Wizard Books, £4.99, ISBN 1-84046-565-4
Sci-fi, 2005 (Reissue)
Freeway Fighter is set in a post-apocalyptic version of Earth. In 2022, Earth is ravaged by an unnamed virus that kills 85% of the population of Earth in four days. Too bad nobody notices that the United States and England being the last two teams standing in the World Cup that year is clearly a warning that the end of the world is nigh.
You are one of the survivors who have banded together to form well-fortified towns. One day, your town, New Hope, receives a radio signal from San Angelo. The people of San Angelo will give 10,000 liters of petrol in exchange for grain and seeds of equal value. Naturally, your town can use the petrol. And yes, it’s “petrol” despite the fact that this campaign is set in the United States. Hey, it’s 2022; maybe by that time everyone is using the Queen’s English, who knows?
Despite the fact that this is a very vital mission, you are the only one sent to drive the Dodge Interceptor to San Angelo to make the exchange. You will encounter the gangs of lawless humans that roam the wilderness looking for victims, and oh my, there are so many of them that you will soon wonder what these people do in their free time when there is nobody to rob. There is such a high number of outlaws and ruffians here, all of them driving around and armed to the teeth when resources are supposed to be scarce, the whole scenario feels so artificial and contrived as a result. Then again, this is a gamebook by Ian Livingstone, so perhaps the contrived nature of the campaign is to be expected.
Freeway Fighter has a modified version of the Fighting Fantasy gameplay system – nothing too different, just some minor variations such as you start out with more Stamina points and you also have to keep track of the “health” of your vehicle.
What is disappointing about this one is how unimaginative it is. It is as if Ian Livingstone had decided to rip off Mad Max and then stop thinking from that point onward. This is a typical by-the-numbers campaign from this author. You have to search for the one true way by guessing and making random choices, and, yikes, failure usually comes in the form of you running out of gas. If that is not embarrassing enough, you will be stuck in a bland setting that tells you nothing about the world in 2022 AD. The prose is flat, as if this campaign wasn’t boring enough.
Freeway Fighter is forgettable and uninteresting, one that you can bail out on without any regret.