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This was the first book in the Click Your Poison series I have tried, and whilst I have since also read both Infected and Murdered, I still think this is my favorite of the three, though as a superhero fan it's not that surprising that this story appealed to me more. It's not to say both Infected and Murdered aren't enjoyable - I'll certainly do a review of both at some point - but the subject matter and range of choices made this title stand out most for me. This is definitely a series which taps into the classic Choose Your Own Adventure reading audience of the 80's and 90's and provides that older but still content-hungry crowd with a solid, well written title in a particular genre, whether it's zombies, murder mystery, super powered people or more.
The book says that you can get more than 50 endings over three different distinct storylines, but from flicking through the book after a few reads I reckon that number is closer to 70! Even with that high number, one run through the book might take you through quite a few sections, owing to the fact that this is a near 400 page title.
The initial setup sees you get offered the chance to join an experiment to tap into the potential of humans, where you find yourself possessed of one of three different superpowers (super strength, super smarts or super telekinesis) and the choice of what you do with them - will you elect to become a champion of good or strive to control and conquer as a vile villain? Having three superpowers and a choice of heroism vs. villainy means each storyline further branches in two, but I was impressed how much you can do (or fail) within each of those six possible core paths - there’s a best ending for each power/allegiance but plenty of other ways for victory or defeat too.
What especially works with Superpowered is its use of parallel narrative, most notably via characters that can show up in any direction - you’re actually not alone in gaining powers and I liked how your two counterparts have not only inherited the abilities you might have gained in other situations but can equally become heroes or villains in their own right, allying or opposing you! Other characters like the mad scientist behind your transformation, a shady G-Man and an aspiring reporter can all have very different opinions of you, meaning the story doesn’t have a specific antagonist and allows for greater variety, perfect for such a well designed narrative-focused interactive adventure games. There’s even a funny use of collated connections between other books, like having the G-Man being a former partner of FBI Agents in Murdered, or a chance to discover a dark connection between your powers and a Zombie infestation within another universe that takes place in both Infected and Pathogens!
In all as both a superhero fan (lots of bemusing references to various comic characters) and as an aspiring Interactive Fiction writer, this is a great example of how to create a modern story for adults who might have grown up with Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy books and want something with plenty of depth.
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