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Item - Skystalker

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Series: Be an Interplanetary Spy — no. 12
Author: Neufeld, Len
Illustrators: Rivoche, Paul (cover)
Humphrey, Brian (interior)
Date: September, 1985
ISBN: 0553248944 / 9780553248944
Length: 119 pages
Number of Endings: 17
User Summary: A villain named Skystalker has stolen the Romular Sphere, an ancient and valuable artifact. Unfortunately, he is unaware of the fact that its contents are capable of destroying the entire universe! You must recover the Sphere before it is unwittingly opened!
Aussiesmurf's Thoughts:

A fairly good end to the series, with a villain who is thankfully a bit of a change from the maniac-of-the-week flavour of some of the previous books. Having said that, the motivations of a number of the characters are unclear, and the puzzles are a mixed batch.

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Demian's Thoughts:

This isn't a bad end to the series, though it lacks finality. The book makes such a big deal out of the fact that it is your first level three mission that you can't help but think that there were further level three missions planned. The book's story and characters are typically minimalistic (especially the subplot involving Zillio, which is ridiculously underdeveloped), but its puzzles are often quite interesting and the artwork is amusing, especially the illustrations of Daxon. There are a couple of sloppy points in the book. First of all, on page 29, the stray sentence "When it sees you, it jumps up and runs away." doesn't seem to fit in where it shows up. Secondly, the puzzle on page 101 seems like it could have been presented in a slightly more readable fashion. Flaws aside, though, I enjoyed the book and wish that more had been written....

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Dtar's Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book, but there's one thing that bugs me a bit: "Skystalker" himself. He loves stalking so much that he decides to disarm you and then give you time to run so that he can "stalk" you. Through the course of the rest of the adventure you come across two others who he is or has been stalking... but hasn't yet caught. You keep him from successfully stalking the guy who sold him an object of interest, then find him some minutes later in his laboratory, examining that object. At that point he's left at least 3 individuals in his compound whom he still hasn't successfully stalked. Some "stalker." He also looks a bit corny, with a long black cigarette holder. All he needs is a monocle and a top hat!

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Fireguard's Thoughts:

Unlike some of the series I've reviewed lately, BaIPS manages to end with its most entertaining entry. While the puzzles are pretty typical mazes and suchlike the setting, villain and supporting characters are quite interesting. Skystalker is one of the coolest bad guys I've seen in a gamebook and certainly is a worthy opponent to finish off the series against. If you read BaIPS manages, make sure to finish it.

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