I never played it as a kid, is it too late? No $#%# way! This game survives the test of time.
This is one of the few games that aknoweledges the maturity of gamers and doesn't dance around the line, unless you tone down the profanity and violence from the game options (please don't, it just isn't Fallout without the crude humor and unrestrained violence). Finally, a game that made me feel like I wasn't still playing childish games (not that they aren't fun), this game redefined what it meant to play a mature game. There are drugs, gangs, slavers, casinos, prostitutes, and tons of ways to die.
The graphics outdated, but it is almost like the Fallout universe is supposed to be this way, in it's retro-future style. Although the characters and items are 2d they are presented in the classic isometric view which looks just incredible. You can choose to move the overhead camera with either the mouse or with the keyboard for added comfort. The text is extremely legible, despite its size at times.
The story, well, post-apocalypse isn't exactly a new idea, but the creativity and style that went into the characters and enviornments just brought the idea to life. The richly populated world seems almost limitless in its pursuit of capturing the human factor. Everyone you meet has their own personality and some may have relationships and bonds that bind them. In talking to people and choosing your dialogue the story is revealed and new friendships, or foes, are forged.
The stat system is something to be awed with. The various choices you make when creating and leveling your character can severely alter how you interact with the outside world. You can make your character a super-genius or a dim-witted but powerful fighter. You can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, a dedicated trader with powerful charisma, an evil destroyer of towns, or even a theif. Don't think those are all, you can literaly play the game differently at least forty times.
It doesn't stop when you beat the game either, the game allows you to save the game and continue playing! So if you missed some quests that you wanted to do or would like to see what the characters have to say now that you've saved the world you are free to do so. The NPCs you gather to aid you are varied and some are hard to come by, so once you beat the game see if you can find any friends you didn't get the first time around.
Random encounters add a flair of fun, anytime you travel on the world map you have the chance to encounter enemies, traders, monsters, easter eggs, or even some very useful special random encounters. Though sometimes it may seem a bit excessive or tiring when you continue to get encounter after encounter whilst walking around, you can acquire a vehicle to move around faster, and even upgrade it to go faster yet.
I will stop there for now, just because if I keep going this will become an essay and not a review. If you've never played this game, please, for your own benefit, go rent it, borrow it, or buy it and just play it until you cry out of sheer joy. This game is defenitely worth the money and can keep you entertained for a long time to come, and if you are ever asked if you've played Fallout 2, you can proudly say, "Yes, why the %$#&@ would you ask such a stupid question?"