by Jason Stevan Hill, historical/fantasy (2010)
Choice Of Games, $2.99, ISBN N/A
No, don't grab the crucifix. Choice Of The Vampire is not another bandwagon-hopper hoping to cash in on the Twilight craze while attempting to cling on to some street cred by claiming to be a parody or satire. This Choose Your Own Adventure-style campaign draws its influences from Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles series. You know, when vampires brood, reminisce about the events around them, and fall wildly, tragically in love with beautiful mortals.
Only, this one is set mostly in 19th century, in the land known today as the United States of America. Your character is a blank slate, and the number of personalities and background you can peg to your vampire character are quite impressive. Throughout the years, you will love and war with both mortals and your fellow vampires, and hopefully you will become a wiser - or at least more hardened - fang-face at the end of the day.
Unlike many gamebooks from this publisher, this one is a pleasant surprise in that there are many choices that actually matter. Okay, there is still one story line here, and there are many choices that provide merely cosmetic variations to this single story line. However, there are also many choices that allow some mild detours that differ considerably from those brought upon by other choices. Also, some choices are available, or not, depending on the personality and skills of your character. So while this one doesn't accord that great a degree of freedom in choices like a typical gamebook tend to do, it still allows a greater degree of choices compared to the other gamebooks from this publisher. This one, therefore, is actually good for at least a few replays.
And the story line is actually a pretty compelling one, if not exactly original. There are laments of heartbreak, pathos, and drama that are pretty nicely done. Some of the secondary characters are memorably written, and the doomed love affairs can prick the heart a bit. Also, there is considerably evocative use of historical details to add color to the story line. Your character observes and occasionally participates in the social and political turmoil of America in the 19th century, and often, you will feel that you really are in your character's shoes. Or pointy heels, depending on how you like your vampires.
Just be warned that this one ends in a "To be continued" manner, and as of the time of writing, the promised sequel has yet to materialize. It can get frustrating, the wait, because this is easily one of the more solid gamebooks from this publisher.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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