Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Retro Game Safari: Fallout Tactics

Howdy! This here is something I like to call Retro Game Safari. I suppose it could apply to whatever games out there that are old, but right now I'm focusing on videogames. The first RGS here will cover my thoughts on Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel-- but everyone just calls it Fallout Tactics or, more simply, FOT.

The point here isn't to provide a comprehensive review, like you can find here, here, here, or a zillion other places. Let's be honest, kids: Since its release into the gaming wilds in 2001, this game has been reviewed to death. No, no in depth review from me. The point here is to provide my sentimental thoughts or personal critical take on this particular ancient relic of gaming history.

What's that you say? Not ancient? Dude, this is from 2001, which in PC gaming terms is, like, forever ago. Luckily it's not TOO forever ago, and is still quite playable. Oh, sure, people will rave about how Ultima IV is the best game ever and that you should totally play the Gold Box SSI AD&D CRPGs (like Pool of Radiance and Secret of the Silver Blades) again. I don't know about you, but I feel those games are best left shrouded in the mists of rose-tinted memories. Have you went back and played any of those titles? Have you? Personally, after I attempted playing through a couple, I quickly backed away and now burn myself with a cigarette every time I think about playing through the original Bard's Tales and Wasteland...

...And speaking of Wasteland, let's talk Fallout Tactics!

VrrrrrrrrrmmmmmMMMMMMM: Time machine, bitches.

More after ze JUMP!

It's been quite some time since I've played this game. Fallout and I go way back, as far back as Wasteland, actually, which is considered to be the spiritual predecessor for the Fallout series.

Stolen from ze Wikipedias.

1988 wasn't THAT long ago, right?

Um, anyways, yeah, so eventually, Interplay had MicroForte do Fallout Tactics, which is a bit of a departure from Fallout 1 and 2. See, from what I understand, FOT isn't exactly Fallout "canon", which is NerdSpeak for "not really a part of the accepted fantasy pretend universe I love and cherish; so fuck you". FOT deviates from Fallout Canon in a few ways by not syncing up exactly with timelines someone might have pooped out in a drunken and/or glue-induced stupor, having weapons that aren't "Fallout Cannon" (HAW. Haw.), and numerous other things I don't think I give a shit about.

Nope. Not one teeny shit.

What I care about is fun, and this is coming from a guy who's educated in history and feels The History Channel is the equivalent of a douchey Fortean Times*. And fun FOT has! If you were ever like "I sure wish Fallout 2 had squad level combat and more combat and less RPG elements so my d00ds can shoot more rpgs and things like faces, more faces, and maybe a face or two" then you are in for a fan-fucking-tastic treat. Coated in bacon, even.

(*sincere apologies to the people at Fortean Times-- comparing you to THC is probably going to far... heh: THC)

BOOM! Borrowed from GOG. I'll give it back, I swear.

Wheras Fallout 2 expanded on Fallout with improved gameplay, an even better story, and even bigger world and an even better even every even thing, FOT says "fuck that" and allows you to live and re-live most violent fantasies you've had. Sadly, it's not in first person, and is a non-zoomable isometric view kinda thing. But, hey: 2001. Live with it.

Playing through FOT again is a real treat. You have your dudes, you go on missions for the Brotherhood of Steel splinter faction you're a part of--

Oh yeah: SPOILERS! Not like it matters. But just in case, there you go.

--and eventually the story, which rides the rails like a champ (did I mention it's not very open-ended?), leads you through all kinds of scenarios and cool stuff, like questing for Vault Zero, the Beastlords of St. Louis (proving not much has changed post-apocalypse), slogging through Kansas and Colorado and basically having a good time and eventually maybe sticking it to the Calculator. You know, for Freedom.

And much-much more is to be had whilst tromping around working for the Chi-Town Bros of Steel. There are zeppelins, too!

Thieved from this Fallout Wiki entry HERE

Well, okay, fine, crashed zeppelins.

I suppose I can't blame IGN; even for this one.

Oh, right. That's from Arcanum. I'll talk about that amazing game some other time. I have no in-game screenshots of crashed zepps from FOT.

Moving RIGHT along...

