Scholastic, $3.99, ISBN 0-590-40289-7
Invaders from the Big Screen is what it says on the box, so to speak – you and your friend Linda go to the movies, put on 3-D glasses, and oops. Of course, you could have watched some movie with fluffy bunnies, but no, because this is a Goosebumps thing, it has to be horror and superheroes. Right off the bat, you will be asked to pick your poison.
Watch House of a Hundred Horrors, and you will be sucked into a Hammer-style film which sees you helping a pair of twins to locate their aunt in a house reportedly haunted by vampires and more. This one is pretty straightforward, with two smaller branches – one is more conventional, one has a twist, and both are short and forgettable. It’s also a pretty unfair campaign in that knowing an answer to a riddle actually leads you to a bad ending. Yes, you get punished for being smart – nice one, RL Stine.
If you pick Agent Z vs. Dr. Aqua, the villain Dr Aqua bursts out of the big screen, and you will be asked to help Agent Z in one of two ways: go into the movie to do your superhero stuff, or hunt Dr Aqua in the real world. Be warned: only one option can lead you to a decent ending, everything else leads to unhappiness galore.
If you opt to watch Going Ape in Blastovision, you find yourself in your own Kong: Skull Island adventure. You can choose to strike out alone or try to play nice with a hunter who wants to take down the big gorilla, and just like the previous two routes, most options lead to frowns and dead children carcasses.
As you can imagine, all three scenarios are very, very short, and you can work through all three routes and its various options in a single sitting if you really have nothing else to do. More often than not, when you have to pick one out of two options, one will drag you off to gamebook hell. Thing is, you will only realize you are knee-deep in dung much later, after you have been asked to make your way through a few more entries before reaching the oopsie ending.
As a result of the brevity of the whole thing, Invaders from the Big Screen is more like an appetizer than the main meal. There are some amusing moments, some cute homages to classic cult flicks, but on the whole, you’d likely crave for something heavier and more substantial once you’re done with this.