by Andrew Chapman, futuristic (1985)
Puffin Books, £3.99, ISBN 0-440-98149-2
You are an assassin in Space Assassin, but don't worry, you play a good one. You only eliminate threats to the peace in the galaxy, after all. In a distant galaxy, in the sector of Od, there is your usual mad scientist, Cyrus, who usually contents himself with kidnapping people from your planet and conduct heinous experiments on them. Now, he has plans to use your planet as his testing ground for his latest biological weapon! You are selected by the Assassins/ Guild to infiltrate Cyrus's ship, the Vandervacken, and capture that SOB. Wait, shouldn't an assassin be expected to kill that villain? Maybe the definition of the word "assassinate" is different in this part of the world.
Now, Cyrus is mad, but it is still bewildering to realize that the Vandervacken is one giant dungeon floating in space. There are plenty of monsters and traps, so this campaign is just a generic dungeon crawl with laser guns. It's quite a contrived campaign, what with the spacecraft functioning not like a spacecraft at all, especially when going from one end of the spacecraft to the other means having to brave a slew of monsters. How does the crew cope with this?
Of course, dungeon crawling is just another day's work for a studly adventurer, so the absence of logic does not mean this campaign is a lost cause. Unfortunately, this campaign is also a pretty dull one as it is pretty linear and the lifeless narrative lacks color. This is an easy campaign if your character has decent starting stats - I finished it in one run - which is fine were not for the fact that it is also an unexceptional and boring one. The payoff isn't good as well - the fight with the villain is anticlimatic and the conclusion is only three sentences long.
Space Assassin is an unsophisticated by-the-numbers "just hack and slash" campaign, just like many of the early gamebooks in the Fighting Fantasy series. It is just too average to be memorable.
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