Freeway Fighter – Conclusions

With the new rules and weaponry introduced in Freeway Fighter, it’s clear that an effort had been made to differentiate the experience from non-vehicular titles, but for the most part, I don’t think Freeway Fighter really pulls it off. Generally it’s the same model we see in every book, Firepower is Skill, turn left or right at this junction… etc. On a few occasions, the excitement does ramp up a little though, the best bit of the book by far was the Blitz Race, this section actually felt fast and dangerous, I would have loved to have seen more of these quick decision based sections than the gun-play of Firepower and Armour stats. It would also been good to have seen more of Pete the mechanic, it felt good to get my Interceptor upgraded – RPG players love their loot! Extra weapons and turbo thrusters would have been an entertaining way to develop my ‘character’ along the journey, perhaps even obtaining different cars. We will have to wait for Robot Commando to bring us that level of sophistication!

Sadly, my enjoyment of the book was mainly impeded by the setting, a barren wasteland is in the end, a barren wasteland. Most encounters felt like they revolved around seeing what’s in this next overturned vehicle, the unfortunately rather short raid on the Doom Dog camp at the end was a welcome turn. Save for those already mentioned and perhaps the dualist, there were few particularly memorable encounters. Similarly, the theme of the book influenced the progression gating, most Fighting Fantasy books put obstacles in front of you that you cannot pass unless you have acquired a specific item, often in a creative situation that makes you feel powerful or is just plain fun. In Freeway Fighter you refuel you car, which is a little dull when you’ve done it a few times.ff 001 (2)

As far as the landscape and the feel of the world we’re in goes, it really didn’t help that the illustrations were not particularly interesting. This flat looking style really didn’t do it for me, with these buildings coming close to level of dullness we experienced in Space Assassin. As mentioned in the intro, an Iain McCaig illustrated Freeway Fighter might have helped bring the book to life a little more.

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The best illustration actually looks like it belongs in a completely different book altogether! I didn’t actually encounter this guy in my read-through, but this is Rat Man, a rat orientated fellow I would have encountered in the motel at the end of the book had I not slept in the cab of my tanker. I’m guessing this is where I could have sustained the rat-bite the text referred to, a very cruel twist at the end Mr. Livingstone!
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All in all, Freeway Fighter is by no means a bad title, it just feels like a book that could have been taken further if it had a little more content and a little less driving south through rolling tumble-weed desert.

Freeway Fighter – Part 3

Having received a polite goodbye from my dueling buddy I was on my way, heading into the final leg of my journey and narrowly avoiding a landslide through a canyon into the bargain. Up ahead was a roadblock, manned by two armed guards who made it known that it would be a good idea for me to stop. One of these armed goons told me that I would only be allowed to progress if I managed to win a speed race against their ace driver. A classic E-Type Jag pulled up alongside me, not driven by the Stigs apocalyptic cousin, but by a man, ‘Hi, my name’s Leonardi. I used to play ball for the Mets, but now I race cars’, he said. Did a Leonardi ever play for the Mets? Either way, wave hello to Leonardi everyone!

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What Leonardi hadn’t reckoned with when he saw my beaten-up Interceptor was the supercharger I’d recently had fitted by old Pete. Our race was dealt with by playing a small mini-game where I had to roll a D6 alternately for myself and Leonardi, the first gaining a total of 24 was the winner, the twist being that the supercharger gave me a +1 to all of my own rolls. Of course I screamed off to victory and didn’t stop to find out if Leonardi was a bad loser or not.

The next exciting wrecked vehicle I found was an articulated lorry that was over-turned at the side of the road. Stopping to have a look there was nothing of any use in the cab, but a quick tap of the fuel canisters revealed that they still had something in them, using the plastic tubing I found earlier I managed to siphon off a good deal of the petrol to top up one of my reserve cans. Adding 1 Luck point, I hoped that this would be enough to take me through to the end of the journey. The opportunity also presented itself to do a few quick repairs to my Interceptor and I was able to add an extra 2 Armour points for my trouble.

Smoke on the horizon clued me up to the burned out Corvette I was about to come across, the blonde girl with a rifle I wasn’t expecting, but it wasn’t a problem as I stopped to find out she was from San Anglo and knew who I was! A gang of road warriors had attacked her and left her out there, but now my new friend, Amber, could help me through the final stages of the trip.

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Before I could do that though, one more complication lay ahead of me. San Anglo had become besieged by the Doom Dogs, a gang led by a man known as Animal. The fuel reserves held in San Anglo were what they wanted and it had got to the point where nobody could enter or leave the settlement. Amber however had a cunning plan to sneak into their compound at night and disable all their vehicles using ‘guess-who’ as her partner in crime. We parked up in an area out of sight, waiting until it got dark. ‘We need to be alert for our raid tonight, so I’ve brought along something to keep us going‘, she said. Instead of producing a big bag of coke she handed me a few glucose tablets, giving me 4 Stamina. Once the only light available was from the moon we set off on foot towards the Doom Dog camp which was set on top of a small, flat hill.

