Desert Law: School Bus Mounted Howitzer

desert-law_w1010.pngMy Steam library is filled with post-apocalyptic games. Generally, I’ll pick up (or at least wishlist) any apocalyptic game I come across. Desert Law, a real time strategy game, has been in my library for about two years. I picked it up on sale, played it for 10 minutes, and then uninstalled it. However, enough time has passed that I thought the game deserved another chance. Unfortunately, the game aged about as well as a bloated corpse in the wasteland sun.

Desert Law’s narrative makes Wasteland Angel look complex by comparison. After the apocalypse, tribes of road warriors kill each other over booze and car parts. What kind of apocalypse is this? We don’t really know. The entire world is a desert and some places are populated by angry sentient zombies napping beneath the sand.
Here’s the story: Generic wastelander Brad wants to woo a girl for mating season, but rival tribes of gangsters and pre-apocalypse military keep mucking up his plans. Brad convinces his tribe to kill everyone in their way until Jane (the love interest) notices him. Continue reading

Smegma Crazies, Gayboys, and The Golden Youth

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On the surface, The Road Warrior is a fine action movie that defined the post-apocalyptic genre and put everyone involved on the map. If we put aside the action and go a little deeper, we start to see some interesting clues about the Humungus tribe. As we already saw with Lord Humungus and especially Fury Road, George Miller loves adding cryptic details into his films. Perhaps the most discussed and yet mysterious of these details revolves around the Humungus tribe’s not-so-subtle homoeroticism.

Continue reading

Cult Classics: Warriors of the Wasteland

Following the success of Mad Max 2 was a handful of post-apocalyptic B-movies. Among those was The New Barbarians (aka Warriors of the Wasteland), a dirt-cheap Italian knock off. Despite a slow start, this movie actually isn’t terrible, it just has low production values. However, I noticed a lot of similarities between this film and She Wolves of the Wasteland. Both have alternate titles. Both have promising, but underdeveloped plots and concepts. Both suffer from poor editing and a lack of closure. For that reason, let’s use a similar four points system as She Wolves, with one exception.

  1. The Plot
  2. Interesting concepts
  3. Editing
  4. Characters

The Plot: The year is 2019. It has been 9 years since the nuclear holocaust of 2010 (thanks, Obama). The film opens on a small caravan who has just discovered “The Signal,” a mythological radio frequency supposedly originating from the last civilization on Earth. Unfortunately, before the tribe can decipher the coordinates, they’re attacked by a rival tribe of motorized marauders called “The Templars” whose only goal is to destroy all human life…because reasons.

Carnage

The Templars crush their enemies with a mixture of explosives and laser guns. That night, timid humans wrapped up in white rags appear to loot the burned out caravan. We never learn who these scavengers are, but they have a striking resemblance to the Buzzards from Mad Max: Fury Road.  Before they can divvy up the loot, a muscle car with a glowing green roof roars out of the blackness. Enter our hero, Scorpion. Continue reading

Wasteland Angel: The Mad Max Arcade

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Wasteland Angel is a post-nuclear themed vehicular arcade shooter from indie developers Octane Games. I like to pick up any post-apocalyptic games I can find, especially indie games, just to see how they use the setting. With that in mind, Wasteland Angel is a serviceable top-down arcade shooter, though not an especially great post-apocalyptic arcade shooter.

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Although an arcade shooter, Wasteland Angel boasts a story, told in comic book form, about the titular Angel (essentially a female Mad Max) driving across post-nuclear America to find an old acquaintance. In her quest, she will pass through a number of villages, each of which is being attacked by slavers with either a generic raider, Russian militant, or super mutant theme. Continue reading

Through the Fire and the Flames

I’m hurt.

We were on the third day of our journey across the desert valley when suddenly three guys in Halloween costumes burst out of the brush. Two of them were dressed up like devils with cheesy masks and red pajamas. The third guy was huge and wore a chef’s apron that said “kiss the cook”. Normally, I’m not afraid of Halloween costumes, but the devils had pitchforks that were covered in burning tar and the chef had a freaking flamethrower!

Saul Fore and his men opened fire on our attackers, but those devils were fast. They took out one of our guys before I could pull the trigger. The cook unleashed a blast from his flamer. Our little wagon was burned to a crisp. Problem is we were carrying a ton of gunpowder and fresh bullets. The cart exploded, throwing me and Saul Fore off of the road. I thought I was dead. I hurt all over. I couldn’t hear anything. I think I passed out.

When I came to, the first thing I was Saul Fore’s face. The man’s skin looked like charcoal. I couldn’t tell if he was still breathing. Shakily standing up, I found myself face to face with that safari man from the casino, James Gray. At first, he didn’t seem very interested with me; he was too busy removing a flamethrower’s fuel tank. Although I was a little taller than him, the bushman was still pretty intimidating.

Gray pocketed the fuel canister and starting yelling at me with his crazy Australian accent. He told me to grab Saul’s legs and that together we’d carry him up to Abundance. I tried to argue that the old man was dead, but Gray said something about Saul Fore being too valuable to lose. I didn’t have a choice, so I grabbed Saul’s legs and together we set out in the wasteland.

I hope I don’t have to spend too much time with this guy.

-Joe Junkman