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Fallout

aka: FO1, Fallout: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure, Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game, Fallout: Ein postnukleares Rollenspiel, Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure
Moby ID: 223
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Description official descriptions

A 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.

Spellings

  • 異塵餘生 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 辐射 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

154 People (140 developers, 14 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 43 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 582 ratings with 22 reviews)

The game the brought me back to RPG's!

The Good
I enjoyed every aspect of this game. From it's graphics and user interface to the skill system and stroyline! The storyline is superb, after tiring of numerous fanatasy RPG's, with little innovation and less stroy, I distanced myself from the genre. On a whim I bought Fallout, because it looked different from other RPG's, my feelings were correct Fallout WAS different! With the same detail to character development in old RPG's as well as the fresh skill system and it's post apocalyptic storyline this game made me fall in love with RPG's all over again!

The story starts out simple, but as you progress, the game weaves a beautifully complex tapestry, which figures your character in the middle. I can't express enough how great a game this is. Go out and buy it now!

The Bad
What didn't I like that's hard to say, my complaints if any are trivial and mostly asthetic. I would have liked more detail in the game, the view left me feeling distanced from the character. Another minor complaint was the complete lack of any color, yes there was a nuclear holocaust, but nature's resilant! I would have like to have seen occasional tufts of green grass and maybe some flowers, a green tree here and there. The endless shades of brown and grey got depressing after awhile. Otherwise nothing else is wrong with the game.

The Bottom Line
A classic, the game that saved PC RPG's and brought a breath of fresh air to the genre. A must have, any respectable gamer will have this on his shelf, if not on his HARD-DRIVE!

Windows · by Jonathon Howard (114) · 2001

Roam the wastes, save the world... what's left of it, at least

The Good
Fallout is routinely considered one of the finest RPGs ever produced, and has garnered a rabid cult following since its release in late 1997. It should come as no surprise, then, that there are a great many good qualities to detail.

The world of Fallout is a beautifully-done satire of 1950s-era fears of nuclear holocaust. It is a bleak, harsh vision of what the people of that time thought that the future would be like, and what would happen when the bombs fell and ruined civilization. As such, the style of the game is heavily influenced by 1950s art and architecture. Computers are massive terminals running on tape and vacuum tubes. Cars have the distinct look of 1950s models. Magazine ads, public service announcements, and so on all have the distinct '50s-Americana flavor. Yet, there is a healthy dose of dark humor and irony running through the setting, not the least of which being that the player, obviously playing the game well after the 1950s, can smile at an extrapolation of the legitimate fears of a generation.

Perhaps the key characteristic of Fallout, though, is that, unlike a large number of RPGs, it remembers that the “R” and “P” stand for role-playing. To that end, Fallout provides ample opportunity for the player to not only create a role for himself/herself in the game world, but to make meaningful choices in the context of that world. The SPECIAL system -- a fortunate byproduct of the loss of the GURPS license due to Steven Jackson Games' issues with the game's violent content – stands as one of the most versatile and useful character creation systems ever devised. Players assign points to each of the seven core abilities (such as Strength, Intelligence, etc.), which affect how the character interacts with the world in accordance with standard RPG conventions. The scores also affect different skills (such as Lockpick, Doctor, and so on), three of which the player can choose to “tag,” or specialize in. The player also has the ability to choose two “traits,” special characteristics that bestow some advantage upon the character with a trade-off. For example, “Fast Shot” allows the character to attack more quickly, but at the expense of being unable to make targeted shots. The character creation system, then, allows the player to truly create a character suited to their style of play, whether that be “quick, glib sniper” or “big brawler with the IQ of a four-year-old.”

Of course, several RPGs allow for intricate character creation, then fail to actually make any of that hard work on the part of the player significant in any way. Fortunately, Fallout does not suffer from such a problem, as not only the style of character but also the player's actions in the world affect the way that NPCs react to him. Did you off the leader of one wasteland town? Then the criminal element in the next town over will have heard of you and wish to employ your services. Is your character so stupid that he can barely form coherent sentences? The sheriff that was so eager to ask for your help in bringing that criminal element to justice will no longer even speak with you. Do you get some sort of perverse enjoyment out of bashing orphaned children in the groin with a sledgehammer? The town will turn on you and try to drive your twisted self out of town. There are myriad instances of being able to play the game and complete it in many different ways. Pretty much any type of character can complete the game in its own way, providing a different play experience each time.

The combat system is, in this reviewer's opinion, one of the finest ever crafted in any RPG, period. The decision to go with a purely turn-based system in the days when games such as Diablo were all the rage was, quite frankly, a great decision. Combat feels more strategic and unfolds at a slower pace (but this is not a bad thing; quite the contrary, in fact). Combat takes place on a hex-grid on the game map. Every combatant has a number of Action Points with which to perform actions during his or her turn. Every action has an AP cost, and once the character's AP are depleted, their turn is over. Moving, for example, costs one AP per hex moved, while firing a Desert Eagle pistol costs five AP for a single shot. Perks (special abilities gained through raising experience levels) can modify these AP costs. Furthermore, characters can make “targeted shots” for one AP more, choosing to try to attack an opponent's head, legs, and even groin (who didn't at least smile in juvenile glee the first time they realized that you could target an opponent's groin?). These attacks have a lower likelihood of connecting, but with a payoff: higher potential for critical damage or injury, such as blindness or crippled limbs. The system feels very tactical, and builds off of the abilities of the character and the player's decisions instead of proficiency in twitch gaming.

