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Fallout New Vegas Day#8: Roadside Attractions

Day 8 is yet another day of Fallout goodness. I find a secret location I only get access to because of one of my teammates. There is just a ton of plot in there, which is really cool. It makes me wonder what plots I’ve missed because I didn’t have a teammate somewhere. I also uncover a bunch of other locations as I complete side quests and do some fun exploration. It’s a session of open-world enjoyment that shows me more enemies, potential quests, and side narratives that I could possibly complete in one take. And I figure out how to make easy money for the rest of the game. Spoilers within.

I start back in Goodsprings. I decide to catch a couple of locations on the way to meeting the guy who betrayed me (Benny) in New Vegas itself. I kill a couple of coyotes on the way. I discover Sloan along the way. It’s a mining town from the types of buildings, but everyone appears to be asleep. I do meet mess hall owner Jess. She wants a deathclaw egg for an special omelet, and she tells me she’ll teach me the recipe if I can get her an egg. There’s no one else around, so I leave. I meet a guy outside who tells me not to head North for fear of deathclaws. The quarry workers can’t work until the deathclaws are gone from the mine. The guy warns me to try to clear the mine, but that the key is to kill the alpha male and female to scatter the herd.

I then head towards another location marked on the map, oddly, as the Hidden Valley. I have a fight with some bark scorpions and I get briefly poisoned by them (with a nice visual effect) before I use some drugs to cure the poison. Wow is it stormy and overcast here. It’s pretty beautiful honestly. I find bunker in sandstorm, but it seems abandoned and no one answers the intercom. I find another one which is similarly abandoned. I’m surprised this area is so empty, so I keep investigating until I find a third one. As I approach the intercom,  Veronica uses it this time. Oh this is SO RAD . SHE GETS US IN BECAUSE SHE KNOWS THEM. This is why I love this kind of narrative. If I hadn’t met Veronica, I would have just sat out here. Instead, because she’s on my team, I get access to a secret Brotherhood of Steel base. The door is opened and we see a guy inside, Ramos. He’s not too happy about an outsider in here, but he’s cool if I’m with Veronica. He tells me I need to talk to an Elder here. I meet a Lorenzo and an apprentice who tell me a little more about the base and mention how they were run out of Helios. They also tell me there’s a virtual fighting area in the base since they don’t go out much.  I wander around more in this metal corridor maze until I find Elder McNamara. He wants me (since I’m an outsider) to find out what happened to some lost teams.  He gives me a holotape finder to search for them, and then asks me to keep quiet about the quest to not disturb the other Brotherhood members. As I leave, I meet a paladin named Harkin (Hardin? Can’t remember). He’s pissed that they’ve been locked down and wants a new elder, namely him. He wants me to talk to the allies of the elder to find a way to oust him with the Brotherhood code.

I then talk to a scribe named Ibsen in a room where there are about twelve computer terminals lining the walls and interior columns.  The computers are locked down because of a virus and fuck…in the middle of his sentence the game crashed. Sigh, that’s ten minutes to replay. Anyway when I return Ibsen says that he can fix the virus if I find the three machines it’s currently infecting, but it jumps to three new machines every minute. I agree to help; it’s a mini-game where I have to open a terminal, click the access database function, and if it is corrupted (indicated by a snarky message on screen) hit an isolate button and move to the next one. It takes me four times but I do it, kind of by luck. This success gives me access to historical data on the machine. I then go talk to Torres in the inventory – she’s missing a laser pistol, and won’t get me any Brotherhood equipment until I find it. Sleep deprivation hits my character so I find a bed and sleep a while. Wandering around, I see Victor the robot down here again. He’s spying on me somehow, or else he serves some narrative purpose I don’t get. It’s very inconsistent to see him in the secret base. I find Ramos again.  He knows about Harkin and refers me to the history files with the same thing he told Harkin – it’s hard to remove an elder and Ramos doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Ramos then tells me about Helios and how McNamara took over from some now lost elder named Elijah to save them from the NCR. Elijah was obsessed with rebuilding some tech at Helios, but McNamara led them to safety.

I decide to leave and I go looking for fight steel patrol, which is on my map a little ways to the east. I kill a couple more bark scorpions (they are like wimpy radscorpions, ultimately) and enter a new area filled with centaurs, these classic half-slug/half-man mutants that spit acid over a distance. They aren’t that tough. We find the first patrol dead in a radiated pit with a giant centaur named Noe. Luckily, it’s way at the bottom of the pit, so I pop it with repeated headshots before it gets close to me. The patrol has a holodisk on them, so one target down and two more to go. I head north to the next one, and as soon as I close a fence, a mutant stop me to tell me not to continue north. He tells me that Black Mountain is run by Tabitha, a super-mutant who’s taken over and kills humans. I speech him to get him to to let me in on plot to kill Tabitha, but that’s for later, because I remember super-mutants being very tough. I head back to quest,  but I try to continue north in the hopes of outrunning any super-mutants I see. That doesn’t work; I run into mutants on road and am DESTROYED. Oh well, I reload and go to first patrol again. I stop the mutant traitor a second time to get the kill Tabitha quest again, but then I time fast travel away. I start from the 188 trading post and walk to RepComm HQ, the second steel location.

