Goosebumps: Dead of Night Review

This is one of those games that I basically got on a whim as I needed a low priced game for the Gamestop deal and it ended up being a bit of a gem in the rough here. Goosebumps is a short game but one that handles the first person horror genre well. It’s a fairly niche genre if you’re looking for a game like Bendy without going all the way extreme. This one’s definitely aimed a bit younger but they really put effort into each of the scares and level designs. So the game ends really quick but you’ll only need to spend a few bucks in order to get it so it balances out.

The game starts with you heading inside a house and finding out that R.L. Stine has been locked in a book. Slappy managed to turn the tables on him and cast the writer away while also ripping the pages out of the sealing book used to stop the dummy. You must now find all of the pages and take him down but you must dodge a whole array of monsters in the meantime such as the clown, the werewolf, and a zombie lady. You better run fast!

This game definitely reminds me of what a Five Nights at Freddy’s game would be like. There is danger around every corner and you’re always looking around. You can only run for a few seconds before you lose all of your stamina so you really want to be careful about when and where you run. You can outrun any of the monsters but walking is another matter entirely. There are plenty of places to hide so you can go under the table or in the shower for example but sometimes there will be a monster there as well. That’s how the clown got me once. Granted, there is an incentive to dying which is that just about every death to a different monster will get you a trophy the first time it happens. So sometimes you can just let them finish you off so that you can see what happens.

The gameplay is really simple though since it’s playing out as if you were really there. So you can only walk, run, and interact with objects. Only in the very last level do you get a laser gun although of course that is fun. The game wants to remain spooky though so it does come with a whole lot of restrictions. You can only fire for a few seconds and if you miss one of the enemies for even 1 second then it won’t be enough to defeat that fighter. You have to then wait for the cooldown and try to survive in the meantime. That cooldown also means that if you are up against more than 1 opponent at once then you are definitely going to be losing that encounter.

Each world also starts getting you involved in some new mechanics real quick. There are only 3 chapters in the game though so it does go by in the blink of an eye though. I’d say it’s probably a little longer than the 2 hours you see listed online but it’s probably around that time, maybe 2.5 hours at best or something like that. So if you see this game for $50 or something then it’s probably not worth getting until you find a discount. It’s not the kind of game you have to play day 1 after all, just play it once you see that it’s a convenient time to pick it up.

The graphics aren’t trying for anything special here but they look good enough. The characters are all recognizable right away. I’d maybe say this is more on the PS2 level than PS4 but as long as it’s clear that is the important part. The soundtrack is for the most part not very memorable but that does change in the final level where we get a final techno type theme once you get the gun. I thought that was a lot of fun and the game manages to give you a solid tune for the two boss fights against Slappy. I also give the game props for actually coming up with two real boss fights that have actual villain attacks and mechanics outside of the rest of the game where you’re just walking and interacting.

It’s the little things like that which showed that the game put in a bit of a real effort here. Ultimately it probably didn’t work since I hadn’t really heard anything about this game online before now but at least they tried. If they made a sequel to this I’d certainly be interested even if I think that is probably a long whiles away if it even happens at all.

So in the end whether you like this game or not will likely depend entirely on if you enjoy the first person style. You have to be in the mood for a fun horror game like this but if you enjoy that style then you will have a great time here. There are also a lot of important quality of life features here like constant save points so when you die you don’t have to redo a whole lot. That makes sense since the game is built around you dying a whole lot so it wouldn’t make sense if you had to go back every time. That would just end up being a drag right? One big issue that they somehow missed though was how you can’t skip dialogue. So if you die at the beginning of the boss fight then the villain will get his whole speech again.

It’s possible that the devs didn’t think about this because there aren’t many boss fights but wouldn’t it stand to reason that this is where you would be most likely to die? That’s definitely one thing I would change. The game is actually reasonably challenging which I appreciate. You will die a few times but in that case you don’t want to be stuck in cutscenes. Nothing will top the first Avatar game for Gamecube in that category but it’s always rough to feel stuck like that.

Overall, Goosebumps is a pretty fun game. You’ll definitely appreciate all the attentions to detail here. The first level is probably the best in terms of being a horror game though. Levels 2 and 3 start to become a bit more of an adventure. Particularly the third level since you get a gun in there while the second is more of a psychological horror as someone is giving you instructions and you have to decide if you will listen to him or not. The first is a classic horror though as you’re in an abandoned house with no way out and monsters around every corner. That’s definitely the level that you would be buying the game for without a doubt.

Overall 7/10

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Review

It’s been quite a while since I saw the first Goosebumps film, but now it was time to see how the sequel turned out. Slappy returns here with his biggest adventure yet. The kids will have to work hard in order to stop him and may even need Stine’s help for this round. It’s a fun Halloween title to check out and balances the action and comedy well.