The Bad
Despite its numerous good qualities, however, Fallout does have its blemishes. By far the most irritating thing about Fallout is the way NPC party members are handled. The system for managing NPC companions -- or rather the lack thereof -- is extremely poor. The player can only instruct companions in very basic ways, such as “draw your best weapon in the next fight” or “stay close to me.” Though party members can technically carry equipment, they must be bartered with in order for the player to actually get the item back. (Well, you could always steal the item back from them, but if you get caught they will turn on you and try to kill you.) The NPCs themselves are pretty much useless, especially in the latter half of the game when the player has good enough equipment to take out an army. They do not grow in power, and they will often do stupid things such as shoot the PC more often than the enemy or block movement by obliviously standing in a doorway for five minutes. They effectively become little more than cannon fodder for randomly-encountered squads of super mutants. (Most of these problems with companions were remedied in Fallout 2, however.)

The only other negative of which to speak is the “unfinished” nature of the game. There are numerous quests that are either broken or unimplemented, though characters in-game will still mention them or even give them to you. This is, again, especially problematic in the later stages of the game. Additionally, some of the elements of the game that were included are glitchy or do not work as they are supposed to.

These problems, however, are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, and do not seriously detract from the overall experience.

A note: Fallout can be very finicky on newer machines running Windows XP or Vista. Any problems encountered are usually pretty easy to remedy, but are still annoying nonetheless.

The Bottom Line
Atmosphere, gameplay, and above all else, freedom to play however you want. There are a scant few games that can readily claim that they have all of these things in abundance, but Fallout is part of that echelon of games. Despite its relatively minor flaws, Fallout delivers a unique role-playing experience that truly justifies its status as a classic and cult favorite.

Windows · by prymusferal (23) · 2007

A sublime product: it is one of the best.

The Good
Nearly everything about this game was perfect. The story, while at times disjointed, fitted into the excellence of the piece. Relief was another recurring theme. Turn-based combat, plain old pixels, and other "low-end" deals allowed for a polishing of surfaces as opposed to experimentation. Really, this was not a throwback, it was a restoration. I'm not to hyped-up on the polygon buzz when high resolution bitmaps appear (although Halflife would change my mind: excellent polygon usage).

Interesting was the (suspiciously) Wasteland-like text-visual fusion present. I suspect that I may be in an outstanding category, but I honestly believed that Fallout was more text-based than graphic. Even though the little green text box was that, little, it still listed, with detail that would rival any bureaucrat's, it is mighty. I liked that, duh, otherwise I wouldn't rave about it.

Lest I forget, the non-linear plot was great. I have hated almost every RPG, except for the likes of Darkland and the more recent Baldur's Gate.

The best aspect, though, which was missing in Fallout 2, was the atmosphere. Fallout managed to appeal to almost all my post-nuclear fantasy, like a dark, gritty, diabolical spagetti-western. I really think I missed out on the cold war, considering my nascent state during its final years; at least mutally assured destruction is exciting, right (I had to see Dr. Strangelove twice before I realized that it was funny, not a thriller)? Anyway, the Post-Apocalyptic Romantic story appealed to me, and it was spooky, too: the evocative music sounds, the graphics look, and the story was, like a nuclear wasteland should: cold, harsh, new, and anciet; the post-Shiva dance. There were cowboys and crooks, caravans, civilization-perserving survivalists, roving mutants, and, best of all, a world-destroying cult. And, not to forget, the sadly misguided antagonsist (hell, I felt sympathy, after my disgust). The Glow sequence epitomized this granduer. The glow is the game's high point: it was the place of revelation, for there one learns of the flash and demise.

The Bad
There was little that detracted from this game. The game seems to be somewhat on the "short" side, even though it has a near minimum of 20 hour play time. The map as a whole is small: despite the details, there are few locations when compared to the standard cart RPG. Also, although the game allows for player decision in almost everything, this usually favors the "good-guy" outcome; a player can choose the "bad" options, but the changes to the story are cosmetic, at least until the Final Judgment sequence after completion. The lack of background animations left a dry feeling sometimes, although this is very difficult to accomplish. Fallout's cousin, Baldur's Gate, while not doing a great job with background animation, pleased me in that the water actually moved, unlike Fallout's photographic feel.

The Bottom Line
This is one of the greatest ever, from any genre. Don't doubt it would keep anyone up late (but not as bad as, say, civilization or its latest incarnation Alpha Centauri). It is a truely well-done, restorative game that brings back the best of the old school RPG. Not only is it mechanically ideal, but perfectly presented.

