In book 2, we evacuated Big Spring in favor of El Paso and made our way to a military installation (the World Defence League, the counter-terrorism crew which failed to stop The Big Boom). But once again, we brought our troubles with us. The Detroit Lions biker-bandit gang continues to ally with other bandit gangs, and now they’re 1,000 strong. So our safe haven at El Paso is under siege, and everybody is suffering for it.
This is two cities in a row, where the Dallas folks moved to a new city, and ruined it for that other city by bringing down our own bandit problems on top of their own troubles. Honestly, I wouldn’t blame the residents of El Paso, Dallas, and Big Spring if they tried to cut a deal and just hand me over to Mad Dog Michigan.
Instead, they send me with three soldiers, on a suicide mission to destroy a supply of explosives which the bandit gangs would use against El Paso. But that’s only the beginning: we’ll then be hunted by biker ninjas, a top-notch sniper, and of course the ubiquitous biker-bandit gangs.
Review and Opinion
Well, I have a lot of the same problems I had with book 1 and 2. The layout is really straight, with the only deviations being 1-2 pages before you arrive at the same place as the other choice. It kind of got irritating in spots, too, where the decisions made no difference at all. “Do you have a crowbar? Yes = you open the door. No = Haskell has one and opens the door” “follow the river, or follow the road? either way, sleep in basement and find motorcycle” “do you have oil for the bike? doesn’t matter, either way it breaks down”
And most of the choices that did matter, only mattered insofar as loot. Stop in the town, get a medkit, turn to same page as if you hadn’t. There’s even a whole section where we meet survivalists in a bunker, but it too goes nowhere and we get shuttled right out the front door we came in 6 pages earlier.
Yeah, game books have convergence points, but this was some lazy writing.
But it’s not all bad.
We’re separated from our roadster the whole time, so the backpack mechanic actually makes sense.
For the first time, we saw some terrain other than desert highways. In our flight from a sniper, we found our way into the forest and mountains around Rodeo, New Mexico. We climbed and hiked, and the narrative here was good; for a while it felt like we had gotten out of the desert.
And the second half of the book, with that sniper, watching my teammates die one by one in cut scenes… that was some powerful stuff. That had a definite page-turning, I think we’ve lost him, oh damn he found us sort of thing for me.
So, the series is finally reaching the good writing, with some drama and some variation.
Written by Joe Dever
Illustrated by Melvyn Grant
Book 3 in the series
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