From the journal of an Ark Survivor - Year +106

The Wasteland is a dangerous place, I get told that a lot. It's rife with bandit clans and things the locals call mutants, worse things than bandits out there in the Wasteland...they often say. I don't listen, I'm not paid to listen, in fact I'm not sure why I'm here. I stumbled out of the Ark only a few short days ago, lost and alone - nearly ended up being murdered there and then. This guy called Dan saved my life, Dan Hagar and he introduced me to his family and a small outpost in his little neck of the woods, well, they're not woods, they're valleys but I'm sure you get my drift.

I can see the old beat up gas station with its small community getting safer, it makes me smile. I feel pretty good about being Dan's buddy and helping his folks out. Even if it did get me in some serious trouble with a bandit clan called the Ghost clan. They strung me up, took me to their kill room and introduced me to the business end of a knife. It's ok though, I got better, I have a magic bit of tech in my chest that lets me live on after I go down. Ark tech, pre disaster tech, used to restart the heart.

I remember that knife and I remember what happened defibrillator kicked in and WHAM!

The Ghost clan murderer catches the full force of the shock from the device; he staggers, shakes and goes limp. Dead before he hits the ground.

I'm up and running again, pistol in one hand and revenge in the other. I start off really slow, sneaky and make sure I dispatch the guard on duty with a carefully thrown wingstick. His head comes off with a single slice and I can't help but give a grim smile of satisfaction, that'll show the bastards.

Sneaking seems to be the way to go, then I get careless, I'm spotted and a Ghost clan guy barrels at me, bouncing across the scenery like a crazy jackrabbit. A few pistol rounds to the face slows him up, he clutches his head and stumbles past me to hit the wall behind. I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, or a dead guy, so I loot him and get on with dealing with the rest of these scumbags. The sound of the pistol and the yell of surprise from the previous bad guy is enough to wake the rest.

I'm armed with nothing except Dan's old pistol, a few wingsticks and that's about it. It's enough though, because I'm clever. They can use cover, I can use my head. I wait and time my shots, only firing when I have a clear line of sight. The monocular I have, basically a makeshift sight, is enough to help me land a few accurate zings. They react to each shot, in different ways. One of them balks and retreats as the other drops to the floor, snaps off a few panicked gunshots and expires. He's lucky, because my wingstick goes whistling over his body...

I make my way through the rest, more confident now, even so with each shot and kill. I take a few hits here and there, but it's nothing major and I use cover to protect me when they rain down some more lead. A few get clever and try and flank me, their friends provide covering fire whilst they navigate the large hall, leaping to dodge the wingstick and rolling to come up right in my face. I press the trigger on the pistol and I'm inches away from the angry pale skinned maniac as his eyes go wide.

Blood hits the floor and I'm off again, moving, shooting and killing every damn bandit from here to eventual escape. Then I catch some loot on the floor, that's going to be worth something. So I backtrack a little and find a few more bits and pieces, loot, bandages and even some old beer bottles. I spot some HE grenades and I can't resist trying one out, it makes a massive bang and turns two of the Ghost clan into a red slimy paste on the walls.

I can't help but smile, you know, death shouldn't be funny like that. But to me it is, because these bastards strung me up, filleted me in a dirty room and they need to pay. The pistol comes in handy again, so do the last few grenades and finally the Ghost clan have been dealt a serious blow. They're not wiped out to a man, because vermin like that don't die so easily.

I give a glance to the bodies on the floor, the blood on the walls and take the zip line out of there. It isn't long before I'm back on the seat of Dan's old ATV and roaring back to the Hagar settlement, watching the sandy rock dust blow off the tops of the mesa-like valley either side and seeing the dirt tracks below the AVT as it thunders through familiar territory. Dan's pleased I was able to deal with the Ghosts so efficiently and he offers me some kind of reward. I'll take anything I can get.

