Interplanetary Spy guide to The Red Rocket

Story Line: 3
Puzzles: 7
Pictures: 4
Endings: 6
Writing Style: 2

Story Line:Kind of lame. Although it moves along, it almost goes all over the place. And the mystery at Spy Center seems to be filling spaces, although it does have some neat ideas. The conflict between Zavril and Pallax is unconvincing, and you just don't get to see enough of the Interplanetary Spy galaxy. I must admit though that what you do see is entertaining. And I like the time-bomb idea in the robot city. Maybe it's over-used but reading the book after ten years, I found it exciting. The "spy journal" on 114 is a creative form of filler, and there is no lack of action. However, there are a few fundamental faults. First, I think the Zavrillians and Pallaxians would have searched for Reeta Indari's rocket immediately after it spun out of control. If it was pretty easy for you to find the rocket, they should have had no problems. I also feel some of the Spy Center endings are pretty harsh. Would they kill you for making a wrong choice after they know you've accomplished your mission? Maybe that's why it's revealed Spy Center is in sector 666. In addition, you are almost at fault for the robots ruling the universe, and the only reason you aren't is because they divert all their forces to attack you(not so smart or perfect, then, are they?) The complex storyline makes for interesting reading and choices, but it just totally comes undone on close inspection. Interplanetary Spy books should not be mundane, but this one is too unbelievable and is not well controlled enough. Also, the pages you turn to are too linear; there's no jumping from page 20 to 97 to 53, which is part of the fun of these books. This contrasts the choppy style. Like a deflating balloon, the book zooms all over the place but fizzles out at the end. It also seems that with so many back-references, the author was stretching a bit for new material. He didn't need to; although the reunion idea is neat and the "surprise party" at the end will appeal to many, the book is packed full of puzzles at the beginning and drawn out at the end for an overall uneven feel.

Puzzles:Tougher than average, but they're often not as fun or relevant as usual. Some rely more on counting things than anything else, but the puzzle with molecules fitting together is neat. A good one near the end with figurines shaped like the Planet Hunters could be made even better and may be the toughest puzzle ever.

Pictures:Some are close to unforgivable, especially re-drawings of old friends and enemies. The way Callisto is redrawn is a shame. He isn't as cool without a square head. The ones unique to the book are okay; the robots are neat, especially the "scientist" next to the negatron ray, but I don't like the rough-edged style. The pictures in the endings are probably the best.

Endings:There are some really cool ones although the writing, err, reminds one of Hemingway. "You are trapped! The robots blast you!" However, you don't want to miss the GRXQZYP monster, there's a cool animal that camoflagues itself as a burger stand, and some of the endings with the robots are amusingly whacked out. But one ending(page 87) makes two huge blunders in a row--first, it mentions your ship is still in the Sargasso Sea of Space. Well, its fragments are. Also, it mentions you can't understand current Pallaxian computers although you have no trouble understanding those of the Red Rocket. Big minus points there.

Writing Style:There are two pretty big goof-ups. First, you can operate VERY old Pallaxian computers but not the newer ones. Links to other books: Well, just about every one. Likenesses of Phatax, Marko Khen, the Planet Hunters, Electron, and other former characters permeate the end.
PagesSide choicesPuzzleDifficulty
1-2-3-4-5 8 Which dot moved? 3
6-7 13 Same Size Circles 1
20-15 18-1 Count duplicate shapes 2
10-11-9-12 23, 100 Find outline of a shape 2
14-25-16-26-27-22 29 Maze 1
17-28-21-30 19 Which wires aren't connected? 2
24-33-34 39 Tumbler lock 1
36-31-38-43 32 Make a triangle 2
35-42-37-48 45 Look for non-human. 2
48-40 49 Sets of switches 1
54 41 Maze 1
50-51-44 53 Number of circles 1
57-52-47 67 Finish an electronic diagram 2
55-56-58-59-61 68 Read a code 1
65-70-60-69-62 77 A blot looks most like which shape? 1
66-63-78-71-72-73-74-75 80 Maze 1
83-76 85 How to divide points equally? 2
64-79 86 Find a shape--in which picture? 2
81-84-95-82 87 How do molecules bond? 3
90 100 Straight-line illusion 2
88-89-97-92-99-96 93 Is Phatax too tall/short? 3
98-103 94 Which animal doesn't fit? 3
105-106-101 102 How many turns in the maze? 1
110-111-113 104 Leapfrog puzzle on a board. 3
107-108-109 112 Maze 1
117 115 Which side of Orbyn is different? 2
118-119-116-120-121 The End!
Back to main page.

Mail me! 1