The Sinister Studios of KESP-TV

The Sinister Studios of KESP-TV (1983) by Louise Munro Foley has two major branches in the story. One branch ends quickly so the bulk of the book offshoots from one storyline. This makes a fairly cohesive gamebook and makes your choices feel meaningful. You never end up surfing on an alien planet or being eaten by a giant. The narrative builds in a way that makes sense. The author also makes the mundane exciting. In this book it’s a work-study program and in her The Train of Terror it was a trip to see Aunt Kate. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough content. Another 20 pages would suffice. But as it is, you exhaust the pathways too soon. Rating: 490

The Train of Terror

The Train of Terror (1982) is a Twistaplot gamebook written by Louise Munro Foley. Before I get to the contents of this gamebook, I’m addressing a curious dedication in the opening pages:

This book is affectionately dedicated to Don Foley, who made a choice a few years back and has been riding a train of terror ever since.

At first I assume that Louise is jokingly referring to getting and being married. However, Don and Louise married in 1957 then divorced sometime around 1976. So she is clearly poking a stick at Don for his misery after choosing to divorce her. I already like Louise.

Even though “Terror” is in the title of this book and there is a creepy as heck guy with a knife on the cover, The Train of Terror is more in the spy genre. There are some horror elements but these only succeed in making the book feel uneven. When the author sticks to the mysteries surrounding double agents, this book is at its best.

There are some fun fake choices:

If you have a red dress, turn to PAGE 34.

If you wouldn’t be caught dead in a red dress, turn to PAGE 34 anyway.

And silly opportunities to opt out:

If you decide to go with your wits instead of his gun, turn to PAGE 82.

If you decide you’d prefer a nap to a shootout, close this book, shut your eyes, and wait until you hear the conductor announce “Twin Falls!”

The Train of Terror abounds in humor and folksy comments like “curiosity kills more than cats” but, it’s the psychotic image on the cover that sells tickets. All aboard! Rating: 503

Golden Sword of Dragonwalk

Golden Sword of Dragonwalk is a Twistaplot gamebook by the prolific R. L. Stine. It was published in 1983, nine years before Stine’s Goosebumps series began.

I speed through the first few choices, skim reading and this is the end of my pathway:

“In a few days, Grandma Carmen’s once quiet neighborhood is overrun by evil. Dragons roam the sidewalks, chewing up the hedges and swallowing pedestrians whole. Sorcerers change babies into toads…” (18)

Well yes, only children and rather silly adults enjoy such nonsense. Being rather silly myself, I restart. On page 5, I find a Morton’s Fork with one choice sending me directly to page 8 and the other having me read page 11 before sending me to the same page 8. I then have to choose which order I will fight the big dragon, middle dragon and little dragon. Six paths to choose from. Here are my choices and their results in the order I choose them.

  1. middle, big, little – I’m DEAD but it seems to give a clue to fight the big one first.
  2. big, middle, little – I’m DEAD but the wizard says never fight the big one first. Sigh.
  3. little, big, middle – I kill the little one. I kill the big one. Then…

“… the look in the dragon’s eyes is not one of anger, but of grief. With its two companions gone, the middle dragon has lost all its fight. It offers no resistance as you plunge the Golden Sword through its heart.” (29)

Considering this is a book for kids, Mr. Stine got away with murder.

Inventory – Gamebook

1 ON 1 ADVENTURE GAMEBOOKS

Dragonwand of Krynn

BE AN INTERPLANETARY SPY

#11  The Red Rocket

CAR WARS ADVENTURE GAMEBOOK

#5  Green Circle Blues

#6  Mean Streets

CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE

#1  The Cave of Time

#2  Journey Under the Sea (x3)

#3  By Balloon to the Sahara

#4  Space and Beyond (x2)

#5  The Mystery of Chimney Rock (x2)

#6  Your Code Name is Jonah (x2)

#7  The Third Planet from Altair (x2)

#8  Deadwood City

#9  Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?

