Scholastic, $3.99, ISBN 0-590-39999-3
Return to Terror Tower is a Special Edition version of the Give Yourself Goosebumps gamebooks, which means it offers a more compact campaign with the opportunity for you to bring some special items and seek out certain important items throughout the campaign in order to get that good ending. It is also a first of sorts in that it is a direct sequel to a non-gamebook Goosebumps story called A Night in Terror Tower.
Fortunately, you don’t have to know anything about the previous story to get the hang of this one. You will be filled in on the background details quickly.
Your friend Sue and Eddie Morgan drop a bombshell: they are actually the children of a now dethroned king, sent to the present by the wizard Morgred who then removes the memory of these kids and assume of the role of Professor Morgan, their “father”. Now that the kids have their memory back, they want to go against Morgred’s wishes and go back in time in order to free their people from the current king, their evil uncle Robert. Robert has the aid of the evil Lord High Executioner. They think you’d be a great help as the two evil men plus their followers don’t know you and hence you can blend in easier.
You’re like ha, ha, very funny but you realize that they are telling the truth when you play along with them and end up in the past. Hilariously, while you’re out, Sue and Eddie manage to run away and hide away two of the three magical stones that allow you to travel back and forth in time, get you some clothes to help you blend in, write a note for you, and then go shopping before getting captured by Uncle Robert’s soldiers. What, are they related to Speedy Gonzales? At any rate, now you have to collect the two stones – they never tell you where they hid it, naturally – and then find a way to rescue your friends, and take down Robert and the Lord High Executioner. How hard can this be?
It’s not that hard, fortunately. This is one shockingly sensible campaign – a large number of the bad endings result when you pick obviously dumb options, so most of the time you’ll be fine so long as you don’t go crazy. Even the search for the magic stones is not that hard, despite you not knowing where to start looking. You will be told where the bad guys live, so as long as you keep them for last in your map crawling, you’ll be fine. You will visit a few destinations, each one being a mini-adventure of their own, and before you know it, you will have all you need to get the happy ending. Even the bad endings aren’t too scary for the most part. There are a few gory ones – one with your skin being torn from you while you are alive, for example – but most are pretty tame.
All in all, this one is a pretty decent way to spend the time. It isn’t particularly exciting, but it isn’t terrible either. Think of this as a nice way to ease your transition into more hardcore gamebooks out there.