First of all, these aren't your run-of-the-mill guide-books that we usually get here in the West. The Japanese usually put in everything they can in them, plus the proverbial kitchen-sink. In this case, these are the contents: backstory and plot, character art and bios, concept art, airplane stats and descriptions, developer interviews, secrets and, you guessed it, mission guidelines. Basically everything you need to know is there and then some!
There were three books printed by different companies:
- The first was NAMCO's own Official Guide Book, released on the same day as the game (May 27th 1999) for 1200 yen (about 13 bucks).
- The second was the Mission & World View, made by CB's Project and published by Media Factory (who also published the Direct Audio and Mission 00). It was released in September 1999 for the same price as the NAMCO one.
- The "third", which actually was released a month before the M&WV book, is made by SONY for their "Magazines Deluxe" line. This is a book I don't have and I won't be covering for a variety of reasons: 1) From what I've seen it's one to give a miss to as it doesn't seem to have anything the other two books don't have; 2) I have the previous two already; 3) "Magazines Deluxe" sounds cheesy; 4) There are many companies that excel at making guidebooks, SONY isn't one of them.
To those interested in purchasing one or more of these books, keep their MSRPs in mind! I paid 30 bucks for the NAMCO book with its obi, which isn't that great of a deal compared to the 15 bucks I paid for the Mission & World View (both near-mint). After doing some research I found that these items (and other AC3 stuff), while rare in the West, still aren't worth much more than their original prices! Anything close to double, even in near-mint condition is too much.
Each book will get its own post as they can get pretty big, with all the info, pictures and what not.