Mammoth Books, £4.99, ISBN 0-7497-0768-2
Puzzle Gamebook, 1991
You may or may not remember the British TV show The Crystal Maze that ran from 1990 to 1995. In this show, a team of contestant will enter a giant artificially constructed maze and work through puzzles in each of the four “Zones” – Medieval, Aztec, Futuristic, and Industrial – to collect “time crystals”. After completing the challenges in the four Zones, the team will then enter the Crystal Dome, where they must collect gold tokens. Each crystal they have collected will allow them to spend more time in the Crystal Dome to collect these gold tokens. The objective of the whole thing is to collect as many gold tokens as possible.
The Crystal Maze is based closely on the TV show concept. To explain the rules in detail here would be a colossal task, so I’m going to just ask you guys to check out the gamebook itself if you are interested. The gamebook is set in 2090, with the show being the most popular “holovision” program of that time. You and your friends decide to take part in the contest, so this campaign basically sees you trying to collect as many crystals as you can. That’s basically it for the story.
You won’t find standard battle encounters here. Instead, you will be asked to solve puzzles after puzzles. Some are easy, some are solvable because you have come across a variation of such puzzles before, and some are actually quite diabolical. However, solving so many puzzles in a row can be a pretty tiring and even boring task. This is definitely a gamebook which you have to set some time aside to play as you won’t be able to hack through things brainlessly here. Getting a puzzle wrong will cost you a team member (you can sacrifice a crystal in order to get the person back) so be careful.
All in all, The Crystal Maze is more of a brain-joggler than a gamebook, so if that is your kind of thing, playing this one may be a good way to spend a lazy afternoon.
Oh, and if you must know, my final score is 16. What? At least my team get to go to Venus as a consolation prize!