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Publisher: MacPlay    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.1    CPU: G3 @ 233 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 600 MB

Fallout 2
September 3, 2002 | Josh Jansen

Click to enlarge

The Desperado

First among the many different things in Fallout 2 is, when looting a body or locker alike, the new 'take all' button. Oh, what a wondrous thing; you can now save a great deal of time by just opting out to take everything, all at once. While it may seem minor, trust me, it makes all the difference in the world if you're a scrounger like me.

After that, you have the lack of the 'tell me about' option when talking to NPCs. Not much of a problem there, as firstly it wasn't widely implemented in the original, and secondly, it was never of much real use.

Next, you have combat control for your NPCs. Now, this truly is a useful thing. It has presets for controlling the behavior of the characters, the limits based on what their personalities dictate for them, from berzerker to abject coward, with the option to customize always open, though with some or most selections disabled, depending on who the control is for. Among the aspects that can be customized are the use of burst weapons, the priority of weaponry (melee v ranged, primarily), the use of meds (psycho, buffout, mentats and stimpacks), the priority of enemy target acquisition, and at what point to retreat from battle. It even allows you to force both the weapon and armor used by the NPC, and, of course, it's a great deal easier to deal with the 'pack-rat' or 'mule' aspect of the character, as the 'barter' button has been replaced with 'trade.' Instead of measuring things in dollar values (caps are no longer legal tender), things on the trade menus are measured by weight.

As is illustrated, the combat control dialogue shows the NPC, his current hit points, his primary skill, if any, his current and maximum carry weights, and his current equipment. This system is easily the best improvement over the ones previously in place. This is a great system to have access to, as you can, within certain criteria, have an NPC act as you wish it to. No more automatic weapon bursts to your back! No more unnecessary chem use! No more attacking the strongest creatures in the game and expecting to survive! This is one thing that everyone who builds a party ought to be using this time around.

Graphics and Sound
Just like Fallout proper, there isn't really much to say here. The graphics, while primitive, are still very well done, better than the first. When taken into consideration, one must not dwell on comparison to the cutting edge of technological advancement seen today, but the system requirements necessary to drive the graphics. On that scale, I can honestly say that the graphics are flawless; there's nothing wrong with them even worth mentioning. Aside from that, several of the NPCs have their own FMV-type bust animations combined with voice acting, and there are a few FMVs inside the game, but those seem to have been replaced largely with stills and scripted animations with the floating text that represents speech.

Sound, much like the original, is sparse except for ambient noise, the screams and groans, the speech from some characters (my personal favorite was the Navarro outpost Enclave Sergeant, who reminded me of R. Lee Ermey), the report of the weapons, and sounds of hits and misses. Of course, also like the original, you start with some great, old music. I've got a saying: anything with the great Satchmo can't be bad. Louis Armstrong's 'A kiss to build a dream on' is just a beautiful track, and I love it as much as I did the Ink Spots' 'Maybe.' However, when it comes down to it, the opening track is really just an afterthought. The sound is no more and no less than it needs to be. Like the graphics, I consider it to be flawless. Not overbearing, not overworked, not nonexistent; it's just enough so that you barely even know that you're using your ears.


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