Before you begin your adventure there are a few things you will need to know. Island Stakeout is not like other adventure books. It isn't set in a mythical time or an imaginary world, but in the present day on a tropical island.

There are no battles to fight as such with various fictitious creatures, but you will no doubt come up against some unfriendly adversaries. You will find two maps in the book, these may be referred to at will and will prove to be useful on occasion. You are also given an adventure sheet to use, and throughout the adventure will be told to enter certain information into it for use at a later time. You are advised to print off the adventure sheet or create your own electronic copy that you can edit as you go.

At certain points in the book you will be asked to throw a die. These occasions have been kept to a minimum so that your destiny will not be decided by fate alone, but by your own choice. This gives the adventurer far more control over their movements.

During your quest, at certain points only, you will be given a percentage score. This you must enter into your adventure sheet. The maximum score at the end of the book is obviously 100%. However, as there are a number of possible routes to take through the book, it is possible to complete the adventure but not attain a 100% score. This means that you may begin again but take a different and safer route.

You are working for the United Nations Intelligence Service (U.N.I.) and have been chosen for this mission as you are the most experienced and skilled agent that they employ. The details of the mission have not yet been revealed to you for security reasons. However one thing that you do know is that you next pay cheque will be a large one. Throughout the mission you will be referred to as AGENT X.

At times H.Q. and various other people will contact you. These liaisons will be very helpful to you (as well as the odd red herring) and you must try to make these liaisons at all times. H.Q. can only help you in your task to a certain degree, so for the most part you are on your own.