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Item - Diceman #4

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Series: Diceman — no. 4
Contents: Diceman in Bitter Streets (Mini-Adventure)
You Are Slaine in the Ring of Danu (Mini-Adventure)
Author: Geller, Simon (editing)
Illustrators: McCarthy, Brendan (cover)
Stead, Ian (editing)
Brighton, Kevin (assistance)
Date: August 2, 1986
Guillermo's Thoughts:

In order to allow for longer, more complex adventures, the editors chose to include only two of them in this issue. Also, the idea of intercalating text sections is used again, but fortunately not over-used.

The first adventure, titled Diceman in Bitter Streets, is awesome. The player character must prove his innocence in a series of murders, and then discover who has taken control of some of his powers and is trying to frame him. The choices are tough, and this time they require reasoning and observation. The procedure of asking the player to declare her / his next action as in a roleplaying game is also used to good effect. Writing and characterization are great as is usual in this series and, last but not least, completing the adventure successfully requires a lot of resource management: maintaining your health and sanity may require spending a lot of money, but if you spend too much you risk not being able to buy essential inventory, etc. The bad endings are rather gruesome, especially considering their graphic portrayal.

The second adventure, titled You are Slaine in the Ring of Danu, is the most complex and interesting – and also the last – Slaine adventure in this series. This forest adventure includes many misleading clues, which increase the difficulty of decision-making, plus a couple of instances where the player is asked to declare her / his next action, as in the last adventure. Thus, despite the fact that combats are not too difficult, this adventure is likely to take several tries to complete. It should also be mentioned that the player receives a bonus if s/he has completed one of the previous Slaine adventures, which is a nice nod to gamebook series which allow the reader to carry a character from book to book.

Overall, I found this to be the best issue of Diceman, due to the length and difficulty of both adventures. Highly recommended.

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