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Messages - Barrington Boots

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Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 09 August, 2022, 09:54:56 AM »
Cheers dude. I don't think there's much of the army in post-apocalypse America tbh.
In the tradition of post-apocalyptic stuff I immediately assumed these army guys would be evil so I'm surprised they aren't (or at least yet!)

Glad you wrapped up Usurper. That fight is so cheesy, I think that's a legit way to win.
How did you do with Golspiel? I only didn't get betrayed by him because I used Shin-Ren to sus him out, but there's a load of stuff in the next book about dealing with his betrayal, so I assume it's the default setting.
Really enjoyed reading your playthrough.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Skizz vs. ABC Warriors Rd 5 Heat 12
« on: 09 August, 2022, 09:17:08 AM »
ABC Warriors for me too.

Luke Kirby for me. Art aside I cannot stand Crucis! Kirby still all sorts of charming.

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 08 August, 2022, 11:26:33 AM »
Freeway Warrior Book 2: Slaughter Mountain Run

Part 2

Kate and I are speeding South on Highway 277, a pack of bikers on our heels. At the bridge on the South Concho river we run through - literally - a dogfight: two groups of men fighting packs of coyote and wagering on the outcome. I'm not given the option to slow down so we go straight through the dogs and end up with the surreal situation of one stuck halfway through my windscreen. I roll poorly, Kate can't get rid of it, so I have to brake and finish it off with my fire axe. The dogfighters (understandably) set the rest of the dogs on us but Kate covers us so we can escape.
By the time we reach El Dorado I'm shattered, so despite being chased we decide to pull over and rest and the Angelionos drive on past. Unfortunately, we meet them later strung out across the road in a line. This triggers a crazy pursuit / running battle to the Caverns of Sonora - this is a real place - which is populated by a bunch of people alluded to be First Nation Americans in animal skins and warpaint. My car by now is too badly damaged to continue and we're forced to duck into the caves as the cave people (as they're called) and the bikers fight it out. The fighting is brutal in close quarters, but the cave dwellers are victorious and we're able to slip away in the aftermath. I siphon fuel from the Angelinos' bikes but I don't have enough to reach Kent and things look glum. As we leave, Kate points out that the cave people aren't preparing a funeral pyre for the slain bikers but instead are cooking them...

It's a slow, long drive to Bakersfield the next day, during which I exhaust my water supplies. I can't heal damage from thirst using the medkit, so I use my supplies liberally to heal all other damage I've suffered, but I've now effectively reduced my maximum endurance. Kate and I are suffering from heat exhaustion when we reach Bakersfield and we have no choice but to look for fuel and water. All I find is a carton of cigarettes but Kate scavenges some food (I have plenty of this) and some dry white wine (this will not help our dehydrated state) for a romantic meal only slightly ruined by the library we shelter in catching alight (good job I kept that fire extinguisher!)
At Fort Stockton we're ambushed again, this time by three men in the remains of military uniform. It turns out this trio are marines out of Brownsville, heading to Fort Bliss near El Paso, but now stuck after losing their vehicle. They're friendly and friendlier still when I produce the map I stole from Mad Dog - not only does it show potential stops on the Freeway where we might be able to get fuel but also shows Mad Dog and Mekong Mike's plans to take over the East coast, showing the various clan strengths and pockets of resistance in detail. The marines leader, Sgt. Haskell, wants to get this to Fort Bliss and I offer to take the three of them to the rendezvous at Kent where they can join the convoy and we can all head there after.
By now we're really low on fuel and although we're tight for time we can only crawl down the Freeway to a fuel stop, running in fumes with the three marines sitting on the bonnet. At the fuel stop the only fuel available is in a tank secured with a bomb and code. It's not too hard to crack - there's a quick shootout with some clansmen whilst this is going on, but before long we have refueled and are en route to Kent, although I'm gradually dying of thirst.

