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Item - Space Assassin

(First printing)
(Metallic dragon logo edition)
(Black dragon logo edition)
(American edition)

Combined Summary

Series: Fighting Fantasy (1982-1995, Puffin) — no. 12
Translated Into: O assassino do espaço (Portuguese)
Espacio asesino (Spanish)
Kosmicheski ubiets [Космически убиец] (Bulgarian)
Le Mercenaire de l'espace (French)
Uchuu no ansatu-sha [宇宙の暗殺者] (Japanese)
Űr orgyilkos (Hungarian)
Vesmírný zabiják (Czech)
Author: Chapman, Andrew
Illustrators: Achilleos, Christos (First printing - cover, Metallic dragon logo edition - cover, Black dragon logo edition - cover)
Courtney, R. (American edition - cover)
Senior, Geoffrey (Geoff) (interior)
Dates: February, 1985 (First printing)
October, 1985 (American edition)
ISBNs: 0140318615 / 9780140318616 (First printing, Metallic dragon logo edition, Black dragon logo edition)
0440981492 / 9780440981497 (American edition)
Length: 400 sections
Number of Endings: 22 instant failures, 1 victory, plus death by Stamina loss or failed puzzle
User Summary: When word reaches your planet that a mad scientist plans to release a horrific plague, you are the futuristic assassin hired to bring him to justice.
Demian's Thoughts:

As others have previously commented, Andrew Chapman's debut gamebook has a veneer of whimsical science fiction on it, but at its heart, for better or worse, it is a traditional dungeon crawl. Much of the book follows the "corridors with occasional doors" pattern of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, but there is a non-linear stretch in the middle that feels more like Scorpion Swamp. All of this is good news to amateur cartographers, as the book is fairly simple and enjoyable to map. The gameplay is also reasonably fair, with multiple paths through most of the encounters and no excessively difficult, unavoidable battles... but there are some red herrings and harmful items to keep things from being too simple.

I had quite a bit of fun with this one on the first few runs, but as with many Fighting Fantasy books, the entertainment value diminished with subsequent plays. There are quite a few sudden deaths toward the end of the book, and after a certain point, replaying to get back to the endgame becomes tedious. It doesn't help that the final confrontation with the villain is a bit underwhelming compared to earlier "boss fights" in the series, and the ultimate victory is incredibly anti-climactic. Also, why is the word "assassin" in the title when your mission is to capture rather than assassinate the villain? I guess "Space Capturer" didn't sound as good. It also appears, based on my post-victory browsing of the book, that there are some interesting features that are easily missed, including a visual puzzle and some sort of tank battle that has its own special record sheet in the back of the book; I'm not sure why these novelties were not featured more prominently.

The bottom line: this isn't a classic by any means, but it's also not devoid of entertainment value. It's challenging but not impossibly difficult, and it has some quirky moments that help set it apart from some of the blander fantasy books. It does tend to wear out its welcome, and it won't burn itself into your memory like some of the stronger adventures, but it's an amusing enough diversion if you're in the right mood.

More reviews by Demian

Fireguard's Thoughts:

I have seen this book maligned more than once by other gamebook readers, but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for it. This was the first Fighting Fantasy book I read (though not the first) that broke from the swords and sorcery of what I had seen from the rest. Being able to trade in my enchanted sword for a blaster rifle and a bunch of grenades was a nice change of pace. It does feel awful random at times, like the use for the squirrel creature, but some atmospheres I rather liked, such as the world within the depths of the ship. Check it out.

More reviews by Fireguard

nev's Thoughts:

Just boring.

So apparently the guy who wrote this got all inspired by Warlock of Firetop Mountain (when it was the only FF available) and decided to write his own FF and eventually submitted it to be published. With that in mind, I guess it's not too bad.

But really, it's just a dungeon crawl, in many ways similar to WoFM - two separate corridors with side rooms that you duck in and out of; a fairly pointless detour to an alien landscape set out on a 6 by 6 grid and then a final corridor with some more rooms and traps.

The main problem with the book is the lack of story and the worst part is the ending. Defeat the baddie, turn to 400, and.... "Your mission is a success. Congratulations." That's it?

More reviews by nev

Special Thanks:Thanks to Fireguard for the plot summary, Nicholas Campbell for the jagged-logo British cover scan and Ben Nelson for the character sheet scan.
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Known Editions

American edition
Black dragon logo edition
First printing
Metallic dragon logo edition

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Related Documents

Play Aid

Fighting Fantasy #12 Character Sheet