Bantam Books, $2.25, ISBN 0-553-23506-0
Find the Kirillian! is the first gamebook in the Be an Interplanetary Spy series. The plot is simple. You are, naturally, an interplanetary spy, and your mission is to apprehend a thief called Phatax and recover the Royal Jewels of Alvare. Because Phatax is a Kirillian, that means he is about fifteen times your size, heh, so this is one mission that you cannot just bruise your way through.
This campaign is meant for young kids, so instead of rolling die and keeping track of things like hit points and damage, you will instead have to play a series of mini-games like navigating through mazes, solving puzzles, and such. Some puzzles are strict – if you fail to solve them, you automatically loses, usually in a humiliating manner. Some puzzles are only there for you to relax and play with – you can actually skip them if you wish. Some puzzles test your ability to recall details from previous entries. In other words, this is more of an interactive activity book than a gamebook. The puzzles are of average difficulty, but you may find the fact that luck sometimes play a factor in getting the right solution (such as an early puzzle where you have two potential exit points through a maze – but one leads to a bad ending) mildly annoying.
All in all, Find That Kirillian! is a pleasantly entertaining gamebook, helped by campy but attractive illustrations and simple yet serviceable prose. It’s not going to be as challenging as a gamebook geared toward older kids, but it is nonetheless a pleasant diversion for a lazy day or during a long trip.