#10  The Lost Jewels of Nabooti

#12  Inside UFO 54-40

#13  The Abominable Snowman (x2)

#14  The Forbidden Castle (x2)

#15  House of Danger

#16  Survival at Sea

#17  The Race Forever

#18  Underground Kingdom

#19  Secret of the Pyramids

#20  Escape

#22  Space Patrol

#25  Prisoner of the Ant People (x2)

#26  The Phantom Submarine

#29  Trouble on Planet Earth

#31  Vampire Express

#33  The Dragons’ Den

#34  The Mystery of the Highland Crest

#36  The Secret Treasure of Tibet

#38  Sabotage

#39  Supercomputer

#40  The Throne of Zeus

#43  Grand Canyon Odyssey

#44  The Mystery of Ura Senke

#47  Outlaws of Sherwood Forest

#48  Spy for George Washington

#50  Return to the Cave of Time

#54  Forest of Fear

#57  The Antimatter Formula

#59  Terror Island

#60  Vanished!

#61  Beyond Escape!

#62  Sugarcane Island

#66  Secret of the Ninja (x2)

#68  Secret of the Sun God

#69  Rock and Roll Mystery

#70  Invaders of the Planet Earth (x2)

#71  Space Vampire

#72  The Brillant Dr. Wogan

#73  Beyond the Great Wall

#74  Longhorn Territory (x2)

#75  Planet of the Dragons

#76  The Mona Lisa is Missing

#77  The First Olympics

#79  Mystery of the Sacred Stones

#82  Hurricane!

#84  You are a Monster

#87  Exiled to Earth

#93  Captive! (x2)

#95  You are a Genius (x2)

#96  Stock Car Champion

#98  You are a Millionaire

#100  The Worst Day of Your Life

#102  Master of Tae Kwon Do

#108  Master of Karate

#109  Chinese Dragons

#113  The Lost Ninja

#119  The Terrorist Trap

#132  The Luckiest Day of Your Life

#141  The Secret of Mystery Hill

#146  Soccer Star

#147  The Antimatter Universe

#151  Gunfire at Gettysburg

#152  War with the Mutant Spider Ants

#163  Shadow of the Swastika

#174  The Power Dome

CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE (CHOOSECO)

#1  The Abominable Snowman

#2  Journey Under the Sea

#3  Space and Beyond

#7  Race Forever

#9  Lost on the Amazon

#29  Smoke Jumpers

CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE (SKYLARK)

#6  The Green Slime

#7  Help! You’re Shrinking (Weekly Reader hardback version)

#8  Indian Trail

#11  The Bigfoot Mystery

#20  Trouble in Space

#23  The Polar Bear Express

#29  The Fairy Kidnap

#31  Lost Dog!

#46  A Day with the Dinosaurs

#48  You are Invisible

#52  The Enchanted Attic

CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE SUPER ADVENTURE

#1  Journey to the Year 3000

#2  Danger Zones

CHOOSE YOUR OWN NIGHTMARE

#7  Biting for Blood

CHOOSE YOUR OWN STAR WARS ADVENTURE

#1  A New Hope

#2  The Empire Strikes Back

#3  Return of the Jedi

COMBAT COMMAND

#1  In the World of Piers Anthony’s Bio of a Space Tyrant

#2  In the World of Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers

#4  In the World of David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers

COMBAT HEROES

Digital versions of all Comat Heroes books are available free and legal at the Project Aon website.

Black Baron

A DATE WITH DESTINY ADVENTURE

Night of a Thousand Boyfriends

DRAGONTALES

#2  Runesword!

#3  Challenge of the Pegasus Grail

#4  The Towers of Rexor

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Cartoon Show Books

#2  Backward Magic

ENDLESS QUEST

#1  Dungeon of Dread (x2)

