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|User Summary:||You must collect as many time crystals as possible by solving puzzles while travelling through four different time zones.|
A lot of interactive fiction has all plot and no gameplay. This is the rare reverse -- there are puzzles and nifty mechanics everywhere, but no story to be seen. Unfortunately, the result is a little boring as a result. I love the novelty of puzzles in gamebooks, but being continually assaulted with them gets tedious, especially when some of them are far, far too familiar. At this point, there should be a law against dragging out the old "one man tells the truth and the other lies -- figure out which is which by asking a question" puzzle. Still, there are several great moments in here -- there's a puzzle where you have to move objects around, and each stage of the puzzle solution is accompanied by an illustration, making it feel almost like a computer strategy game. There are also some fairly demanding thought problems; fans of the Be an Interplanetary Spy series should enjoy this book, as it has similar content but is aimed at a more advanced audience. I just wish the neat puzzles here could have been spread out among a few more story-oriented volumes rather than all jammed into this one book; there can indeed be too much of a good thing. Also worth noting is the fact that this book seems to have pre-dated the Give Yourself Goosebumps series in the "shiny prismatic cover" department.
My High Score - 12 (yes, I know I am pathetic)
An adventure gamebook with puzzles, NOT a puzzle book! A fun adventure gamebook based loosely on the TV show of the same name. I say loosely because this book is not a collection of puzzles that may or may not be from the show, but rather an interactive adventure book set in the future where the reader takes on the role of a team of Crystal Maze TV contestants making their way through a futuristic version of the show.
The book is well-written, and the puzzles are very challenging, but satisfying to defeat. The book has some replayability too as you can only do four puzzles/games from each section of the Crystal Maze, so you could play again and do the other puzzles you missed out on last time.
There are some unfortunate errors in the book (a couple of references point to the wrong places, and I discovered at least two orphaned passages; there is even an ending where you don't get any Crystals at all, but that one hasn't been appropriately linked to the final passage). So it's a fun book, as long as you don't go in expecting it to be something that it isn't.
|Errata:||The "shoot the fighters" puzzle in the futuristic zone repeatedly refers to "skill score" (in sections 174, 185, 197, 207, 218, 229, 240, 269, 278, 287 and 296). It is unclear what this means, but my guess is that it actually means dexterity. The first mental challenge in the industrial zone sends players back to the futuristic zone for some reason; in sections 215, 252, 264 and 274, you should replace the "turn to 203" instruction with "turn to 180."|
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