|User Summary:||While hiking through the desert, you find a cave. All too quickly, you manage to break an ancient skull and release a dangerous spirit, and it's now your job to undo the damage you have done!|
While better than I originally thought it to be, this book still is not particularly good. At the time of this writing, this book costs nearly 20 dollars used on Amazon.com. Allow me let you in on a secret... it's not worth it.
I really like how there was a selection of spells to use or weapons to use if you decided to be a hunter. I found that regardless of whether the player character decides to be a spellcaster or a hunter, there is always one piece of equipment that it is nearly useless. It was actually entertaining to figure out which this piece of equipment was because after I did, I knew that I had the best inventory possible.
The spellcaster plot, while not spectacular, is certainly more entertaining than the typical Give Yourself Goosebumps story. As a spellcaster, I actually got stuck in a perilous situation with no spells and the text didn't have any explanation of what to do. I read the shaman's explanation of how magic works several times before I finally figured out that the same spell could be used multiple times as long as you still have the talismans. I just assumed that like other gamebooks, once you use a spell, you cross it off a list. So the rules for being a spellcaster could have been clearer. I found the spellcaster plot thread to be pretty entertaining.
The hunter plot thread on the other hand is not satisfactory and barely adequate. The whole thread was just trial and error with random events. It is also quite a bit longer than the superior spellcaster thread which is a shame. It's not awful and does have its moments but is pretty unengaging and annoying to try to complete successfully. I did like how it was possible to lose all your weapons and get to pick a new one, even though that section of the story had greater potential than what it ultimately achieved. For whatever reason, I particularly enjoyed the bathroom brawl.
The book does have a variety of locations and getting to pick items at the beginning gives the book an edge over most entries in the regular Give Yourself Goosebumps series. The writing quality is rather irritating at times as well. I think the book would have hugely benefited on the sole idea of actually taking itself seriously and the times that it did so were effective. For whatever reason, I couldn't figure out the puzzle either. The fourth line "The new creature" doesn't make any sense to me.
It seems that R. L. Stine (or whatever author was borrowing his name for the purposes of writing this book) was feeling a bit nostalgic for Wizards, Warriors & You when the concept for this adventure was devised. The first choice you are faced with is whether to be a hunter or a spellcaster, and depending on your decision, you must then pick out a selection of weapons or spells to bring along on your mission. This, combined with the fairly promising-sounding plot, raised my hopes that this would be an entertaining adventure. Unfortunately, it fell far short of its potential. The weapon and spell choosing is rather pointless since in each case you get to pick three items from a list of only four, and there's not much strategy to actually using the things you choose, especially if you become a hunter. Similarly pointless are the pair of puzzles found in the book -- although the word transformation puzzle is used in what could almost (but not quite) be called a clever manner, I really can't comprehend the point of the color-in-the-squares thingie on page 120. Things are made much worse by the fact that the writing is well below par (and par is pretty low when you consider that we're talking about Goosebumps here). The overall tone is light, but not humorous, thus undermining the horror and inducing apathy in the reader. There are lots of pointless sentence fragments (my favorite was the gramatically nightmarish "Let him show itself."), and descriptions often go too far overboard in attempting to be impressive (a Pterosaur as big as a tree?!). Add at least one dumb factual error (tarantulas and scorpions aren't insects, and most people know that by now), and you've got quite a mess. It's not very challenging either, and the title doesn't feel quite appropriate. Definitely the low point of the series thus far.
|Errata:||The bottom of page 36 should say go to page 37, not 104. The bottom of page 97 should say turn to 104, not 37|
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Iago for the errata.|
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Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition edition
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