Dec 11, 2013
For an 80s kid like me, gamebooks were worth way more than their weight in gold… and diamonds. In a world not yet entertained by the Real Housewives shows or helped on by Wii Tennis, a youngster’s life could be quite dreary; a good Choose Your Own Adventure quest helped to bridge the interminable lull between Summertime tag and kickball games.
Joe Dever is a venerable name in the CYOA community, and his Lone Wolf series is a fine example of the reason why the adjustable fantasy nature of this genre of games is so popular. The continued digitization of Lone Wolf is the next episode.
The visual segues set the tone. The artwork in the “book” prologue invokes the look and feel of massive story books of old, with weathered, beautifully stark scenes and an appropriately foreboding narration voice. The backgrounds are pretty sharp. The animations work, and the color is really nice.
The protagonist Lone Wolf is the last of a special group of warrior monks known as Kai that survived decimation by their enemies, the evil Darklords. The game follows the adventure of Lone Wolf, who is on a quest for vengeance. The game action starts with an elaborate system that allows for the selection of attributes, weapons and other helpers. The flow from the story to the action sequences are superb, and almost worth the price of admission. Choosing a path is easy, and for the most part, I found a lot of the flow to be logical within Dever canon.
The actions scenes are fun too, and somewhat surprising. At various points, enemies present themselves, and the book moves to a “live” action battle sequence, with Lone Wolf facing down his otherworldly opponents. in this, it incorporates some turn-based RPG elements. Battles involve attacks, defensive moves and depleting the enemy life bars before the same could done to Lone Wolf
In some places, the game does feel a bit repetitive, especially the fight scenes. Shamefully, the stories had a bigger draw for me. The action scenes feel a bit formulaic, even if calling up a wolf to inflict damage is awesome.
As far as gamebooks go, it’s hard not to put this one at the top of the pile, and also hard not to wish for more. It isn’t the cheapest game out there, but this just might the game to bring one home, or build a whole new one.
Lone Wolf lives on.