Once you move beyond the trinity of RPGs I adored in my youth -- D&D, Traveller, and Call of Cthulhu -- there are only a handful of games I played with any great regularity. One of them was Gamma World, which I originally picked up based on its mention in the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide and because of my longstanding obsession with Metamorphosis Alpha. Gamma World was probably the first RPG I played after D&D and, though a favorite, I have long had a tempestuous relationship with it. That's because, while I love the post-apocalyptic genre and I regularly get an itch for a game that's a little less staid than my natural inclinations, Gamma World has always walked a line between "gonzo" and "ridiculous" that makes it -- then and now -- difficult for me to love unreservedly.
A good illustration of this can be seen in the second module ever produced for the game, 1982's Famine in Far-Go by Michael Price. I'm on record as being very fond of its predecessor, in part because I think Legion of Gold is a nice mini-sandbox setting, giving the referee a lot of locations, NPCs, and situations to play with as he sees fit, with only the thinnest outline of a plot. That's less true in Famine in Far-Go, whose scope is more limited and whose structure is a bit more constrained.
But only a bit. The basic set-up of the adventure is that the characters -- newly created for the adventure -- are youths in the agricultural community of Far-Go, preparing to embark on the Rite of Adulthood. The Rite consists of traveling far from the community to find the Forest of Knowledge, where they must eat from berries growing around a certain tree that will enable them to experience the One Truth that will guide their destinies. Thus, a lot of the module consists of a wilderness trek across the ravaged landscape of the Gamma World, encountering NPCs, mutant creatures, ruins, and radiation zones. This year, though, an additional task has been added to the Rite. Some weeks prior to the start of the adventure, a meteor fell from the sky and its debris destroyed local crops and animals, leaving Far-Go without much food. The characters are thus supposed instructed to scout the surrounding countryside for a potential new home for the inhabitants of Far-Go, one where food is plentiful enough to support the mixed community of pure strain and mutant humans.
Naturally, as the adventure proceeds, the characters discover that they can do more than that: they can, through their discoveries, ensure the continued survival of Far-Go for years to come. That's because, among the places the characters visit is a La Prix Industries Automated Chicken Processing Factory -- inhabited by giant mutant chickens, of course! If the characters can defeat the mutants and communicate with the factory's computer, they can make an arrangement to get many months' worth of processed chicken patties to feed Far-Go and save the day.
It's a tidy little ending to the whole adventure that depends, in my opinion, on one too many coincidences to be believed, but then this is Gamma World, right? If you can accept the existence mutant gun-toting chickens, why not believe that the meteor that fell just happens to be useful as fuel for the factory's nuclear reactor? Of course, you might not be able to accept the existence of mutant gun-toting chickens and, if so, this module is definitely not for you, but then neither probably is Gamma World, whose tendency to skirt the edge of ridiculousness is on fine display in module GW2.
None of this is to say that Famine in Far-Go is a bad module; it's not. In fact, I always found it kind of fun, especially as an introductory adventure. It's got enough structure to help referees and players both, but it's also freeform enough that there's room to wander a bit and take in the weird sights of the area (such a colony of badders who worship an image of Bucky Badger) at their own pace. There are also some new mutations, creatures, and equipment, not to mention improved rules for playing pure strain humans that presage what was to come in the 2nd edition of Gamma World. It's also attractively illustrated by Jeff Easley, Tim Truman, Darlene, and Larry Elmore, which gives it a unique and varied look. It's not perfect by any means but it does what it does well and that's probably good enough for most gamers.