An ATV isn't much good though, and Dan needs more favours. It's always the way out here, or that's what I'm told. If the bandits don't get you, mutants do, and if they don't get you...well...there's always the Authority. No one likes to talk about them much, not really, they always give me a sidelong glance and change the subject...or at least that's what it feels like. So anyways, Dan's favour is to go see some locals who live just up the way from the Hagar settlement. Dan needs some supplies and so on...he also tells me they were attacked, so those supplies are needed for anyone who got injured.

I've got nothing better to do, unless I want to take my unarmed ATV and explore a little way through the Wasteland into areas I haven't been yet. Of course, that's pretty much a no-go at the moment so I head on up to the others. Sure enough, they're right around the corner and up a winding track. It's a pretty defensible camp and it's behind the walls of what looks like some kind of old treatment plant. I meet some new, well; I can't call them friends at the moment, people yes. I get some spiel about doing a job for an old woman, her arm's missing and she has a replacement robotic one, it looks freaky. I don't stare - much...

So Juno's gone missing, and I can earn myself some kind of weapon if I do another little task for a guy. Yeah, I know how it works by now. I have to put my life on the line for people I don't know, to get things that will help me put my life on the line for people I do know. It's a little one-sided I think, but then I remember Dan and the fact he saved my ass when anyone else would have turned me over to the Authority. There's a price on Ark Survivors and they fetch some pretty big bounties. That's if the Authority pays, and I don't like the sound of them one bit.

I make a quick trip back to Dan's place, time to stock up on ammo and other goodies. I find that an old AK is in store, I sell a bunch of loot and a few other things I don't need. I have just enough cash for that rifle and it wipes me out, going to need some more dough if I want to keep on stocking up. Now I ride back and park the ATV right outside the place where I was told to go. It's a simple pair of jobs, just get in, poke around and see if Juno is ok, whilst I'm there sort out the radio transmitter. Sure, easy.

It doesn't take long until I run into some gruff guys, with Union Jack face paint and body markings. I'm not sure who the hell they are, but they're armed to the teeth. I let the wingsticks do the talking and both are down before they can even scream out in far and so good. Now I take things easily, sure I've got the ammo to have a few prolonged skirmishes thanks to these guys now, but I'm just getting started out here.

So I scope things out, spot a couple of the guys over on a far area. They're moving around and just relaxing. No sign they've spotted me yet. I take advantage of that and line up the scope of the pistol with the markings on the guy's nose, pull the trigger and drop him in one. It's a lucky shot though; usually it takes a few more rounds to put people down with this old thing. Now they know I'm here. So I get a few more shots off and wing his friend, his helmet goes flying and the next few take him down to the floor, he crawls out of sight.

I have to make my way onwards and now a friend of his has joined in, he's coming and the area is pretty clear. I don't waste ammo, I just throw the wingstick, it slams into his head and he drops like sack of potatoes. I get the wingstick back, rifle him for his money and spare ammo. I can hear the cursing from high above, the guy who I winged is still alive and it sounds like he managed to catch a second wind. No matter, as I round the corner I let him have it with the AK, it feels good, it kicks a lot but he can't escape the torrent of lead.

His body rocks from each shot and finally he drops. I do the same thing I've learned to do, rifle him for anything he might have spare and then move on. It's all quiet now and I get closer to where I'm supposed to look for Juno. I'm not expecting to find him alive, not at all, but I do find I enter this old place. It's dark, it's creepy and its most of all deserted. Or at least I think that as I move through the broken hallway. I can hear something, it sounds inhuman...I prepare for the worst and come upon a figure crouched over another body.

Juno's being eaten, it's not one of these clan guys though; this bastard has ugly grey skin and misshapen arms. I throw the wingstick but my aim's off, careless, and it costs me. It clangs off the wall and breaks, he turns and as quick as a flash he's on me, snarling and slicing. The AK roars in the dark and soaks round after round before he finally goes down. There are more of them, I back off down the corridor and I can scarcely keep my gun steady as I deal with another of these damn critters. It's over and they melt into nothing but goo, that turns my stomach and I try and find the tower where the radio transmitter is...I need out of the stench.