#2  Mountain of Mirrors

#3  Pillars of Pentegarn

#4  Return to Brookmere

#5  Revolt of the Dwarves

#7  Hero of Washington Square

#8  Villains of Volturnus

#9  Robbers and Robots

#10  Circus of Fear

#11  Spell of the Winter Wizard

#12  Light on Quests Mountain

#13  Dragon of Doom

#14  Raid on Nightmare Castle

#18  King’s Quest

#21  Duel of the Masters

#22  The Endless Catacombs

#29  Tower of Darkness

#41  A Wild Ride

EXPLORER

#2  Destination: Brain

#4  Escape from Jupiter

FABLED LANDS

#1  The War-Torn Kingdom

#2  Cities of Gold and Glory

#3 Over the Blood-Dark Sea

#4 The Plains of Howling Darkness

#5 The Court of Hidden Faces

#6 Lords of the Rising Sun

FANTASY FOREST

#1  The Ring, the Sword, and the Unicorn

FIGHTING FANTASY

#1 The Warlock of Firetop Mountain

#2  The Citadel of Chaos

#3  The Forest of Doom

#7  House of Hell (UK reprint, 2002)

#8  Scorpion Swamp

#13 Freeway Fighter

#18 Rebel Planet

#19 Demons of the Deep

#21  Trial of Champions

#26  Bloodbones (UK edition)

FIND YOUR FATE ADVENTURE

#2  Indiana Jones and the Lost Treasure of Sheba

#4  Indiana Jones and the Eyes of the Fates

#5  Indiana Jones and the Cup of the Vampire

#6  Indiana Jones and the Legion of Death

FIND YOUR FATE G.I.JOE

#1  Operation: Star Raider

#2  Operation: Dragon Fire

#4  Operation: Robot Assassin

#6  Operation: Death Stone

#7  Operation: Deadly Decoy

#10  Operation: Night Flight

#17  Operation: Sink or Swim

#20  Serpentor and the Mummy Warrior (x2)

FORGOTTEN FOREST

The Magician’s Ring

FREEWAY WARRIOR

Digital versions of all Freeway Warrior books are available free and legal at the Project Aon website.

#2  Mountain Run

#3  The Omega Zone

GOLDEN DRAGON FANTASY GAMEBOOKS

#1  Crypt of the Vampire

LONE WOLF

Digital versions of all Lone Wolf books are available free and legal at the Project Aon website.

#4  The Chasm of Doom

#9  The Cauldron of Fear

#11  The Prisoners of Time

MICRO ADVENTURE

#4  Time Trap

#7  Doom Stalker

NINTENDO ADVENTURE BOOKS

#1  Double Trouble

#2  Leaping Lizards

#3  Monster Mix-Up

STEVE JACKSON’S SORCERY!

#3  The Seven Serpents

SWORDQUEST

#1  Quest for the Unicorn’s Horn

TIME MACHINE

#1  Secret of the Knights

#3  Sword of the Samurai

#6  The Rings of Saturn

#7  Ice Age Explorer (x2)

#10  American Revolutionary

#15  Flame of the Inquisition

#22  Last of the Dinosaurs

#24  World War I Flying Ace

TIME TRAVELER

#1  Voyage with Columbus

TWISTAPLOT

#2  The Train of Terror

#4  Golden Sword of Dragonwalk (x2)

#5  The Sinister Studios of KESP-TV

#7  The Video Avenger

#9  Horrors of the Haunted Museum

#11  Camp-out on Danger Mountain

#12  Journey to Vernico 5

#15  Spellcaster

#16  Calling Outer Space

WALT DISNEY CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE

Alice’s Wonderland Adventure

WHICH WAY BOOKS

#4  Famous and Rich (no cover)

#6  Sugarcane Island

#7  Curse of the Sunken Treasure (x2)

#15  Star Trek: Voyage to Adventure

#24  Star Trek: Phaser Fight (x2)

WHICH WAY BOOKS (SUPER POWERS)

#1  Superman: The Man of Steel (no cover)

#4  Batman: The Doomsday Prophecy

WHICH WAY SECRET DOOR BOOKS

#1  Wow! You Can Fly!

#2  Giants, Elves & Scary Monsters

WIZARDS, WARRIORS & YOU

#2  The Siege of the Dragonriders

#4  Ghost Knights of Camelot

#5  The Haunted Castle of Ravencurse

#9  The Dragon Queen’s Revenge

THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES

#2  South of the Border

#5  African Safari (x2)

ZORK

#3  The Cavern of Doom