Atherton Haight, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-9840678-1-7
Thrusts of Justice is, unfortunately, not a pornographic spoof of superhero tropes. It is a spoof, but if your character does any thrusting, it’d be during the throes of death. This is exactly what it says on the cover: there are 81 ways for your character to die here, and with this being a comedy, you can be assured that most of the unhappy endings would be at the expense of your dignity.
This is a Choose Your Own Adventure-type gamebook, so there is no need to roll die or keep track of stats. So, it’s easier to just sit back and laugh. Your character is a reporter who is, to put it nicely, currently unaffiliated with any avenue of employment. One fine day, you and your friends are getting drunk when you suddenly hear voices claiming that only you could stop “they” who are, apparently, coming to pulverize everyone. Before you know it, you have super powers at your disposal. Your adventure in humiliation and, occasionally, heroism awaits!
Thrust of Justice is a most amusing way to waste time because there are many options and branches that offer a considerable degree of replayability. There is a happy ending, but getting there can be a sticky challenge as the bad endings can smack your face at any time. Causes and effect here are dictated by randomness of Mr Youngmark’s fiendish imagination, more so than logic, so have fun trying to figure out how your character can reach an ending with some semblance of dignity intact. There is also a pretty good amount of role-playing element here, as you can dictate the personality of your character and choose some paths based on this personality. Not that this matters in the long run, as the outcomes of events tend to be random or, more accurately, depending on Mr Youngmark’s whims.
The humor can be cheesy at times, but on the whole, it works very well. If you can adjust your expectations accordingly – this is not a sober gamebook, not even close – then this one would promise a world of fun. As a plus, the narrative is unexpectedly strong and enjoyable to read, and the entries feel less fragmented compared to Zombocalypse Now without seeming more linear in the process.
Thrusts of Justice really, er, thrusts one into a crazy and wacky world of campy fun, and it’s just awesome.