War, War never changes. With these famous words, spoken by Ron Pearlman the story of Fallout starts. The entire earth has almost been completely devastated in a nuclear war in 2077 which was fought between the USA and China over oil and uranium sources.
Those who didn’t die instantly or a slow death of radiation had to survive in a post-nuclear wasteland. Soon they formed new settlements and founded new groups, gangs and tribes. Another group of a lucky few found shelter in several vaults built around the US.
In Vault 13, in 2161 in Southern California, the Water Chip, a computer chip responsible for the water recycling and pumping machinery, breaks. The Vault Overseer tasks the protagonist with finding a replacement. He or she is given a portable device called the “Pip-Boy 2000″ that keeps track of map-making, objectives, and bookkeeping. Armed with the Pip-Boy 2000 and meager equipment, including a small sum of bottle caps which are used as currency in the post-apocalyptic world, the main character is sent off on the quest.
A legendary game
Fallout is considered to be the spiritual successor to the 1988 role-playing video game Wasteland. It is not an official sequel, although it was initially developed as one, because Interplay did not have the rights to Wasteland at that point. When Fallout was released in 1997 by Interplay it shook the world of computer roleplaying games. Quite simply, it redefined the structure of the computer RPG. Most RPG’s followed simple linear scripts, but Fallout shattered all preconceptions about story progression. In Fallout, you can go where you want, do what you choose. Unlike other RPG’s, you don’t spend your time playing “delivery boy” for other characters. There is a guiding storyline- an extremely good one- but how you accomplish your goals is entirely up to you. The plot will change and adapt based on your actions in-game- it’s like a new story every time you play it.
Every obstacle in the game has numerous possible ways to surmount it. Need a nice gun from a local arms dealer, but can’t afford it? Do the gun merchant a favor and he might let you have it. Sweet-talk him into giving you a discount. Or steal it when he’s not looking. If all else fails, blow him away and take the loot from his steaming corpse. Fallout really IS that open-ended.
The possibilities for character creation are extremely broad also- instead of a rigid “race/class” system, you can create your character from an incredible range of Skills, Traits, and Perks. Want to talk your way out of problems? Give yourself a high Charisma and the “Good Natured” trait. Prefer more direct solutions? Put extra skill points in Big Guns, and pick the “Fast Shot” trait for extra stopping power. Or create “combination” characters- like a friendly doctor who just happens to be a crack shot with his .44 pistol.
Should you still play this game?
If you are a wanker for graphics you might want to leave this game alone since Fallout’s low-resolution graphics were obsolete when it was first released, and may disappoint gamers who have been spoiled by modern graphics. There are few character models; towns seem to be populated by clones. Fortunately, the technical shortcomings are overcome by the brilliant art design. The original environments are visually compelling and the visceral death animations enliven combat.
Fallout 1 is just a perfect game for anyone who likes creative RPGs, post-apocalyptic themes, and imaginative stories.