Death is an impersonal thing when you're killing bandits, but when it's in your face and you see the partially devoured corpse of a guy you're meant to find. It makes you think...I get out of the hallway and up a ladder, I'm high up now and the air's better here. I can see the radio switch, I throw it and then take another zipline down. Bandits really seem to love their ziplines around these parts.

I get back and give the bad news to the woman; she takes it well enough and thanks me. She even parts with an old recipe of hers for making bandages, that'll come in useful if I need some or I want to make some quick money from the crap I find lying around as I'm searching for answers. I'm starting to feel some sense of direction as I come back down the stairs, Rikter, that's his name, stops me. He's pretty happy too, I fixed his problem and I get a shotgun for my troubles. Now that's more like it, I test the weight and heft and it feels just about right.

I go back up to see if I missed anything, a guy wants me to set off a bunch of fireworks. It's by the Ghost clan lair, I can't miss it. Well, its money and it's a fairly easy ride from where I am at the moment. I need the cash so I accept and off I go again, putting the Outrigger's settlement into the rear of my tracks. I really need something bigger, something with guns, something I can use to get around faster. For now though, this ATV will have to do.

The territory around the Hagar place and the Outrigger settlement, it's starting to become more familiar. I can instinctively know where I'm going; I don't need that fancy little GPS mini-map on the quad's dashboard. I pull up right outside the Ghost clan lair and hop off, the launcher isn't far from there and it's on a nearby ridge. I load the launcher up and let her rip, the sky pops with flashes and bangs. Job done, nothing goes wrong.

That's when I hear them, growling and snarling, hissing and spitting. A mutant pours up out of a crack in the rock, he comes at me. I am more confident now and growing more and more so, my arsenal includes that shotgun and with a single blast our mutie friend flies backwards in a spray of dirty blood. I could get used to this, seriously. I don't have to wait long before a few more show up, I introduce them to the shotgun in the same way...I kick it up for the last one, he's as close as I dare and before I see his hideous eyes burning in the sunlight I aim at his head.

It vanishes in a spray of gore, the body reacts like a headless chicken and he wobbles a little before crashing into the dust to melt into nothing. This is a job that I could seriously get used to, I've tasted mutant blood and I need to cleanse them off the Earth. I'm back on the ATV and out of there, roaring through the Wasteland and humming to myself: Born to be Wild. I can't help it, I feel like I'm in a Mad Max movie...I get back to the Outriggers, get the thanks and reward and its back to Dan. I feel kind of bad that I didn't take those bandages back to him sooner, but hey, no more mutants on that ridge!

Dan is happy to see me; he's suggested that I get a buggy up and running. So I go and talk to the guy in the garage, he's got an old one I can have. I stop off to the shop first and stock up on some new things with my cash and then its right down to business. I need to go and see the mechanic in the Outrigger settlement, so I'm off again leaving a dusty trail out of Hagar's gate and across the Wasteland...I know what's coming, I'm going to have to do more favours for these people, so I can get what I need.

I don't mind now. I have all sorts of images in my mind's eye about how I appear. The lone gunslinger crossing the dusty waste, rough stubble on his chin, a glint in his eye and a souped up death machine as his ride. I'm a mix of Eastwood and Gibson, with a little Morricone music thrown in. Sure enough, the guy tells me that the Wasted clan, those bastards with the Brit accents and the Union Jacks have taken the parts for the buggy I want...well...time to get them back. He hands me some new things for my pistol, fatboy rounds, they pack a punch and come with half the amount.

I walk right out of the camp, right into the Wasted clan's lair and sneak through again. There are a few more of those guys on patrol again, they've replenished their numbers and I'm not going to get taken by surprise so I play a waiting game. I line up the monocular and let rip, they go down quick and easy. It upsets a guy in a nearby tunnel though and he opens up with his rifle, there's a lot of lead and it catches me unawares as I come around the corner. I return the favour and soon he's dead.

