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April 11, 2012
320 pages |
|Number of Endings:||
|User Summary:||You are an inexperienced journalist looking to prove yourself... and you get a great opportunity when superheroes come to town!|
I've been looking forward to this since finishing Zombocalypse Now, so I'm happy to see that Chooseomatic Books have been successful enough to justify a second volume! Fortunately, it was worth the wait.
Admittedly, Thrusts of Justice didn't grab me as quickly as Zombocalypse Now did. I'm not a big fan of the superhero genre, and this book doesn't have an immediate twist (like featuring a protagonist who's a stuffed rabbit) to draw the reader in. However, if you bear with the initially conventional setup, you will be rewarded for your patience.
First of all, as with the previous volume, there's a lot of humor here. As before, it's not non-stop laughs, and the silliness is mixed with genuine superheroic action, but there are some good gags to be found. I found the number of jokes about getting drunk and doing stupid things a little excessive -- not because I'm a prude, but because I like variety -- but I have to confess that one of the funnier paths I encountered involved a drunken underwater superhero inciting others to beat up orcas because they're jerks.
More importantly than the humor, though, is the plot construction. For a pure branching-path book, this is my favorite kind of design: there's a single plot running through the book. Indeed, the outcome of the main plot reaches the reader almost no matter what he or she ends up doing. However, there's an enormous amount of variety regarding what the reader can do within the confines of this plot. There are three sets of superpowers to try out, a huge cast of characters to interact with, and countless horrible ways to die. Replaying the story keeps filling in details about what's going on, yet every path stands alone as a satisfying story in its own right. You'll get a lot of mileage out of this one.
Okay, I'm ready for Time Travel Dinosaur now.
Despite having a title that makes it sound like it might be some kind of superhero-themed adult film, this was a highly entertaining bit of interactive fiction.
I appreciate it a little differently than Demian, because I am a lifelong superhero fan. The book mainly uses that as a backdrop to have Joe Average messing around with superpowers and, as would probably happen in real life, getting in over his head and dying quickly while trying to figure them out. That said, it does contain a pretty well-developed superhero universe, and reading the book multiple times and trying out the different powers, the author does a great job keeping the plot and characters consistent from one section to another. You only have access to certain bits of the backstory in each of the three sections, and it made it rewarding to try again with a different power-set to learn more and piece the entire thing together.
Another thing I really liked was how in some paths you find yourself teaming up with other super-powered people. Rather than seeming like they were letting me make all the decisions because this is an interactive book, it seemed kind of like the book was giving me a measure of respect for surviving long enough to get that far despite it being my first time out with super-powers. The book even included geriatric superheroes and managed to get some humor out of them beyond "here's a bunch of superheroes, but now they're really old and decrepit. Isn't that hilarious?"
If the book has a flaw, it's that as Demian pointed out the author leaned a little heavily on drinking as a source of humor. I don't mind that as a matter of course or anything, but it's not that hard to drag a particular bit out too long. Also, there were a couple issues that never get dealt with no matter how much you explore (did the Nightwatchman mean for you to find his stuff? You meet him in his secret identity, so why does he not try to keep you out of this considering he knows something pretty big is going on?)
A solid interactive book that manages to be a good parody at the same time. More spoofs should be like this.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to the author for the cover image.|
|Users Who Own This Item:||dArtagnan, Darth Rabbitt, Groatsworth, jdreller, karalynn, katzcollection, mlvoss|
|Users Who Want This Item:||Malthus Dire, NEMO, Pseudo_Intellectual, zat|