Laid flat on the ground we had a good view of the camp, some men were drinking by a fire, a few patrolling with guns, it was a great moment for Amber to accidentally kick a rock down the hillside. Thankfully I covered up for it with a successful Luck roll which meant the guards were paying more attention to the camp-fire jokes than any noise we were making. Progress was short-lived though as our path onward was blocked by a mesh fence, the wire-cutters the text asked me if I had were unavailable and so we had no option but to head round to the main entrance of the camp. Another Luck test snuck us into the camp and before I knew it, limpit mines had been attached to the engines of the Doom Dogs vehicles, but all of a sudden, explosions started to ring out around us. ‘One of the mines must have had a faulty fuse‘, suggested Amber as we were still in the camp, not yet clear of the destruction around us. Headlights on the remaining Doom Dog vehicle began to flick on and all we could do was run for the exit. Successfully managing to leave the compound was determined by me having over 10 Stamina left, we ran towards the Interceptor as the pursuing vehicle put out a message on its loudspeaker, ‘Stop! There is no escape from the Animal!’. Getting back to the Interceptor just in time, we were faced with what was presumably the Animals car.

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Not too shabby an opponent either at 10/19 and I wasn’t allowed to use rockets due to our close proximity, but all I had to do was survive three attack rounds which wasn’t tricky and then pass a Skill test to get myself through being rammed by the swine. The pointed ram bar on his vehicle managed to pierce an armour plate of the Interceptor, pinning the two vehicles together. Another call on the loudspeaker told me to get out and fight the Animal hand-to-hand. Deciding to stick to the safer option, I pulled my pistol and so myself an Amber were held up in a gun-fight with the Doom Dogs behind the safety of the Interceptor doors.

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These guys weren’t too tough (7/13 & 8/14), but did take a while to take down due to some terrible damage rolls! Before we could do anything else though, we were beset by the Doom Dog we’d forgotten about, The Animal!

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Snatching me up in a bear-hug that cost me 2 Stamina I was slowly being crushed by the Animal, but as we had forgotten about him, he had forgotten about Amber and a wrench came crashing down on his head by her hand. He was knocked flat unconscious and we were left to tear off with the Interceptor to a heroes welcome at San Anglo. Rested and fed overnight I was given 1 Skill point back as well as 4 Stamina, in return regaling the township with tales of my adventures sucking petrol out of trucks. It wasn’t long though before gunfire woke me up in the early hours of the  morning though. These guys don’t give up it seems. In-fact they weren’t giving up to the extent that a small truck full of explosive had just been driven straight into the doors into San Anglo itself!

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People were scattered everwhere and I was the one it would come down to to control the rabble and defend the settlement – how these people got this far is beyond me. Urging them to fall back and take cover, my eye was caught by the armoured petrol tanker which had been prepared for me to take back home, or more accurately my eye was caught by the Doom Dog member heading for the drivers seat.

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Racing through the cross-fire, a successful Luck test got me over to him unharmed and the fact my Skill was above his Skill of 6 meant I was able to overpower him and put a gun to his head, which helped persuade him to call off the attack. Easier than I thought if I’m honest! The remaining Doom Dogs slunk out of San Anglo to jeers of the residents, looking like a bunch of pussys quite frankly. All fine by me though as it meant I could hop in the petrol tanker and set off back north to New Hope.

Initially I was escorted by two cars, but then I was on my own again, somewhat surprised the adventure was still going. Night began to fall and I neglected the option to sleep in an abandoned motel as I didn’t want to leave my precious tanker unattended, so elected to sleep in the cab and thankfully was undisturbed. After an hour or so of driving in the morning though, two bikes appeared in my mirrors. No longer being armed to the teeth in my interceptor, this might be a problem. Despite not having my rockets and spikes and things, I did still have a roof mounted machine gun though and was able to take out one of the bikes, but the second rider remained upright and was able to get a crossbow bolt into one of my tyres. A nice bit of control helped keep the tanker under control, but left me stranded with a maniac holding a crossbow in wait at the rear. His appeals for me to leave the cabin were rejected and so instead he challenged me, ‘How about a duel then? Winner takes all!’.

I wasn’t keen on that idea so just stayed in the cab. Waiting him out wasn’t exactly a fool-proof plan though as I could hear him walking across the roof of the tanker, I opened the door and climbed to the roof myself to face what had turned out to be a muscular Michael J. Fox in a loin-cloth.

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His inevitable response of a crossbow bolt being fired at my head didn’t work out for him as a Luck test avoided it, then a Skill challenge against his pathetic Skill of 7 meant I managed to wrestle him down and off the edge of the tanker, falling unconscious on the ground below. I jumped back in the tanker and was somehow able to drive away all of a sudden, despite being brought to a halt moments earlier by a crossbow… The text asked me if I had been bitten by a rat, I assume this was a cruel way to steal victory at the last, but as I hadn’t I could sail onto page 380, the final paragraph. I drove on to New Hope and was greeted by hundred of petrol-starved citizens. Civilization was on the road to recovery at last… I was reminded that if I also managed to rescue Sinclair during my adventure, I should consider my mission a triumph. Who…? Oh yeah, that guy they mentioned in part one… oops.

My adventure was over and Sinclair is probably dead.