March 12, 2018 • Cee • Reviews

Crypt Quest/Space Battles (Midnight Arcade #1) by Gabe Soria • February 13, 2018 • Penguin
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Trapped in a 80’s era haunted video arcade, Midnight Arcade is a play-your-way adventure tale in which the reader determines the course of action, ultimately controlling whether they live . . . or die!

After climbing a fence near an abandoned mall, you discover a derelict video arcade managed by a ghostly attendant. Presented with a magical game token, you select one of two games you wish to play, the eerie Crypt Quest or the flashy Space Battles. Once you place the token in the slot, you have to make choices to advance through the games and your decisions control whether you beat the game, or die.

Both games feature unique villains and life-like game play that will delight readers, and the most important choice in either game for those now trapped inside them, is the one that will keep them alive.


I received this book for free from Penguin for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “As you stand in front of the boarded-up doors that loom before you, you can’t help but wonder: Am I nuts?

An ode to ’80s video games where you get to decide what YOU—the main character—get to do a-la-“Choose Your Own Adventure” style.

You jump over a fence and head into the creepy abandoned mall. You find yourself somehow transported into an arcade hall, where an attendant stops you from leaving by offering an arcade token. You feel compelled to take the coin, and once you do, you are set on a path of no going back until you defeat the game or get a GAME OVER (and that’s something you don’t want).

Will you play Space Battles—a space fighter game—or Crypt Quest—a medieval quest with skeletons?

  • It’s not your typical choose your adventure. The format is what you expect—a set-up story that asks you to pick between two choices and once you’ve picked, you got to the corresponding page, but Midnight Arcade slightly strays away after that by presenting this:

These are arcade controls that you’ve gotta pick. You follow the corresponding page and dots. Simple enough, right? Eh, you’ve got to really pay attention to the corresponding dots. I found myself a bit lost at times.

  • Every choice I made went in loops and was quite restrictive. Every single time I picked what to do—turning to the corresponding page and dots—it sent me back to square one to pick a different choice. That isn’t fun, especially when you’re sent back again and again. This didn’t even give me the illusion that I had a choice in the adventure; it felt very restrictive. I wished there were hints—at least better ones—of what choice to make so I wasn’t stuck in a Groundhog Day situation.
  • I didn’t particularly enjoy this “choose your own adventure” story because the storyline was pretty much non-existent. It didn’t entice me to want to continue, especially when all my choices kept leading me back to square one.

Should you read Crypt Quest/Space Battles? Unfortunately, I say you should pass on this. I like what it’s trying to do—bringing ’80s video games to the new generation, but the story isn’t entertaining and the choices get annoying when you keep going back to square one.


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