Once upon a time, Mel Gibson wasn’t an utter maniac, he used to make films about policemen on the edge and Scottish terrorists, but one day he made a film called Mad Max. Ian Livingstone saw that film and then immediately wrote Freeway Fighter.
Our adventure takes us to 2022, a world where World War 3 had been avoided and revolutionary farming techniques have all but eradicated world hunger, everybody is friends and it seems like science has saved humanity. An interesting detail is that the 2022 ‘soccer’ World Cup is actually being held in Australia, as if FIFA would hold it in such a crazy place. Even crazier is the idea that the final will be England vs USA. Anyway, the day that final was played, everything went a little bit Stephen King and a deadly virus emerged from somewhere in New York and within four days, 85% of the worlds population was dead. Civilization crumbled and people were willing to kill each other for a can of beans. As a survivor, our character finds himself living in the outpost town of New Hope where those holding onto the idea of civility hold up against the other half of humanity who are now rampaging around the place, looting and pillaging. New Hope has received word of another settlement in the south, San Anglo, and they are wanting to trade 10,000 litres of fuel for some of New Hopes food, which it has in abundance. So who do you think has to drive them sacks of grain and then bring back a tanker of oil amidst a lawless world of violence? That, would be our hero, who I shall call Mel.
We do actually get to name our hero in this book too as the adventure sheet has a section for the drivers name. There are actually a number of different rules to follow, we have 2D6+24 for our Stamina for instance. Unarmed hand-to-hand combat deals out 1 Stamina damage per turn and whoever takes 6 Stamina of damage first is knocked unconscious. Gunplay is run as normal combat is, but 1D6 damage is done per hit. Combat can also take place between vehicles as well, with a 1D6+6 Firepower score being the equivalent to Skill and a 2D6+24 Armour value being your Stamina, damage is again 1D6. We also have a number of special weapons in rockets, iron spikes and oil canisters.
Freeway Fighter is actually a book I remember getting as a kid, I actually remember being able to talk my dad into buying me a new Fighting Fantasy book, which is always a super exciting day as a youngster. My town hosts an annual fete with rides and all manner of duck hooks and associated rollercoaster fun times. Being a fan of video-games and books about wizards, this wasn’t exactly my scene… and to be honest, not a lot has changed! Anyway, as I managed to convince my dad that the money he would save on taking me on the rides would be best spent on a new book, and bingo – I’m cruising around a wasteland looking for oil.
With this book I get my first opportunity to steal anecdotes and information from Jonathan Greens You Are The Hero, which if you are sat reading this blog, you absolutely must own. From reading what is the Fighting Fantasy bible I am left wondering what might have been as apparently the amazing Iain McCaig was initially set to illustrate this book and produced this wonderful drawing before Kevin Bulmer took over.
But you never know, Kev might have sketched up a storm here, so let’s get stuck into the book and find out shall we?