I play old games (Fallout 1)

 Once again, it's time for my pseudo impressions/reviews of old games that I never played when they were popular or important, now with a new title, mostly due to the lack of actual offending. I was originally going to do Heroes of

A Post-Nuclear Role Playing Game eh? I played one of those once.
Might and Magic, but that would kind of be like cheating since I did play those games when they were popular or important. So instead I will talk about a game that is sure to draw some ire and perhaps hatred (much like my Daggerfall blog, in which a person signed up just to troll me for not liking the stupidly huge dungeons). I am of course talking about Fallout (which is conveniently available on Steam for the curious), which I decided to take a look at because I liked Fallout 3.
 
Fallout 1 was released in late 1997 by Black Isle (so a year before Baldur's Gate) and is considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time by the "fine" folks at No Mutants Allowed. Anyone who has played Fallout 3 or even just read about it knows the premise of a retro-futuristic United States that has been nuked. However, unlike F3, Fallout 1 (and subsequently Fallout 2) takes place on the west coast of the US. Your job is quite simple: Get the Water Chip for your vault before the time limit (that was removed in a patch) expires.  Of course after you get your vault its water chip the Super Mutants decide to look for your vault (in another time limit that was removed by the patch) and you have to destroy both the Super Mutant base, as well as the leader of said mutants: The Master.
 
This of course leads to Character Creation, in which you allocate S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats and tag your three choice skills. Sounds Familiar? Well you can also give your character optional  "traits" which are usually a benefit along with a penalty. However, among said traits, the only ones worth using are Bloody Mess (which makes sure you get the most gory death every time) and a trait that increases all your stats by one at a slight penalty to your skills. Speaking of skills, Fallout 1 has a mess of them. However, the majority range from trivial to worthless. Yes, you could put points into Gambling, Repair, and Outdoorsman, but why would you when you could instead put points into Small Guns, Speech, and Lockpick (which are the three most useful skills in the game)? Speaking of Small Guns, that is the only weapon choice worth tagging, as you don't get Big Guns or Energy Weapons until fairly late in the game, and Melee skills and Throwing Weapons are completely worthless the entire way through.
 
So, starting off, you are dumped outside the vault with a pistol and a knife to battle Rats (an RPG staple, even in the Post Apocalypse) and Rad Roaches with turn-based violence. You have a set number of action points (set by your agility, which is the most useful stat in the game followed by intelligence) to move around and kill stuff, as well as target specific parts of the body (aim for the head, obviously). It works pretty well.  When you get AI companions, it works less well, since the AI is fairly retarded and has a nasty habit of shooting you in the back.
 
Oh yeah, where were we? The questing. There are usually several ways to tackle a quest, but unless you want everything to end in violence, you need a high intelligence (which determines the dialogue options you have, thus making Charisma almost as worthless as it is in most RPGs). I was actually surprised by the breadth of options, but (as usual) there is one option that gives you the maximum reward with the least amount of effort (usually involving talking followed by violence). Not that that's a fault, but it is something that irks me, especially since a few of those choices are extremely obscure and hard to figure out without a guide. You also level up way too slow, and only get a perk every 3 levels (most perks in Fallout 3 that don't increase skills do come from Fallout in some form), but at this point I sound like a whiny nitpicker. 
 
As for things I don't feel like giving paragraphs to: Fallout really doesn't have a ton of memorable characters, and the M rating is well earned (Profanity and Violence abound, not to mention you can kill children which is pretty messed up). Also, the graphics are kind of bad, but that seems obvious. The music is fairly decent, but I have trouble remembering any distinctive tunes, so take that as you will. The game is also surprisingly short for an RPG, as I finished it in around 12 hours (although I probably missed some side quests here and there). 
 
Is it worth taking a look at for people who have never played it before? Sure, I guess. I give it a tentative recommendation.
 
Next Up: Fallout 2? Or maybe I will do Heroes. 
6 Comments
7 Comments
Edited by ArbitraryWater

 Once again, it's time for my pseudo impressions/reviews of old games that I never played when they were popular or important, now with a new title, mostly due to the lack of actual offending. I was originally going to do Heroes of

A Post-Nuclear Role Playing Game eh? I played one of those once.
Might and Magic, but that would kind of be like cheating since I did play those games when they were popular or important. So instead I will talk about a game that is sure to draw some ire and perhaps hatred (much like my Daggerfall blog, in which a person signed up just to troll me for not liking the stupidly huge dungeons). I am of course talking about Fallout (which is conveniently available on Steam for the curious), which I decided to take a look at because I liked Fallout 3.
 
