Scholastic, $3.99, ISBN 0-590-39774-5
Everything can be a source of evil in Goosebumps land, including the theme of Zapped in Space. No, not outer space – not exactly anyway – we are talking about video games. You and your friends Katy and Jordan are delighted to check out the arcade Madame Zapps’s newest attraction – the Virtual Reality Arcade. Of course, nothing is what it seems, as you will soon find out. So, what will you play? Abominable Snow Woman or Adrift off Vega?
Pick Adrift off Vega and you will encounter the creature depicted on the cover: an Arcturan. That’s right, you’re off to a space adventure, only the threats are very real. As a space cadet, you not only have to avoid being drafted into the Arcturans’ spice mines or turned into their zombie-like slave – there are threats like giant lizards and blobs too. This one is a pretty standard campaign, really, with the usual random bad ends to be encountered while you try to stumble onto the sole good ending in this one. The bad ending with the cooking show for insect-like aliens – with the worst-tasting foods (for you) being their best gourmet meals, though – that one is really cute.
Abominable Snow Woman is a far more interesting mini-campaign despite the villain not getting a spot on the cover. You meet a brat, Andy, who informs you that he too is trapped in this game, and if you want out, you need to find a way to defeat the Abominable Snow Woman… provided you can locate her without losing your head in the process. Unlike the previous mini-campaign, this one actually traps you inside the virtual reality machine. RL Stine makes some interesting use of this premise, as the best of the two good endings in this route involves taking advantage of a loophole to beat the villain.
Unfortunately, both routes are a bit too short to be fleshed out or memorable. Hence, this one is pretty much business as usual. You play it, get a few chuckles, and then you move on.