The movie picks up with Sarah having trouble with her essay. She is usually good at writing but for some reason she just can’t seem to get into this assignment. Meanwhile her brother Sonny is working on a school project to demonstrate electricity but is having no luck with that either. His friend Sam suggests he takes a break on that to work on his new side job. Sam started a garbage picking up business in their name to earn some cash on the side although he has to work on his negotiating skills since he accepts the first job for free. They find a book and accidentally awaken the dummy known as Slappy. Slappy wants to just be a part of the family but does he have a hidden agenda her?

With a character like Slappy you’re always wondering if perhaps he could be on the side of the heroes if they let him into the family. Of course they have to be careful with this. The first red flag is that he wants the boys to keep him a secret from the others but also makes a lot of noises so people will notice Slappy. It’s a bit of an odd mismatch there and the main characters should have called him out on this.

Slappy quickly takes things to the extreme though as he humiliates some bullies and also beats up Sarah’s ex. The characters realize that Slappy is too dangerous for his own good and that’s really where the conflict starts. I will say Slappy definitely works as a solid villain. He really keeps the kids at bay and has a memorable laugh. It’s a catchy chuckle that you won’t forget by the time the movie is done. He may not have the same level of durability as someone like Chucky but this guy’s telepathic abilities are not to be underestimated.

Slappy summons up some minions to help him out as well but there’s never any doubt as to who is in charge. Most of the other villains don’t have much of a character. You have the store clerk who turns into a Hyde kind of monster. He’s the only other one with a role but I wasn’t a big fan of that guy. His romance with Kathy didn’t really work and felt a bit out of place in the film. As a monster he also didn’t seem quite as smart as he once was.

Stine’s role here is very small but it’s an effective one. I think the movie was having a bit of fun trolling the audience with how he is used. At the very least you won’t be forgetting his role by the time that it’s done which does show how memorable it was. The supporting character who really stole the show here was Mr. Chu. Chu takes all of the holidays extremely serious including Halloween. The guy has a whole army’s worth of costumes in his house and you feel a bit bad in how nobody really gives him any attention.

It’s clear that he would like someone to check out what he’s done with the place but the characters don’t give him the time of day until their lives are literally at stake. I thought they were a bit rude to be honest but Chu doesn’t take it personally and still helps them out the whole time. Definitely the kind of neighbor that you would want to have around when the city is in crisis mode.

As for the main characters, it’s a reasonable cast although I wouldn’t say I was a big fan of any of them. You have Sarah with her writing block issues and she isn’t the most responsible babysitter until she is betrayed by someone at school and then learns to put family above the others. She lands a good hit on Slappy and is more ready for physical confrontations than the other characters so she gets some points there.

Kathy is a bit oblivious to what is going on the whole time but granted, it is hard to jump to the conclusion that there are a bunch of monsters out there trying to take over the town. It is more sensible to think that they are all just wearing costumes as normal. After she is captured though I would have liked to have seen a little more urgency from her. Ultimately Kathy really goes down without a fight.

Then you have Sonny who is completely scared of Slappy right off the bat. I know a talking dummy is rather spooky but your best bet is absolutely rushing him and landing some quick combos before he can activate his tk abilities. Whether this is DBZ, One Punch Man, or Mob Psycho, overwhelming a mental specialist with physical blows is always the best way to stop this kind of fighter. Sonny just stays on the defensive the whole time which costs him. He also isn’t as pro active as Sam is in regard to earning money or even doing anything really.

When the bullies show up, Sonny is quick to surrender immediately while at least Sam is ready to fight back. So Sam gets a higher score here without a doubt. Sure he may not win the fight with the bullies but standing up to them is a very important first step. Now with the character critiques you do have to factor in that the movie is part comedy so of course the characters don’t tend to make the right moves a lot. Whether it’s a comedy or a thriller though, I’m still taking these decisions into account.

Slappy has the absolute edge in terms of ability an character over all of the heroes combined. They are really lucky that he didn’t pull out the win here because that very easily could and dare I say should have happened. There just isn’t any counter to him so as long as he keeps his guard up there isn’t anything they can do.

The film flies by very quickly and the pacing is on point. I was cool with the writing and while it isn’t earth shattering or anything, it was solid. I liked the various monster designs we got. The standout there had to be the gummy bear creatures. I liked the teamwork they used and their abilities are also versatile enough where you can see how they would be one of the more terrifying enemies to go up against. The first film has the edge in how sinister the designs were (The Werewolf was played more seriously in that film than any monster in this one) but this one went a little more all out with how crazy these creatures could be. It isn’t taken as seriously but there’s a lot of variety over here.

Overall, Goosebumps 2 is a pretty solid film. It makes for a pleasant watch and there are really no negatives here. The main cast may not be great but this is the kind of film where you are here for the villains anyway to see how they can scare the heroes at any point. The movie also has a true twist ending like a horror film and it sets up the third movie nicely. It’s really the perfect way to end the film and even if we don’t get a third film you can certainly imagine how things will go from here. I think it’s clear that it will be difficult or almost impossible to stop this threat.

