#1: Blaster Master (AL Singer)

Jason has a pet frog named Fred, although occasionally he has a weird dream where he hears this giant R-beeeak sound and discovers something so evil that he wakes up and can't remember what it is. One day, Fred hops off and discovers a radioactive chest in the local swamp. He grows to an enormous size, and falls in the hole left by the chest. Jason, being the stupid head he is, jumps in after him.

Once he hits ground, he discovers a huge armored tank vehicle thingie named SOPHIA 3rd. It's piloted by some kind of alien shapeshifter woman named Eve, who invites Jason to come along with her to defeat the Plutonium Boss, who destroyed Eve's home planet or something.

So, the two of them go through the levels, cleverly dodging evil things and such. Jason gets to go into the doors and fight bosses and so on. Eventually, the Plutonium Boss manages to capture Eve, and to take his place Jason finds Alex, a friend of his who fell into the underworld whilst searching for his lizard or something. The 7th boss turns out to be a horribly mutated version of Fred, but Jason, after some soul searching, kills him anyway, especially since he killed Alex's pet lobster or something back in level 5. (Due to the lack of detail in the book itself, the "or something" effect I'm creating is hard to avoid.)

Right after that, they get confronted by the Plutonium Boss, who has captured and chained up Eve. The Boss has some kind of cyclotron that he tries to use to capture Jason and Alex, but Jason gets his laser gun and shoots the Boss a bunch of times until he dies, and Jason and Alex even get their pets back and Eve like lives with them and stuff, so it turns out ok.

Overall, not a bad introduction to the series. Even though the book is pretty melodramatic (a little too much so for my 20-ish body) it's hard to pan it, due to the fact that your memories of playing this classic platformer override any laughable parts of the story.

Rating: 7/10 (it starts out really nicely but gets extremely silly near the end)

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