Dell, $2.50, ISBN 0-440-46892-2
Planets In Peril is the first gamebook in the Star Challenge series, and it’s a Choose Your Own Adventure-style campaign, which means no need for pencil and die.
It is 2525. You are a young kid who could be the next Buck Rogers, depending on the outcome of the campaign, with a robotic assistant called Task/Operational Robot Model 2 (or 2-Tor for short) to help you fill in the blanks when it comes to details about your environment. While doing your thing as a Network of Worlds operative in the space station Nebula, you are briefed by Commander Polaris to stop the villainous Cypor Scarp and his gang from obtaining the Graviton, a super-duper weapon of mass destruction. What are you waiting for? Reinforcements? Useful intel? Get out of here. Real gamebook heroes wade into danger with nary a clue, so go!
The gimmick here is there are several possible good endings, but these endings come with scores, and you will learn that these endings are graded from “Congratulations! You’re a Space Ace!” wonderful to “Go back to the Space Academy!” awful. But don’t worry, the story arcs in this campaign are all so short, it is possible to discover the “correct” endings quickly without even cheating and backtracking from the score page.
And that is the biggest problem of this gamebook. The setting is adequate and the writing is serviceable, but the story routes are very short and therefore unsatisfying. It is more entertaining to figure out how you can die, but that’s not really the point of playing a gamebook. Is it?