I enter the HQ and immediately see dead fiends inside. I talk to a tour robot, who offers to show us the museum. I agree to take the tour, which with some nice verisimilitude involves stopping in front of displays every five feet. Occasionally, a maintenance robobt shows up to warm us the museum is closing; this is going to become a fight if I don’t find a way around it. I peel off from the tour and   break into a room to find keycard. My Science skill isn’t quite up to hacking these computers, so I use a magazine to boost my skill 10 points and then hack an average terminal. I get my face added to the security database. I also read some emails about why I need a  badge to pass. Once my face is scanned, robots stop messing with me. I go to second floor, and quickly do an easy hack for more facial recognition and more data (something about vp’s desk). I search the floor, and the robots leave me alone as I do. I find a third floor after wandering and go up. A facial recognition bot doesn’t recognize me so I shoot it before it can respond. Eventually, this sets off an alarm. We kill two facial tracking robots and one nastier sentry bot (with much thanks to Veronica. I hack another easy compute to access a safe, kill two more sentries, and then find the holotape of a Brotherhood corpse. I finally read the notes from the holotapes and they are pretty generic (although McNamara thought the mutants would help the Brotherhood.),

The third steel mission is way up north, so I decide toget back to the Benny quest. I start wandering toward what I think is Vegas. Along the way, I see Orion’s house. I go inside and have a quick conversation with Orion himself (he hates the NCR, which is maybe why I don’t get many conversation options) and then I leave. Boy, sometimes Veronica just pops up right in front of my gun when I enter or exit a location – very weird and disconcerting. I find a Gunrunners kiosk (a robot in a large doorless shop) and get excited about buying a sweet weapon from them, but their weapon collection is actually quite impoveristed. I do buy a helmet though. I talk to Isaac (who runs supplies for Gunrunners) and he reveals that there’s a Gunrunners factory nearby that I’m not allowed to see. I choose to play Caravan with him to figure it out. I do – you’re basically trying to win as many of three stations as you can by building an ascending or descending chain of cards to reach a total of between 21 and 26, with the player with the higher total at the station taking it. It’s like a weaker version of Lost Cities, a Reiner Knizia classic if you haven’t played it.  I win handily and now that I’ve figured it out, it’s easy money from now on.

I enter the Freeside Eastgate. I go into a store, and I speech my way to buying a forged passport to the Vegas Strip for 500 caps. (My dialogue options seem to indicate that there’s a credit check to get in, but I don’t trust that I’ll pass that.) I also get a bit of info about Freeside from the shopkeep — it’s gang run and not very affluent. There’s another guy in the store who sells weapons, and I speech him to get special access to his nicer stock. I buy hunting rifle for almost all of my remaining caps, but it’s a REAL weapon, finally. I wander a bit further and enter Freeside proper.  Just past the gate, I enter King’s School of Impersonation after walking by a number of King gang members.  Oh I get it — it’s a gang of Elvis Impersonators. The guy inside wants a bribe to introduce me to the King himself, but I’m not into that.  I need only 8 points of Speech to talk my way in with the Speech dialogue option so I’ll wait until I level up. I see the Strip itself ahead and it’s a great location of neon sign beauty. There’s a random guy in the road named Old Ben who tells me to talk to be sure to talk to the greeter before entering the gate. He seems to have worked a hundred difference jobs, including singing. Hey, didn’t I see this guy at the hotel in Novac? Anyway, the giant greeter robot approaches me and I have to show it my passport. It accepts the passport and roll on in, watching the security robots kill an unacceptable who tries to enter.  I’m about to see Vegas, but it’s been a long session so let’s get some sleep before I hit the strip. Until next time.

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  1. Zack Hiwiller says

    Actually, you get in via different events if you don’t have her, but the feeling that you hit on something special is just good writing and scenario design. For all it’s bugginess and sloppy parts, it are the little things like that that make the game for me.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  2. admin says

    Frankly, the fact that I felt that was unique even if it wasn’t makes me all the more impressed with the game. It’s not easy to write a multi-entrance scenario in a way that doesn’t seem obvious. You just have to hand it to the writing in this game.

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