Sunday, 21 October 2012

Starship Traveller playthrough

Written by Steve Jackson, Artwork by Peter Andrew Jones

Hey guys. So, here (eventually) is my playthrough of Starship Traveller. Hope you enjoy it. First, I'd like to apologise it's taken so long. As I posted previously, my PC has taken it upon itself to die, so I'm handling repairs. I've also noticed that I've only got 16 more books in the main 'Fighting Fantasy' series to find! I've got them on my amazon wishlist, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to pick them up soon. It's my birthday on 20th of next month, so if anyone out there is thinking of throwing a little bookie-wook my way, there ya go. Right, enough e-begging from me, let's crack on with the adventure!

Space. The not-quite-so-final frontier. Technically, I suppose that time would be the final frontier, if it came to traveling through it. Space, not so final. I mean hell, we regularly send things to Mars, so traveling through space is not as big a deal compared to time travel. But this isn't Doctor Who - it's Starship Traveller.

 The first Fighting Fantasy venture into sci-fi, it's certainly very ambitious. It gives you a lot to keep track of - whereas previously all you had to worry about was your adventurer. Now you need to look after your ship (which has its own stats) and the crew. Let's meet the crew.

Lead by the courageous Captain Horatio McLufferty, the intrepid crew strike out into the stars, ready to face marvelous adventure! With the enigmatic Science Officer Flingle at his side, no mystery is too big. And no danger is too fierce, not when the crew has the never-ending expertise of Medical Officer Susanna Shineyourbootsguvna ready with her healing arts. Yes, the Starship Traveller is the most cutting-edge of ships, and needs the best to take care of its engines, so who else can we rely on than Engineering Officer Crow T. Robot? And when they're facing the dangers of the galaxy, you need the strongest and most skillful to protect you, like Security Officer Woffle, and his heroic pair of red-shirted guards, Security Guard Deadmeat and Security Officer Failure. Stand proud, our fierce crew!

Voyager? Voyage of the
damned, more like.
Yeah, we're screwed.

So right off the bat, our ship is in danger. Crew members are shouting random numbers and techno-babble all over the place, which is how we know that something exciting must be happening, and before we know it, we've been sucked through a timey-wimey black hole thing and thrown into a distant part of deep space - oh god, this is going to be just like Star Trek Voyager, isn't it? And I really HATED Voyager.

No, really, I hated it. While Deep Space Nine was dealing with the philosophical issues of war, Voyager was putting a borg woman in a skin-tight catsuit and asking her to jiggle for us. Anyway, I decide to investigate a planet we can see on the sensors, until we are apprehended by Commander M'k Tel of the Imperial Gatzig empire, who I assume are all fiercely loyal to the Grand Emperor Datzig of Gatzig, lord of all dubstep music.

Micky Tel says that he is going to send a soldier over to my ship, to make sure we hand over control of our ship to him. This seems a lot like he's sending someone over specifically so that we can take them prisoner, so as soon as the soldier beams onto my ship, I ask our security guard to jump him. In typical Star Trek fashion, Security Officer Woffle gets his ass handed to him.

The ship is dragged kicking and screaming to the Gatzig space base, where we meet an imperial officer who is actually pretty nice, tells us that we can get home if we enter a black hole at the right trajectory (he doesn't have the codes to do this, though) and is generally pretty helpful! Something very fishy is going on - no space empire in sci-fi is ever helpful! Or anything but utterly evil, in fact! He does put a program into the ship to prevent it shooting any Gatzigs though, but I'm so suspicious of him and his empire that I high-tail it out of there before they start having their daily banquet of roast babies.

Killed by the curse of the Red Shirts
Eventually finding a small dull blue planet, Captain McLufferty beams down to an alien city along with Science Officer Flingle and Security Guard Deadmeat. We meet a strange little man in robes, who tells me that this planet is a utopian land of equality where all people are free and equal. Then a group of men in guard uniforms run up and hit us with sticks. The reasoning as to why they're called guards (because you need to be on your guard when you're around them, because they like to hit you with sticks) still confuses me. I mean, I understand that this alien race calls them 'guards' because you need to be on guard when you're around them (hell, they're aliens, so I expect weird names for things, Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra and all that jazz), but do they really need to wear guard uniforms too?