At Kent we link back up with the convoy. Things don't look great - the Mavericks have been shadowing the convoy and moving ahead into the mountains, presumably to set up an ambush. Mad Dog has linked up with the Saints and now leads three clans our way from San Angelo, whilst an unknown Mexican clan has also crossed the border and is rampaging North. Our only choice is to head into the Apache Mountains and push for El Paso (this is the titular Slaughter Mountain Run) - the most direct route, but straight through the Mavericks.

A small skirmish aside, when we do encounter the Mavericks they're engaged in a pitch battle with the Mexicans. My awesome plan is to drive the convoy at speed through the warzone - which we accomplish with surprisingly little grief. In radio contact with Fort Bliss, they advise that they are also under siege, this time by the Mexicans. Scouting ahead, Haskell and I kill some Mexican clansmen who are looking to reinforce the siege and find a ground to air missile, but I don't take it as I don't wish to reduce my stealth score. Roughly two paragraphs later we arrive at the barricade and I'm forced to admit I didn't take the missile, meaning instead I have to sneak up to it and set off some explosives - this however is covered by a single stealth test. The barricade is destroyed and we make it tinot Fort Bliss - hurray! It's celebration time until our spirits are dampened by the arrival of Mad Dog, who has now recruited the Mexicans as well to form an army over 1000 strong to encircle the fort in a ring of steel....

That's book 2 complete. As per my other post, really enjoyed this although the ending felt both a bit anticlimactic and quite similar to the ending of book 1. The first part was definitely the best with various branching paths to getting to Kate - this one was a lot more linear with several 'false choices' where you arrive at the same location no matter which option you choose.
The bit at the end with the missile is a good example of how these books work - in a FF, not having the missile would be game over: here' it just makes the game harder (although I expected it to be a bit harder than a single stealth check: feels like the book needed to wrap up at that point). With the right stats this was overall easier than the first book and a lot easier than FF or WotT.

I'll do Sea of Blood next which is another brand new one for me.

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 08 August, 2022, 11:25:32 AM »
Good writeup Richard. That fight at the end of Usurper is, imo, the hardest one is the entire series. It's ridiculously tough. I think I only got through by inner force on the usurper demon the second time when his endurance is reduced. Not being able to kick is indeed bollocks given kicking is the best thing to do in almost all other fights!
I've never gone via the Tor route and it sounds a lot of fun.

Good as Insurrection is, I'm also voting for Nemesis the Warlock

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Lawless vs. Thistlebone Rd 5 Heat 9
« on: 08 August, 2022, 11:14:45 AM »
Lawless for me too.

Prog / Re: Prog 2294: East Wired
« on: 06 August, 2022, 02:12:49 PM »
 I thought this was a great Prog. Saturday prog too!

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 05 August, 2022, 12:14:32 PM »
Freeway Warrior Book 2: Slaughter Mountain Run

Back to the Apocalypse! It's another long writeup I'm afraid because these books pack in a lot. Split into 2 parts, because of length, and work.

With two down I've got the hang of these books now. The combat can be quite swingy, but generally isn't a huge threat: what is is the barrage of skill checks you encounter as you play through. Often failing one will deal you a chunk of damage, but sometimes they can be outright deaths. There's also a lot of randomised rolls that can do the same, and on these, rolling low isn't always a bad thing. This is a composite playthrough though, because I still died a couple of times going through it.

If you've finished the previous book you get extra skill points at the start. Stealth is by FAR the most important and most tested skill. In the last game I quickly learned to keep my stealth at 5, here I boosted it to 6 meaning I could pick up more items, take a stealth penalty, and still have stealth 5. FWIW I went into this with Stealth 6, Driving 5 and Shooting, Perception and Field Craft 4. For my starting items I chose the pistol, binoculars (very useful in book 1), a flare (as I needed to make a rendezvous) and 2 meals.