Overall 7/10

Goosebumps Review

I definitely had a good time reading these books back in the day. The series was a fun little horror title with a good amount of twists and turns. The series peaked with the 12 book crossover event where various villains and leads met up and ultimately ended up fighting it out. The movie brings together a lot of the most iconic villains together and ends up being a solid experience.

We start off by seeing Zach and his Mom heading to a new house. Zach isn’t particularly happy about this but perks up when he meets their next door neighbor. Hannah tells Zach that the only fun thing to do around here is sneak into the abandoned amusement park at night and climb the Ferris Wheel. Ah well, he’ll make it work. Unfortunately her father isn’t quite as welcoming and threatens Zach not to go near her. Zach doesn’t really want to obey this and when he accidentally frees the most powerful Goosebump monsters it forces a most reluctant team up. Zach and Stine put aside their differences to save the town, but can they really defeat the powerful Slappy?

The film is at its best when the monsters are running around causing havoc. The Garden Gnomes do a pretty good job of getting the danger levels up right away. Admittedly I can’t take them all that seriously compared to the bigger monsters but they do have the numbers advantage which is always important. They can also regenerate in this film which is extremely handy and was unexpected. Then of course you have Slappy who is the best villain of the bunch. He is possibly a little too powerful here though. He has the ability to teleport and can also teleport objects that he is not in contact with. Then Slappy can create bright flashes of light which stun his opponents for a second. As you can imagine there isn’t really a way that he can lose here. He probably could have ended the main characters within a few minutes of first appearing. Still, the guy likes to put on a good show and is pretty theatrical about the situation.

The least impressive monsters were probably the Gel monster and the Yeti. The Gel one can’t even talk after all and the Yeti isn’t all that fierce. Some monsters/enemies that looked cool but didn’t get to do much were the aliens and the Kaiju. There are a lot of Goosebump enemies though so it’s hard to grab them all. I’m a little surprised we didn’t see the camera though, that’s still one of the best books.

Zach is a reasonable main character. As far as leads moving to a new house go, he actually takes it fairly well. The whole romance plot happens really quickly though. In context they’ve only known each other for around 2-3 days so that’s not much at all. There’s not much else to say against Zach though. He seems like a nice enough kid and one of his first instincts was to call the cops which is good. The guy is pro-active which is important in a main character. He is someone you can count on.

Then you have the friend who is definitely the annoying character of the group. He’s out of his depth from the start and constantly tries to run away. He also gets a very quick romance plot with one of those endings that probably will make you cringe. It feels a little too easy there and it may have been slightly better if the friend had any good scenes before trying to bite a monster. Otherwise you just can’t take this guy seriously.

The heroine is pretty reasonable here. Hannah probably could have saved them all some time earlier on though by either sending Zach a signal or realizing that the heroes may head for the books. I suppose Stine told her to hide while he talked to the cops and from there on maybe she actually obeyed his orders to keep to herself. I suppose Stine had to keep her hidden so the cops wouldn’t find out one of the twists but that definitely ended up making the situation pretty complicated for all of them. Stine isn’t nearly as solid as Hannah or Zach. He’s definitely more on the selfish side and you can’t really call him heroic. He’ll do what’s best for him and that’s it. The guy probably should have burned the books earlier to be honest.

There aren’t many supporting characters here, but I did like the cops. You’ve got the over eager newbie and the experienced guy who has seen it all. They may not be the most competent cops, but at least they mean well. You’ll probably be wishing they could have put up a better fight against the aliens, but in their defense it is a one hit KO scenario. If you don’t get the first hit then that’s game over.

Goosebumps is a fun film at its core though. It’s got a nice set of monsters to work with and the effects are pretty good. There is a proper sense of danger here as well. I’d say that the film’s main two weak points are the romance and some crude humor. The latter doesn’t happen much, possibly just a scene or two. It’s still pretty gross though. As for the romance, I’d say that both the main romance and the quick one with the friend don’t work well. You could also throw in Stine’s little thing at the very end. None of them feel natural and they’re all just forced in to have some romance thrown in. It really feels like the movie is just ticking a box with this.

I gotta give the movie some props for the ending as well. The ending is really 2 fold here. The first half is expected, but also narrative. If Stine didn’t make one last book it would have made absolutely no sense and the fact that Zach didn’t even think about this does reflect poorly on his character. If this was not a part of the ending I dare say that it could have cost the film a star. Then you’ve got the twist ending which is common for a horror film, but I admit that I wasn’t really sure Goosebumps would do it. Well, the film does add the twist here and I was really glad they did. It may not be a big thing, but personally it just rounds out the experience pretty well.

Overall, Goosebumps is a solid movie and one that is definitely worth seeing. It’s pretty nostalgic to see the monsters return for some action. It’s a nice adaption and it’ll be tough for the sequel to match this one. Not saying it isn’t possible of course, but it’ll need to be firing off on all cylinders to pull it off. If you are on the fence on watching this one or not I would say to just take the plunge. I believe you’ll be glad you did and you may even be surprised at how tough some of these monsters are.

Overall 7/10