OK - I think I have found the perfect sci-fi RPG for Wargame Factory's Shock Troopers (see my post on these retro-futurist soldiers): Star Frontiers.
TSR made a much-improved attempt at sci-fi gaming with this product in 1982. I know there's lots of Gamma World fans out there - and the fact that Wizards of the Coast is giving the game the 4e treatment must say something about that. But at the time, Star Frontiers offered a much more controlled environment/rules system. Granted, it was set in space and not post-apocalyptic Earth - but that did not stop us from bringing those elements to the game.
I think the d20 Modern and its sci-fi supplements could offer some good ground rules as well. From my very limited review of those rules, they do seem a bit complicated to me (at least compared to 3rd Edition D&D). About the only drawback I can recall about Star Frontiers - beside the bad grenade rules which needed some common sense or an errata sheet to fix - is that character advancement seemed rather lackluster.
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