The last book ended with me (Cal Phoenix) successfully escorting the colony to Big Spring but ended on a cliffhanger as the Mavericks abducted my ally / love interest Kate. This book begins by confirming that the leaders of the Mavericks and the Detroit Lions, Amex Gold and Mad Dog Michigan, were old terrorist buddies and the two gangs have joined forces to attack Big Spring. The attack has been successfully repulsed between books with the gangs taking heavy losses, but Amex Gold has given Kate back to Mad Dog as a show of loyalty. Mad Dog has reached out to bring two more clans into the alliance, the New Orleans Saints and the Angelinos. With such overwhelming force the leaders at Big Spring decide the only hope is to break out and convoy over to Tucson.

I was a bit disappointed to see this setting up the same plot as last game, but thankfully I immediately state my intention to withdraw as scout for the colony and pass responsibilities over to Rickenbacker (the pilot guy) whilst I head off to San Angelo to find Kate. First though we have to break out and this is where the book begins. With the Lions off at San Angelo we armour up a bunch of trucks and blast out, ramming through the Mavericks barricades and scattering their men. I dodge through some hazards and once we're clear split off from the convoy, agreeing to rendezvous at Kent on Interstate 20 in seven days.

I follow the Highways for a while: on Highway 158 the book notes I'm able to increase speed to 30mph! It's baking hot and I pull over into a ramshackle ruin for shade and rifle through an abandoned hardware store: in the heat this saps my endurance, but I pick up a couple of odds and ends: a toolkit and some plastic tubing. Pushing on past several Texas landmarks, I ambush and brutally kill two Clansman, lootting them for extra water and ammo and medical supplies and also taking some rope and a leather face mask. At Sterling City all I find is feral cats but approaching Broome I'm forced to duck into a used car lot to avoid a large group of Lions bikers. Here I also scavenge some engine oil.

Reaching San Angelo after a full day's drive, only the city centre is still standing and heavily reinforced with roadblocks and barricades, firmly under the control of the Angelinos clan who, I note, are heavily tooled up but a lot of their equipment seems rusted and in poor repair. I steer the car quietly through the ruined suburbs, eventually parking it in the Sears Megamart underground garage and getting a quick two hours sleep before attempting to infiltrate the city on foot at first light when the heat is more bearable. My plan is to break in through an office block on the perimeter wall.

I'm able to gain entrance by busting through some warped timber barricade and get into the lobby of Lone Star Oil & Gas. As is my habit I keep left, eventually going downstairs into what would have been the office restaurant and kitchens. There's an Angelino in the kitchen: I foolishly give him a chance to surrender and after he shoots me up a bit I put him down and loot him for bullets, med supplies and a blanket as well as looting food from the kitchen and a cleaver, which is a better weapon than my knife. From there it's into San Angelo itself. The bulk of the clansman are congregated at the Reagan Memorial Stadium where it seems some kind of motorcycle rally / race will be happening whilst Mad Dog signs a pact with a guy called Mekong Mike, the Angelino leader. For some reason I'm convinced Kate will also be there (I'm right, but not sure how I arrived at that) so I resolve to break into the stadium , which is full of hostile lunatics. Given the choice of stowing in one of the service trucks containing bike parts of getting in over the wall I choose the latter as the first seems suicidal. My strong stealth score sees me through: inside the race is being prepped (there's some Ben Hur comparisons) but my eyes are for the media box, where I spot four clansman and none other than Kate herself!

With all eyes on the track, I gain entrance to the observation tower. There are guards from each of the two clan factions, but I sling my flare into the corridor and move in to silence them quickly (and no doubt messily) with my cleaver before busting into the media room, flattening one enemy immediately and gunning down a second. I now face the two clan leaders: Mekong Mike is described as mustachioed and brightly dressed with a steer skull tattooed on his forehead, whilst Mad Dog wears black and has receding long hair going to grey. I'm quickly into a knife fight with the former: he's as skilled as me, and although my cleaver gives me the advantage I drop him in six rounds (its a timed fight) but am left on just 5 health. Mad Dog has meanwhile been on the radio alerting the gang: he has a gun trained on me, but before he can fire Kate wallops him with a chair and down he goes.