You can have ghouls, super mutants, dogs, robots and deathclaws in your squad... which can lead to squee-inducing images involving deathclaws like this one:

Stolened from HERE.

Character creation is very similar to the previous Fallouts, except that certain perks are changed for a more tactical game, or simply removed for the same reasons. Naturally, there are a few new perks specifically created for FOT. Still, it's the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system we all know and love...

Also taken from GOG.

There's also a shitload of weapons and equipment to choose from, find, have fall into your lap by wayward pelicans-- may be lying about that-- and some many kewl little details that I found myself very satisfied.

I also totally dig how I can change many things about how the game plays. Do I want turn-based, squad-turn based and real-time play? What should the violence level be? Just how much of a wussy am I? Excellent selection.

Does it replace or even match up to the majesty of Fallout 2? Not really. Will you forsake Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas for this game? Hell, no. Or, at least I hope you wouldn't. Look, I understand there are serious diehards who not only hate this "non-canon stuff that pooped on my mom's face" game in particular, and they're usually the same ones who think Bethesda created the AIDS virus. But, come on, tis game is a real peach and the new Fallouts are a godsend.

Naturally, that's just my opinion. Your mileage may vary. I may still think you are CRAZY for thinking otherwise.

But hey, some people like scat-porn and donkey shows, too. Who am I to judge?

No. I'm not posting an image here. Screw you.

All nasty-kidding aside, most of you Fallout types should enjoy FOT. Some of you won't. But if you're like me (you poor, poor soul) then you'll get a kick out of this now-oldie-but-goody.

There's not much more I can say unless I launch into a very in-depth review. I don't think I will do that as I have other things to do currently, like wonder why my bellybutton collects more and more weird crap each passing year. Anyways, Google is your friend. Sometimes Google isn't my friend... sometimes Google steals my tacos and brings up painful childhood memories. But, through that dick Google, you can find tons more stuff on Fallout Tactics.

You want an in-depth review from me? FINE.

Play it. It rules. The End. Happy?

Now, I've noticed games like this are VERY popular in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, and especially-especially in Russia. I think that's pretty freaking cool, man. While I was hunting around for images and screenshots for FOT, I came across this neatness:

It seems way more badass in Russian.

This was lifted from RPG Land, and you can find the specific post here. Oh, why not-- here's another:

Way more badass in Russian. Hey, isn't that Johnny Alpha??

So, what are you waiting for, you unwashed, slavering, horrible unrepentant bastards? Head on over to Good Old Games (aka GOG) and buy yourself a copy of FOT. Seriously: $5.99. That's it. And it's a small price to pay for such an awesome game. It's like a time-machine that's perfect with the only notable exception being it doesn't give you hand-jobs.

All games are DRM free, and (most) install on newer machines just fine. I love the GOG installer, honestly. 

Or, if you're me, reinstall Fallout Tactics and be thankful you'll never have to uninstall it again because it takes up such little space these days. Thanks, technology!

And did I mention FOT takes place in a post-nuclear world of grim and perilous adventure?


That's all I got for Fallout Tactics. Hope you don't want to stab me too much.

I must decide what I will play next and do a write-up on... I need suggestions. This is where I force you to comment or email me. Right now, the currently installed choices are:

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Fallout 2
Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate

There's more to choose from on this machine, but let's keep at those for now.

I'm going to go enjoy the snowpocalypse outside. Cheers!


Kelvin Green said...

You're wrong about Wasteland.

I choose Dredd Versus Death!

Steve Saunders said...

Nice choice!

And how am I wrong about ze Wastleland?

Steve Saunders said...

Wasteland, even!

Kelvin Green said...

Having to read the area descriptions from the book because there's not enough memory in game for them is a bit weird, but the game itself holds together quite well, so I don't think self-harm is an appropriate response to playing it!

Then again, I'm a die-hard retronaut, so I may be biased.

Steve Saunders said...

Ahhh... Okay, I thought I might have got a fact wrong of something!

Sadly, most "true-retro" games feel like that to me-- but my XP is in trying to replay the Ultima and Wizardry games for the most part.

Fine. I'll give Wasteland another try sometime. Maybe someone's done what they're doing to various old games (like King's Quest) and making newer modded versions... hmmm...