It's difficult, but it's also very rewarding. A must for any RPG fan.

User Rating: 8.5 | Fallout PC

Fallout is a great RPG series, that have consumed a lot of my time during the past few months, but I have to admit, as much as I looked forward to Fallout 3, back in 2008, I never heard of the Fallout series. Which is odd, considering the classic like status the first two games seem to enjoy... then again most people these days (exception of fans obviously) probably don't know a lot about the first Fallout game(s). Actually, I did get the game (along with Fallout 2 & Tactics) in Christmas 2008, but I never finished it... till now.

Story
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Fallout takes place in 2161, several years after a nuclear war literally bombed the hell out of America. Select people were chosen, or invited to live in one of several underground vaults, protected from the fallout. You're lucky enough to live in Vault 13, however one day the vaults water chip is broken, and the Overseer asks you to go out and find a new one.

There isn't a lot of story in the game. It's more about exploring the wastelands and learning a little about the various things that's going on there. It does have a somewhat surprising ending, and some of the revelations made during the last parts of the game are surprising... considering you get to see them that is. It's not a story that's special in anyway, except for its setting, but the revelations in the end and its memorable characters (The Master and Harold for instance) makes the story worthwhile.

8.0

Gameplay
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Fallout today is more or less a hybrid of third and first person shooting with freedom, and while you still have freedom in Fallout 1, the gameplay is totally different. It's more or less like playing Diablo, which is point and click at where you want to walk, who you want to talk to, attack, etc. It's a bit more strategic in this aspect regarding combat. Here, action points control how far you can walk and what kind of attacks you can use. It's a system that's pretty self-explanatory and easy to get the grips with.

The only problem however is, that while it's easy to learn, there are some features that you might not figure out as easily. You can go into the inventory to reload and get stimpacks, but the thing is that every time you go into the inventory, you lose a lot of action points, so trying to reload or getting a stimpack can become a costly affair. There are things that makes things a little easier though, such as right clicking on the weapons icon a few times to reload or use V.A.T.S. (yes, it's even included here as well), and if you right click on stimpacks in the inventory, you can use several stimpacks without using additional action points, but like I said, it was something I more or less accidentally discovered a few hours into the game. This might not be a problem for those who bought the original version, but if you bought the Fallout Collection (like I did), you're likely to miss the manual. Yea it's on the disc as a PDF file, but how many people read that? Not me, that's for sure.

I wouldn't expect the game to be as huge as Fallout 3 or New Vegas either. There are only over 10 locations to discover in total and there aren't that many quests either. That being said though, with the quests you do get, the ycan, in ture Fallout fashion, be completely in several ways, and you do get to decide if you ultimately want to be the good or bad guy. So all the usual Fallout freedom is here, just not in the huge large scale form as Fallout 3 & New Vegas.

RPG wise, you start out giving stats for Strength, Intelligence and all the usual stuff, as well as your standard lock picking, science and speech skills, which again works really well. The only thing I have against this system though, is that the game doesn't tell you how much you need in each skill in order to either hack a computer, or lock pick something, or enable a unique option with a person. Even with the require skill check though, you'd usually have to attempt several times to use those said skills on computer and locked things, before they'll work, which can become a bit annoying. It's more annoying with speech though. The game doesn't give you an option and then tells you how big your chances are, for actually succeeding with that. Those unique options only appear after you meet a certain (and again, unknown) skill check, and like before, they might not appear at first, even when you have enough. You can also get Karma points, but they don't amount to much, beyond different reputations.

Those are just minor problems. The biggest problem for me is the difficulty. The game isn't much for telling you where to go, except for the start which just gives you a clue on where to go at first, and highlighting the main quest doesn't help much, so it's remember what the characters are saying, or pray you'll stumble into it eventually. It doesn't help that the enemies can be a bit tough early on, with better armor and weapons than you, and of course finding new armor isn't easy... Especially something that protects you well enough. At least, you don't have to think about the items getting broken. It takes some time to get the good weapons and all.

Unfortunately, you don't have a lot of time. When The Overseer tells you to find that Water chip quickly, he means it. The player is given 150 in game days to find it, days that go by as you rest and travel between locations, which can take several days, depending on where you go. More often or not though, the time limit only frustrates and encourages you to hurry up, so the time spent on other quests may diminish a bit, which is sad because you often need to do them, in order to at least get some good experience and equipment. It doesn't help that there's another time limit starting, after you eventually completely your mission. But as an advice, when the water merchants ask to send water to your vault, say no. You'll thank me later.

Of course, the time limit depends on which version you get. If you get the original, you'll always have a time limit, but if you patch it to version 1.2, the time limit is gone. I usually wouldn't mention this, but if you buy the Fallout Collection (like I did), the patch will automatically be included, though it only removes the second time limit.

It does look and sound like I criticize the game an awful lot, and if you think I don't like the game, I don't blame you, but the truth is... I do like it, a lot. For all its difficulty pains, it does make the game more rewarding, even when you finally figure out what to do. The combat is fun enough to make you think about what you should do and there are some generally good quests and events happening out there.

As mentioned before, Fallout 1 isn't as big as Fallout 3 or New Vegas. There aren't as many quests, and if you wnat to prepare yourself good for the final parts, you'll like (or well somehow) do most quests, so when the game is finished, there isn't a lot to do afterwards, unless your modding the game. The main quest itself is lengthy, though again it depends on what you do. I'd say at the very least, it could take little over 10 hours, but at most, close to 30 hours.

8.5

Graphics
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For 1997, the game looks quite good actually... At least in my opinion. The in-game graphics looks solid with interesting environments (thanks to the concept). There are certain scenes where you see characters animate while their talking and it has a somewhat odd charm to it. Today, it's terribly outdated, but back then, it looked pretty good.

8.0

Sound
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The sound effects themselves could use a little bit of work, but the music is great and is able to set a dark and dangerous mood, no matter where in the game world, you are. The voice acting is good, again for 1997 standards, and while it's not bad voice acting today, it does seem... Odd at times. Special points however go out to The Master, who's very interesting to listen too.

Oh, and the game still has Ron Pearlman. Extra points for that

9.0

Overall
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It seems unfair that I compare the game to Fallout 3 & New Vegas, as they can be considered different games, because of the different gameplay, despite them sharing the same elements. Make no mistake though, Fallout 1 is a pretty good RPG, and a great starts for the series. It's difficult sure, the time limit is annoying, and it doesn't always like to tell you where to go, but this is still one RPG, which fans shouldn't miss.