Windows · by nathan (4) · 1999

[ View all 22 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
I guess I'm a bit annoyed by open-endedness. chirinea (47516) Jun 23, 2015
Again a Fallout (Jewel Case) cover bubbleman1987 Sep 5, 2012
Countries where have been sold the Fallout games bubbleman1987 Sep 1, 2012
Unknown Cover bubbleman1987 Sep 1, 2012
GOG.com giveaway Cavalary (11614) Apr 5, 2012

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Fallout appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

AI

The 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 credits

Hold down shift key and click on the Credits button to see some alternative credits.

Bugs

Fallout 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 Art

As 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 Bible

The 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.

Goodies

Original 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).

GOG release

In December 2013, Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics were given away for free on the download distribution platform GOG. This was the last month Interplay had the distribution rights for the games before they went to Bethesda. The games were pulled from GOG on January 01, 2014. They were readded to the catalogue with Bethesda as publisher on August 26, 2015.

Inconsistencies

The 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 intelligence

If 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.

Maybe

The 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.

Recipes

Fallout's manual comes with a "survival recipes" appendix, which has actual recipes!

References

  • The game includes all sorts of odd references - you may stumble onto a UFO which has a sign reading, 'Property of Area 51. Please return if found' and an alien corpse with a ray gun and a picture of Elvis.
  • There is a way cool reference to the 1960's era blue UK Police Box that gives you a motion scanner. Doctor Who fans will pick up on that one. The TV which appears in the Introduction Movie is a Radiation King. In The Simpsons*, Homer once said that he spent hours as a child watching tv in the old Radiation King.
  • Set your Windows to use large icons and have a look at the Fallout icon or shortcut. This is probably a face of one of game's creators.
  • If you search the log files in the computer in the upper level of the Military Base, you will see that two of the names in the actually are developers of the game: Boyarsky and Anderson. Try to download those log files and you will get an "unexpected end of line" error message.
  • At one point you'll have the opportunity to chat with a member of the Brotherhood of Steel who says the line "I'm here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. I'm all out of gum". This is a play on the memorable "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum." from the movie They Live which is also referenced in Duke Nukem 3D.
  • There are references to Mad Max in the game. Dogmeat is the first reference, as Max has a dog in Mad Max 2. In addition, when the description of the previous owner of Dogmeat is given, it describes a person with a shotgun and wearing a leather jacket. This is basically what Max wears in Mad Max 2. The shotgun is his weapon in the movie as well. The other reference is in the ending cinematic. The player has a single barrel shotgun on his hip, same as Max, the player wears what appears a shoulder section of the football pads on his left shoulder, so does Max. There is a bit a limp in player's walk, Max limps because of his injured knee. Finally player is heading in to the wasteland just like Max did at the end of his movies.

References to Wasteland

There are several references to the original Wasteland in the game: * Far Go Traders: Brian Fargo was one of the lead developers of the original Wasteland game. * Tycho: Talk to him a bit, and you find out that he's been through "Ranger Training". In Wasteland, the Desert Rangers were the "heroes" of the game. * The Red Ryder BB gun: Red Ryder showed up in the small town of Highpool in Wasteland (eerily similar to Shady Sands in Fallout). In Fallout, the Red Ryder LE BB Gun is one of the more powerful non-energy weapons you can find, if you're lucky. * Dugan, the Blades' Nuka-Cola addict, is probably named after Bill Dugan, who was part of the Wasteland team

RPG System

During 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.

Secrets

During 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 speech

The 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 limit

The 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.

Violence

In the game's options, you can adjust the game's violence level: * US Release - 4 violence levels available - no cuts * UK Release - 3 violence levels available - the most brutal setting is blocked * German Release - 2 violence levels available - the two most brutal settings are missing...

In both the UK and German release all children are missing.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 1998 (Issue #164) – Role-Playing Game of the Year
    • June 2000 (Issue #191) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #51 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 - #18 in the "Readers' All-Time Top 50 Games" Poll
    • October 2001 - #4 in the "Top 50 Games of All Time" list (together with Fallout 2)
    • April 2005 - #10 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1998 – Best RPG in 1997

Information also provided by Adam Baratz, Ajan, Alan Chan, Alexander Schaefer, ApTyp, Entorphane, Fire Convoy, glidefan, Heikki Sairanen, Kabushi, Late, MirrorshadesUK, n-n, PCGamer77, Trixter, Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe, ZombieDepot, Zovni and Evolyzer

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Droog.

OnLive added by firefang9212. Linux added by Evolyzer. Macintosh added by LepricahnsGold. DOS added by Spartan_234. Windows Apps added by Koterminus.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Apogee IV, Kabushi, Vaelor, Pseudo_Intellectual, jlebel, Solid Flamingo, Luchsen, Paulus18950, Tatar_Khan, Patrick Bregger, Plok, FatherJack, ZeTomes, Evolyzer.

Game added August 17, 1999. Last modified July 1, 2024.