By Steve Jackson
Appointment with F.E.A.R is another book by Steve Jackson so expect the unexpected. I believe this is the first book that has more than 400 entries, which I guess is to account for the fact that there are four different stories depending on the super power that is chosen. I chose Super Strength which gives an automatic 13 for skill. These are my other stats:
I play the Silver Crusader, a super hero helping the citizens of Titan City. As well as giving me super human strength, I am also able to fly! Sweet. I have heard that the evil organisation, F.E.A.R are planning a meeting and I have vowed to stop it but I need to know when and where it is taking place… let the crime fighting begin!
I start the day witnessing an argument over some dog shit but decide this is probably not the sort of thing that the Silver Crusader would get involved in so instead I decide to read the paper. I find out that there has been a bank robbery – that sounds more like it! and something about Richard Storm, who I know is a villain. I decide to change into my outfit and check out the bank robbery.
On arrival at the bank, I try and talk to the security guard but find he is trapped in a vault. I learn that the robbery was committed by “The Alchemists” before trying to wrench the door of its hinges to get at the Security Guard. This is a futile exercise, however, and I only succeed in hurting myself. There is nothing else to do here so I follow a lead about a shark sighting at a beach.
I rush off to the beach and sure enough, the shark is heading straight towards a child. I use my special power to fly out to where the shark is and defeat it with my bare hands! The mother of the child is, unsurprisingly, very grateful to me for saving her son and gives me a great clue of how to track down a villain called Captain Menagerie who is hanging around the lions at the circus (not sure how she knows about this). Now my day’s crime fighting is done, I head home.
The next day, after waking up, I start heading to work (having bunked off the day before) but wouldn’t you know it? I encounter a crime as someone is pickpocketed on the subway. At this time I also get a message about a crime at a dairy. I decide to help the commuter and go after the pickpocketer. When I catch up with the pick pocket, the book makes a point of telling me that I can’t change into my alter ego and have to fight with my bare hand but I don’t get a skill penalty for this (not sure if I should). Anyway, for someone with my super strength, the pickpocket is no match and I see how he likes it by stealing something from him. I decide the tape he is carrying would be a very retro choice so I sit down next to a kid with a walkman (other personal stereos are available) and have a listen – it turns out to be a very useful clue about a chap called Mustapha Karem who is up to no good. Pleased with my new clue, I carry on to work.
When I get to work, my boss is so angry that he sends me home! Result! With my new found time off, I decide to go to “Wisneyland” as I have it on good authority that a villain called the Scarlet Prankster is hiding out here. Deciding that the Funhouse probably has the best chance of concealing a baddie, I go there. Sure enough, while I am in the Funhouse, the floor gives way and I land in a pit.
I use my Super Strength to escape and go looking for the Prankster. Using the clue I was given at the start of the adventure, I find where he is hiding and bring him to justice but not before I take a piece of paper from him that states the F.E.A.R meeting starts at 9am. Result! These supervillains evidently don’t like a lie in…
Congratulating myself for some good work I decide to go and do a spot of shopping. I sit down and have something to eat but notice a kidnapping taking place in front of my nose! I decide I have to do something and go after the van that took the gent. Using my Super strength I track down the van in no time and bring it to a halt. I demand to open the back doors to take a look inside and as I open the door, I am blasted and fall to a lifeless heap on the floor. I am apparently killed by a trap set by the Mantrapper. Not sure how I was supposed to know that….
So, another adventure, another death. I really liked this book. Taking the part of a super hero is a great departure from the other fighting fantasy topics and I really liked the way the clues worked. I can also see an obvious continuation of Steve Jackson’s work. In Starship Traveller I was collecting clues to find a black hole to get home. This time a very similar mechanic was done in order to try and find out the time and place of the meeting. This book is a lot more polished and playable than Traveller though.