After I was sure that I had so thoroughly explored Las Vegas that there was no danger of spoilers, I Googled a map of the city in Wasteland, you'll never guess who created a whole bunch of Wasteland maps and walkthroughs! Andrew Schultz, if you ever stumble on this blog, please, please write to me. I want to send you some money in a box.
The reason I sought out such a map was to compare it to a real map of Las Vegas (and I was too lazy to draw one from the game myself). Damned if they didn't do a pretty good job. The game's version of Vegas is only a small part of downtown, but the roads are basically laid out correctly. The game skips some major roads, such as Sands Avenue, and the proportions are off (Charlestown Boulevard is way too close to Sahara Avenue), but overall they could have done worse.
The biggest problem is they've got an airport where the Boulevard Mall is located. It's been there since 1968, and it's hard to imagine what escalation of the Cold War would cause them to tear it down for an airport.
According to Google Maps, the red building to the northwest ought to be Raising Caine's Chicken Fingers.
When I left my last posting, I was heading for Vegas, but I happened to note a note in my notes that said "Darwin=PROTEUS." I thought this might be the password for one of the buildings in Darwin Village, so I returned. Not only wasn't it the password, but the guards attacked me for guessing. After I killed them, I was able to enter the building, and I found a black market which sold all kinds of cool stuff, including demolitions, anti-tank weapons, and Kevlar Suits. I spent some cash. The bartender didn't have anything to say to PROTEUS either, so I returned to Vegas.
Vegas was crawling with robots, mechanized tanks, cyborgs, and so forth. I had a battle at just about every intersection.
Through my exploration, I discovered that there were three basic power factions in Vegas: Fat Freddy, an underworld kingpin; Faran Brygo, a gangster-cum-community leader; and the Temple of the Mushroom Cloud, headed by the beautiful Charmaine.
The robots had shown up recently, marching out of some underground base in the west, but preceded by a stranger named Max from the east--a brilliant hand-to-hand fighter and scientist who so impressed Brygo that he made Max his right-hand man. When the robots showed up, Max started raving about everyone being in danger, and then he disappeared. My party showed up shortly afterwords.
I found this all out from the paragraphs in the adventurer's journal, but only after I slaughtered all of Faran Brygo's henchmen and customers. You see, I had been running low on cash and I was rather expecting to make a lot of money gambling in Vegas. But it turns out gambling is just based on your gambling skill, not on any kind of real-world skill (the gambling games aren't mini-games; you just say you want to gamble and the game tells you how much you won). After I lost a ton of money, I wasn't feeling too happy about it. Fortunately, Brygo didn't seem to hold it against me.
Fat Freddy wanted me to kill Brygo, but Brygo seemed to be the only person organizing any kind of resistance against the robots, so I killed Fat Freddy instead (Brygo didn't even ask me to; that was a bonus). Brygo sent me on to Charmaine (introduced as the most beautiful woman I've ever seen) at the Temple, who wanted me to bring her the Bloodstaff from Needles for her assistance. (What is it with this Bloodstaff? I'm not sure the game really ever explains its function.) I got it from the temple there and returned it to her, and she informed me that Max was a robot. She told me he'd gone into the sewers beneath the city and opened a way for me.
The sewers were extremely difficult. When I first entered, I fell into an underground river and was swept out of Vegas to the Colorado River, only to find, after I shook myself off and climbed to the shore, that all my characters had "sewer rot." This required an expensive trip to the doctor. Returning to the sewers again, I found that the place was full of tough robots, and I had to keep retreating to go buy more ammo because I was expending entire clips on "auto" at them. I also spent long passages of just "waiting" so I could heal up between combats. Among the detritus of the robots, I recovered several laser pistols and energy packs (in the library in Vegas, I was able to train in the "energy weapon" skill) and a bunch of computer parts, including an android's head--presumably Max's.
As I close the game for the night, I'm in a lab with several tables that seem to have something to do with putting Max back together again, but I can't quite get the sequence right.
I skipped a bunch of stuff in my account above because I played a lot of it last night and didn't take good notes about the order of things. There was a library and hospital in Vegas, and a jail where I rescued one of Brygo's men. I didn't have the password to enter the Temple, so I had to kill a ton of guards, who were very tough to kill but who also missed my characters with 90% of their attacks. In some building, I found a "proton axe" which turned out to be an awesome melee weapon, but it's rare that I can get close enough to use it.
The toughest robot, staking out a major intersection, was called a "Scorpitron." My characters gained a ton of levels in their automatic weapons, SMG, and clip pistol skills while fruitlessly firing shots at it--it appears that gaining levels in skills depends on the difficulty of the enemy you're facing. I only defeated it when I finally found some RPGs to lob at it from a distance. My character with high anti-tank weapon skills kept missing with her LAW rockets. Nothing like missing your shot with a $2,500 item.
Speaking of money, I realized I hadn't previously mentioned that you don't get any cash rewards or items from most regular battles. Never, it seems from random combats. It appears that the items dropped by certain enemies is fixed, which also means that there's a fixed amount of cash in the game. I'm not doing terribly, but I am a bit concerned about running out before the end, especially since I wasted so much selling excess stuff to the merchant in Quartz and then buying it back.
Some other notes:
- I finally found a place in which "move silently" would have come in handy.
- NPCs occasionally refuse to do what you tell them to do, such as using a skill or trading an item. If you keep trying, they do it anyway, so I'm not sure what purpose this serves except to slow you down.
- In a couple of the Vegas buildings, I was attacked by swarms of bees, who I was able to kill with bullets. I wonder how effective shooting bees would be in real life. You'd have to be a good shot.
- I'm finally starting to use my grenades. They don't do a lot against tanks, but they are pretty cool. I wish I'd used them more at the beginning of the game against flesh-and-blood enemies.
- I'm finding a lot more excuses to split my party. In one case, I had to walk through an irradiated area and only had one radiation suit. I don't know how far you can split the party; I haven't tried having three characters walk to Quartz while the other three stay in Vegas. Would there be any advantage to this?
- My highest-ranked character, after progressing through cool-sounding ranks like "command corporal," "grenadier major," and "master grenadier," just made...sergeant. Seriously? This far in the game (at least, I feel like I'm pretty far), and all I have to show for it is "sergeant"?
We seem to have a main quest at last, though, and it prompted me to go back and try to reconcile what I've experienced with the Hobo's prophecies, recounted in a posting a few days ago. "Beware he man who has lived longer than the wasteland" might refer to Max who, as a robot, has probably lived a long time. "A body is only a box to keep your mind in" also has a robot-ish feel, as does "a machine's dream is everyone's nightmare." Beyond that, I'm still a bit lost.
In a couple of comments, UbAh has remarked that he thought I might not like some of these plot developments, which are fairly unrealistic and goofy in a B-movie way. I can't say that I'm overly enamored of the turns the game has taken, but I'm willing to reserve judgement until I see how the storyline pans out. Right now, the game seems headed down a track to rip off The Terminator. I hope there's a big reveal about the robots that's a little more original than that.