Hey! Do you need the PDF for this game? I mirrored it here after rescuing it via the Internet Archive: Spy Kids: Man on the Moon.
There are still 3 more games in the Spy Kids Learning Adventures series, whose surface I merely scratched in The Underground Affair. That was a short investigation because the game was supposed to have a supplemental puzzle book, whose solutions would yield codes that you were expected to constantly enter into the game in order to get anywhere. Fortunately, a reader pointed me to the Brighter Child website where the necessary documents are mirrored.
This Learning Adventure is Man In The Moon. It seems that we have established a presence on the moon, or perhaps just a secret spy base. As the story intro unfolds in the narrated comic book style, a rocket crashed near the moonbase and contact is lost with the remote location soon after. The spy organization decides that the best course of action would be to task our 2 Spy Kid siblings — Carmen and Juni — with investigating the situation on the natural satellite. It seems that their dragonfly spy craft has been retrofit to deal with the rigors of space travel anyway, so why not?
Before I jumped into this game, I downloaded the puzzle PDF (which also happened to be included on the game disc this time) and worked through all the puzzles. Well, I worked through as many as I could that did not require a physical printout, like a logic puzzle that was based on a large word search. I actually quite enjoyed plodding through all of the puzzles. They reminded me heavily of the puzzles from various puzzle-a-day calendars I’ve had over the years, only simpler and much more solvable. So when I begin the game, the story soon prompts me for a code, which I can come through with.
However, if the only part of the game that actually involves me is offline puzzles, then I’m honestly unimpressed. Plus, I am confused as to why there are 3 difficulty levels at the main menu. I soon learn that there are 8 different minigames as part of the story. Some of the minigames are quite interesting. The first one deals with navigating through an asteroid using math.
But my favorite minigame — this had me hooked for hours — was this moon worm invasion. Nope, it’s not a Space Invaders clone. It’s a clone of something, to be sure, but I don’t know what. I know I’ve seen the style of gameplay before.
You launch these light grenades at the moon worms. When a grenade connects with 2 or more worms of the same color, that worm goes away, or if 2 grenades connect with one worm, or if 3 grenades connect — poof. Wipe out all the worms and residual grenades, before they breach the perimeter. I guess they’re enforcing lunar litter laws pretty stringently. Seriously, after I took out the final worm, the game was still going on. I thought it was a bug until I managed to wipe out all of the leftover grenades as well.
I would like to take this opportunity to address a subject that has dogged me since the glory days of Tetris: cheating puzzle games. I don’t buy for a moment that these types of games choose the next piece or color on a purely random or even pseudo-random number generator. I know how trivial it is to evaluate the map and algorithmically decide which piece or color would be absolutely useless to the user, and keep throwing those pieces fast and furious. I know your game, puzzle game.
The next minigame occurs when the Spy Kids knock over a shelf of security tapes and have to put them in the right order again. Honestly, I didn’t understand anything about how this puzzle was supposed to work. But I clicked about 3 times on different spots in the puzzle and the game congratulated me. This led to my capture by the primary villain of the game, a fellow who is only the #2 most wanted villain on earth and resents the fact that he’s not #1. In typical villain fashion, he expounds on how he should have known that the powers that be would send the Spy Kids after him. For my part, I think I would be fairly insulted if the government sent a ragtag team of bumbling, bickering, underage siblings to thwart my diabolical plot for world domination. No respect; no respect at all.
Anyway, he restrains the Spy Kids in magneto-chairs. The next minigame is to reverse the magnetic polarity on your watch so that you can repel the magneto-chair and escape. The explanation doesn’t make much sense, nor does the puzzle. The designers must have figured the same and actually made a hint button for this one that illustrated how to solve it. I took the easy way out. Rest assured that it’s not just a game of Tic-Tac-Toe.
This is the final game I got to (before I tried to do something the game wasn’t designed to handle and caused an infinite loop of dialog boxes). You got to guess 15 letters of the word in order to move the crane to the far right side of the machine so that you can recover the villain’s evil device. All those years of faithful Wheel of Fortune viewership finally paid off as I knew to choose the most common English language letters first.
Since the official answer site seems to have gone away, I thought I would post the answers to the puzzles (missions) if anyone Googles them, or just wants to compare notes…