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Item - Elevator to Nowhere

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Series: Give Yourself Goosebumps — no. 34
Translated Into: Lift v nikuda [Лифт в никуда] (Russian)
Author: Stine, R. L.
Illustrator: White, Craig
Date: March, 1999
ISBN: 0590516701 / 9780590516709
Length: 136 pages
Number of Endings: 23
User Summary: You visit your science fair partner's uncle, an inventor, and get mixed up in adventures involving an elevator that leads to other dimensions.
Demian's Thoughts:

There sure are a lot of strange scientist uncles in gamebook-land; the first few pages of this book felt awfully familiar to me. Indeed, there are a lot of familiar plot devices on display here, but I found the book to be a lot more fun than I expected. There's a clear mission to accomplish, a variety of places to explore, multiple paths to victory, and a sense of continuity nearly unprecedented in this series -- I was actually able to use something I learned from my first play-through to avoid getting killed during a later adventure. The book is also fairly well-written, having a certain sense of fun while still taking itself relatively seriously and, for better or worse, being surprisingly violent. This obviously isn't a classic, but it's another unexpectedly respectable entry in a series that I never thought I'd hold any respect for whatsoever.

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

First of all, I must mention that I've never read a regular Goosebumps novel (nor do I ever plan to, thank you very much). Therefore, I have no idea how much this book resembles the source material. If it is anything to go by, however, I'm quite surprised - the level of violence on display here is pretty high for a children's book. Not that this is unusual in gamebook-land (series like Plot-Your-Own Horror Stories were also quite gruesome). Still, parents be warned. Other reviewers have speculated that some - maybe even most - titles in this series were not written by R. L. Stine himself, though this one contains enough sadism (reminiscent of the Hark series from the eighties) to suggest that it was authored by the real guy.

Like Demian, I also enjoyed this book, even if it's far from exceptional. There are two ways - not multiple ones - to achieve victory (though one takes up much more space than the other). The larger portion is an interdimensional adventure (like a lite version of Through Six Dimensions in the Marvel Adventure Gamebooks series), which means that there is lots of exploration and considerable replay value (though it is quite possible to stumble on the correct path by pure chance on the first try, which makes the book less interesting on subsequent reads). Still, there is quite a bit of creativity on display here, and I was certainly never bored. Surviving the book requires a good combination of reasoning, strategy, and luck, though there are also absurd game mechanics inherited from the Find Your Fate line (on which R. L. Stine also participated). These gimmicks make life or death dependent on things such as the type of clothing the reader is wearing or previous knowledge of the regular Goosebumps books. Still, if you can overlook its shortcomings, and even if you are not planning to become a Goosebumps addict, this adventure strikes a good enough combination of story and gameplay to warrant a read.

More reviews by Guillermo

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