Vault Dweller Adventures: My Fallout Playthrough, Part 2

Screenshot: The party grows in size and strength

Written by: Katelyn Vause

I’m incredibly excited to begin a new article series that’s a combination review/bi-weekly serial of the two original Fallout games. I am a huge fan of Fallout 3, and am slowly working my way through New Vegas, though I will likely start over and do a fully dedicated playthrough later. I had never played the originals, and I was excited to see how they differed.

For starters, follow along with me as I journey through the wasteland in an attempt to save the people of Vault 13 in the original Fallout. If you missed part one, because sure to click here to catch up!

At last, Ian and I arrive in Junktown. Junktown is bigger than Shady Sands, and has its own fair share of problems. I stumble upon an old man and his wife cowering in fear outside of their house. A dog is blocking the way and growls at them if they get close. The old man, Phil, claims the dog just showed up and won’t leave. I inquire further about the dog and Phil reveals its…familiar origins.

I would love to know the in-universe lore for this.

I’m not the biggest Mad Max fan, but I appreciated the reference.

I approach the dog but can’t get him to leave. I eventually figure out that I need to feed him to get him to trust me. One iguana-on-a-stick later, and Dogmeat becomes my second companion. Phil is immensely grateful.

I continue exploring Junktown, hearing bits and pieces about a man named Gizmo, who owns the casino and who I should avoid at all costs, and the Skultz, a local gang that causes lots of trouble. Hoping to find a vendor of some sort, I’m relieved to see the local bar, the Skum Pitt, owned by a man named Neal. I attempt to make polite conversation, but it doesn’t exactly go well.

And the “Worst Conversation Ever” Award goes to…

I hide my face in shame by going to the opposite side of the bar, where I meet Tycho, a desert ranger. I tell him Killian wants me to clean up the town, and he agrees to join my party.

I appreciate the tough desert ranger just taking my word. I get the sense that he and Ian immediately get along, though they would barely speak to each other and anyone just watching them would never know it.

I eventually do meet Killian, the mayor of Junktown, but he’s not exactly rolling out the welcome mat for me.

I was very tempted to choose the last one.

He changes his tune a bit when I save him from an assassination attempt. Killian asks me to get proof that Gizmo is behind the incident. I agree, given Gizmo’s shady reputation and the fact that this seems to be a part of the whole “clean up the town” thing I told Tycho I was asked to do.

Gizmo is your stereotypical crime lord. He’s gruff, well-dressed, and makes it clear he doesn’t care whether you live or die. I pretend to be interested in helping him murder Killian, bailing at the last moment. I am shocked when he doesn’t try to shoot me in the back as I leave, his confession tape hidden neatly in my jacket, along with the equipment Killian gave me to record it.

One thing that I appreciate about the Fallout series is the variety of ways players can solve problems. I have no doubt that I could have just shot Gizmo and “solved” the problem, though likely that would have come with its own consequences. If my charisma and speech hadn’t been so high, I could have attempted to plant the bug on him. One quest, but many paths to walk.

Upon my triumphant return, Killian gives me caps and allows me to choose one item from a selection of goods in his store. Hyper-aware of my bright blue, poorly armored Vaultsuit, I choose the leather armor. I imagine it feeling a little heavy on my tiny frame, and a bit like if you crawled in to a baseball mitt.

It turns out it’s a good thing I picked that armor, because Killian then asks for my help with taking out Gizmo. Feeling like I’m in too deep, and recognizing the irony in me choosing a semi-nonviolent solution only to have to do violence, I say yes. Killian then directs me to Lars, the captain of the guard.

After a quick conversation with Lars, who is in charge of organizing the attack, we ready ourselves for combat. I wished there was a “Doesn’t this town have a jail?” dialogue option, but that probably would’ve gotten me laughed out of town, so off we go to confront Gizmo and his cronies.

It is at this point that I realized that this would be the first time my character killed a person.

RPGs are great for many reasons, and one of them is the level of craft you can pour into your character. This is not a novel concept, and I am not the first person to say this, but this moment felt like a turning point for my character. Killing rats and radscorpions is one thing, but killing a person, no matter how corrupt, carries a heavy weight, especially for a character who in no way signed up for this level of danger and violence and had a heavily sheltered childhood.

I imagined her feeling very alone, as Ian is a mercenary and Tycho is a desert ranger, so neither are strangers to these situations. Even Dogmeat couldn’t really provide comfort. Motivated by the ultimate goal of saving dozens of her fellow vault dwellers, she loads her pistol and follows Lars and Killian.

Gizmo isn’t going down without a fight, and he and his guards swarm the room. Dogmeat, already immensely loyal, attacks the first person who shoots at me.

One funny thing about combat is the sound effects, namely the gunshots. They make the most stereotypical, high-pitched “pew” noise when anyone shoots any type of gun, though there are a few slight variations. Dogmeat biting anyone makes a similar crunching noise as when anyone attacks with melee, with the addition of a bark each time, which is a nice touch. Sometimes characters will make comments during combat, usually in the vein of “You’re gonna pay for that!”

It takes a few tries, but eventually, we manage to take them down. I loot Gizmo’s corpse and find a 9 mm Mauser. Killian pays me 500 caps and thanks me. I can only imagine how much noise that makes jingling around in my bag. Taking the money feels good, but I know my character is experiencing conflicting feelings about it.

It is at this point that I remember all I wanted from this town was a rope, which I still can’t find. With my character feeling mostly good about my deeds but increasingly stressed about the state of the home vault, I head south to the Hub.

That’s all for this week! Tune in two weeks from now to hear the latest on what my character has been up to and my thoughts on the original installment in a beloved series.

Tell us about your Fallout adventures in the comments or at cdromfossil@gmail.com!

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