Following Crypt Quest/Space Battles (2018), a second pair of arcade games played out in a branching, choose-your-own-adventure format.
Stumbling into a seemingly abandoned arcade, “you” choose between two entirely independent games. One requires wrestling a werewolf, a two-headed “Frankenwrestler,” and Dracula, along with battling giant spiders and other hazards in a creepy castle. The other is a “Super Mario”–style quest involving exploration of deserted Groovy Gardens, a car race, and an undersea encounter with a hostile “Noctopus” while gathering tokens and other prizes. The games are chopped up into passages that vary from a sentence or two to six or seven pages, and they are arbitrarily interwoven, with, usually, several discrete chunks per page. Some bits are tagged with multiple choices, but most end either in “your” sudden demise or directions to turn to a designated page to see what happens next or loop back to make another choice. Both games require paging back and forth hundreds of times, but they do play out, eventually, to a victory with an option to start the other or be deposited outside the arcade. In Hale’s sketchy cartoon illustrations, the player’s avatar wears a dress, but (human) players and characters are all white or masked.
Still flipping monotonous, as well as lacking the loud sound effects and frantic pacing actual arcade games offer. (Fantasy. 11-13)