While some of the content I plan to provide on this site can be fairly obscure, incongruous or archaic as well as directly personal, in case of interest, don't be afraid to comment and/or criticize. The articles are also, at least for now, work-in-progress.
In this article, I plan to both start a tradition of articles here at Slowdays as well as merely outline my history with one of the most popular and idolized CRPG franchises of all time - the Fallouts.
War. War never changes.
Introductions and slogans aside, some eight years ago I happened to catch a glimpse of a certain review (Pelit 1/1998 to be exact). The game happened to be a gritty, post-apocalyptic game called Fallout. While I had recently converted over to a PC machine, this particular review explicitly stated that the game was both overtly violent and thematically mature, so being the good charming boy I was, I shied away.
Yet the intrigue stayed, and in a few months' time I would find myself reading a review on the second installation of the series (Pelit 12/1998)! Finally interest would bypass any kind of voice of "reason" that was left. It is worth noting that I believe my first copy of Fallout 2 was in fact borrowed from Ollikka, well-known to be void of any kind of morality...
That aside, I've always wanted to slavishly adhere to chronology imposed by artists and creators, therefore attempting to play the games in original sequence, but as history would repeat itself, I would quickly find myself unable to do so. Fallout 1 was first released knee-deep in bugs. Sweet chin music was delivered to players' heads, and as I didn't really have proper access to the internet (let alone standards for patching retail versions), I started playing the game unpatched and was quickly kicked down by a showstopping bug.
Fast-forward to August 2006
One boring evening, while watching television, I notice someone who looks astonishingly like Ron Perlman on Miami Vice. I follow the lead to IMDb, which reveals the secret (season 3, episode 4). In addition to this shady secret, Perlman had provided voice acting for not only Fallout 2, but to all first three parts of the series all unknowingly to me.
As Perlman had penetrated my heart fairly early with his charming role in City of the Lost Children (and later in Hellboy), I found myself revitalized with interest for the game series, reminiscing days spent on Fallout 2 fondly. Perlman's narrator role would launch a sporadic journey myself through forums, wikis, developer notes and interviews.
One particular interview with Leonard Boyarsky (Black Isle, Troika) eventually became the last straw - I shortly realized I hadn't been this excited about a game franchise for aeons!
I recalled having seen a collection of the whole series in the stores, which was shortly confirmed by jumping online. I was able to order a copy with mere one-day shipping. Blessed be mastablasta and fast shipping!
To maximize my madness, I installed, patched and configured the game and then jumped headlong into character creation. While the SPECIAL stat system (a homebrew lite version of G.U.R.P.S. - an interesting detail of note is that the creator of GURPS, Steve Jackson, wanted the Fallout team to tone down with violence, after which the system was booted in favour of retaining the grit) can feel daunting (the older I get the more daunting all character creation screens seem, really), it is extremely streamlined, effective and functional.
Jumping in the game felt very rewarding right from the start: Dialogue and voice acting was brilliant, my game progressed very quickly and the character was surprisingly effective.
Halfway the plot, however, the game was marred by what came to be my first crashing bug: I was unable to finalize one of the missions, for entering the necessary area would make the game crash every time.
I was not too worried as it was just one small mission, and I was progressing nicely overall in just a few days. However, as the game was finally drawing to its close yesterday, I was floored: Both of the areas and tasks required for finishing the game stopped working. Fans of the game will know that the game is extremely non-linear, but does have a few objectives that must be met with success in order to get to the ending of the game.
It did not matter what was done inside the game, any kind of resistance was met with a crash and my play-through effectively crippled. Luckily I felt as though I was able to see some irony in not being able to finish the game once again. How could one not be amused by such a repetation of history! Perhaps some things are just not meant for everyone?
This is where I said Penn & Teller and started experimenting madly with my game configuration, trying different versions and setups - not that it ever made a real difference, as save games between Fallout 1.0 and 1.1 are incompatible (a word of warning!).
After sleeping over the problem (badly, I may confess - the extent of things to where we go for the most inane things) desperation begun to creep in. With Google, NMA and Duck & Cover offering no help whatsoever the last thing I could possibly think of was a DOS installation of the game.
Boxing with DOS
In fact, I've been able to run several Win95-only games on DOSBox (including Discworld II and Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, both of which run rather excellently on it), and have a fairly functional setup of the program, so I was able to install the DOS version without any problems at all.
Having patched the DOS executable to 1.1, I edited the DOS configuration file to use the files of my Windows install, and by god, I was surprisingly able to continue! The end result was the most horrendously slow, unplayable, jittery and irritating game experience of my life, but by god, I finished it!
As loading any of the DOS saves in the Windows version also resulted in a crash, I was reduced only to using DOSBox for the rest of the game. All this effectively meant that I spent ten hours finishing areas that would, under normal circumstances, take little more than one.
While both Rax and Ripatius know that I was teetering on the verge of mental instability while I was trying to find a working fix for my bug: Out of all the websites I browsed, only two examples of people experiencing similar crashes were found, none of which had come to a solution.
I believe the bottom line of this burst is that Fallout 1 is definitely one of the most involved and involving game experiences ever; in fact, merely the game's manuals offer such an intriguing look into the world of the games that they are recommended reading for anyone interested in post-apocalyptic mindscapes.
Even on today's computer standards, there is effectively no fault in either of the first two Fallout games - apart from the bugs, that is. I doubt this text would exist were it not for the fact that I was able to get through.
As a final note, I decided to write down a proper patch list for all three Fallout games for anyone who might still be interested in them.
Fallout 1 Patch List
Fallout 2 Patch List
Install official 1.02 patch
Install children patch (if needed)
Install unofficial 1.02+ patch (Killap)
Install unofficial 1.05 (Enclave Interactive & FMC)
Install unofficial 1.051 (Enclave Interactive & FMC)
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
Install official v1.27
http://www.nma-fallout.com/forum/dload. ... 49f292c7e2
Most of these can probably be found from No Mutants Allowed. Also remember to install the appropriate official patch for your area (US/UK/GER/FR and so on; unofficial patches are most often available for the English versions).
First posted on 09.08.06
First revision on 10.08.06 - added headers & screenshots.
Second revision on 08.08.07 - added link to NMA.
Third revision, 29.03.08 Added some hyperlinks