Screenshot: Razor seems like a cool leader.
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 earlier parts of the journey, because sure to click here to catch up!
Here’s the thing about retro gaming. It’s, well, retro, and that means it comes with a slew of cool experiences, but also problems that make you want to throw your PC at the wall.
That was my experience when playing Fallout this week. Last time, I left on a cliffhanger. I had committed to helping the Blades fight the Regulators, and I knew it was going to be a serious battle. I loaded up the game and told Razor that I wanted to speak to Zimmerman before entering the conflict. She told me that she didn’t think it was a good idea, but that I could try.
It didn’t take me long to realize why she thought that was a bad idea. Upon listening to the holodisc, Zimmerman became furious, the closest guard dropped all facade of caring about him and Zimmerman was fatally shot.
That particular outcome didn’t sit well with me, so I decided to reload and try just invading with the Blades.
That also leads to Zimmerman getting immediately shot by his guard.
Oh, and the Blades never showed up to help.
A glitch that is both annoying and utterly immersion breaking, this is the most frustrating thing I’ve encountered while playing Fallout. So now I had two problems on my hands: figure out how to save Zimmerman and get the Blades to do their job.
This wasn’t an easy task. And here enters both the blessing and curse of retro gaming and using retro hardware. As founder Elijah will reveal in an upcoming video, a lot of what we do involves trial and error. I mostly stay away from the actual hardware, but the games themselves can create interesting situations too, even ones like the Fixt version of Fallout that resolve a lot of other issues.
I chose to focus on saving Zimmerman first, hoping that the Blades would randomly show up on one of my reloads. When in doubt, just turn it off and back on again, right?
I told Razor I wanted to talk to Zimmerman first, and upon walking in to the building, I just shot the guard point blank. As you can imagine, this did not end well, with the entire town, Zimmerman included, immediately turning hostile.
Next, I tried standing in between Zimmerman and the guard when I handed over the holotape, hoping the guard would miss and shoot me instead. Not only did the guard not miss, I noticed that he did 250 points of damage, meaning that even if he had shot me, I would’ve likely been dead or in serious trouble.
Hoping that my armor would be enough to protect me, I tried standing in several different spots on each reload, thinking one would be the sweet spot. Of course, that still didn’t work. I even tried positioning my party so that multiple people were in the way, but it was like the guard critically succeeded with every shot.
Deciding to find a middle ground between direct and indirect action, I used my Sneak skill and picked the guard’s pockets, taking his bullets. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take his gun, and he must’ve already had bullets loaded, because he still immediately killed Zimmerman.
As most people do these days, I turned to the internet. The general consensus was that Zimmerman almost always dies and there’s very little you can do about it. However, one person had a golden suggestion: Initiate combat with the guard before he has the chance to shoot Zimmerman.
This required some quick thinking, but I got it to work and I actually really like it from a roleplaying perspective. My character, seeing Zimmerman become enraged and the guard realize that the facade has crumbled, pulls out her gun and shoots the guard before he can take out the distraught mayor. It’s a pretty cool moment to imagine.
We’re not done with Zimmerman, but I’ll get to him a moment.
Now it was on to fixing the issue with the Blades. I tried to give the holodisc to Zimmerman, then leave and tell the Blades I was ready, hoping that this would trigger the guards to focus on the attack instead of him. The guard still shot the mayor, and the Blades still didn’t show up.
Wondering if I’d have to sacrifice Zimmerman to get this to work, I reloaded and simply told the Blades I was ready. This time, I tried walking my character through the gate before taking a shot. This didn’t work, as combat was already initiated and it appeared as though where I was standing didn’t make a difference.
I decided to give up on reinforcements and just allow the party to handle it. Inciting a rebellion in Adytum is interesting, as the locals, tired of the Regulator’s oppressive rule, join you in the fight. Of course, they’re untrained and have basically no weapons or armor, so while their act is brave, it ultimately only gets the majority of them killed. This made me really sad, I really wanted to talk to them after the fight was over, but it seemed as though I wouldn’t get the chance.
And this is where Zimmerman enters again.
If you manage to protect Zimmerman from the initial assassination attempt, he basically goes on a rampage and begins attacking guards, even running ahead of you to go after them. Again, I totally get it, but this means that he keeps getting shot, thus defeating the whole point of me protecting him in the first place.
As you can tell, it was a frustrating afternoon for me.
In the meantime, I managed to find a little basement in the building where Zimmerman is, and it’s full of great loot, so I guess that was a positive.
I’m going to give things a little time and see if I can figure out a satisfactory solution. Or, if anyone knows one, please shoot one our way at firstname.lastname@example.org. This week’s episode was a bit strange, but next time, we’ll see how the rebellion turns out!