Story Line: 4
Writing Style: 3
Story Line:It's pretty straightforward. You have to hitch-hike aboard a ship of outlaw Planet Hunters(Gradak, Venya, and Sarvala) who dsetropy planets for kicks with an item known as the Nethergun. They were put into the Outlaw Sector but escaped. If you can capture them individually you might be able to save a lot of planets. After the ship goes spinning out of control(that's a certain Interplanetary Spy's fault!) each lands on a separate planet, and you capture each individually. The problem here is that in the last three books Interplanetary Spy goes into the "you-save-the-universe" mode. It's something that can be kept up for only so long.
Puzzles:Some are really very interesting. Some are drudge-work, but they are still hard. Overall this is one of the better ones in the series. There are some non-technological ones that are very nice but too many are based on what the Planet Hunters fear most. Gradak's trap of stone and wood is neat, but the problem with Venya's cube, although a good idea, is drawn up wrong. See my errors page.
Pictures:Well, the bad guys are cooler than you. Sarvala has a maniacal grin glued on, Venya looks like a psychotic anorexic(and she's a nature freak--all those cool plants!), and Gradak is always smirking even after you capture him. There are some cool pictures of robots, too, and there are some good action pictures, like when you and the Planet Hunters are shooting at each other. Again, Gradak with the trap on the island makes for some good pictures.
Endings:Some are really simplistic, but there are a couple where you get thrown in a garbage chute; one where Sarvala gets rid of you, and one where the other two do. However there is a satisfactory menagerie of plants and animals waiting to devour you in the endings. Too little writing though.
Writing Style:Overall, this book contains a whole lot of faults. First, Sarvala fires the Nethergun at you on the spaceship but not on the planet(the excuse being, it'd kill the planet!) So why wouldn't it kill the space-ship? Second, they really don't have any variations in the book; except for the Gradak/Venya choice, there are no potential side trips, no re-tries, and not even an ending where you turn to one page before you find you're history! There could've been more with that. Also although Sarvala is the leader the confrontation with him is a lot less challenging than with Venya or Gradak. There's too much narration around Sarvala. In addition the final puzzle is criminally silly. There are some natives that you expect to say "Me heap big help" to, and their acceptance of you sounds more like a public service message than the sort of action we've come to expect from these books. And let's not forget how the book harps on the Planet Hunters' weakness. Although it's a decent chemistry lesson, it's pounded into the reader's head. The book is fun, as all the books are, but it has the most clear flaws.
|12-17-18||9||find flattened 3-d image||2|
|20-11-14-19-11-21-23-24||29||Maze with fewest ups/downs||3|
|26||31/42||Gradak or Venya? I give Gradak first.||0|
|31-28||25||Which colors black out a shape?||1|
|36-27-34-35||30||Find Gradak, disguised! (look at his head)||3|
|39-58||41||Which buttons are unique?||2|
|32-43||38||Path on wall projected to frontal maze.||1|
|42-37||46||(Venya)Which jagged pieces form a square?||2|
|45-40-49-52-47||44||Which jump down from a tree avoids plants?||1|
|55-70||51||Find picture pattern on huge grid.||3|
|48-61-54-57||50||Which cube is right? OOPS!!||3|
|65-56-53||62||Has a coded message changed?||0|
|67-64-59-86-81-74-63-60-77||66||Shift your flying meteor's direction.||2|
|73-76-80||69||Flip/rotate a sequence to get the right sequence.||3|
|71||68||Decode a message.||1|
|89||82-90, 87-90||Which weapon did you choose at beginning?||0|
|90||96||Land on water or desert planet?||1|
|101-84-93-120||97||Maze: can't jump/climb too-high ledges.||3|
|88||111||Which tracks are Gradak's?||1|
|92||83||Gradak's stick/rock trap--which rope can't he pull?||3|
|104-105-98||94||Maze of plans:must always move from 1 type of square to another.||3|
|103||106||See where Venya's hiding.||1|
|113-102-95-110-107-114||119||See image that could help you.||1|