Choice Of Zombies
by Heather Albano and Richard Jackson, horror (2011)
Choice Of Games, $2.99, ISBN N/A


Choice Of Zombies is a Choose Your Own Adventure-style take on - what else? - the zombie apocalypse. Clearly, zombies are to new generation gamebooks what evil wizards were to the previous generation gamebooks - you will stumble upon at least one at every corner of the street.

In this one, you wake up one morning and whoa, zombies are everywhere. You basically have to find, fight, wade, and drive your way to safety. You will have a choice of picking up some companions along the way, and, unfortunately, they are all annoying hindrances, so much so that you will soon wish that you have the option of feeding them to the zombies yourself. The younger they are, the more irritating they will be.

It sounds simple, finding safety, but it isn't, because getting to a happy ending where you didn't become a noble zombie sacrificing yourself to save your ragtag companions is not easy, heh. This is easily the toughest gamebook in this series to date, mostly because instead of the usual "one fixed storyline" formula typically present in gamebooks from this publisher, this one has two. There is railroading galore, but at the same time, there are enough divergences from the choices you make and the type of character you decide to be, As a result, this one is worth playing a few times to figure out the various possibilities present in the campaign.

The thing is, the companions are either designed to be just annoying or serve as a worthless albatross around your neck. The adult companions are deliberately argumentative, the teenagers are going to be getting into trouble with every step they make. Alas, there are no options to abandon them - some of them may abandon you instead, depending on your choices, and you will not survive long after.

The tone of this campaign is also rather inconsistent. There are moments when you are allowed to be this kick-ass OTT hero, but in the next turn of the page, you are to decide how to comfort a crying teen. Sometimes this one wants to be a humorous comedy, at other times it jumps straight into something more poignant. Also, this one incorporates so many zombie apocalypse tropes that it comes off as trying too hard to be everything instead of a confident spoof or homage to more famous zombie movies.

Ultimately, Choice Of Zombies has its moments and it actually gives you reasons to play it several times. But you will also feel that this one is trying too hard to be those zombie movies you have seen to the point of being predictable.

One oogie! One oogie! One oogie!


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