by Jonathan Green, fantasy (2007)
Wizard Books, £5.99, ISBN 978-1-840468-38-0
I am not fond of Jonathan Green’s gamebooks in general, but delightfully enough, Howl Of The Werewolf is a pleasure to read and play.
We have a poor sod - you, of course - a goody-goody warrior, who decides one fine night to take a short cut through the woods of Lupravia on his way to get to some nice R&R in a nearby settlement. It is a big mistake, as he is soon attacked by a werewolf and is turned into one himself. If he doesn’t find a cure by the next full moon – by killing the Arch-Lycanthrope, the Big Daddy of the werecreatures that infest this cursed land – our hero is going to spurt fur all over his body and howl at the moon.
In my first play of this gamebook, I find it very easy to reach the big bad wolf in the end, but imagine my dismay when I realize that I have missed out a few crucial turns and therefore skipped over a major subplot altogether. Here’s a clue: you need to collect a few items to truly defeat the big bad wolf, and the paths in this story can be random enough to let you miss out on any of these items. I should know.
Still, even if the random nature of the plot can require one to go through the gamebook a few times, this one is a fabulous read. Reminiscent of the good horror fantasy of Vault Of The Vampire (which is set in the neighboring country, in fact), this one has some great descriptive passages and plenty of creepy atmosphere. Fans of Dungeons and Dragons’ Ravenloft may be amused by the appearance of a Vampire Hunter named Van Richten and a Carnival slightly reminiscent of a certain mobile domain of the same name. There are some dungeons and mazes here that can be annoying when you find yourself coming back to the same locations, but here’s a tip from me: when that happens, leave the maze/dungeon because there is nothing more to look for. Don’t overthink or overanalyze everything too much.
The only thing I dislike here is the need to take out a calculator and do some mathematics to get to a certain passage.
A very fun and creepy read, not too unfair in terms of beating the odds in fights and rolls, and a very well-depicted spooky setting.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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