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Richard:
Those two books, Creature and Night, are both much better than the average FF book.

BB's review makes me want to look at Seas of Blood again. I can't remember anything about it except the endings. But I like the idea of playing as an evil character for a change!

Barrington Boots:
I'm off to buy Night of the Necromancer then.

Blue Cactus:
My friend and I attempted Legend of Zagor last week and the biggest challenge was issues we had with Microsoft Teams. Took about an hour to get that sorted. Which was about twice as long as we lasted in the story!

The book is a bit different in that you choose one of four characters (all white males of course) who each have different strengths and weaknesses. We selected Sallazar the wizard and my companion rolled some decent-ish initial scores. Here is my extensive quest report:

Spoke to a priest for a bit of cryptic advice before setting off. Headed to the tavern to try and scrape up some extra money through gambling (Ric my pal cannot resist heading to a tavern in FF books). Anyway, we lost some money pretty quickly and so couldn’t buy much from the local shop. Feeling somewhat dejected we boarded the ship that was set to take us to our destination and met the captain, a sea-dog centaur. He’s dressed in full sea captain clobber from the (human) waist up and we manage not to embarrass him by looking at his unclothed horse parts. We set sail.

A couple of paragraphs later we got absolutely gubbed by a Wyvern.

End of quest.

In short, I still have no idea if this book is any good or not - pretty sure this happened last time too!

Barrington Boots:
Freeway Warrior part 3 - The Omega Zone

The ending of the previous book saw me rescue Kate and reach Fort Bliss in El Paso where we linked up with a small military force under Captain Frankland of the WDL only to be besieged by Mad Dog Michigan and his army of over 1000 lunatics from the various clans he had united under his banner.

The book starts with us having been under siege for a few weeks until we get the news that the clansman are bringing in a few trucks of explosives from Zaragoza - enough to blow up Fort Bliss and everyone in it. Captain Frankland decides to take a team of four out to blow up the trucks once they reach Ciudad Juarez, with that team being marines Haskell and Knott from book 2 plus me (I wondered where the other marine from book 2 went, as he is never mentioned - looks like he can die in book 2 and so isn't referred to again here, which is a shame as there's no tangible benefit to the player therefore to keeping him alive). The plan is that we infiltrate the clans base on foot and blow up their stuff, which should allow the defenders of Fort Bliss to bust out and make a run for Tucson. It's kind of the same setup as the start of book 2, except this time I'm on foot - Kate will be driving my car and leading the colony. I've kept all my gear from the previous book including my fire axe.

Right at the start I choose to take the longer, less dangerous route out of Fort Bliss. I got for maximum stealth, dodging patrols and scavenging where we can. Clansmen infest the city - I spot a large group of them looting the El paso Museum of art and building bonfires of the paintings and artworks - but we reach the Rio Grande without incident, kill the guards on the bridge and sneak into Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican side of the river where Mad Dog is holed up at the Juarez race track (he obviously likes race tracks as he was camped out in one at San Angelo). The track is packed with clan vehicles of all shapes and sizes, and Mad Dog is spotted in command. Knott heads off to secure a truck for our exit whilst we distribute our own explosives and stealth off to set them on the trucks from Zaragoza once they arrive. It goes a bit wrong for me here as I easily dispatch a guard and plant my bomb but when Knott starts up out getaway truck the clans are alerted, I bungle a roll and get shot up and eventually pulled into the moving vehicle by Haskell and Frankland, leaving half the contents of my backpack behind. With bullets tearing through the truck around us we bust out the racetrack and detonate the bombs on the explosive trucks sending a fireball sky high. Mad Dogs army falls into confusion and as we speed off into the night we can hear gunfire from Fort Bliss as the colony makes its run for Tucson.

What follows is something of a running battle: from the back of the truck I'm first battling bikers, before we stop and massacre a pack of pursuing Angelios, then detour around Columbus into New Mexico and losing pursuit in the mountains.
Ten miles out of the abandoned town of Hachita the ignition unit fails on the truck and Knott and I have to walk back in the baking heat to see if we can scavenge one. There are clan scouts there and I take a lot of wounds in a knife fight, but they have sufficient supplies on them for me to heal up and top up my now-depleted food and water. We find the part we need and choose to take the clans motorbikes back to the truck, which is a poor choice as Haskell and Frankland promptly open fire on us as they think we're with the Lions. Luckily no permanent harm is done. We also find tracks that shows the convoy breakout was successful and has passed this way - hurray! Looks like Kate (or someone) is still in my Interceptor. We camp overnight at Lordsburg and who should roll through overnight but another convoy - this time the remnants of Mad Dogs lot, led by Mad Dog himself, also following the convoy's trail. Out truck is found and another fun battle ensues as we make our escape over the rooftops, steal another vehicle (a jeep from a couple of dopey Mavericks) and the chase is on again. I'm driving, Frankland is on the heavy MG mounted on the roof: fancy driving and fnacy shooting gets us through the night, and in the end we stage an accident, setting our jeep alight and pushing it into a ravine, staging our deaths and throwing the pursuers off.

