Chooseco, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-937133-30-6
Your archaeologist parents recently unearthed what they believe to be the Throne of Zeus, which is long thought to be merely a legend, but unless they can prove that it is what they claim it is, the university will pull the plug on the excavation by the end of summer. Naturally, it is up to you, a brat, to find the evidence because… why not? Your grandmother reveals that she has met and “walked” with Zeus himself. Despite Zeus in legend being known to bugger anything that moves, this is a kiddie gamebook, so it’s a platonic friendship and not, say, “Hey, kid, I totally knocked up your grandmother, so surprise, I’m your real grandfather!” way.
Your grandmother sends you to look for Zeus yourself, and remember, this one is meant for kids, so she’s not pimping you out to the god of surprise entries. You sneak around the Acropolis to remain after it has closed, hoping that Zeus will show up. Don’t ask me what your parents are doing. The grown-ups in this story are shockingly… careless, let’s just say, with the well-being of their young charges. Fortunately, if you make the right choice, you meet Athena, who then sends you back to ancient Greece to meet all kinds of famous ancient Greek celebrities while you look for a chance to have an audience with Zeus and ask him to give your parents evidence that his rear end had been plonked on the throne they found.
Similar to The Trumpet of Terror, only with Greek gods instead of Norse ones, The Throne of Zeus is basically a series of cameos from famous names in Greek mythology, sanitized versions of course. Unfortunately, if you know even a little of your Greek mythology, there is no suspense here. When a “boy” name Dionysus shows up, for example, you will know that crossing him will be a bad idea. Hence, your knowledge will make it almost impossible for you to make the wrong choices here – and the only bad choices you make are likely those that are random in nature.
Even then, this one practically throws happy endings at you, so often you have to deliberately looking for a bad ending than to organically stumble upon one.
The Temple of Zeus will be a good beginner gamebook for kids, actually, because these flaws that would bore a veteran gamebook player may captivate kids into trying out more gamebooks. This one is practically Greek Mythology for Kiddies and a simple gamebook all in one, after all, and it’s a pretty fun interactive way to get them hooked. For older kids and adults, well, this one is a pleasant time-waster for a while, but it doesn’t have much replay value.