At this point, insanely, I am not given the choice to finish off Mad Dog Michigan. Given he has a blood debt against me, and has kidnapped Kate twice and done goodness knows what, and is a former member of HAVOC and leader of a huge gang intent on taking over the Southern United States, it seems remiss to leave him unconscious in a pile of chair splinters. So of course I totally do that and instead satisfy myself with stealing his special map (and using a load of medkits) before we do a runner. There's a full hue and cry in effect as we descend into the body of the stadium itself and Kate is smart enough to spot a service hatch to take us into an electrical duct and from there into some kind of service tunnel beneath the stadium. I don't have a torch or indeed any source of light having not learned my lesson from last time so we blunder around here for a bit (one of my deaths occurred here when I opened a hatch right into a massive group of vengeful Angelinos), eventually using the cables to feel our way along in the darkness before light from glass bricks set into the ceiling brings us to a hatch at the stadium entrance. It takes us an hour to reach the perimeter wall, but our way is blocked by four clansman who arrive in a jeep. I don't fancy making a run for it so I wait till they're spread out and we try to steal their jeep: there's no keys but I nab some antiseptic dressings and after deliberating, a shotgun and two shells before we make a dash for a fire station. We're spotted and under fire: I take a chance to grab a fire extinguisher (not having one cost me last game) and switch my cleaver for a fire axe which has the same stats but is a lot cooler. It's a full in chase into Sears - a clansman grabs Kate, crushing her throat but a blast from my pistol sends him descriptively flying like a leaf in the wind - and back to the car where we can high-tail it out of San Angelo with both gangs on our tail. Oh, and Mad Dog has taken over the Angelinos now, smart move leaving him alive. It's not like I haven't killed dozens of other bad guys...

End of part 1.

As you can tell I'm still enjoying this a lot. Same issues as before - fiddly inventory / encumbrance management and random numbers often causing mishap - and I only had one fight in this first part (The Angelino boss) with all the others being quick kills with my gun or knife. The writing is still evocative and full of detail though, the use of real places & a map based off real Texas gives a real sense of travel, and the heat is used to good effect - I really don't want to be out in the middle of the day! Now we're linked up again, Kate is resourceful and cool unlike the Mungos of the FF world who either drag you down or die instantly (although the sparse dialogue between you and her is pretty weak - but we're not reading this for good dialogue really) and there's a feeling of a real world existing beyond just the things you immediately encounter yourself. And the bad guys names are excellent.

Part 2 to follow!

Classifieds / Re: Cinebooks for sale.
« on: 04 August, 2022, 11:34:49 AM »
I'm interested in a couple, I'll drop you a line now.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Low Life vs. The Out Rd 5 Heat 8
« on: 04 August, 2022, 09:08:42 AM »
Low Life

Fiends of the Eastern Front

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 03 August, 2022, 09:53:48 AM »
Awesome writeup Richard! So glad you're enjoying these.

I didn't try the undersea route in any of my plays and I quite fancy going back and giving it another try. I really loved this book: the fight against Tyutchev, Cassandra and Thaum is great and the final duel against the ninja rule. I also don't see what's so good about the adventurers - I just met them again in book 6 and they're totally rubbish there too.
I think Cassandra & co must have the record for how many times they've killed me across various books.

I wonder if the rushed ending was due to the writers being told this was the final book? That could certainly put a dampener on the creative spirit.

Reading around, the publisher and the authors did have a falling out causing the abrupt end. It sounds like Mark Smith and Jamie Thompson felt they were being messed around and jumped ship to write Duelmaster instead, hence Inferno not being to the same standard as the others.

Strontium Dog

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Halo Jones vs. Shakara Rd 5 Heat 5
« on: 03 August, 2022, 08:51:02 AM »

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