Scholastic, $3.99, ISBN 0-590-51670-1
Oh look, for once you are not having vacation problems. No, you have a science project to sort out, bummer. Fortunately, your team partner Jamie is the smartest girl in class, and she has a scientist uncle, Darius Jenkins, who can surely lend an invention or two for you to impress your teacher.
Unfortunately, Uncle Darius is your usual eccentric inventor type, and you arrive just in time to witness him testing out his Transuniversal Transvator. That is a device that looks like an elevator, but it takes you to other dimensions. Our nutcase scientist walks into it… and the guy that steps out a while later looks like Uncle Darius, but he is a crazed headhunter who has already lopped off the head of the you in that dimension – now he wants a matching pair, oh joy. You see, the other dimensions are similar to the one you’re in, aside from tiny details such as the one Uncle Darius went to being a dimension where people adore headhunting and lop one another’s head off for fame and sport.
There’s one of them now in the house, and if you can survive the encounter, you have two options. Face him in this dimension, or go look for the MIA Uncle Darius in the headhunter dimension. Which will it be?
Oh boy, talk about being super gory. Elevator to Nowhere is easily one of the most gruesome gamebooks in the Give Yourself Goosebumps line, and I’m sure Khorne the Blood God will be so proud. Come on, you are up against headhunters! There are so many no-holds barred moments when people with machetes are out for your head, and this campaign doesn’t shy away from describing the pinning down, the feel of the blade against your neck… glorious.
Fighting the evil Uncle Darius in your own dimension is the most straightforward arc, as it’s just you trying not to get your head lopped off. Still, the terror of being trapped in the same house as a mad but cunning man who wants to take off your head – for sport! – is well done and palpable. If you go off to explore other dimensions, however, brace yourself – you may encounter a dimension where bugs swarm and mind-control humans with their bites, and these humans walk into a bug hive at night to be ritually consumed by baby bugs. If you survive that, it’s just two kids against an army of adult headhunters. The whole thing is gorgeously dark and violent, it’s surprising that this thing is marketed at kids.
Well, this one is fun and ghoulish and fiendish, so why hesitate? Go lose your head in the Elevator to Nowhere!