This of course leaves us walking in 90 degree heat. At the next town I scavenge a fire extinguisher (the only item that has proved essential in both previous books: it didn't here) and we're able to scavenge a Toyota pickup. I don't have the requisite item to start it but we jump start it in the end, meaning our water supplies take a hit, and we're just climbing into the car when - BLAM! - Haskell takes one right between the eyes. We take cover but no more shots are forthcoming. Looks like a clan sniper is on our trail - but where?

Knott is badly shaken and I'm not much better. We speed off to Coronado Timber Forest, and we're burying Haskell when the sniper strikes again, first shooting out our tyres and then killing Frankland. Knott and I flee into the forest where we discover signs of life and, under fore from the sniper again, find a small reinforced underground cabin. We break in via an air vent but the family within won't help us and force us out, where the sniper is waiting, and Knott is shot and killed and I only escape by running like a madman from tree to tree and climbing down a cliff before taking shelter in an abandoned hunting lodge where, luckily, I find an offroad bike which takes me as far as Tombstone before conking out.

As a reader, by now I was in a bit of a panic as it appeared the bike dying on me was due to my failure to collect an item earlier. With the assassin approaching, I take shelter in Tombstone courthouse. The sniper drives up like Streethawk, all in black leather on a black bike and promptly puts a bullet into my bikes engine, blowing it up and illuminating him nicely. As he reloads his rifle I fire, but my shot goes wide. I duck back into hiding but he has some kind of infrared binoculars and puts a few bullets through the wall I'm behind followed by a smoke grenade. Coughing and spluttering I have no choice but to bust out the door and end up face-t-visor with him. There's a little showdown at high noon moment where we stare at each other through the smoke in the morning light, then we draw, but I'm quicker and one shot is all it takes.

With the hitman dead I take all his awesome hi-tech gear including his bike and go racing after the colony where I swiftly meet Kate, who has been scouting back looking for me. Our happy reunion is brought to a sudden halt however when who should appear over the horizon but twenty clan bikers and Mad Dog himself in a souped up, bullet proof black roadster. He catches us at the girder bridge over the Pantano Wash river and sideswipes us into the crash barrier. With Kate's bullets having no effect, he tries to ram us over the side, but I brake hard and he hits the bridge side at 100mph. I accelerate past - up ahead there's an abandoned bus across the bridge and only room for one vehicle to pass. I keep my nerve, shoot through the narrow gap and Mad Dog hits the bus like a ramp, catapulting him into the air, off the bridge and far into the river below to his doom. All that remains is for Kate and I to catch up with the convoy at Tucson for high fives all round. Surely the way to California will be simpler now, with Mad Dog dead?

VICTORY!

For me this was probably the weakest book in the series so far. A lot of it felt like a retread of stuff I'd done in books one and two: the back of the book promised a journey across the titular 'Omega Zone' of New Mexico and Arizona "a region still blighted by lethal radioactivity" but this didn't really factor in - I think the Omega Zone itself was only mentioned once, by the survivalist family. Adventuring with the marines was less interesting than you'd think as they were all pretty interchangeable.

I also found it pretty easy. My skills are now very high, easily enough to pass (or at least, not catastrophically fail) most tests, I never really ran low on supplies and with the way the items work (they give you an advantage, rather than a 'don't have it and die' setup like in most FF books) I was rarely troubled and finished the book first go. Otherwise the book had the same pros (strong worldbuilding and atmospheric writing) and cons (false choices, fiddly combat) as the others. The art here wasn't quite as good as the previous two either - some good cars, but one of the pictures of a Mexican clansman had him looking like a cartoon bandit with sombrero and droopy moustache and the cover, which shows Kate and I running from a souped up bulldozer, doesn't happen at all from what I can tell.

The one thing that was fun and different was being hunted by the sniper - that was pretty tense stuff once it got going and the final battle being in Tombstone was a nice touch, even though the fight was over very quickly. The ending with Mad Dog was fun, but felt a bit tacked on and one paragraph after knocking him off the bridge I was in Tucson and the book was over.

I don't believe for a minute Mad Dog is dead and I expect the fourth and final book will be a showdown between us. Although I actually hope Kate gets him.

Barrington Boots:

--- Quote from: Blue Cactus on 18 August, 2022, 10:36:05 AM ---a sea-dog centaur. He’s dressed in full sea captain clobber from the (human) waist up and we manage not to embarrass him by looking at his unclothed horse parts.

--- End quote ---

I hope there is a picture of this.

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