Remember how excellent some gamebooks actually were back in the 80s? The ones with mostly fresh ideas that we couldn’t wait for the release of? This is also a very impacting game book based largely on brainwork as there are no combat systems. Typically, this is everything Choose You Own Adventure should have been. Creepy, paced, atmospheric and relies heavily on cerebral skill to get you through. It literally doesn’t need dice or card systems to work whereby the aforementioned CYOA were dreadfully easy.
Set within the confines of a creepy hospital (that’s enough to shit some people up alone), you awaken in a very surreal version of your world. You realise quite early on some lunatic (liking it already) is stalking you to chop you up like other victims. These turn out to be witches and the author has cleverly interlaced witch folklore into the story, with the looney taking different body parts from each in order to gain special powers. But things take a turn for the worse when you discover a higher power in control of this seemingly willing slave. All throughout the adventure you feel everything is being manipulated around you from room to room, and you don’t know what random and usually gory thing is going to happen next.
All the classic Fighting Fantasy esque conundrums are here, from riddles and letter codes (like in Ian Livingstone’s Deathtrap Dungeon) , to cryptic deciphering and numbered items (Steve Jackson’s Creature Of Havoc perhaps). It’s even 400 references long. For a first gamebook from Victoria Hancox, this is an excellent debut. She has certainly drawn from her familiarities with gamebooks and experiences which have added backbone to the game and I have also been in contact with Victoria and begged that she’ll write another. She replied to me and… I’m not going to say the answer 😜.
This is what many modern gamebooks should be like, and if you like the Horror gamebooks like me… it should be the very next book you buy.
Attempts.. 6 🙂
*proudly became the first known player to complete it successfully according to the author.
Get your copy HERE.
In all honesty, modern Vampire videogames are far too slash n dash for me. What the industry needs in my opinion, is some Hammer-esque with loads of suspense and a hero that isnt some kind of acrobat sword swiping weirdo with superhuman reflexes and magical powers.
How about the good old Van Helsing character, or even an average John Doe who has a smattering of knowledge and just everyday items and wit to hunt down and take on the titular bloodsucker. Think Horror of Dracula, Salems Lot, The Lost Boys, Fright Night. Above all, stick to the vampire we know and love, dont make them electricity throwing wizard genius types. Shoot plenty of 1st person scenes to draw players into the game (rather like Resident Evil) with creepy creaking floorboards and secret rooms.
Sometimes less is more, and the game itself should be foremost rather than what the characters can do. Jam out!
This time last year, my work collegue lent me the M. R. Carey book, The Girl With All The Gifts. Last night we was lucky enough to go and see the film adaption. Although an amount of the book content had been left out, this film presented us an hour and fifty minutes of fun with a screenplay fairly loyal to the story. Horror fans should enjoy this film which sheds a new light on the cause of “undeath”, although as in 28 days later, these ghoulish creature are living infected rather than decaying ressurections. The titular Girl, played by the talented young Sennia Nanua really delivers the character I had visualised in the book. The ever amazing Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton co star, this film is real girl power! With some incredibly well timed sequences and the odd jump scare, I recommend you see this film if not at the cinema then as soon as its on DVD but the book itself is far more superior!
Sennia Nanua (middle) with co stars Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton
Just recently I read the book The House On Cold Hill by Peter James. This is unusual for me as it’s a novel. Something I dont usually get along with. But what can I say? From chapter one I was hooked. What’s great aboutthis tome is James keeps a pace going which never really slacks off, and also, he manages to keep the chapters quite short rather than long winded and dozens of leafs long. (The latter being the reason I give up on many a book. With this work you feel like you’re actually getting somewhere.)
The characters are kept to a minimum. Probably less than twenty which means youdont get huge amounts of character development padding out the pages and distracting you from the actual plot. Another gripe of mine. It turns out that James has based this story on personal experiences, and on his YouTube video, you hear him telling of these experiences and where they show up in the book.
My only real gripe is, the ending isnt all that origional. Its been done before and will doubtless be done again. He does keep you guessing for a long time but you fathom it out before reaching the end few chapters. Id have loved to have had something fresh.
All in all, I’d happily say this is the best novel I’ve ever read. 350 pages in less than a week is unheard of for me. I would advise anyone who loves a good creepy book to seek out The House On Cold Hill and aquire it. You will not regret it.
Just for fun I thought I’d post this picture. I didn’t draw it I found it online, Grats to the artist it’s a fine comic style take on a monster which scared the crap out of me as an eight year old boy. Can you guess the movie it appeared it?
This past few days have been so muggy and hot. My data allowance is set to run out soon so thought I’d make this post quick. Looking forward to the start of Jonathan Green’s Kickstarter on the third of September. The Wicked Wizard of Oz Kickstarter: https://t.co/svFt8x1xBh
Got to do Regs work today and tomorrow then I’m on leave for a week. Hoping to start work on the allotment during this time. Home life has been superb. Especially Tuesday evening 😉
It is with much disappointment that one of my favourite horror writers, Stephen Volk, has sunk to an all time low and proven hisself to be a bit of a twat. His talented skills tarnished by the fact he thinks he can tell people what they can and cannot post on their own Facebook wall. This blog post is in his honour.
~ I love your work but your attitude stinks. Facebook is a social network. People speak on it. Its natural, tough titty. I hate spoilers as much as anybody, and whilst I agree there are groups or other methods to reduce them, maybe Facebook isn’t the right place for you if you think being on your friends list is more important than any persons freedom of speech. You are not all that, and one man will never silence the entire human race. You’re good but not that good, and can’t dictate what people can and cannot post on their own walls. Seeing how you’ve blocked me on Facebook and I’m not even one of these “Spoilermeister” people you loath, I take this chance to say best of luck in future projects, and have a happy Christmas 2015 ~
On a happier note, this is my 200th post so well done for making it memorable 🙂