Written by  :  Darren Smith (5)
Written on  :  Mar 09, 2008
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Simply put - superb

The Good

The freedom to do what you want. The ability to make unique characters. The ability to recruit NPCs each with their own unique skill sets. The impression that your small bad of survivalists were trying to make things just a little bit better. All of which has been done to death over the years, but this was back in 1988!

The setting of south-west America worked well. The storyline of post-apocalyptic survival was still relevant as the Cold War was still going on then - if only just. The presentation of the folder contents, the great Mad Max looking photograph on the back cover of the key members of staff. It just gelled together so well.

The Bad

Some of the weird bits in it like Finsters Mind Maze didn't really appeal to me. The fact that when your team got pretty tough, the game's response was to simply throw more random encounters your way - and with increasing numbers of foes.

The Scorpitron in the centre of Las Vegas. It ripped my team to shreds when I first came across it! :P

The Bottom Line

I'm 33 years old now. And I'm writing this in the March of 2008. Yet despite owning and playing literally hundreds of different games on several platforms over the years (dating back to the old Atari console back in '81) - Wasteland sticks at the very forefront of my mind.

Even in today's environment of games like Frontlines representing 11GB+ of install size, this little gem at sub-1MB just captivated me from the moment I started it. The pain of creating the install disks at the start (as mentioned by another reviewer) was a small price to pay and in no time, my group of four set out into the wilderness. Armed with little more than pistols, a canteen and a leather jacket for protection - out they ventured.

Things started easy. In radiation-sodden ground, farmers were having major issues with mutated animals devouring their crops. Signing up to help, my group of Rangers managed to put a stop to the vermin - even if the cave section was a little difficult at first.

Then they progressed further north. Through Needles and Las Vegas itself - getting into allsorts of engagements and tight spots - each time progressing and perfecting their skills so that pistol shots were a guaranteed hit - if not a instant death from the opposition.

The fond memories come flooding back. The first time I managed to overpower the two guards at the entrance to the Black Market and steal their Uzis. That in turn cost me a fair bit of cash in keeping them fed with 9mm clips! Bringing down the Scorpitron under a hail of RPG-7 and AK-47 fire and taking on Fat Freddy in his own club. Nabbing the Power Axe from the Citadel and also being very wary in the temple of the Worshippers of The Mushroom Cloud. Proper weirdos.

And....... I never completed it. I got to the very end and didn't quite finish it. It took me nine months to get to that point as well and I just stopped. I guess in a bizarre way, I didn't want Wasteland to 'end' as a game. It had been so enjoyable and immersive that seeing it finish, would have probably have been a bit of a downer.

I bought the Interplay Anniversary Collection some years ago and that had Wasteland on it for the PC. I think with 2008 being 20 years since I first fired up Wasteland - that its only fitting that I bring the Rangers back out of retirement and sort out the mess in the desert once and for all. Wish me luck!