Fallout (computer game)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

See Fallout series for the series as a whole.
Fallout box art

Original box art, featuring a Brotherhood of Steel knight in power armor with the ruins of a post-apocalyptic cityscape in the background
Developer(s) Black Isle Studios[1]
Publisher(s) Interplay
Designer(s) Tim Cain
Series Fallout series
Engine Fallout engine
Latest version 1.1 (November 21, 1997)
Release date(s) September 30, 1997
Genre(s) Post-apocalyptic RPG
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: M (Mature)
USK: 16+
ELSPA: 15+
OFLC: M15+
Platform(s) DOS, Windows, Macintosh
Media 1 CD-ROM
System requirements All:[2] 10+ MB free space, mouse.

DOS: Pentium 90 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 2x CD-ROM, SVGA, SoundBlaster-compatible sound card.
Win: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, 2x CD-ROM, SVGA, DirectSound-compatible sound card.

Mac: PowerMac, 16 MB RAM, CD-ROM, System 7.1.2.

Fallout is a critically-acclaimed computer role-playing game produced by Tim Cain and published by Interplay in 1997. Although set in the late 22nd century, its story and artwork are heavily influenced by the post-World War II nuclear paranoia of the 1950s. The game is sometimes considered to be an unofficial sequel to Wasteland, but it could not use that title as Electronic Arts held the rights to it, and, except for minor references, the games are set in separate universes. It was also intended to use Steve Jackson Games's GURPS system, but that deal fell through, supposedly when Steve Jackson realized how violent the game was. A sequel, Fallout 2, was released in 1998.




The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world following The Great War, a nuclear war that occurred on October 23, 2077 and lasted less than two hours but caused immense damage and destruction. Before The Great War were the Resource Wars, during which the United Nations disbanded, a plague rendered the United States paranoid, and Canada was annexed.

The game takes place in 2161 in Southern California and begins in Vault 13, the protagonist's home. Vault 13's Water Chip, a computer chip responsible for the water recycling and pumping machinery, has broken. The Vault Overseer tasks the protagonist with finding a replacement. He or she is given a portable device called the "PIPBoy 2000" which keeps track of mapmaking, quest objectives, and various bookkeeping aspects. Armed with the PIPBoy 2000 and meager equipment, the protagonist is sent out into the remains of California to find another Water Chip.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.


The player or protagonist of Fallout is an inhabitant of one of the government-contracted fallout shelters known as Vaults. In subsequent Fallout games, he is referred to as the Vault Dweller.

Recruitable NPCs

A diverse selection of various recruitable Non-player characters (NPCs) can be found to aid the player in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Unlike in Fallout 2, there is no limit to the number of NPCs that the player may recruit in Fallout. NPCs' statistics and armor remain unchanged through the entire game; only their weapons may be upgraded.

  • Ian can be found in Shady Sands and is the first recruitable NPC that the player meets. He is an experienced traveler and gunman. Ian can equip any pistol or SMG, and wears a leather jacket.
  • The player first meets Tandi in Shady Sands. She is bored with the town, and yearns for excitement. She is eventually kidnapped by the Khans, and the player may choose to rescue her. After she is rescued, she will follow the player anywhere as long as she does not return to Shady Sands, thus functioning like a recruitable NPC, although not officially. Tandi appears again as a Mayor of one of the towns in Fallout 2.
  • Dogmeat is the only nonhuman NPC that the player may recruit. Dogmeat can be found in Junktown, outside of Phil's house, preventing him from entering his house. The player may attract Dogmeat by either wearing a leather jacket or feeding the dog an iguana-on-a-stick. After that, Dogmeat will follow the player. Dogmeat also re-appears in Fallout 2 as an easter egg and a recruitable NPC.
  • Tycho is a former Desert Ranger, now living in Junktown. He can wield rifles, shotguns, and spears.
  • Katja may be recruited in the church in the Boneyard. She can fight unarmed and wield pistols and SMGs.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The player initially has 150 days before the Vault's water supply runs out. This time limit can be extended by 70 days if he commissions merchants in the Hub to send water caravans to Vault 13. Upon returning the chip, the Vault Dweller is then tasked with destroying a mutant army that threatens humanity. A mutant known as "The Master" (previously known as Richard Grey) has begun using a pre-war, genetically engineered virus called Forced Evolutionary Virus to convert humanity into a race of "Super Mutants", and bring them together in the Unity, his plan for a perfect world. The player is to kill him and destroy the Military Base housing the supply of FEV, thus halting the invasion before it can start.

If the player does not complete both objective within 500 game days, the mutant army will discover Vault 13 and invade it, bringing an end to the game. This time limit is shortened to 400 days if the player divulged Vault 13's location to the water merchants. A cinematic cut-scene of mutants overrunning the vault is shown if the player fails to stop the mutant army within this time frame, indicating the player has lost the game. If the player agrees to join the mutant army, the same cinematic is shown.

