Interplanetary Spy guide to Skystalker

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

Story Line:entertaining if nothing else. A planetoid is about to fall into the sun, and Skystalker, who is on the planetoid, is trying to open a sphere that will(but he doesn't know that) destroy the galaxy if opened. You have a lot of work to do.

Puzzles:they are manufactured a bit. The first one is outright wrong, and many have Daxon saying "I can't remember how to figure it out. Can you?" If that happened too often, he wouldn't survive that long. There are two annoying two-page mazes where you can't fully tell if there are barriers(there aren't!) The puzzles are on the easy side but there are several different from the rest of the series. In particular, the one where a wrong choice leaves out instructions for another puzzle is clever.

Pictures:the main problem here is that there just aren't enough. Pictures that don't need to take the whole page do, suggesting someone was running out of ideas. There is also one picture where you approach a robot from the back but it shows your character looking at it from the front. Daxon is an amusing Looney Tune-like character, Zillio looks cool(and he has a cool job, too--he buys and sells moons and planetoids!), and Skystalker is cool if slightly cheesy, with three eyes, a cigarette holder, a monocle, and tentacles behind his ears(actually, it looks like it could be a cap. But whatever it is, it's not boring!) Your ship is kind of lame, but you travel to several neat places, though, and anyway you turn it invisible very early in the story, so overall the pictures are pretty good.

Endings:the text is way too simplistic. Page 27 is an extreme example of this("You approach the star. Suddenly it explodes! And so do you.") Only 14 endings overall, and that's too few.

Writing Style:there are some interesting things here, but they're not really cohesive. There are a lot of places where you turn several pages before hitting a puzzle. There are several branching passages without puzzles that all turn out OK, and while one a book is okay, there seems to be too much filler here. There is also a small error when you corner Daxon. In one closet is a trap with about ten spears. In the other, Daxon is waiting with his fists up. Umm, if he did set the trap for you, shouldn't he have held on to one spear for his own use? Another thing I'm confused about is why Zillio shoots at Daxon in the first place and then why they make up so quickly, and also, I'm not sure how people would know that negatrol dissolves everything except qualium. That would make it hard to analyze! Possibly the worst sentence in the whole book says "You are in the musty, dusty garage." But they forgot to draw itsy bitsy spiders... You also see your first--and last--Level 10 Interplanetary Spy on a viewscreen. Perhaps the most telling evidence that the author may have been stretching for material is on the puzzle following page 54. Pages 53 and 56 are so similar that they could and should be lumped into one. Still, this book is rather entertaining, and I like it, even if I can't quite say why. It just has too many flaws to overlook, which detracts from its potential.

Links to other books: none, other than one giant insect looks like something from Doorna in one ending.
PagesSide choicesPuzzleDifficulty
1-2-3 20-3 Which circle is 1/2 as big? 0
11-21-22-23-28 33 Fit 4-piece puzzle together, then connect 2 points 2
4 27 Find sub-pattern in wave pattern. 1
12-38-39-40-13 19 Which pieces form your ship? 1
5-8-46-6-15-50-51 62 2-page maze 1
24-25-26 7-16, 16:36/42, 36-60, 60-42-55 4 way corridor, no wrong answers 0
10 35 Which shape appears in all 9 boxes? 1
29-32-9 37 Overlapping footprints; alien's in which closet? 2
17-58 41 Pattern 1211 2111 1112 ? 1
14-34-71-72-73-43 45-67 Pick out squares with two dots 1
67-68-69-82 47-57:44/95, 103-95, 64-95 Where to hide from robot? 1
95-96-97 108 What is the pattern on the wall? 3
59-76-104-78-79-52 85 Which shape connects two separate poly-lines? 1
48-77-86-61-80-101 65 Buttons flip switches, so which order to you push them in? 1
92-106-99-75-89-63 113 Which wire pulls your boat in? 2
49-83 111:53/56, 54:53/56 Find a synonym, then pick one device of two. 1
66-81-90 74-90, 70 Two page maze-approach robot from back. 1
84 115 Which device did you choose 2 puzzles ago? 1
87 44 How to exit the maze 2 puzzles ago? 1
116-93 109-94 Maze to Skystalker's Garage/Kitchen 1
94-105 110 Which 5 tiles form the pattern you see? 1
100-102-112-114-98 97 Pattern of pictures, each 1 more line than the last. 1
118-119 The End!
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