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DescriptionA devastating nuclear war had wiped out almost the entire population of the Earth. The civilization, as we know it, has been destroyed. The Earth has become a huge wasteland populated by mutated creatures. Only small number of humans survived and they formed communities living on the surface, where they mostly scavenge what remains from the pre-war civilization. Some lucky people managed to reach safety of the Vaults, huge underground dwellings, during the war. Recently, the water purification controller chip in Vault 13 broke. Without clean water, the people of the Vault cannot survive. One person is sent to find a replacement chip and ventures outside to face a dangerous world, hoping to return within a hundred and fifty days.
Fallout is a role-playing game that utilizes a character development system called S.P.E.C.I.A.L., an acronym formed from the first letters of the game's basic character attributes: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. In addition to having these attributes, the protagonist can also learn and improve skills, as well as acquire traits and perks.
Skill points are awarded when the player character levels up; traits are assigned during character creation, while perks are obtained every three character levels. There are eighteen different skills in the game, divided into combat, active, and passive categories. Combat skills include weapon proficiencies (e.g. small and big guns, melee, etc.); active skills are used for support or interacting with the environment (doctor, lockpick, science, steal, and others); passive skills are mainly dedicated to social interaction (barter, speech, gambling, and so on). Traits bestow various benefits upon the character while also imposing penalties; in contrast, perks are purely beneficial. By developing and customizing attributes, skills, traits and perks, the player is granted a considerable freedom in shaping the protagonist in his combat-related and social behavior.
The game has an open world which can be freely explored from the onset. Only a few quests are required to complete in order to advance the main plot; a vast amount of side quests is available. Thanks to the game's emphasis on social interaction, many problems can be solved in a non-violent way; in fact, it is possible to complete the game without engaging in battles at all, running away from enemy encounters and concluding the final confrontation in a relatively peaceful fashion. Conversely, the player can opt for a destructive path, killing everyone in sight. A Karma system is used to track the player's moral decisions during the game.
Combat in Fallout is turn-based. Participants have a limited amount of action points (AP) per turn; each action (including movement) depletes a certain number of AP, eventually ending a character's turn. The player can target specific body parts of enemies during battles. Characters may join the protagonist, traveling together and participating in combat as a party. Though the player may assign general commands to the companions, their actions are controlled by the AI, and they cannot be customized.
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The Press Says
AIThe artificial "intelligence" makes the characters do some pretty amazing (amazingly stupid, anyway) things. Twice I have had _all_ friendly NPCs in combat repeatedly picking up a lit flare I'd dropped and throwing it at the enemy. An AI routine that makes people with firearms try to whack their opponents with flares deserves mention, in my opinion.
Alternative creditsHold down shift key and click on the Credits button to see some alternative credits.
BugsFallout shipped with a number of blatantly obvious bugs that almost inevitably seriously screwed up the game. One of the most amusing bugs caused Ian (one of the NPCs that can join your party) to suffer from "Agent Smith Syndrome", multiplying rapidly until there were 100s of him running around the game world killing everybody.
Besides screwing up the game world, this would also cause your game to slow to a crawl because whenever combat started, you'd have to wait for every single Ian to take their turn before control is returned to you.
Concept ArtAs of 2002 people who worked on the Fallout games are employed by Black Isle or Troika Games, and have released a number of pre-production drawings and sketches. Thanks to "fallout.scifi.pl" website, you can see them in one place. Sketches - posters - un-used GURPS Vaultboy art
Fallout BibleThe best source of Fallout design and production memoirs, world history, and rare interviews would be "Fallout Bible", found on both official Black Isle website, and on "Duck and Cover" fan-site.
GoodiesOriginal release includes a "Goodies" folder that includes a Windows screensaver as well as the prototype version of the game developed in 1994, which consists of a knight walking around an isometric landscape and which would eventually evolve into the Fallout engine (requires dos4gw to run).
InconsistenciesThe Fallout manual says the thickness of Vault's blast door is '4 yards of steel'. 1 yard is almost 1 meter, which means the door's thickness is more than twice your height. That's 12 feet! In comparison, NORAD's 25 ton door is mere 3.5 feet thick.
Low intelligenceIf you create your own character, you need to have an intelligence of at least 4. Any lower than that, and you will find it very hard to complete the game because you can't converse with anyone -- your only dialogue options are various grunts or other gutteral noises. I'd recommend trying it once, as it's rather amusing.
An interesting aside is that the dialogue with the cook in Shady Sands doesn't seem to be affected... a character with the lowest possible intelligence can still proclaim, "That smells great! I bet it tastes terrific!" Must be some good food, indeed.
MaybeThe song that plays during the introduction and closing credits is Maybe by the Ink Spots, a black vocal quartet from the 1930s-1940s. As of 2001 most of their work has been re-released and can be bought for $10 - $12 per CD.
RecipesFallout's manual comes with a "survival recipes" appendix, which has actual recipes!
References to WastelandThere are several references to the original Wasteland in the game:
RPG SystemDuring early stages of development, Fallout was designed using G.U.R.P.S. roleplaying system. However, when Steve Jackson Games (owners of G.U.R.P.S. license) pressured the development team to cut down on violence, a decision was made to switch to S.P.E.C.I.A.L., home-brewn rules-light GURPS clone, and abandon G.U.R.P.S. altogether.
SecretsDuring your travels from city to city, you may come across a GIANT footprint in the ground with a bloody mess in the middle of it. Search the mess and you will find a Stealth Boy.
I guess the Stealth Boy works really well, since the thing that stepped on the guy carrying the (active) Stealth Boy never saw him. :-)
Text to speechThe Macintosh version of the game supported a system extension called "Text-to-Speech" which enabled text on screen to be read out by a computer generated voice. The game's PipBoy could be used with the extension which "spoke" all replies this PDA like device gave the user. For example, when the player used the alarm clock to rest the PipBoy would speak a long-stretched wake-up call: "waaake uuup!".
The option for "PipBoy speech" could be toggled in the options menu.
Time limitThe original release of the game had a 500 days time limit in which to complete the game (400 if you hired the water merchants). This was because the mutant army was constantly looking for your vault, which they eventually find and invade once the limit expires. The limit was removed on the subsequent patches, but you can still see the cutscene that played when the limit expired if you select to willingly join the army and reveal the vault's location to the master.
Although you no longer get an automatic "game over" after 500 days after installing the patches, taking too long to finish the game still has consequences. The mutant army is still on the march, and even if they no longer can seize your vault, they will still gradually conquer the various towns as time progresses. This has no in-game effect (the mutants don't actually show up in the towns), but during the game's ending you'll get a bad "we got smooshed" ending for places like the Necropolis, Hub, or Followers if you took too long to stop the mutants.
ViolenceIn the game's options, you can adjust the game's violence level:
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