In version 1.1 of the game, the time limit for the mutant attack on Vault 13 is eliminated, allowing players to explore the game world at their leisure.

The player can defeat the Master and destroy the Super Mutants' Military Base in either order. When both threats are eliminated, a cut-scene ensues in which the player automatically returns to Vault 13. There he is told that he has changed too much and his return would negatively influence the citizens of the Vault as a negative role model. Thus he is rewarded with exile into the desert, for, in the Overseer's eyes, the good of the vault. There is an alternate ending (available if the player has the "Bloody Mess" trait, or has accrued significant negative karma throughout the game) in which the Vault Dweller draws a handgun and shoots the Overseer after he is told to go in exile.

Game locations

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Vault 13

Vault 13 is the Vault Dweller's home. The first quest in the game is to find a replacement for the Vault's broken water purification chip. None of the inhabitants are permitted to leave the vault, under the leadership of the Vault's overseer, who is dedicated to protecting and sheltering them. Vault 13 was probably located under Mt. Whitney, as it roughly matches the location of the mountain. [3]

Vault 15

Vault 15 was once occupied by an enormous quantity of people of very different ideologies and cultures. The overcrowding and the diversification led to the leaving of four different groups, three of them forming each one raiding group - the Khans, the Vipers and the Jackals - and one of them settling down and founding Shady Sands. The Vault 15 is now lair to several mutated animals. This is (probably) the Dweller's first attempt to find a water purification chip, although it is nowhere to be found here.

Shady Sands

A group of former Vault 15 inhabitants have founded a small village between Vault 13 and Vault 15. Shady Sands is ruled by Aradesh, who asks the Vault Dweller to help get rid of the radscorpions who are threatening the village. Here, the Vault Dweller can recruit Ian, an experienced traveler and gunman, to his group. It is also possible to "recruit" Tandi, the daughter of Aradesh, by failing to return her to town after her kidnapping. An obelisk in the center of the city has the inscriptions "In remind of hope and peace". [4]

Khans Raider Camp

A clan of raiders known as the Khans, led by a man named Garl, have set up a camp near Shady Sands. Tandi, Aradesh's daughter, is eventually kidnapped by the camp's raiders, and it is up to the Vault Dweller to save her, choosing from a variety of methods.


Surrounded by junk heaps of cars, Junktown is run by the shop owner Killian Darkwater, who is also the sheriff and grandson of the town's founder. Junktown's gates are closed in the night, and drawing weapons is not allowed except in self-defense. Gizmo, the town's casino owner, wants Killian dead, because he "cramps [his] business". The player can choose to either help Killian or Gizmo. The Vault Dweller can also recruit Tycho, a ranger, and Dogmeat, a wild dog, to his group.

Walking in the Hub
Walking in the Hub


As a major commercial town, The Hub is the most quest-filled location in the game. It is divided in several districts, each one controlled by a powerful group of people: the Water Merchants, the Crimson Caravan and the Far Go Traders. Here the Vault Dweller can send water merchants to Vault 13 to extend the time limit in which he must find the water chip. The Hub's approximate location corresponds to the Barstow city, in California. [5]


A destroyed city landscape built upon the remains of Bakersfield, overrun by ghouls and containing a vast sewer system, Necropolis is the aftermath of Vault 12, whose actual purpose was to keep the doors open regardless of the condition. This led to the transformation of all inhabitants into ghouls after the Great War. The ghouls were divided in three groups: the surface dwellers, who are the most numerous, paranoid about non-ghouls and outsiders; the Glowing Ones, heavily irradiated ghouls, rejected even by their own kind; and the so-called underground ghouls, living in the city's sewers. Here the Vault Dweller finds the water chip while observing an unusual super-mutant invasion, which may hold serious threats to the world's safety.


The Boneyard, also known as The Angel's Boneyard, is the remaining portion of the Los Angeles cityscape. This is one of the later towns that the Vault Dweller may visit, receiving upgrades for end game equipment: the Turbo Plasma Rifle and Hardened Power Armor. He may also recruit Katja here.

The Glow

Formerly known as West Tek Research Facility, The Glow is now all radiated ruins. Here were conducted experiments on laser and plasma weapons, and were developed the FEV and the Power Armor. The Glow is controlled by a mainframe called ZAX. It is the Vault Dweller's objective to retrieve a piece of evidence for the Brotherhood of Steel, which is a holodisk left by a fallen Brotherhood of Steel member, that proves he entered the location. The difficulty in the assignment is that The Glow is highly radiated, and the player must consume anti-radiation drugs to survive. A player unaware of the zone's radiation level will find himself dying mysteriously to radiation poisoning.

Mariposa Military Base

The former Military Base is where researches were conducted on the FEV (those were previously conducted in the West Tek Research Facility). This is where new Super Mutants are created.

