I really, really wanted to like this game. It is a product of the desktop publishing fad, and I like to support creative and enterprising ventures. This game however, just was not much of either.
I picked it up in the bargin bin of a local game store. I love getting books this way, and occasionally you find a real gem. Other times you find a clunker. This is the latter.
Marauder 2107 is set on Japan in the year 2107 (go figure). The world has been nuked (for no good reason), genetic mostrosities have been unleashed on the world, and technology has reached the cybernetic age. I would talk a little about what role the characters could play, but that is one of my biggest gripes about the game. So, let's just jump to the art.
The art is not too bad. There is a pic every page or so. The art as a whole swings back and forth between anime and cyberpunk... which goes well with the world but has a bit of a distracting feeling. The cover is nice, if not spectacular with an animae chick against a glittering metropolis and the head of the obligatory mecha... called a Marauder. Solid, but nothing terribly fun or exciting.
That was the good. Now to the bad.
Marauder 2107 tries to do too much, and in the process accomplishes nothing. As an anime game is fails. You get one type of mecha, and it is pretty bland (though the master/slave arms are a nigty idea to add to mecha). The action portrayed seems a little less action oriented and heroic than I normally think of when I think anime. Even with the occasional animae-ish pic, I never got the feeling that I could use this system to portray any of my favorite anime. As a s/f cyberpunk game it does a little better. Cybernetics are reviewed nicley (though, again, nothing innovative). The action and pics seem more oriented to this genre so I... to the point where I feel you could eliminate all the anime and horror stuff and not loose all that much. As for the horror part of the game... ungh!
I hate it. The 'Breeders, a genetically-engineered-super-soldier-experiment-gone-wrong-menace is the vehicle that Marauder 2107 uses to create horror. However, there is nothing really scary about these guys. They aren't even that intriguing. They are just a bunch of people mutated into beasties with nifty powers. Ho-hum.
Mechanics are nice. Streamlined with a nod to realism. These rules are probably the only salvageable part of this game... if there is indeed a salvageable part.
As for character generation, it is okay (which is a statement that goes for the whole game). Skills are explained very throughly (which is nice) and generation is fairly quick and understandable. However, I never had an idea of what to do with a character! No real ideas are given for campaigns. The histroy is very detailed up until the present (2107), but the info on the current setting is quite bleak. I still have no idea what kind of character would do well in the Marauder 2107 world. I never was inspired to create a character, and never was inspired to even come up with my own ideas.
Speaking about the history... it basically is the background. Little info is provided on the different settlements as a whole. More page space is devoted to the breeding practices of the breeder than the actual setting. I mean, c'mon! Do I really care how Breeders get it on? Will this help me get an idea for a character? Will this help me make a campaign? Not really. In fact, the setting is better protrayed in the side bar quotes all along the book. The quotes are actually pretty crappy... and that should tell you just how little info you are given on the setting as a whole. Instead of giving the reader some useful info, like the different breeder types (referred to often in the book, but never detailed), NPCs, or details of the major settlements you instead filler taking up a third of the page. I really think this space could have been used more effectively.
I really hate to give this game such a bad review. I can tell that the Lairds and a number of other people put a lot of time and energy into this book (and the other 2 supplements, which are about as good as the baisic book) but the effort just falls flat... no matter how hard I try to make this game worthwhile.
Style: 3 (Average)