by Joe Dever, fantasy (1998)
Red Fox, £3.99, ISBN 0-09-964211-5

Twenty seven gamebooks down and there is still no grand plot in sight, just you, the poor Kai dude that everyone goes to whenever there is trouble, running up and down cleaning up every incompetent person's mess. In Vampirium, you finally have what seems like a worthy villain. He's immortal, he drains his victims of blood using his super-duper claws, he wears a tiger mask, and he has more psychic powers than Charles Xavier and Jean Grey combined. He is also invulnerable to your Kai weapons. Are you hyped up to throw down with Autarch Sejanoz, bad-ass former lieutenant of Agarash the Damned who has the Claw of Naar to give Magnamund the mother of all middle fingers?

Sorry, you won't get to fight him here.

So yes, now that the villain has risen and amassed an army from his kingdom of Bhanar in Southern Magnamund, the Elder Magi naturally needs you to go down there and do what you do best.

Vampirium is a linear campaign with pretty nondescript elements, apart from perhaps the description of Bhanar's military might. Even that pales when compared to the troops of Darklord Gnaag marching from Torgar. The setting is bland, just like other blandly described landscape in Southern Magnamund. Aside from that, this is another by-the-numbers campaign where you just go from Point A to Point B, see people die, kick some rear ends, repeat and rinse. The whole thing is just so colorless and uninspired, prompting comparisons to much stronger campaigns in the past. The campaign doesn't even give you an epic fight with the villain to help you stay awake.

Vampirium is drained dry of much of its entertainment value. When is this series going to die again?

One oogie! One oogie!

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