Fallout 1 was released in late 1997 by Black Isle (so a year before Baldur's Gate) and is considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time by the "fine" folks at No Mutants Allowed. Anyone who has played Fallout 3 or even just read about it knows the premise of a retro-futuristic United States that has been nuked. However, unlike F3, Fallout 1 (and subsequently Fallout 2) takes place on the west coast of the US. Your job is quite simple: Get the Water Chip for your vault before the time limit (that was removed in a patch) expires.  Of course after you get your vault its water chip the Super Mutants decide to look for your vault (in another time limit that was removed by the patch) and you have to destroy both the Super Mutant base, as well as the leader of said mutants: The Master.
 
This of course leads to Character Creation, in which you allocate S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats and tag your three choice skills. Sounds Familiar? Well you can also give your character optional  "traits" which are usually a benefit along with a penalty. However, among said traits, the only ones worth using are Bloody Mess (which makes sure you get the most gory death every time) and a trait that increases all your stats by one at a slight penalty to your skills. Speaking of skills, Fallout 1 has a mess of them. However, the majority range from trivial to worthless. Yes, you could put points into Gambling, Repair, and Outdoorsman, but why would you when you could instead put points into Small Guns, Speech, and Lockpick (which are the three most useful skills in the game)? Speaking of Small Guns, that is the only weapon choice worth tagging, as you don't get Big Guns or Energy Weapons until fairly late in the game, and Melee skills and Throwing Weapons are completely worthless the entire way through.
 
So, starting off, you are dumped outside the vault with a pistol and a knife to battle Rats (an RPG staple, even in the Post Apocalypse) and Rad Roaches with turn-based violence. You have a set number of action points (set by your agility, which is the most useful stat in the game followed by intelligence) to move around and kill stuff, as well as target specific parts of the body (aim for the head, obviously). It works pretty well.  When you get AI companions, it works less well, since the AI is fairly retarded and has a nasty habit of shooting you in the back.
 
Oh yeah, where were we? The questing. There are usually several ways to tackle a quest, but unless you want everything to end in violence, you need a high intelligence (which determines the dialogue options you have, thus making Charisma almost as worthless as it is in most RPGs). I was actually surprised by the breadth of options, but (as usual) there is one option that gives you the maximum reward with the least amount of effort (usually involving talking followed by violence). Not that that's a fault, but it is something that irks me, especially since a few of those choices are extremely obscure and hard to figure out without a guide. You also level up way too slow, and only get a perk every 3 levels (most perks in Fallout 3 that don't increase skills do come from Fallout in some form), but at this point I sound like a whiny nitpicker. 
 
As for things I don't feel like giving paragraphs to: Fallout really doesn't have a ton of memorable characters, and the M rating is well earned (Profanity and Violence abound, not to mention you can kill children which is pretty messed up). Also, the graphics are kind of bad, but that seems obvious. The music is fairly decent, but I have trouble remembering any distinctive tunes, so take that as you will. The game is also surprisingly short for an RPG, as I finished it in around 12 hours (although I probably missed some side quests here and there). 
 
Is it worth taking a look at for people who have never played it before? Sure, I guess. I give it a tentative recommendation.
 
Next Up: Fallout 2? Or maybe I will do Heroes. 
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Posted by Claude

I'm curious of these two old games, play Fallout 2 and let us know what you think. I still would like to play Baldur's Gate 2 for crying out loud.

Posted by raddevon

Great post! I would love to see your thoughts on Fallout 2. I, like you, played Fallout 3 and loved it. I decided to get Fallout 2 from Good Old Games, but I couldn't get into it. I think reading someone else's perspective who also didn't play it when it was cutting-edge might help me appreciate it more.

Posted by demonbear

Dude stop teasing me. I know you want to do HOMM, you know you want to do HOMM. Let's do this!!

Posted by ArbitraryWater
@Claude: I will say right now that Baldur's Gate II is definitely one of Bioware's best games. However, I never actually finished it... which I regret, but I am too lazy to try again (at least right now...). It's certainly worth a look, even if AD&D 2nd ed rules are somewhat bizarre and require some study before play.
 
@raddevon: Yeah, from what I have played, Fallout 2 starts out a lot slower but it also removes a lot of the skill balance issues that I stated in the main post. It also is kind of jacked in certain spots (and appearently has a bunch of cut content), starting the Black Isle trend of shipping games unfinished.
 
@demonbear: Hellz Yeah! Maybe I will do Heroes. After all, that would require far less effort than actually playing Fallout 2. But the jury is still out.
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Posted by demonbear

Plus its a lot of fallout in one shot. Go with HOMM and then F2.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

Man, Fallout 1 totally rips off Fallout 3.
 
That was actually one of the things I didn't like:  I wanted perks to come way more often than they did, even if they were at reduced power.
 
Me, I will remember Fallout's music forever.  To me it was a perfect compliment to the desolation.
 
Your criticism of the attribute/dialogue combination is sort of what I was getting at... no, EXACTLY what I was getting at in my earlier criticism of modern CRPG mechanics.