A few words on the combat in this book. The instructions for combat are found at in specific segments in the book itself, so you learn how to fight on the fly. This would be a bonus, if it weren't for the fact that you need to have rolled up seven characters, plus your space ship, to simulate a crew. The combat itself is a mess, with whichever side (either your crew of the enemies) being able to gang up on the side with the lower number of combatants. It took me almost half an hour and three sheets of note paper to be able to slog through this one piece of combat, by the end of which I'm ready to nuke the planet from orbit.

Our guide explains that the guards attacked for no reason, because in a free society they are free to do anything they like (which will be my excuse to Starfleet Command as to why I bombed this planet from orbit).  I take all the information from the planet's map room, beam back up to my ship, and decide to go to the only other planet orbiting the same star. Did I mention that I then bomb the stupid blue planet from orbit? Well, the book didn't mention it either. But I did. The scary thing is, Captain Janeway would probably have done the same thing. She was a big believer in genocide.

Space Police Officer Mihoshi
reporting for duty!
This time I opt to beam down with Engineering Officer Crow T. Robot and Security Officer Woffle in tow. The place is in ruins, and we soon come across a lone survivor of what appears to be an ancient war. No sooner does he greet me than Security Officer Woffle shoots him, claiming that the old man had a weapon. I ask that the old man be beamed up to the med-bay, but the transporter crew tell me that he didn't arrive. I suspect he was just a hallucination, because the only other alternative is that the old man arrived inside-out and the transporter engineer hid his body in a cupboard.

My suspicions are confirmed when the sound of gunfire erupts and I dive for cover, but my engineer officer doesn't hear anything and walks on through the gunfire. Now, I admit that anything is possible - hell, Battlestar Galactica had a pilot who was an angel (oh, spoiler), so maybe Crow T. Robot is just immune to bullets. Either way, I find the local library, and find that there is a black hole located in a nearby system. Progress!

Beaming back up to the ship, I'm asked which planet I want to head to next. we opt to head to a small cluster of planets, when the book does something that sends me into a frothing rage. It asks me to turn to section 292, and when I get there, all it says is 'turn to 233'. Seriously, what's the point of even having a section 292 then? This is one of my utter pet peeves in gamebooks. Simple rule of thumb - make use of EVERY paragraph, people! Grargh!! The only thing this paragraph tells me is that the war on the previous planet ended with a mass hallucinogenic drug being released... then it asks me which planet I want to head to again. B.. I already told you which... I.... blllaargh!!

The book then decides that it's sick of playing by the laws of fairness and opts to kill me as viciously as possible. Our course takes us into the path of a meteor storm, I engage evasive manuevers which causes the ship to rock back and forth, which causes Security Officer Woffle to die when his station explodes for no apparent reason (this happens all the time in Star Trek), as our medical officer cannot save him.

Meteor storms can change
direction? You're screwed, Han!
Following this, the meteor storm CHANGES PATHS to follow us (uuhhhhm) and the ship's shields are pounded quite badly, but we survive. We're then told that it seems that our fridge is broken and we only have enough food for the next few days. So I opt to beam down to a small green planet with Medical Officer Susanna Shineyourbootsguvna and Security Guard Failure, to see if we can scrape up some tasty mushrooms or something.

When we get to the planet, though, we are chased by green anteater pigs. In a strange twist of fate, Security Guard Failure is killed outright when a tree falls on him without any warning (we're given no choice to save him). My medical officer is then crushed beneath an alien monster and dies, too. I try to shoot this weird crew-crushing alien pig thing, but it seems to me immune to the stun setting on my phaser because that only served to make it angry enough to tear my arms off. And without their illustrious captain, my crew probably resorted to starvation and cannibalism before they crashed the ship into the planet by accident or something.

So yeah, Starship Traveller. It was better than your average episode of Enterprise. Now let us never speak of it again.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha ha
    Yeah, this one goes into the files of "it could have been awesome, but it was not"

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