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Literature / Rebel Planet

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I was going to make a Luke, I Am Your Father reference here, but I'm afraid that would be kinda forced...

Oh! Mortal combat is such joy!
No messing about, no subtle ploy.
Empire of Arcadion! Empire of Arcadion!
Onward, ever onward!
Open-pitched battles make me high:
Never mind the odds — let's do or die!
Empire of Arcadion! Empire of Arcadion!
Arcadion War Anthem

In the year 2453, humans have been defeated in an epic battle against the Arcadians, a race of hostile aliens, and subsequently having the planet conquered by the Arcadian forces. Now, mankind have to co-exist as slaves and servants to the aliens. To the Victor Go the Spoils, and for centuries after the initial encounter and battle against Arcadians, Earthlings have submitted completely under alien rule. Humans are no longer the dominant rulers of Earth.

But not all hope is lost. The secret Earth organization, SAROS (Search And Research Of Space), have discovered a possible way to overthrow the Arcadian Empire. The Intel and resources of SAROS have discovered the weakness of the Arcadians — the computer queen controlling every member of the Arcadian species, where if sabotaged, will set the human race free.

You are the best officer of SAROS, and you have volunteered for this mission. Trained in various martial arts, equipped with a forbidden laser sword, your mission is to seek out all the underground resistance and piece together the vital code you need to destroy the enemy. Only YOU stand in the way of the Arcadians' domination of the galaxy!

Rebel Planet is the 18th entry of the Fighting Fantasy series of Gamebooks, written by Robin Waterfield. Having experimented with Science Fantasy thrice (Starship Traveller, Space Assassin, The Rings of Kether), Rebel Planet is the franchise's attempt to delve into an adventure of a more epic scale, involving a full-scale war against a hostile alien empire. Being the peak of the franchise's run into science fiction, fans of the series often consider Rebel Planet to be Fighting Fantasy in space at its best and sets a high bar for subsequent attempts of the series into sci-fi themed adventures.

Has a video game adaptation on the ZX Spectrum.

Rebel Planet provides examples of:

  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Arcadians have conquered human civilization, and they are cruel overlords. Humans in most places are barely more than slaves, suspected humans dissidents are tortured for information, and younger humans are forced to study Arcadian culture in university.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Its been over four hundred years into the future, and yet both humans and Arcadians primarily use swords in combat. Justified in that the Arcadians restrict access to more advanced weapons. And the swords are at least Laser Swords.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: You might get strapped into a mind-probing device attached to an elite Arcadian whom will attempt to probe your mind. You defeat your opponent by fighting enemies in the mental world and ignoring everything else the device throws at you in an attempt to distract you.
  • Blinded by the Light: One of the equipment you can obtain is a flashing strobe light which you can shine into an opponent's eye during combat, causing them to fight with their SKILL reduced.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: You can obtain an antique grenade from a museum's storeroom to use against enemies.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: If you lose your laser sword you'll have to fight unarmed with your SKILL reduced; however at every successful Attack Round, you have a 1/6 chance of hitting your enemy's pressure point, rendering your opponent unconscious and winning the fight instantly. In which case, sometimes you're actually more dangerous without your weapon.
  • Delighting in Riddles: South Arcadians have tendencies to speak like this, giving cryptic answers and meandering responses instead of answering in a straightforward way.
    You: How do I get to the Fission Chips?
    Southern Arcadian shopkeeper: Each is a source of growth and life; together their consciousness pervades the galaxy. The club that you seek is never eclipsed on its southern side.
  • Empty Shell:
    • Human victims completely mind-wiped by the Arcadian brainwashing machine suffers this fate.
    • If you succeed in your quest to destroy the Arcadian computer queen, you will turn the entire remaining Arcadian population into this trope. Harsh!
  • Fantastic Racism: Arcadians generally treat humans like scum, and see nothing wrong with publicly assaulting or even murdering human beings who piss them off.
  • Fingore: You might get your fingers chewed off by a saw-toothed rat. If the injury is bad enough, you might end up being unable to hold onto a ledge much later on and suffer a nasty fall which might lead to your death.
  • Flash Freezing Coolant: If you mishandle the final task of destroying the Arcadian's computer, its liquid helium coolant floods out over the floor, freezing your feet solid. You then snap them off at the ankles when you try to move.
  • Fun with Acronyms: SAROS — Search And Research Of Space. Fittingly for what was once (and pretends to still be) an astronomical research organisation, it's named after a cycle of eclipses.
  • Fun with Palindromes: The book never gives you the full code you need to access the Arcadian master computer. The final clue you get is just that it's one of these.
  • Gravity Sucks: On Planet Halmuris, the local gravity is heavier than on Earth and bogs you down, reducing your SKILL for any battles you may participate on said planet.
  • Gladiator Games: You risk being forced into gladiatorial games by the Arcadians which will force you to fight to earn your freedom.
  • Great Offscreen War: An epic battle takes place between the humans and Arcadians... centuries before the adventure begins.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Some of the Non-Standard Game Over scenarios ends with you being outed as a rebel and captured by Arcadian forces, at which point your captors will put you through Cold-Blooded Torture in order to make you spill the beans about the La Résistance.
    Not only have you failed in your mission, but the chances are with Arcadian techniques of torture, you will be forced to confess what you know about SAROS. You have let down the whole of mankind.
  • Jet Pack: You can obtain a jetpack during your adventure. Subverted in that it's a faulty piece of equipment that's nearly out of fuel, and you risk crashing yourself if you use it.
  • Keystone Army: The Arcadian army completely lose their wills to fight the moment you successfully sabotages their computer queen.
  • La Résistance: There are some small pockets of local resistance forces on Earth opposing the Arcadian empire.
  • Laser Blade: Your default weapon is simply called a Laser Sword. Unfortunately, most Arcadian soldiers have this weapon as well, which they can use on you.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Some humans have chosen to serve the Arcadians as spies to root out members of the La Résistance, in exchange for a more luxurious lifestyle. Some, for instance Grus, will pull a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing move and pretend to be tortured by Arcadians just to gain sympathy and help from the human rebels.
  • Lizard Folk: The Arcadians are lizard-looking aliens.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: You will pass through these while attempting to infiltrate Arcadian customs. Luckily your Laser Blade is made of a special metal designed to bypass detectors.
  • Mooks: Three specific Arcadian races are reoccurring enemies:
    • Northern Arcadians, the standard military units and Doom Troops of the Arcadian empire. They're often sentry units when you attempt to infiltrate enemy facilities.
    • Southern Arcadians, Middle Management Mooks. They're shorter, slightly less dangerous Arcadians not specifically trained for battle purposes, but more intelligent and can be reasoned with, although they are still mostly hostile towards humans. Occasionally if they're feeling amicable, they can be nice enough to assist you.
    • Central Arcadians are Mook Lieutenant officers and the most intelligent of the species. They're considered the most dangerous Arcadian units. despite being physically the weakest.
  • Morton's Fork: When you reach the Arcadian computer queen, you discover the computer is divided into three sections, and you're given the option to chooses which section to destroy first. Regardless of which part you chose, you will trigger an alarm which causes Arcadian guards to surround you. As it turns out, you're supposed to destroy all three parts simultaneously with detachable explosives.
  • Open the Door and See All the People: After destroying the computer queen, you make a quick getaway outside... only to be greeted by an entire horde of Arcadians. Hope your sabotage worked, or else you're screwed!
  • Organic Technology: As you attempt to destroy the Arcadian computer queen, you discover its device to be made of organic matter..
  • Pressure Point: Implied to be what allows you to instantly knock out an opponent when winning an Attack round during unarmed combat.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The entire Arcadian race is this, especially Northern Arcadians.
  • Secret Test of Character: When you meet the local La Résistance leader Bellatrix in a nightclub, she will order you to kill the club's owner, another human, for being a traitor. If you do that, you fail your mission, for anybody who kills without evidence of guilt is considered dishonorable and unworthy of the rebellion's causes.
  • Shout-Out: A disused movie theater on Earth is last seen showing some "20th century comedy" called Star Trek.
  • Slippery Skid: You can obtain a can of motor oil to be used in combat. By spilling its contents on the floor in front of enemy Arcadians, you cause them to become unstable and reduce their SKILL.
  • Tail Slap: Northern Arcadians have a deadly spike-tipped tail which might automatically harm you after each Attack Round in battle.
  • Tap on the Head: This is the only way you can meet Bellatrix, the local La Résistance leader; you get yourself knocked out and taken to their secret hideout while unconscious.
  • Trust Password: You use one of these to convince La Résistance that you're not a traitor working for the Arcadians.
  • Vichy Earth: Much of the story is set centuries after humanity lost in a war against the Arcadians. Now most humans are lower-class citizens living in slums.
  • Whip of Dominance: Some Arcadian soldiers use whips as their main weapons, mostly for torture and intimidation purposes.