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Messages - Barrington Boots

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Strontium Dog is the mutts nuts

Feral and Foe for me too. Fun and consistent is right. I think the solo Durham stuff is patchy and whilst it's had some enjoyale moments in places I'd rather read more F&F.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Inspectre vs. Defoe Rd 3 Heat 52
« on: 21 June, 2022, 06:10:48 PM »
Let's go Defoe!

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 21 June, 2022, 06:10:03 PM »
No work for me today so I have had a chance to play a few rounds of Freeway Fighter

There's a great little intro to this book explaining how and why the world has been reduced to Mad-Max-dom. The plague (for plague it is) has wiped out the bulk of the worlds population but must have beefed upo the survivors considrably as my STAMINA is 2d6+24 instead of 12. You also roll up stats for your car: for my first play my car was very heavily armoured and armed but I myself was super wimpy. This turned out to be not very relevant as I died quite a lot.

The story here is that I must travel from my home settlement of New Hope to the friendly settlement of San Anglo, where I will trade our grains and seeds for a huge supply of petrol. Because civilization is in ruins I will travel in a souped up car armed with rockets, machine guns and all sorts of gadgets. Leaving New Hope, my first encounter is with a guy headed to New Hope himself, who warns me not to stop at a garage ahead. I head out of the ruined town and soon find said garage - I'm not sure I'd stop at this anyway, because a fully functioning garage selling petrol in a post-disease wasteland seems a bit suspicious - so I take the guys word and speed on by out on the highway, where I'm soon attacked by the red chevy from the books cover. I wipe them out with only a single hit on my Interceptor, but soon after I realise I'm short of fuel and need to deviate from the highway. In addition 'one of New Hope's leaders' (no further info than that) calls to tell me the Sinclair, New Hope's big cheese, has been kidnapped by an evil gang of bikers and to look out for him.
I know from previous experience that fuel is the key to this book. In full Mad Max mode I spot a broken down ambulance I stop to see if I can get any petrol but it's a trap - I make hard work of the bushwhacker (my wounds reduce my skill even further) but triumph, stealing his money and weapon but for some reason make no attempt to siphon any fuel from his vehicle. I keep heading east, blast through a roadblock and gun down some more bandits. They seem to be the biker gang who've just trashed New Hope, and they're holed in a nearby town called Rockville. Given these guys have snatched Sinclair, I divert there - the bikers all charge into a single house and start blazing way at me so I calmly pull up, shrug and blow the house to matchsticks with a rocket. That's it for the bikers! I free Sinclair and off he goes with barely a word. I'm then able to salvage some tinned meat and petrol from Rockville's general store and wirecutters from the first room I check in a house - there's two rooms here and but in FF it doesn't pay to press your luck when you've found a good item in one of two doors, chests etc so I leave it and head off, deciding to keep heading East and then South towards San Anglo.

By now my fuel is running low, so I use up the petrol I'd previously scavenged and sleep in my car overnight. Next day another car randomly attacks me, but I dump oil over the road and he crashes into a ditch. I head South, dodge some maniac trying to drop debris on my car and stop to loot another crashed car, this time only for odds and ends and an angry rattlesnake. I dispatch some more attackers but pretty soon I'm out of fuel and sadly, walking back to New Hope. GAME OVER

Attempt 2 also fails - this time I take a different route and get my car modded by a friendly mechanic to make it faster in the hope that that will help, but still end up running out of petrol at the same point. Attempt 3, same thing. This is getting annoying - with no compass I'm literally just driving about aimlessly hoping to reach San Anglo till I run out of fuel, a map being the thing that I perhaps should have taken with me. No wonder the world is in ruins when chumps like me are the heroes around here.

Attempt 4 - I follow the same path to rescue Sinclair, plus this time I'm not a complete wimp so I am able to deal with the highwayman a bit easier. This time I take a less obvious route and find some guys about to engage in a race - for petrol. Now in theory this is a daft idea, as I need petrol and engaging in some kind of race should burn a load of fuel... but I know how this works so I sign up. The race precludes rockets and guns, but I soon find out nothing else.... as I speed away into the lead but my opponent fires a grenade at me! Relying on my luck I accelerate over it before it explodes and considering the gloves are now off, I dump spikes on the road, which doesn't do much, then sideswipe him, keep my nerve and accelerator jammed on to zip into the lead and luckily win the race. The petrol is mine although I notice I don't win the credits back I had to stake to take part!
I'm pretty broke now so can't afford to get my car modded by the mechanic but I'm back on familiar territory - I loot the crashed car for the spare wheel and plastic tubing, kill the snake and press on, weakened from the snakebite but feeling positive I am now on the right track.

Next day I investigate another crashed car, but lack a crowbar to break into the trunk so have the leave it. I'm then assualted by some absolute nutters who have done their truck up to be like a roman chariot. This fight is bogus - I'm only hit twice, but for 12 damage! Eventually I remember I have rockets and wreck this stupid chariot with one before, like every other car I've blasted off the road, drive off at once without checking for information, ammunition or petrol.

