Now one of the most iconic video game franchises around, Fallout had humble beginnings when it first landed on PCs back in 1997. Coming from Black Isle Studios and Interplay, this atomic age-themed role-playing game combined the tactical strategy found in PC classic Wasteland with a considered, appropriately gritty 1990s storyline that never shied from mature content and tongue-in-cheek humor. Very much embodying the time period during which it was released, Fallout’s faux retro-futuristic take on the Cold War and its outcome is the perfectly cynical 1990s response to everything that 1950s America stood for and believed to be true.
To download the first part of the post-apocalyptic saga click on the Download button located below the review. You can get the game from Steam or from GOG.com. If you like the experience be sure also to download and check out the modern take on the post-apocalyptic turn-based RPG, which is Wasteland 2. On the other hand, if you want to stick to the Fallout series, sink your teeth in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4 or the multiplayer Fallout 76.
Told from an isometric perspective using a graphical style that is at once awesomely detailed and secondly very much of its time, Fallout’s graphics never were anything to write home about. Even when it was released. But nevertheless, they’ve aged well with time. Incorporating design elements from 1950s Americana, Fallout presents a post-apocalyptic world. In this world, humanity is reduced to tribal associations and the technological relics of the past serve as “magical items”. In the RPG sense of the word, they give their bearers tactical superiority and some edge otherwise. This can best be exemplified in the game’s iconic power armor, itself some of the most power gear in all of the Fallout titles.
Gamers who became acquainted with the franchise through its modern first person shooter incarnations from Bethesda will find a lot that is familiar in the original Fallout though they may find the combat tedious and even frustratingly tough.
This is because much of Fallout’s combat is conducted from a turn-based, moves-counter system that uses VATS entirely. Gone is the freedome of movement found in the new games and instead is a deeply tactical RPG wherein everything from movement to attacks costs time and movement points.
Some gamers enjoy this as the style is reminiscent of Wasteland’s combat albeit with a focus on just one character as opposed to a squad. More modern players might find this style jarring. The combat style may not be suited to modern gamers’ tastes for high action but the rest of the game’s focus on narrative and telling an awesome story more than eclipse any shortcomings in this area.
Then as now, the Fallout games are known for having a great story and a world filled with factions, characters, and lore that make exploration and interaction worthwhile. These traditions began with the first game and it is here that many of the conventions we now take for granted were established. Dialogue options are expansive and varied for a game from the late 1990s and the pathways you can take to solve the game’s various puzzles are almost just as varied.
Most interesting for modern players is just how much of an impact certain choices can have on the outcome of the game. When it was released, most role-playing games, even the vaunted Final Fantasy VII on consoles, were a fairly linear affair with side quests peppered throughout to give the illusion of meandering choice.
Fallout’s choices truly mattered and impacted the course of the game in fundamental ways. Adding to replayability, Fallout also establishes one of the gamers’ favorite aspects of the series: The weight of moral choice in a game world’s narrative. Shading everything in one way or the other lets the player choose between white, black, and gray paths to the end and this makes each Fallout playthrough a unique experience.