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Item - La forteresse d'Alamuth


Series: La Saga du PrĂȘtre Jean — no. 1
Alternate Title: The Fortress of Alamuth (literal English translation of title)
Translated Into: Die Festung Alamuth (German)
La fortaleza de Alamut (Spanish)
Il vecchio della montagna (Italian)
Authors: Headline, Doug
Monrocq, Dominique
Illustrator: Terpant, Jacques
Date: 1986
ISBN: 2010116976 / 9782010116971
Length: 376 pages (671 sections)
Number of Endings: 46
User Summary: In this first adventure, you have to meet Hassan Sabba, also called "The old man in the mountain," leader of the Hachachins sect (the name of which is actually the origin of the word "assassin" in many languages, including French and English).
Demian's Thoughts: This series is one of many French publications that I wish I were able to read. I'm quite intrigued by the thickness of each book, and I gained further interest when I flipped through the pages and noticed the name of H. P. Lovecraft's famous mad wizard, Abdul Alhazred. It's also worth noting that this is the non-English series that I seem to get the most e-mails about.

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Feldrin's Thoughts: From what I know, Hassan Sabba and his sect did exist in reality, and that historic reference is very pleasant. Of course, I'm pretty sure that there weren't lizardmen and trolls in the real sect; still, the historical background is nice (I must admit that I'm fond of this period of History). Anyway, this gamebook can be divided into 3 parts: one involving the quest to reach Hassan Sabba's mountain and two taking place within this mountain. It took me 6 attempts only to reach the mountain, and 12 more to meet Hassan Sabba. When I wrote this review, I barely remembered the book, so it was if I was playing it for the first time.

During my 18 attempts to finish this book, I was killed 5 times by the annoying "instant death on a roll of two or twelve" rule (three times against the first opponent, and twice against trolls), and I killed three enemies with the rule. It saved my life once because I was about to lose a fight, but it only served to speed up the other two fights. Perhaps I'm unlucky, but dying because of a dice roll has always been annoying, whatever the gamebook you're playing. In this series, that risk exists in every single fight. Aside from this problem, I died 5 times because I lost a fight with normal rules and the remaining 8 because I made a bad choice and met a sudden death.

You can easily imagine that this book is difficult. The main drawback to me is the fighting rule. Unlike many gamebooks, I never lost because I lacked an item. Sometimes you need some magical item to help you, and if you don't have it, you're in for a fight but you don't automatically lose if, for example, you didn't find 9 golden rings. That's a good point for this book. Another good point is that several different paths lead to the end; along the way you can meet several people who give you items which will help you to win, but if you don't meet them, hope is not lost, though the journey will be harder. You don't have to map the whole book to find the only way to reach Hassan Sabba.

Overall, La Forteresse d'Alamuth is a good gamebook. Ok, it's difficult, and you can die from a bad dice roll, but the book is well-written, and it's interesting to try different paths to see which one is the easiest or allows you to meet the most interesting people.

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