Bantam, $2.50, ISBN 0-553-25637-8
Star System Tenopia is the conclusion of the Escape from Tenopia series. Since you got into a spacecraft and flew off for Earth in the previous gamebook, it is pretty obvious that something will go wrong here. And yes, it’s déjà vu time as space pirates from Tenopia attack your craft shortly after this campaign begins and you are send spiraling down onto Samelbub, a planet that resembles Earth in the days of the dinosaurs. Don’t worry, you won’t need four gamebooks to get off this planet – in this one, you will be traveling to the planets in the neighborhood to locate five words that will make up the phrase. You will also need to locate the hidden Galactic Patrol starship, and this phrase will allow you to activate the starship.
While this campaign follows the pattern of the previous gamebooks where you will end up going round and round in circles if you don’t pay attention to details, this one at least offers some interesting scenery. The planets you will visit are typical – there is a robot world, an ice planet, and other standard settings in space – but they offer some change of scenery, unlike in previous gamebooks where you were forced to wander around in the same setting until you feel stupefied from boredom. The storytelling element is a bit stronger here as well, although it has some now standard bizarrely incompetent villains who keep letting you go despite having captured you repeatedly.
Still, when the spacecraft finally takes you off to Earth – hopefully this time without crashing on Mars or something – you may feel that the creators of this series have wasted a perfect opportunity to introduce some more inventive elements into this series.