustrations are also generally of a high standard, although some of the non-mechanical beings are a bit naff. On the whole a good gamebook, certainly the best written on a futuristic theme. However, the storyline is a bit boring, being the usual "save the planet from the evil aliens".

Originality: 14/20. Robots are new but basic plot is not.
The Adventure: 17/20. Very good. Lots of numbers to stop cheating.
Cover: 16/20. Love the robot!
Internal illustrations: 14/20. Higher mark if all of them were of mechanical beings.

More reviews by juski

Special Thanks:Thanks to Ben Nelson for the character sheet scan and to Fireguard for the plot summary. Thanks to Brett Easterbrook for the numbered Dragon cover scan.
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Users Who Want This Item: bbanzai, bonhomme, Faberwest, Ffghtermedic, Gartax, gryff, Househeart, Mr ?, mrwalker, NEMO, Nomad, ThisIslandEarth, truce57, Von Scotty, Waluigi Freak 99
Users with Extra Copies: badboybaggins
greenmillie64 - i have mint 1986 copy (uk) if anyone is interested in buying
Ian2405 - Original U.K Copy ('Green Banner') 1st Edition 1986
Sir Olli
Trompe-l Oeil

Known Editions

Original (Zigzag), UK 1986 1st printing (C&W) [1st]
Original edition, (Dragon)(Bronze text, number on spine only)
Original edition, (Dragon)(Bronze text, number on front and spine)

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Related Documents

Play Aid

Fighting Fantasy #22 Character Sheet