Chooseco, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-933390-19-2
They say wine gets better with age, and perhaps, so does RA Montgomery. His early entries in the Choose Your Adventure line were basically the weakest links of the bunch, but his more recent ones are unexpectedly solid. It’s the same with Forecast from Stonehenge: while there is still the inevitable randomness in the whole thing, there are coherence, a few gripping story routes, and some solid narrative.
The premise is quite daft, but you have to bear with Mr Montgomery. Set in the present day, you are a London brat doing your thing until your BFF calls you. He needs you to go to Stonehenge today – the summer solstice – to meet one Alastair Shepherd who will be dressed like a Druid. Alastair knows some secret information about a long missing piece of the Stonehenge, you see, and Twig (yes, that’s your friend’s name – your name is probably Berries for all you know) wants you to find out what that is. Before long, you are plunged into all kinds of shenanigans. Pick one option and you’ll be in some good old-fashioned relic hunt espionage. Pick another and you’ll be dealing with fairies, giants, and more. Then there is a story line which pits you against naughty Druids bent on sacrifice. Merlin is in there somewhere too…
It’s RA Montgomery, yes, but this one is a very fun campaign. The entries can be longer than a typical gamebook in this line, but there is solid build-up, tension, and even suspense.
Some turn of events feel random, and there is one notable example of this in which your decision to save an ally actually leads to a poignant ending in which this ally never makes it, while abandoning the ally will see him remaining alive to the end. Likewise, picking some sensible options lead to bad endings, while picking the apparently wrong or dumb one would lead to a good ending, hmmph.
Still, the resulting campaign is still a well constructed one, and this one is worth a few plays, if only to experience as many thrills and spills along the way as possible.