An Orbital Tour Of Neopia: Don't Hold Your Breath
VIRTUPETS--Earlier this year I wrote a travel article for the Times, detailing
the exciting events (or rather lack thereof) in Meridell. Sorting through the
onslaught of neomail I received following this, (Sample Letter: I LUUUVVVED YER
ARTICLE! Send me $mony$, k?), I found two letters which promised to be a little
more interesting. The first, which contained Bubonic NeoPlague germs, I took to
be a thank you from Skarl for all we had done to promote Meridell’s tourism. But
after a visit to the pharmacy and the swellings finally went down, I was able
to open the second letter, which was from, for some unknown reason, Dr. Sloth.
Dear puny human, the letter began,
I thank you for your article in the puny human’s newspaper, The Neopian
Times. Indirectly, you have promoted my expensive Virtupets/Kreludor package
tour to the #1 position in the tourism industry. You are now worthy of using
my avatar. Take it and be grateful, puny human.
A normal reaction would be something like ‘WooHoo!’ But it got me thinking
that if the Virtupets/Kreludor tour is generating so much money for Sloth, then
maybe he was using it for sinister purposes... purposes that an inexperienced
travel writer should go investigate ASAP! (I realize it wouldn’t be nice to
reduce traffic to the station of the evil doctor who just gave me a coveted
avatar. But I had to weigh that against the fact that I really, really wanted
another shiny Neopian Times trophy.) So I packed my bag and set out in search
of adventure and a cheap lunch. Too bad I only found one.
It wasn’t adventure.
The first thing that happened when I got on the station was that I noticed
the wall inscription that told me how this was Orbital Space Station #4. That
got me worried, thinking what had happened to the first 3 Space Stations. Did
they lose their atmospheric thrust and crash into the surface of Neopia in a
fiery debris storm? Because that sort of thing can really cramp your visit.
Looking for adventure, I sought out the games aboard the station. Specifically,
I ended up seeking out Splat-A-Sloth, a game where two very disloyal Grundos
whack a sock that looks vaguely like Sloth. He does own this station, right?
He must not have good people skills. (Sample Sloth Business meeting: I WILL
CRUSH YOU ALL, PUNY HUMANS!!)
And I wasn’t impressed from Evil Fuzzles From Beyond The Stars. Specifically,
as the stars are approximately 93 billion miles away, the Evil Fuzzles must
travel pretty fast to be able to make it to Virtupets on time, where they’re
promptly blasted to bits by a heroic maintenance worker. I pointed this out
to the Usul running the game and she just sort of stared at me before calling
After outrunning the TX-2 DestructoBots, I found myself in a flowery field
(Wait... there’s a field in the middle of a Space Station?) where Neopets were
throwing a ‘Gorm’ball at each other that periodically exploded, then instantly
reformed. This is actually considered a sport? Riiiigggghhtt.... I had better
luck playing ‘Frum’ball, where you fire a ball at big chunks of the station,
hoping to destroy them, so you can move on and destroy some more. Actually,
maybe this is what happened to the first 3 stations; the National Frumball championships
kinda dismantled them. (Don’t ask about Zurroball. I’m kind of opposed to any
game that involves flipping a ball of Snot around the room. It’s a cultural
But enough about sports. Virtupets has some great shopping experiences. You
can visit Grundo’s Cafe (Motto: Our food tastes just like Kreludor Cafe!) or
pick up some machinery at Virtupets Weaponry, Virtupets Armor, or Virtupets
Petpets. Upon closer inspection, I saw that all three of the previous stores
assemble their wares from the same parts and pieces. So, if you knew how, you
could dismantle your cute little Combobot and build an OmniMatic Death Bazooka.
And then there’s Adopt-A-Grundo, which is giving away Dr. Sloth’s loyal servants
by the hundreds. (Are you REALLY sure he owns this station?) They come in seven
colors, like Cosmic Red, Moon Rock-Brown (even though Kreludor is Black) and
Empty Expanse Of Space Purple. But they didn’t have Oxygen-Deficiency Orange,
even though 99% of the tourists there wanted an Orange Grundo to love and cuddle
and steal an Avatar from, and after they’d promptly ditch it because they HATE
Something occurred to me: the agency is able to instantly provide a Grundo,
in either gender and seven exciting flavors, to hundreds of visitors a day.
