Lobezno, La noche del Lobezno (Spanish)
Serval, La Nuit du fauve (French)
|User Summary:||You are X-Men superhero Wolverine. One day, while visiting a friend in Washington, you're ambushed by a group of villains. Will you find out why they want to capture you alive, or will you simply rescue your friend and escape your captors?|
To put it bluntly, Night of the Wolverine is a disappointing mess. This one had a lot going for it too. It had possibly the best art of the entire series (both cover and interior art); alas, it's all flash and no substance.
Speaking of which, there is a major goof in characters drawn in this, even that would be forgivable considering it is after all Bart Sears.
The game mechanic uses two dice making it unique among the series whereas the rest gets by on a single die. Yes, some hard checks do arise near the latter part of the story. There's no tension at all in this game.
The writing makes heavy use of pop culture references and local landmarks to ground the story of our 'blue collar' hero plus the subtle detailing of Wolverine's abilities gives the reader a unique perspective rarely touched upon in the comic books. Wolverine is impulsive by nature yet the reader has to break character by using a great deal of restraint in order to progress to a (non-satisfactory) optimal ending. By taking a violent anti-hero and dropping him into a plodding suspense story the end result must invariably lead to disappointment. It's, dare I say it... quite boring.
The opening sequence is inconsequential and serves more as filler than anything else; otherwise this book would have been a much, much shorter read.
I feel sorry for writers Epperson and Ward; they really dropped the ball on this one. This book, next to Captain America, is sadly the weakest outing in the series hands down.
Of all the X-Men who could have been chosen to star in their own book, it had to be Wolverine. I suppose for the True Believer who's always wanted to chop some bad guy into cutlets with the adamantium claws this was a godsend, but me, I wasn't quite so impressed with it.
Some kind of nefarious plot is afoot, but the player doesn't get much of a chance to investigate it. Most choices involve which villain to tackle first, or whether Wolverine should wait or attack right away. I suppose that's the nature of the character, but I would've liked to get an opportunity to investigate what's going on and who's behind it. Things are spelled out in the right paths, but it's too easy to miss, especially if the player has good luck with the dice. Night of the Wolverine is just too shallow and over too fast for me to be satisfied.
One thing that absolutely must be pointed out is that I believe the illustrator got two villains out of Marvel's line-up mixed up; the text mentions Mystique, a blue-skinned, shape-shifting femme fatale, but the illustrations show Mysterio, a globe-headed illusionist who never appears in the text. Weird. 5/10
(review based on the Spanish translaton)
This book has considerably more sections than the two previous ones, but is also a good deal worse. In fact, it's my least favourite entry in the series up to this point, and at the time of this writing I only have yet to read book seven. Prior to this, the worst gamebook I've reviewed recently is Curse of the Pharaoh in the Golden Dragon series, and while that book is bad enough to have been written by a pre-teen, Night of the Wolverine is so bad that I'm sure most pre-teens could have done it better. I liked absolutely nothing about it.
The design is so bad this feels like a bad excuse for an adventure. For starters, the story opens with a Danger Room sequence that has little to do with anything, but it can leave you weakened enough so that facing the dangers of the main storyline can be much more difficult. After that, the real adventure begins, and for the most part the player is deceived into thinking there may be some sort of interesting plot in there which would eventually be resolved. However, the adventure develops in a disappointing way: in order to reach the "optimal" ending, you'll have to let yourself be led along by your captors, and the story's climax and its final resolution are so uninteresting and minimalistic that I was left wondering if it was really worth the effort. Furthermore, most of the book feels like filler: at the beginning, for instance, it doesn't matter whether you succeed or fail at die rolls, since things are programmed so you'll always find the villain's lair and get captured. After that, the book will consist mostly of a rather long and tedious journey, where you will be offered several times the option of either trying to escape or allowing yourself to be taken to your final destination. If you decide to take a chance to escape and are successful, you'll meet with a very abrupt ending and wonder where the real point of the adventure is. As said before, you'll only reach the "climactic" conclusion if you follow a rather narrow path (and usually only if you miss certain skill rolls).
Speaking of rolls, this is the only book in the series where two dice are used for skill rolls instead of one. The authors chose this option in order to include some very hard checks (requiring rolls of ten or higher in order not to reach an instant ending). While in many instances it matters little whether you succeed or not, since the final result will be the same, some rolls are essential to remaining alive. The best strategy seems to be taking note of those specific checks and saving all your Karma points in order to spend them in high quantities when the need arises. There is, after all, nothing more frustrating than restarting a bad gamebook again and again.
Add to all that unremarkable writing, and artwork that is painful to look at (being way too detailed for a paperback-sized book), and you have easily one of the worst gamebooks you can find. Do yourself a favour and don't waste time with it.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the plot summary, to Fireguard for the British cover scan and to Seb Forder for the bookmark scan.|
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