This series followed the Star Wars Missions books, and it shares their mail-order distribution and their unusual linear format. Like those books, the first delivery of this series consisted of a boxed kit containing dice (ten- and twenty-sided rather than the six- and twelve-sided of the original series), a rulebook, score sheets, a blank notebook, a set of cards and the first adventure. This time, though, rather than featuring linear chapters and an interactive portion in a single volume, each adventure is split into two books: a linear novel that can be read completely by itself, and a separate gamebook which can optionally be used instead of the middle portion of the novel. When using the gamebook, the reader reads the novel up to a point where he or she is referred to the gamebook, then runs through the interactive portion of the adventure. As in the Star Wars Missions, this is a linear sequence of encounters that requires an initial selection of cards (in the same categories as in the Star Wars Missions but with a broader category of "devices" in place of weapons) and features a running score to keep things interesting. After the interactive portion is done, the reader is referred back to the novel, where the story is concluded.
The fifteen books of the series make up four distinct storylines, each focusing on different characters and written by a different author (although Ryder Windham wrote two storylines). The first three plots take place before the Star Wars Episode I film, and the final storyline is actually an adaptation of the movie itself. With those final books, the series concluded, and nothing more was released even when Star Wars Episode II arrived in theaters.
Gamebooks1. Search for the Lost Jedi
2. The Bartokk Assassins
3. The Fury of Darth Maul
4. Jedi Emergency
5. The Ghostling Children
6. The Hunt for Anakin Skywalker
7. Capture Arawynne
8. Trouble on Tatooine
9. Rescue in the Core
10. Festival of Warriors
11. Pirates from Beyond the Sea
12. The Bongo Rally
13. Danger on Naboo
14. Podrace to Freedom
15. The Final Battle
RulebooksStar Wars Episode I Adventures Adventure Guide
I really enjoyed collecting this series, and I definitely miss getting monthly installments quite a bit. Perhaps it's just the joy of getting new gamebooks, no matter how linear, that led me to appreciate these books so much, but there's definitely quite a bit here to like. Characterization is quite good for the most part, and the continuing storyline keeps things engaging. The game system was a joke, really, but at least it probably helped some elementary school students learn in advance how to balance a checkbook....
It's also worth nothing that when I started the books, I had a long-standing dislike for all things Star Wars, having seen the original trilogy once without enjoying it. These books gave me some new insight into the depth of the Star Wars universe, though, eventually inspiring me to see Episode I. I thoroughly hated it, but at least I appreciated what it was trying to do... and when I revisited the original trilogy more recently, I found it considerably more enjoyable than I had remembered it. It's amazing what gamebooks can do under the right circumstances.
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