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Item - Asesina 1: Líneas

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Series: Revista NoSoloRol no. 45
Alternate Title: Assassin 1: Lines (literal English translation of title)
Part of: Revista NoSoloRol #45 (Magazine)
Author: López Morales, José Luis
Date: March, 2007
Length: 60 sections
User Summary: You are a Bosnian War veteran who works as a hired killer. Your latest job devolves into a hunt for vengeance....
Guillermo's Thoughts:

(This is a review of the whole Asesina sub-series, which spans five issues of the magazine).

This freely-available adventure was published online as part of magazine issues by NoSoloRol Ediciones, a Spanish RPG publisher whose material often resembles that which in the USA would be called "indie." Calling it a miniseries is incorrect; rather this is a 360-section gamebook spread out over five modules, and in different play-throughs the parts will come together in a different order (a cleverly used codeword system allows for much of this flexibility). The magazine format was certainly inadequate for an adventure of this type, since readers could actually complete one of the early books and then be told to continue the adventure in an installment which only appeared months later. At the time of this writing, the complete adventure is already out and can be enjoyed in its full glory. The book is based on a modern-day RPG by the same publisher.

Overall I enjoyed the book's design very much. For starters, it is a good thing that the author moved away from Tolkienesque fantasy and chose a genre which today's readers are likely to identify with – the "female assassin" story of revenge which has been made popular by Tarantino's Kill Bill. The player is offered lots of options to customize her / his character, while the skill check-based system is kept extremely simple. The adventure is very action-packed, as befits the genre, but the combination of different types of skills is essential for success. The choice design is coherent and provides challenge. The encounter areas are carefully designed and are fun to explore and solve. Die rolls are frequent and failing even one check can have serious consequences. As a result, the adventure is hard to complete, but a carefully-crafted character can prevail. I also liked that there are at least two major ways to tackle the adventure, both of which lead to different conclusions.

As if the above weren't enough, in one choice point there is a strong moral dilemma which adds interest to the story. It certainly is a nice touch.

While the artwork and interior design are nothing exceptional, they are functional. I like them better than the artwork of Contra los trolls.

Certainly, most of the adventure involves stealth and assassination, and since the majority of it is action, no doubt some smarty will claim that this kind of book is unnecessary since there are videogames which do this stuff remarkably well. To that I would respond: when did visual media really substitute for the use of imagination that the gamebook medium allows? So there you have it, an unashamed stealth and action fest without patches, bugs, computer graphic cards or any of the via crucis that video entertainment implies (and unlike Assassin's Creed, it doesn't cost 26.99 USD). The author certainly does know how to design an interesting and challenging gamebook, and this effort is worthy of publication in other languages, especially considering the dearth of quality gamebooks being released nowadays. Definitely recommended, though for now the only option for people who cannot read Spanish is to Babelfish it.

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Special Thanks:Thanks to Guillermo Paredes for the cover image and plot summary.
Users Who Own This Item: Pirrakas
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