By now the car is in a state. I finally do manage to siphon some petrol (thank you plastic tubing) and fix my battered car up somewhat. Continuing on I'm flagged down by a lady who introduces herself as Amber - she's a scout from San Anglo sent out to look for me, but her car has been wrecked. She reveals that San Anglo is under siege from the 'Doom Dogs' who want to steal the petrol. This bit is all a direct ripoff of Mad Max 2, with the gang even being led by the Lord Humungous-alike 'The Animal' who is a musclebound masked man with a loudspeaker. I politely explain to Amber that my car is a wreck and won't last long against an army of lunatics but she cheerfully explains we're going in on foot. Ok then.

We ditch the car and sneak into the Doom Dogs camp under cover of darkness. At this point I have to make three luck checks in a row without any meaningful decision in between: my luck by now is rubbish, I blow the third test and am discovered but luckily the knuckledusters I took from the bushwhacker allow me to put down the guard silently. Using my scavenged wirecutters we get into the Doom Dogs vehicle compound (the Doom Dogs have carefully parked all their cars together) and Amber plants bombs on the lot. Time to leg it! The bombs all go off but one, and there follows a predictable dogfight with The Animal in his armoured station wagon. After a couple of passes the wagon rams us: I die here again, impaled by a spiked ram on a fluke failed skill check but at this point I've sort of had enough, so I reroll that and the two vehicles end up locked together.
Here I'm given the option of fighting Animal in hand to hand combat but the bloke looks like an absolute monster and I'm not exactly mr healthy so I decide on a close quarters gunfight with everyone blazing away from inside their locked together cars at each other. Amber and I gun down four goofs but the Animal busts out and charges me, levels me with a clothesline, hulks up for the crowd and clamps on a bear hug. As my ribs start to pop and my vision starts to fade, Amber arrives and clocks him on the head with a spanner. Instead of finishing him off we inexplicably tie him up and leave him for the rest of his gang to find (this would make more sense if I hadn't killed about a dozen guys already and he wasn't the leader of a vast gang of murderous bandits destroying the wasteland, but oh well)

Anyway - we're away and soon San Anglo, hurray! It's then attacked by more Doom Dogs, oh no! The inhabitants mill about uselessly leaving me to take charge. There's another luck test (failed again, shot again) but I repulse the attack, let the bad guys go again, and I've won!
Or not. I thought this would be the end, but no - I have to drive the tanker back.

This part of the book proves a bit perfunctory however. It may be because I've already killed nearly everyone between here and New Hope, but I have a single combat encounter on the way back - aside from a choice of sleeping in my cab or literally abandoning it overnight to sleep in a ruined motel, I think not - which results in a duel (ie comparing skill scores) with a skill 7 mook. I gun this guy down and then there's a very sudden ending which basically says 'you're back, well done! If you rescued Sinclair, double well done!' THE END.

As you can probably tell, I wasn't impressed with this book. I'd played it as a kid and remember really enjoying it - it may have been because I was really into GW's Dark Future and Mad Max films because it's really not very good. After a fairly detailed and immersive setup it's surprisingly light on details, not helped by the art which is quite flat - I'm sure I have read that the artist was asked to deliver the art at the last minute after the original comissioned artwork by another source proved unsuitable, but it's a far cry from the detailed stuff in the previous book. The adventure itself seems to go on forever, culminating in the Mad Max 2 siege before you're asked to drive back but this part only takes a few paragraphs, as though the book ran out of space and had to rush the ending - the ending itself being rather brief. The stuff with Sinclair is totally pointless and barely referred to once you've freed him apart from at the end saying 'if you did this too, extra credit' - there's no penalty for letting him die and no real interaction with him (although you need to go rescue him to get the wirecutters) Oh and it doesn't even have 400 paragraphs!
On the plus side Amber is a genuinely useful companion who doesn't get Mungo'd or blunder haplessly into traps and actually bailed me out of trouble, although she isn't really fleshed out and isn't seen again once I reach San Anglo. The race bit, although daft, was the best bit as it involves several skill checks, decisions and short, terse paragraphs that gives a feel of being under pressure and needing to make quick decisions.

Then there's the fuel situation - I get what the book was going for, but what it turns out is essentially three checkpoints where you have to have the fuel to continue and therefore three true paths to follow in each part. I suppose it's not much different to getting to the end of a dungeon / forest / castle only for someone to ask you if you've got three keys / gems / bits of a hammer etc but I found it pretty frustrating.

Overall then, not very atmospheric or immersive and sadly not one I enjoyed much. Perhaps I will have more luck with TEMPLE OF TERROR.

Prog / Re: Prog 2287: Grinders Keepers!
« on: 21 June, 2022, 05:03:11 PM »
Either that or you've just focused on sex to the exclusion of everything else

Whilst it's often tempting to do this in many aspects of life, I don't think overall the Prog is very sexy. It is extremely violent however. It always feels a bit weird to me when the Prog does veer towards adult themes or art. Would this run of Hope have been a better fit in the Meg maybe?

