Fallout article by Al Giovetti
By Al Giovetti
What would happen after a nuclear holocaust? One of the best games of all time, Wasteland, was a little gem that dealt with a group of Desert Rangers that had to save what remained of the world from ultimate destruction at the hands of some religious fanatics who worshipped radiation and its effects. Wasteland was Published by Electronic Arts and was developed by Interplay.
By the time a sequel was done, Fountain of Dreams, the original design team of Brian Fargo, Ken St. Andre, Michael Stackpole, and Alan Pavlish had disperesed and the result was that one should not mention the two games in the same paragraph.
One of the best aspects of Wasteland was the skill based system where points accumulated with experience were applied to selected skills. Another plus was the non-linear nature of the scripted plot, which could be completed in any order, but if you just managed to stumble on the Brothers and Sisters of the order of the holy VISA card you would have wished you had not strayed from the implied linear path of the game.
Interplay has acquired the Generic Universal Role-Playing System, or GURPS to those who do not have acronym-o-phobia, from Steve Jackson games. GURPS is a popular paper and pencil game system and Interplay plans to use the license to produce several products. Fallout would have been the first GURPS game, but the conditional license is no longer associated with the game which may now be subtitled "an un-GURPS post nuclear adventure." Many are calling Fallout the Wasteland sequel that should have been.
Company LineFallout: A Post Nuclear Adventure is set in the aftermath of a world-wide nuclear war. Fallout will challenge you to survive in an unknown and dangerous world. You will take the role of a Vault-dweller, a person who has grown up in a secluded, undergound survival Vault. Circumstances arise that force you to go Outside -- to a strange world 80 years after the end of the modern civilization. A world of mutants, radiation, gangs and violence.
Your immediate task is to find a replacement for the broken water purification controller chip. Without that chip, your fellow Vault dwellers are doomed to dehydration or be forced to leave the safety of the Vault for the Outside.
The core of the game revolves around your character. When you start Fallout, you can choose or modify one of three premade characters, or create your own from scratch. The character creation system will allow you to make a vibrant, unique character. We are using a skill-based system to allow you to fine tune your character.
As you gain experience (roughly half from combat, the other half will come when you solve adventure seeds and non-combat based stuff), your character will grow as you determine. No classes here!
Combat is tactical turn-based. You can take as much time as you need to make decisions. Choose from different types of attacks, with a variety of weapons and attack skills. Weapons include: shotguns, flamethrowers, chainguns, rocket launchers, sledgehammers, brass knuckles and more.
You will not have companions or a group of adventurers to travel with in this game, like the original Wasteland, and a pureist might argue that this could not be the sequel to Wasteland which used a seven party team of Desert Rangers.
There are over 100 characters to interact and fight with which are found in 15 large locations to explore. Commands to look, speak and take action will result from the use of an interactive cursor that will determine what reactions to take and responses to suggest.
Fallout is a solo adventure with no party to travel around with. This is a departure from the original Wasteland which incorporated a seven character party. Many will be disappointed at the solo adventurer mode of play. I like parties myself.
To make up for the lack of parties, there will be a lot of non-player charactes to interact with, and some of them will accompany you to some of your adventures. You can even befriend a dog who will stick with you during the game. These friends will have their own goals and objectives which will eventually lead them away from you at some point in the game.
Since GURPS is out the statistics have been designed around a SPECIAL system which stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charasma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. The SPECIAL system is mirrored in dozens of role playing games throughout the world. Many other statistics, such as hit points will be based upon the combination of strength and endurance. These statistics are called derived statistics.
The real important derived statistics are the skills, such as master trader, knife-fighting, beam weapons, and others. The skill based system allows you to allocate skill points gained through experience in the game. The skills involve a choice between several skills to develop over time.
Drugs are a factor in the plot of the game. Your character can receive short term boosts in skills and attributes by taking them, but in the end they will become addicted. The addiction will force the player to spend time and resources searching for the drugs to keep the cravings at bay. Interplay needs to get a lesson in willpower.
You are a third generation nuclear holocaust survivor who lives in vault 13. Your grandparents obtained a spot in number 13 of the "Vault of the Future" system more than 80 years prior to the game start. Everything went along fine in the vault until the water purification system broke down. You must now venture out into the above ground world and locate the microchip needed to repair the failing system, or your fellow vault inhabitants will die or must also leave their underground haven.
The game is increadibly detailed., Leonard Boyarski has captured the technological destruction. Everything has a grungy, duct-taped-together look. The graphics are in 45 degree isometric perspective.
AnimationGiant mutant rats glow and scurry toward your character realistically. Splash panels and cut scenes are straight out of the 1950's. The smiling families pose in front of the item, wearing circa 1950's clothes and smiles.
Multi-player FeaturesInterplay is adamant about not making Fallout multiplayer. Many fans have asked that the game be made like Blizzard's Diablo, both a multiplayer and single player game, but Interplay feels this would change the game too radically and make Fallout a different game.
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
JournalistsJeff reports in May what we all knew in March, such is the problem with print versus Internet.
ReferencesAl Giovetti, Wasteland, The Computer Show,
Game of the Month Preview
Jeff Green, Computer Gaming World, issue 154, May, 1997, pg. 43.
William R. Trotter, PC Games, volume 4, number 5, May, 1997, pg. 30 -32.
Cindy Yans, Computer Games, issue 77, April, 1997, pg. 40
Rob Smith, PC Games, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 60.
Interplay Fallout Web Site
http://www.titania-pub.com/four/fallout.html Tim Cain, letter to The Computer Show
Please send us your comments and suggestions.