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Gameplay

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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
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Click to enlarge

Beautiful Reno

Caveats and hints
A good unarmed or melee skill is important when starting in this game. This is primarily because you won't be getting through the first major battles without a good melee or unarmed skill. Furthermore, with the scarcity of certain types of ammo and the ease with which some creatures can be stomped, it just makes sense to slaughter the useless creatures with a few good kicks.

Saving, while indispensable, does have its drawbacks. I do not personally endorse saving while in the middle of a huge melee, for example, as that will most certainly raise the risk of a bug popping up and ruining your chances, and your game. However, while I can't endorse this, I do recommend it from time to time, as long as you don't get dependent on these specific save files. The easy point: when saving in a battle, use a fresh slot!

Give your NPCs a wide berth with concern to meds, and remember to give them stimpacks. They tend to use them responsibly, but also remember that they can't use what they don't carry, or what you don't allow; this is a double-edged sword, as they could run through 30 stims in one fight, or you could lose all your NPCs because you forgot to hand the meds out. I find that the best number to give out is fifteen, after your stash goes above ninety. Five for a reserve of thirty, ten for sixty, you get the idea.

Prices can vary greatly from merchant to merchant. Best to take note of a price index; offer to sell one stimpack, record the number offered. Repeat with an offer to buy. Vault City always has terrible trade rates, I've noticed, while Gecko will be the happiest to have your business.

Final Assessment
Fallout 2, while most certainly derivative, is only stealing from a proven, beautiful, well-done game, while adding a great deal after that. The innovations and additions to the engine make me wish that Fallouts original and 2 were two halves of the same game, using the Fallout 2 engine. (In fact, the only way this game could have been made better would have been to base the Fallout 2 game you play on the game you finished in Fallout.)

As for the plot, one might even compare the two games to Thomas Harris' novels, the Red Dragon and the Silence of the Lambs. While both stories depended on Hannibal Lector's profile of a dangerous, operational psychopath, the similarity ends there.

All in all, if you loved Fallout, (and let's face it: who didn't'?) you'll love Fallout 2. The plot may be very similar, and yes, there is the possibility that it could have been just as good if it was different, but the facts are that it wasn't different, and it's still a fantastic game.

Pros
The sequel to a classic game, it remains true to the original while staking it's own claim as an instant classic.
Modest system requirements: if you can play Fallout, you can play this.
More and better weapons, more and varied ammo types, better selection and ultimate choices toward the end.
Deep, engrossing long-lasting, ever evolving story will have you inquiring to the dawn "Is that the sun? That can't be the sun. What time is it?"
You really can't play the same way twice, nor will you want to play the game just once.
Identical interface for those Fallout veterans in the audience means that the average vet can just jump right in to the game. Nothing new to learn that isn't intuitive.
Worf (Michael Dorn) does an amount of voice acting.

Cons
Mazes and bosses are now all the more obvious, unfortunately. When compared to the bosses, mazes and trials of the original, these are outright blatant.
In no way is this game classic compatible. No one with anything less than OSX 10.1.3 will be able to use this game.
Easter eggs (luck-based locations) become somewhat disappointing because some become so flagrant and obviously stolen, it's a wonder that Interplay and Black Isle aren't in the courtrooms.
More noticeable bugs than the original (if you play the game HARD, not difficulty-wise, but running it into the ground over a span of hours), especially when saving in combat. (Going to Vault 13 on January 16, 2242 or later with Goris still in the party, before any other stops, will cause (at least, it did for me) an instant crash. If you continue to travel on the world map after January 16, without any stops or encounters, and then stop at Vault 13, this bug appears.) Still not enough to consider against buying the game, though.



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