Curse of the Assassin

YOU ATTEND the funeral of an old friend, one of your adventuring buddies from back when you were kids. You find out that he was murdered for investigating a local cult, and you are out for revenge.

In the process, you find a connection to Eltane, the would-be usurper in GA #1, Assassin in Orlandes, you meet old friends and your own family, and we find out that YOU have a girlfriend who’s totally excellent.

 

Review and Opinion

The adventure itself, just excellent. The journey has that large, epic feel to it from covering so much ground: the city and a funeral, the plains and your hometown, more outdoor travel, a dungeon, more outdoors, the ocean, and an island. And it’s a dangerous place. Some of the exotic and interesting ways I met my end:

  • eaten by a cannibal in the sewers (bummer),
  • attacked by a wild dog while pooping in the grass (classy, real classy),
  • killed by a poison dart trap in a chest (I hate those!),
  • killed in battle by various crazy critters (occupational hazard),
  • and possessed by the evil power of Eidophor after I killed him (Nooooooooo!)

Yeah, good times.

Beyond that, this is one of the better gamebooks I’ve played in a long time, of any series, in terms of the writing and character depth.

This is a sequel to GA #1 and I really liked that continuity. It does just the right amount of callbacks and references, without going overboard.

The story itself brings depth to You The Hero, by giving You a girlfriend, and parents, by taking You back to the cave where you first bloodied your sword, and by reuniting You with an old friend. The effect really worked for me, making You more than just the nameless sword for hire, but a person with a past and a future.

And the story features a strong female character, Your beloved Eleanor. The story mentions her taking sword lessons in a fairly prosaic manner, but later on she leads an assault force and saves your day, and in the epilogue to the happy ending she’s just great.

 

Errors & Lost Opportunities

You cannot get Roble’s signet ring and also his journal, because they are in different locations, but at one point you are asked if you have both.

Several items are mentioned, but seem not to exist in the book: a coral dagger, a shield, a trident, a snake rattle, earplugs / deafeners, an old folk song, some country wisdom about cactus. I could be wrong on some of these, but I’ve scoured the book pretty thoroughly.

In Keurn Badenach there is a clue about the trapped stairwell, but it can’t be read unless you’re cheating in Casual mode.

Only one if your three companions is a real option, the other two are just killed to provide pathos. This is really a missed opportunity, as having three companions affect your storyline in different ways could have been truly excellent.

There is a pit trap at the entrance to Keurn Badenach, which hits for -3 Fitness. This in turn makes the game virtually impossible to survive unless you had a 12 Fitness (now a mediocre 9). Don’t bother continuing unless you had a Fitness of 12 or are cheating in Casual mode.

 

Maps

Publication

Written by S. P. Osborne

Illustrated by Josh Wright

2014

Book 8 in the series

 

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