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Steve Hill's NeverQuest: Auto Assault

Mr. Hill gets stuck up a rusty passage - sounds painful

PREVIOUSLY ON NEVERQUEST... One man and his buggy drove around a post-apocalyptic wasteland for hours on end. Giving up in despair, he contacted a PR exec and ordered him to provide some other players for his multiplayer experience, ideally multiple players. The PR man unearthed a grand total of three willing participants, members of the mighty Orders Chaos clan. His final words: "Please be kind to us Steve..."

One of Orders Chaos stands in front of me. His name is CheezeBaal. On closer inspection, it's a woman, all futuristic metallic breastplates and shoulder pads, like a dirty goth on a Friday night in Camden. CheezeBaal is soon joined by another woman, NightReaver, a pert ginger with green boots. Nothing happens. Thankfully NightReaver breaks the silence, respectfully asking: "So Mr Hill, which publication are you associated with?"

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On gleaning the required information, she's suitably impressed, the pair of them
standing together and gazing upon me in wonder, the superstar journalist come to visit their humble world. A hallowed visitor from the real world, eager to learn the ways of Nexus, where men are women and cars are heavily modified.

KNUTSFORD CITY LIMITS
"Stop touching me!" barks CheezeBaal, seemingly apropos of nothing.

"I like holding hands with you!" coos NightReaver, sidling closer to the buxom biomechanical entity.

It's not the first time I've seen two women touch each other, and hopefully not the last. But it's enough to put the frighteners on CheezeBaal, who promptly scarpers, leaving me in the arguably capable hands of her clanmate.

Eager to please, she beams: "NightReaver at your services, hated by all humans and loved by biomeks!"

Calm down dear. And it's 'at your service' not 'services'. If you were 'at my services', that would suggest that I owned a roadside facility that sold grossly overpriced food products and sealed pornographic literature. Biting my tongue, I deign not to point out this appalling grammatical oversight, and agree to go along for the ride.

"So is there anywhere in particular you'd like to go?" asks my newly installed tour guide. "Show me a good time..." I murmur, enigmatically.

Surprisingly, this causes NightReaver to roll on the floor laughing, which seems a little unnecessary, especially in those boots. Hauling herself to her feet, we get into our respective vehicles and head into the unforgiving wastelands of Nexus. To collect six Hood Ornaments from Snowcrashers.

KILL THE POOR
The limitations of chatting while driving were explored previously, but again they're evident as we carry out the mission in near silence, with NightReaver steaming ahead while I bring up the rear in my glorified Volvo estate. With the Hood Ornaments safely collected, we're charged with the task of killing 12 Pike Frostbosses or Forangers, something that involves either shooting them in the face or ploughing into them in your buggy, replete with arterial spurting. It's a largely thankless task, and the formerly excitable NightReaver presumably loses interest and is never seen again.

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Attempting a new mission, I'm instructed to Cleanse the Clans, something that apparently involves killing 'Derelicts'. Along with the constant slaughter of Pikes and Scavs, the whole thing seems to be some kind of exercise in social cleansing. It may be a terrifying vision of the future, but Auto Assault largely involves men in big cars killing derelicts, pikeys and chavs. Quite right too.

Alone and out of my depth, I find myself stuck up a Rusty Passage (which certainly is a first), where I come under attack from a Pike Sprayer in a VW Beetle. Appealing to the clan, I plead for help. Nobody comes.

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