I loot all the bodies and just move on. These bandits are in my way, they have my stuff and I want it. I find the way in, kill the guard outside and soon I'm inside their HQ. It stinks in here, so many unwashed men and so much refuse. They're living in squalor and filth, leaving their empty bottles lying around (I steal anything that's not nailed down) and rob them blind. It's kill or be killed out here, and well, I'm going to make sure I don't end up dead. It's not easy to sneak, so I open fire quickly, this starts one hell of a gun battle with more and more Wasted showing up. They toss in a few grenades to flush me out and I manage to avoid the worst, even pegging some guy's hand as he tosses a grenade. The hit is solid enough to knock his aim off, the grenade lands at his feet and the room rocks with the explosion as it goes off. He dies, his two friends die and a third runs like hell for the back room.

I loot everything and move on, chasing him down, shooting him in the back and ripping the ammo from his corpse. I won't bore you with the dirty details of every single fight in that lair; some of them were more interesting than the others. I got a good deal of loot out of those guys, some hidden places let me get some Feltrite crystals, which are worth quite a bit to the right person. The Wasted were pretty tricky opponents, they liked to throw grenades, and they weren't dumb when it came to using cover and moving from place to place.

They threw down suppressive fire to keep me pinned as they tried to flank. The shotgun came in really handy a few times, especially when they got too close for comfort. Each one of them went down in a different way, no two deaths were the same and they were insulting me all the time even as they paid the price for pissing me off. I threw caution to the wind in the last big area, a huge mistake as I went around the corner and I was blinded by a sudden light. A crash, a bang and a massive buggy rolled in, on the top of it was a mounted chaingun.

That thing spoke volumes with lead, it shredded the air and I had to choose my moments carefully. I was now on the ropes, thinking on my feet, scrambling for cover and retreating around the corner. I grabbed ammo off the shelf and loaded the shotgun, more Wasted came around the corner and it was a fight to survive. I needed to take that buggy out, or at least the gunner. So I thinned the Wasted as they came around, watched the guy struggle with the chaingun for a moment. That was it!

Fatboys were my salvation, I loaded those into the chamber of the revolver and I let rip. They did the job, just enough. More Wasted came in, the chaingun spoke again and I pulled back. I shotgunned their legs to knock them off balance and conserve ammo...throwing my last few wingsticks to take them out in one hit. This was my last chance, three fatboys left and I couldn't miss. I went back to the corner, peeked out and let the gunner have it as he fired, I was hit multiple times and almost downed but that last shot took him out.

I couldn't rest though, as the buggy was no longer a threat, the final few Wasted showed up and I managed to get the upper hand. I was so glad for Rikter's shotgun, seriously. When the smoke and dust settled I went around their garage like a dervish, stealing everything I could find and when I was satisfied that there was no more loot to be had, I just left. I knew I'd be back...because that's the way things tended to work around here. Outside, two of the Wasted were checking over an ATV right near where my Ark had emerged from the ground. I didn't waste any time with them, I blew both of them off their feet and the blood splattered their backs, they crumpled like tissue paper and I stole their ride. I high-tailed it back to the Outrigger's settlement first; to get Dan's ATV...I couldn't leave that out there all alone.

Once I came back, the buggy was mine and even though it was a beaten up old piece of crap. I felt pride in that, it was like me, it was a relic of another time and it could rise again. I was certain that with some money, some time and some effort on my part this thing could kick some serious ass. So I took it for a spin, beat Durar's time...because that's what he said I couldn't do. I earned a nice little reward for that, proving that even the most mundane thing you do in the Wasteland is worth it and it's best to actually do everything you can for people.

Durar told me to see Dan again, so that's where I went. Dan was worried about the Authority and what they would do if they found me there. I couldn't blame him, sure I felt a little betrayed by my new friend but...I couldn't blame him. He handed me his old sniper rifle and told me I needed to clear some bandits out and blow up their roadblock. I'd be free to traverse the Wasteland proper then.

How could I refuse, I wanted to see what was out there.

But that's a story for another time...

There you have it, that's my perspective when playing RAGE for the first time. It isn't meant to be a review: if you want that, well, go check out the review that I wrote for it. This is a pure flavour piece that's designed to encompass how I felt when I picked up RAGE and got deeper into it. I could have gone on for even longer, but then there wouldn't have been anything else for part 2. That's if part 1 is a success.