Literature: Freeway Warrior
is a Gamebook
series from the 1980s, but it departed from many of its contemporaries by shunning the typical High Fantasy
setting for a post-apocalypse
scenario inspired by the Mad Max
movies. After civilization is ruined by nuclear terrorism, the player takes the role of Cal Phoenix, charged with protecting the survivors of "Dallas Colony One" as they make a hazardous journey across the ruins of southwest America, now ridden with outlaw Clans and other hazards. Unfortunately, Cal's duty takes a turn for the worse right in the opening moments of book 1, when he kills a Clan scout who happens to be the brother of the psychopathic terrorist Mad Dog Michigan
, whose allies now control what is left of America's eastern seaboard. Cal has gained a powerful nemesis who will stop at nothing to massacre him and his fellow survivors.
The Freeway Warrior
series ran for four books, and is most notable for having been written by Joe Dever, creator of the Lone Wolf
franchise. Despite their different settings, the two series share many rules and similarities.
Freeway Warrior provides examples of the following tropes:
- Action Girl: Kate is pretty badass, for someone who got kidnapped or otherwise endangered so often.
- After the End: Of course.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Played to the hilt, as almost every biker Cal encounters is a murderous Clansman.
- Awesome but Impractical: Machine pistols chew through ammo faster than any other gun. They're the best gun to start with... but only because that starts you off with more ammo, which you can use when you find a regular pistol.
- British English: The author is British, but it's slightly jarring in a gamebook series set in America.
- Car Fu: It doesn't get quite so far over the top as, say, The Road Warrior, but there are certainly many incidents of vehicular manslaughter (and outright slaughter).
- Cool Clear Water: Mostly avoided, as most of the major sources of water come from actual storage tanks, and part of Cal's Fieldcraft training and survival supplies includes the need for water purification tablets.
- Disaster Scavengers: The various Clans are a combination of this and Western Terrorists, complete with punk style.
- Fun with Acronyms: The terrorist ring that causes the nuclear holocaust — the "Hijack, Assassination, and Violent Opposition Consortium" or HAVOC.
- Ghost City: As you might expect, and usually good news (as most of the other ruins are ruled by Clansmen or other bad guys).
- The Great Politics Mess-Up: The Soviet Union lasts right up to the holocaust in 2012.
- Hit Points: Endurance Points.
- Homage: Cal's climactic duel with sniper Varken in Tombstone, Arizona was Dever's tribute to the famous OK Corral shootout.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: A rare aversion (for a Gamebook), as carrying too much equipment penalizes your Stealth skill.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Cal is actually helped by cannibals at one point, before he realizes what they are.
- Let's Play: Courtesy of Something Awful.
- Love Interest: Kate, one of the more notable areas where the series differed from Lone Wolf.
- The Many Deaths of You: As with Lone Wolf, Dever shows a great fondness for player death scenes.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Killing outlaws is the right thing to do in this kind of setting, but Cal probably would have saved himself a lot of grief if he could've fled from Mad Dog's brother instead of killing him outright.
- Rare Guns: Not quite that rare, but finding the right combination of guns and ammo is important.
- Rescue Arc: Cal takes on more than one mission to save Kate.
- Turn Coat: One of the last challenges involves uncovering traitor who's sabotaging the colony on behalf of the Clansmen.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: When this series was written in the 1980s, a 2012 holocaust seemed distant. Now, not so much.
- Western Terrorists: The various Clansmen and HAVOC terrorists are the usual post-apocalypse punks, rather than Muslims.