Bantam Books, $2.25, ISBN 0-553-23701-2
Howdy, young Interplanetary Spy of the Interplanetary Spy Center! Yes, you’re back on another galactic mission, for there is truly no rest for the good guys. This time around, you have to escort and protect a “superathlete” named Andromeda as she participates in her first ever Space Olympics. She needs protection because the evil “spy master” Gresh is mad that his planet is banned from participating in the Olympics. Since his planet and Andromeda’s are at odds with each other, he decides to kill two birds with one stone: by kidnapping Andromeda, he gets to sabotage the Olympics and get the upper hand in his planet’s war with Andromeda’s planet.
Space Olympics sees Ron Martinez taking over the wheel from Seth McEvoy, and therefore, this one does have some noticeable differences from the previous Be an Interplanetary Spy gamebooks. The puzzles are noticeably easier, because this time around, you don’t automatically fail if you pick the wrong choice. In fact, sometimes you are pretty much directed to the correct page should you choose the wrong option! Mr Martinez also prefers to tell a story, it seems, as there are more pages filled with narrative than before. Therefore, there are less puzzles and these puzzles are easier, especially since getting the answers wrong doesn’t penalize you as severely as before.
And honestly, the storytelling element is rather bizarre. For example, you never alert Andromeda that she is in danger until too late. Worse, you “protect” her by using your spacecraft to follow hers! Won’t it be more practical to be in the same spacecraft as her?
At any rate, Space Olympics boasts some better writing, but the story and the challenge elements are far less compelling than the previous gamebooks in this series.