Decide Your Destiny #3: Tethan Battle Adventure
by Sue Behrent
Published by Grosset & Dunlap
Adrick's Rating: 2 out of 4
Have you ever wanted to travel from the tangled jungles of Teth to the desert lands of Tatooine? Well, here’s your chance! Discover the secrets of the B’Omarr monastery, dodge blaster fire, and come face-to-face with Asajj Ventress! This book can be enjoyed on its own with over twenty-five paths to choose from, or follow links in the book for special online content created especially for this story.
All right, so it’s next to impossible for me to dislike Tethan Battle Adventure. To start with, it’s difficult for me to be objective about this book. After the two previous volumes, I was already a huge fan of the Decide Your Destiny format. This installment brings in the obscure character of Janu Godalhi (whose backstory I helped shape by participating in the now-defunct What’s the Story feature on Star War’s website’s membership based Hyperspace section) and shows him to be investigating the early construction of what will become the Death Star (the history of which is a particular interest of mine.)
So, I’m not going to lie, getting this book was like Life Day come early. And that’s only half of the references to Expanded Universe minutiae that can be found within the pages of Tethan Battle Adventure. One of the few known relatives of Lando Calrissian is here, for example, and there’s a very clever tie-in to the Boba Fett books, a young adult series that ran under the first wave of Clone Wars material. For fans of the more obscure side of the EU and the of the Decide Your Destiny series in general, Tethan Battle Adventure is definitely worth picking up.
The series continues to surprise me, and I remain excited about each new adventure. (Although it seems unfair that the UK gets these books so much earlier than the US.)
Much as I hate to admit it, this book doesn’t really live up to the standards set by the first two Decide Your Destiny titles. It’s beginning to fall prey to some of the major pitfalls of the genre. It sticks a little too close to the Clone Wars film for comfort— for example, at one point the player character can participate in the duel between Ventress and Kenobi. This reminds me a little too much of the last attempt at a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type series for Star Wars. That series featured a random “childhood friend” of Luke Skywalker’s, who followed him throughout the original trilogy. Kind of hard to fit that into continuity.
And whereas the two previous adventures had the reader playing as a Jedi padawan or a clone trooper—people one would expect to be involved in the thick of the Clone Wars action—Tethan Battle Adventure has instead a random Tethan youngling as its playable character. This isn’t bad for exploring the intrigues of metropolitan Teth, but it makes other paths, such as being invited to join the Jedi Order, seem extremely unlikely.
But the biggest flaw in Tethan Battle adventure is the game itself. Way of the Jedi and The Lost Legion set the bar pretty high by offering choices that one could navigate by using clues from the story or making moral and logistic decisions. Tethan Battle Adventure, by comparison, is almost entirely random. While there’s nothing as egregious as, say, cannon packing Yeti, the bad endings seem undeserved and the good endings unearned.
Finally, I should mention the additional content available for the book on the Star Wars website…as far as I can tell, it doesn’t really add much to the adventure. It’s hidden fairly well, but following the paths given in the book without the website will lead to almost exactly the same outcomes. It might be amusing for kids, giving an added sense of scope to the adventure, but I didn’t get anything out of it.
This book brings new meaning to that well-known Star Wars song title “What Can You Get a Wookiee For Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)”