Victory System...OH YEAH! My personal feeling is that this game is just plain good old-fashioned FUN. It is not a perfect game (but what is?), but it's one of the best, in my opinion, at what it does - providing a fairly simple mechanic, covering a vast array of genres and settings, and allowing lots of options to customise characters to make them special.
Players of Hot Chicks: The Roleplaying Game will find much is familiar in the Victory System. Victory is a polished, better laid out, and better explained version of Dakkar's Inverted d20 system as used in Hot Chicks. It is somewhat less 'adult-oriented' or 'shocking' than Hot Chicks, but still contains a fair number of mature references and things that sensitive types might not consider 'politically correct'. There are some tweaks and alterations to various mechanics from Hot Chicks (or, at least, the mechanics are more clearly explained in Victory), but the two systems are largely compatible.
Victory System Core Rulebook contains a lot of information, but none of it is complex. The book splits play into 'Eras' - the Fantasy Era, the Near-Modern Era, and the Space Era, allowing you to tailor character generation, equipment, skills and technology available, to suit the 'Era' being played. In addition, it allows for a Custom Era, which more or less allows a GM willing to put the work in, to create any setting s/he likes.
The mechanics revolve around a d20 system where you must roll the die for less than or equal to a modified target number; everything from a skill check, damage calculation, chase roll, building a house, or designing a state of the art hyperdrive system, use similar mechanics - this makes it quite easy to play, as you don't have twelve different mechanics for skill tests, opposed arm-wrestles, ranged combat, damage resolution, and so on, as in certain other systems. It's a 'dice light' system, although when dealing with heavy automatic weapons and large scale combats, there are a LOT of individual rolls to make. If there is one small thing missing from Victory, I would say it's a quick resolution 'mass combat' system of some sort, but Victory is hardly alone in not covering such a difficult topic.
When designing a character you can choose to randomly roll your attributes, or purchase points from a budget. There are lots of skills and 'Merits' and 'Flaws' to allow your character to have that extra flavour that makes them stand out. There are various budgets available to buy equipment and improve starting skills, attributes and so on - the more 'uber' your character at the start, the more money you get to buy things at generation (but the more likely the GM's bad guys are going to be better, as well).
What amazes me about Victory is the number of options you have, as both a player and a GM. There are numerous powers (super-powers, magic, psionics, martial arts, cybernetic/steampunk/clockwork) and equipment lists for each Era covering basic weapons, armour, a couple of vehicle samples, a few buildings and furniture and so forth. Victory is enough, as a stand-alone, to start playing a character in any era, in just about any genre, you care to think of. Some games undoubtedly do some of these better than Victory, but to my mind there aren't many that cover such a wide range of subjects and genres, and do it so well, as Victory.
Victory places the emphasis on 'heroic action' - the player characters are way superior to the average mook or the average citizen Joe, although it is quite easy to scale up the minor NPCs (or scale down the PCs) to make it more gritty or action oriented. The game generally seems to aim at 'high adventure' or 'super-heroics' in its combat mechanics - mooks go down with one hit, while the heroes and major villains take lots of damage; players can spend 'Risk' (a generic 'energy level' to fuel heroic endeavours, get dice bonuses, charge up super powers and so forth) to alter the outcomes of rolls, boost damage, and so forth.
If a GM or players wished to run a more gritty, realistic campaign, then simply not allowing various powers, limiting the available Risk, or limiting the available equipment, would easily achieve this goal.
For these reasons, Victory System to me covers everything reasonably well - you can play anything from a lone wanderer in a post-apocalyptic world, scrounging for enough food and water to survive, through to spendex-clad super-heroes who can throw trucks a few hundred feet and fly at ridiculous speeds with no apparent means of propulsion, to the evil wizard who is also a black-belt at some unpronounceable martial art form.
For the price ($11.35 Australian Dollars at the time of this writing, about $10.00 US or so), Victory System is more than value for money, and to my mind, you should take a chance on it and buy it. At worst you'll have something that gives lots of cool ideas about settings, characters, mechanics for unusual things, and enough equipment to form the basis of a customised setting. At best, you'll have a game that you can enjoy over and over again without taxing the brain cells, and that can be used to play in any setting you envision. To me that's easily worth the purchase price.
While not directly related to the core rules, it is worth noting that there are numerous expansions available, if you really like it and want more detail in a given area - Prosthetica covers clockwork, cybernetic and steampunk robots and cyborgs; the Equipment Manual is a must if you wish to design custom gear and have a setting-relative price and statistics for it; the Guide to Space Ships expands on the Equipment Manual's design system and can be used as a stand-alone to build space vehicles and starships, and so on. You can buy whichever supplements you want or need for your own purposes, but what is key here is that you don't NEED any of them to play Victory. In itself the Core Rules is enough to get started, and have loads of fun. Coupled with the expansions, it's even better.
As a note, I am not in any way employed by or affiliated with Dakkar Unlimited or the designers of the game. I have shared e-mail correspondence with designer Scott Corum on several questions about the game, and some other related topics, but have had no business dealings with him directly, or his company, other than purchasing his products for personal use.
[5 of 5 Stars!]