Created for the latest Spring Thing compo, The Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost is a choose-your-own-adventure styled piece of interactive fiction that, somehow, wasn’t created in Twine and, rather emphatically, went on to win this year’s competition. Also, it’s very, very good.
As you’d expect, The Price of Freedom is both substantial and a really verbose and well written interactive story. An engrossing story, actually, grounded in ancient Greco-Roman history, but also one that’s complex and playable enough to come packed with its very own walkthrough.
Briar Rose, the author, has taken great care to not only pen an excellent tale about two children sold off into slavery, but to also make this a game worth playing. You’ll have to play your cards right and chose sensibly if you are to gain the approval and trust of NPCs and to, crucially, build up your speed and strength stats. This, you see, is a game in which death is a constant possibility and even more so after you become a gladiator.
The arena battles themselves are almost tactical, breath-taking affairs with choices that can instantly spell your doom. Will you go for the net, the spear, save a friend, stay with your group or just try and defend yourself? Yes, that’s excitingly interactive interactive fiction.
Not that I would have minded a less branching or dangerous story, mind you. Following Alexios and Andreas from their home to a hellish slave transport ship, to Rome’s markets, to the arena makes for some great literature. For a tale about human brutality, the horrors of slavery and those rare glimpses of hope we all live for; only slightly harsher and more desperate.
Oh, and do keep in mind that The Price of Freedom is the first part of a trilogy and there are more hopefully great installments to follow. To play it follow the link to chooseyourstory and, maybe, create an account there for only this will allow you to save your progress.