Scholastic, $3.99, ISBN 0-590-39776-1
Your friend Reggie Mayfield constantly talks about how his father’s department store is haunted, so you and your friend Julie are going to call his bluff. The two of you will spend an hour inside Mayfield’s Bazaar from the stroke of midnight, and if you can do that, Reggie will let each of you take an item from the store for free. Of course, being that this is a Give Yourself Goosebumps gamebook, the store is indeed very, very haunted…
When you first arrive at the store, Reggie has left behind a pasted note telling you and Julie to take the elevator to floor 1… or is that 7? With that horrible handwriting, it’s hard to tell.
Go to the seventh floor, and you will get a standard mad dash through the store to escape vampires, mannequins, werewolves, gargoyles, and even a mad scientist thrown in. This is easily the lesser route, as it’s all random and the whole thing feels more like scenes slapped together than anything else.
Go to the first floor, though, and that’s where the fun begins. Reggie makes you and Julie go through a scavenger hunt before confronting him, and this route feels indeed like a “real” campaign. You have to collect special items – in the right order too – while braving the monsters that guard these items, and then it’s off to take down the big bad. There is one way to go from the first route to this route, but it’s a weird progression, as you will go from being terrified to “Yay! Let’s stay longer because a freebie is so worth it!” and it makes you and Julie look super dumb.
Shop Till You Drop… Dead! is only half a good campaign – the scavenger hunt route – and the other route is pure filler. However, it is easy to forgive this one, because the campaign captures the cheese and the cheap thrills of those horror flicks set in the mall after closing hours – whether it’s that episode from The Twilight Zone to Chopping Mall to even Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge, it all works. It’s odd that there are no zombies here, since those are a staple in horror flicks centered around a mall, but then again, there are already enough spooks in this one.
So yes, normally this one would warrant a three oogie rating, but let’s be nice for once. You’re more than likely to still enjoy yourself tremendously should you first go to the first floor!