The Cathedral

The Cathedral is the place where the Children of the Cathedral organization, which is a facade for the Master's plans, can be found. Beneath the Cathedral lies a secret vault, wherein the Master resides.

Spoilers end here.


Fallout made #4 on the list of top games of all time produced by PC Gamer in 2001. It made #5 on the IGN list of the top 25 PC games of all time (IGN's list) and #55 on the list of the top 100 games ever by IGN (IGN's List), and is usually placed in similar lists. It also won the award of RPG of the Year from GameSpot. It has received four 10s, eleven 9s, two 8s from user reviews at GameFAQs, mostly applauding the gameplay and story elements while only denouncing the dated graphics. It is notable that all review scores for Fallout are consistently high and none are lower than an 8, with the only criticism involving its graphics.

Influences and references

Fallout draws much from 50s pulp magazines, science fiction and superhero comic books. For example, computers use vacuum tubes instead of transistors; energy weapons exist and resemble those used by Flash Gordon; the Vault Dweller's main style of dress is a blue jumpsuit with a yellow line going down the center of the chest and along the belt area, though the main character's appearance changes while wearing armor (the number on the back might differ from the Vault the dweller represents, but it's usually "13", or in other cases, missing).

Fallout's menu interfaces are designed to resemble advertisements and toys of the same period; For example, the characters sheet cards and perks available, look like those of the board game Monopoly. The lack of this retro stylization was one of the things the Fallout spin-offs were criticized for, as retro-futurism is a hallmark of the Fallout series.

The Fallout games are famous for their Easter eggs. While the first game mostly had references to the 1950s and 1960s pop-culture (Doctor Who, Godzilla), in Fallout 2 there are many references to Star Trek, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Monty Python.

In Fallout, your character meets an NPC named Tycho, who mentions that he is a Desert Ranger and, under the right conditions, will talk of his grandfather, who told him about Fat Freddy, a character from Las Vegas in Wasteland, implying that his grandfather was one of the PCs in Wasteland, who were named the Desert Rangers. Although the time frame of Wasteland is completely different from Fallout, and Fallout game designers deny that Fallout 1 or 2 takes place in the same universe as Wasteland, this is one of many references to the events and the style of Wasteland in the Fallout series, which is why Fallout is sometimes regarded as the spiritual successor to Wasteland.

There are many references to post-apocalyptic science fiction, such as Mad Max or the infamous post-apocalyptic musical and detective movie Radioactive Dreams. One of the first available armors is a one-sleeved leather jacket that resembles the jacket worn by Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. A player wearing this jacket can get a dog, named Dogmeat for Mad Max’s dog, to join the party in Junktown (in Fallout 2 if the player character damages Dogmeat an NPC with the curious name of Mel will show up to defend the dog).

Like Fallout 2, many of the references to other material can be found in random encounters, which include a vanishing TARDIS à la Doctor Who complete with sound effect, and a massive footprint that resembles Godzilla's, referring to the short animation "Bambi Meets Godzilla". Another reference comes in the form of a quotation; in the Old Town district of The Hub, an insane man named Uncle Slappy wanders in perpetual circles calling out non-sequiturs, one of which is "Let's play Global Thermo-Nuclear War!", a reference to a similar line in the 1983 film WarGames. The game also refers to other pieces of fiction, including Robin Hood.

Miscellaneous notes about game production

  • "War. War never changes" is the famous phrase uttered in the intro of Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics by Ron Perlman. The phrase is one of the foremost iconic catch-phrases of the game.
  • The song that plays during the intro sequence is titled "Maybe" and is sung by The Ink Spots. The original theme was going to be "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire", also by The Ink Spots, but apparently Black Isle was unable to get the license, so it was scrapped. The song "Maybe" that appears in the opening cinematic of Fallout is originally by Allan Flynn & Frank Madden and is copyright 1935 by Robins Music Corporation.
  • At one point in Fallout's development, in Junktown, if the player aided local sheriff Killian Darkwater in killing the criminal Gizmo, Killian would take his pursuit of the law much too far to the point of tyranny, and force Junktown to stagnate. However, if the player killed Killian for Gizmo, then Gizmo would help Junktown prosper for his own benefit. The game's publisher did not like this bit of moral ambiguity and had the outcomes changed to what they are now.[6]


  1. ^ Cheong, Ian. Game Info. Lionheart Chronicles. GameSpy. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
  2. ^ Fallout FAQ - NMA Mirror
  3. ^ The Vault - Vault 13
  4. ^ The Vault - Shady Sands
  5. ^ The Vault - The Hub
  6. ^ Chris Avellone (2002-11-06). Fallout Bible #9Interview with Jess Heidel: "Additional trivia from Jess: Junktown!". Black Isle Studios. Retrieved on 2007-01-22.

External links


Fan Sites