Star Wars Missions
September, 1997 (First printing)
0590127934 / 9780590127936
|User Summary:||The Death Star has just been destroyed, and the Empire has sent a ship to investigate the sudden lack of communication from Grand Moff Tarkin; you must defend the rebel base on Yavin Four and prevent news of the Death Star's destruction from spreading prematurely.|
Quite a few years ago, when the Star Wars Episode I Adventures came out, I subscribed to the series and enjoyed the books in spite of their linear format and my general lack of interest in the franchise. I never had a chance to go back and investigate the earlier Star Wars Missions series, but I'm finally taking a stab at that (though I'm unlikely to get through them all due to the difficulty of acquiring a complete set).
First of all, let's get the obvious negative out of the way: from a critical gameplay perspective, this entire series is pointless. The adventures are completely linear, and it is impossible to fail at anything; the only thing at stake is an arbitrary and meaningless score, the tracking of which is a surprisingly fiddly and annoying exercise in arithmetic. This is made worse by a rulebook that makes an essentially simple system unexpectedly complicated by offering a lot of variations and judgment calls that serve little purpose; I would rather have seen the space devoted to building something more interesting. This first adventure adds an extra element of silliness of the gameplay by offering Chewbacca as one of the playable characters in spite of the fact that, due to themes of disguise and large amounts of spoken character interaction, his presence in the story makes no sense.
In spite of all those significant negative points, though, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this adventure. The obvious strength is that Ryder Windham really knows how to write a Star Wars adventure. The characters are portrayed convincingly, the situations build believably upon what was seen on screen, and there are nice little touches like an offhand explanation of why storm troopers are such bad shots. The book also effectively sets up what will presumably be a story arc for the first few adventures. Of course, I don't mean to oversell this -- it's not high art by any means -- but it's a fast-paced, mildly amusing Star Wars romp, and if that's what you're after, it delivers more entertainment value than several of the actual movies.
It's also worth pointing out that, even though the game system is inherently pointless, I think it does actually add something to the book. In the action-packed middle act, the decision-making and dice rolling manages to add to the excitement even though the consequences are plainly meaningless. I don't think this would be as enjoyable as a purely linear novel describing the events in the third person. Such is the power of the imagination and a second-person narrative! These are clearly guilty pleasures, but I can't help looking forward to the next installment.
My Starting Score - 1000
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|Users with Extra Copies:||
Demian - first printing, no cards
sireeyore - X 2
Known EditionsFirst printing