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Ahead, a series of bright lights that spelled out "Welcome to the Strip." To the left, a series of crumbling buildings, left to the elements on the outskirts of the city. All I had to do was walk forward and head through a gate and I'd be on the Strip. And that's when I ran into a problem. You can't just waltz into downtown New Vegas. You can try, but you'll end up dead.GameSpot.
The outskirts of New Vegas are kept in order by several competing factions. There's the Freeside Gang out on the streets, largely kept under control by the stronger Kings, who it seems are at odds with the New California Republic. And to top it all off, the Followers, who camp out in the Old Las Vegas Mormon Historic Park, are trying to get the entire population off of booze and drugs.
We then restarted from our original position, and decided to try a less homicidal approach, maybe even talk to a few characters before shooting. We followed our compass to the New Vegas gates which were guarded by "Securitron gatekeepers"--giant police robots with a comical retro-future look that could've come out of The Jetsons. The metal monsters were basically giant steel boxes mounted on a unicycle wheel with an antenna on top and a TV monitor display in front showing an exaggerated cartoon caricature of a grumpy policeman. One police robot immediately approached us once we neared the door and demanded the right to run a "credit check" on us--which essentially meant that we had to either attain passport documents (through a series of quests), bribe it with 2,000 bottle caps (which we didn't possess at the time), or hack it using the science skill (our character's skill was insufficient).1UP.
I continued to wander the streets looking for my targets, and in doing so became distracted by the gated entrance to the main Strip. Figuring I could find a way past this gate to explore the Strip, I approached it and noticed several Securitrons (the robots that were digging up the grave in the New Vegas teaser trailer). Nearby was a man named Old Ben; he kindly warned me that I would need to either have 2,000 caps or a passport to pass through the gates to the Strip. Nonsense. I'll just shoot my way through past the robots, looting their body for a key in the process. That was the plan, anyway, and was encouraged to do so because apparently someone tried the exact same thing earlier in the day.