I guess I'd rather my kids read Dante than Defoe, but I don't have any kids so it's something of a moot point. My parents confiscated the 2000ad 1986 annual from my brother when he was given it for Christmas, largely because he was upset by the relentless (but largely bloodless) killings in Shako but I remember Judge Death Lives being a story that inspired mild childhood trauma - all those staring, dead faces from Fear's victims and the horror of Judge Mortis.. literal nightmare stuff.

I much prefer Ordinary

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 20 June, 2022, 09:23:59 AM »
I don't blame you on that one, it's what I did!

Mind you, my copy of Overlord has mysteriously become lost in the mail and I've been forced to order another copy from South Africa, of all places - the book itself cost next to nothing, postage was not cheap but still cheaper than getting a copy in the UK. I'm not sure I'll be able to get an original printing of book 6 at all, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Prog / Re: Prog 2287: Grinders Keepers!
« on: 20 June, 2022, 09:14:11 AM »
Got mine on Saturday! Big fan of this cover.

Dredd very enjoyable silly story and the highlight of the Prog. Really liked the design on the Grinder itself which was smack between menacing and totally derpy.

Everything else much as it was last week for me:

Hope I still think this is fairly dreadful, but glad others are enjoying it!

Skip Tracer this is inoffensive without being engaging. I think I know who that is at the end?

Terror Tales - this one also didn't work for me really.

Brink keeps on Brinking

I thought Brink and Hope would wrap up this week, not sure why but everything resumes in two weeks.

General / Re: Sideshow Vote II: Battle of the 8-bit nerds
« on: 16 June, 2022, 05:12:04 PM »
I started off with an Acorn Electron but soon gravitated to thes BEST 8-bit machine and that's C64 all the way. Last Ninja, Wizball, Aliens, Beach Head 2, Spy vs Spy, Operation Wolf, The Bards Tale...
I wasted spent so many happy hours on these and others. The music on some of these games was sooo good. Definitely got a lot to answer for.

..and it's Halo Jones for me too.

Invasion is very of its time and, frankly, wasn’t that amazing at the time. Savage is a much better interpretation of that basic theme. Thistlebone is horrible – which is the point. A solid slice of horror for the Prog, with some great art. Easy win.

I think IP is spot on here. Thistlebone for me too please.

Other Reviews / Re: Battle Action Special 2022
« on: 16 June, 2022, 12:31:41 PM »
My copy of this rocked up yesterday from Gosh and to echo what everyone else said, it's superb. The love for the original tales really shines through in the writing and the art is excellent.
This is the best special I can remember buying from Rebellion for a long time.

Prog / Re: Prog 2286 City Heat!
« on: 15 June, 2022, 01:30:56 PM »
Very fair comments Leigh and I agree. I think it's got an echo of old classics, but it's not a long-lost classic. It certainly shows it's influences both in art and story.

Prog / Re: Prog 2286 City Heat!
« on: 15 June, 2022, 10:06:14 AM »
I really like the cover.

Excellent Dredd - both not the ending I expected and also sort of is. There's possibility of more but ending this arc here seems apt and as Broodblik says, has a real echo of an old school downer Wagner about it. Superb stuff.

I was unjustly harsh on Hope on last weeks Prog thread so I took the time to re-read the story before this weeks. I still think this is a beautifully drawn tale with some pretty dismal storytelling - the last two episodes have greatly improved things, but the muddled build means this weeks reveal has no impact because even though I just re-read the whole story I still don't really have much idea who these people are. For me it feels all style over substance but would love to be proved wrong!

Skip Tracer Another where I'd like to be proved wrong. It's hard to shake the baggage of all that's come before, but this is an inoffensive start with nice art and an Aliens reference.

Terror Tales didn't really click for me beyond the art. The image of the guy in the duct is excellently grisly.

Brink continues to be Brink. That's a good thing in my book. I think we know what has just happened, but not what will happen next.

For me then, a great start and end with a lull in the middle for this issue but still enjoyable overall.

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 15 June, 2022, 08:52:12 AM »
Paragraph 400 says I might have to come back to Orb again. You know what? I just might! I think I'll pick up one of these Way of the Tiger books!

This is awesome! If you play and enjoy Avenger I'm happy to send you my 'spare' reprint copies of Assassin and Usurper (unless you'd prefer to hunt down the originals for the Bob Harvey art)

Great writeup though. Love that you loved it, and also when you handed over the Talisman to the guy who killed you. There's an item you can find before the Dragon fight that makes it a lot easier!

And on the topic of skill and Talisman of Death, I read about a guy who on that book used Funt's house rule about increasing his attack strength over starting skill but not increasing his skill for skill tests, as there's a number of skill-boosting items there that in the context of the story should make you a better fighter. It's really logical in that context.
One of the reasons I rated CotSW a bit lower than it deserved is that dying in battle because of a succession of high skill fights sucks - especially when they seem a bit illogical (I can buy DD's ninja and pit fiend fights being super tough, but CotSW has a Skill 12 bird man who is just there with no relation to the plot at all). If I've failed a couple of times due to low skill I do tend to just max my skill out for the next play. I think it's your book, you play it how you want.

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