So where are they keeping them all? This is a Space Station, after all, which
means that certain things like food or air or room to move are going to be a
little limited. So I asked the Shoyru at the desk where they were keeping these
millions of back-up Grundos and just she sort of stared at me before calling
security. (My new motto is it’s not a complete trip unless you get chased by
the local police at least twice.) While running, I came upon the first useful
game all day: Escape To Kreludor. I did so.
I quickly regretted it. Kreludor is just sort of... what’s the word... empty?
There’s almost nothing here. I bounced to the information center and met a friendly
Welcome Wocky who asked if I had any questions. I asked her why Kreludor, the
only moon in Neopia, is jet black on the Explore page, but pure white when viewed
from the Deserted Fairground or Darigan’s Citadel.
“Um, well...,” she said, “The refraction of light...albedo...hyperkinetic sunspots...Shut
That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the trip. Kreludan Homes, for
example, has some beautiful real estate. The only trouble is the commute back
to the surface each morning. That must get tiring. Maybe they hitch a ride on
Evil Fuzzles; they’re fast enough.
The shopping on Kreludor is out of this world! Literally. Not in the good way.
You have the Kreludor Cafe, (Motto: Our food tastes just like Grundo’s Cafe!)
and you also have BOOKTASTIC! Books. I still don’t understand what makes a book
BOOKTASTIC!...It’s probably something to do with the -TASTIC! part.
I was semi-excited about the Kreludor mine, where I imagine they dig up valuable
elements like Neopium and Faeryllium and Slothite in large quantities for Chemistry
For Beginners. (Warning: Do not keep Slothite in large quantities, as it blows
up.) Unfortunately I was stopped from this potentially exciting tourist hotspot
by an angry security robot. Thinking quickly, I overturned a big vat of Slothite
into another big vat of Slothite, causing unstable explosions and enough smoke
to cover my escape.
Oddest of all is a giant Neocola machine that no one know what it’s there for.
Well that’s obvious: it produces Neocola (Motto: Icy cold as the depths of space!)
Why it’s on the dark side of the moon is another question. My theory is that
several years ago there was a big mix-up at Grundo Warehouses, and all these
Alien Aishas on the moon received a Neocola machine. Meanwhile, in Neopia Central,
the Food Store owner wound up with an Alien Aisha Vending Machine with enough
juice in it to destroy the entire planed. (Good thing no one’s ever put in a
Kreludor is apparently famous for it’s Orange Grundos. I asked them why they’re
so famous. They said it’s because they have their own totally original avatar.
When I showed them how their avatar can be easily produced by melding the Faerie
Grundo and Mad About Orange avatars, they sort of gave me a funny look I’d seen
way too often on this trip.
So I made it back to the shuttleport and escaped death again, waving goodbye
to my screaming newfound friends: 2,000,000 angry Orange Grundos (which are
not for adoption, don’t even try.) The only other passenger on the shuttle was
a rather large and imposing Commander Garoo. When he found out who I was and
what I was doing here, he heartily slapped me on the back and told me he hoped
I had good things to say about Virtupets. Wait... it was less of a ‘heartily
slap’ and more of a ‘bonecrushing blow and invitation to death at the Battledome
if I don’t say nice things.’ I don’t remember the exact wording. I was still
trying to figure out if my back was still attached to my body.
And that’s one puny human's recount of a trip through the surprisingly oxygen-rich
upper atmosphere of Neopia. I would have said only nice things about Virtupets,
but I know that Garoo will be a Defenders of Neopia challenger sooner or later,
and he might as wall have a reason to want to kill me. So, attention everybody.
If anything in the preceding article made you want to go on the Virtupets/Kreludor
package tour, I suggest you seek immediate medical help. Otherwise, save your
money for more worthwhile pursuits, like throwing it into the ocean, throwing
it over a cliff, or playing Dice-A-Roo. And please, don’t send me too much Neomail.
I have enough at the moment, what with the legal suing paperwork from Kreludan
Mining for 3.5 mil in emotional/Slothite-based damages, and ooh! A big package
from Dr. Sloth with shiny biohazard stickers all over it. Let me just get the