If you've never played Fallout before, you're in for a great RPG experience, for several reasons. Number one, that it runs both in DOS and Windows seems strange after more than 8 years of mainly Windows operating systems. That it runs on the most recent Windows operating systems without a hitch and incredibly quick is fantastic. Secondly, the CD doesn't have to be in the tray when the game loads, and you can be up and playing in seconds. Then there's the graphics. While even when the game was released back in '97 the 2D graphics were considered average at best, the same "average" graphics hold up remarkably well today, thanks mainly to the rustic user-friendly interface that captures the atmosphere of Fallout perfectly. You may not be impressed the first time your character enters the Fallout world--neither was I back in '97--but fortunately this game not only grows on you, but you completely forget about the character graphics, and are consistently amused by the different death animations, well-done interface and 2D object graphics, and the relatively infinite replayability that the game offers.
If you haven't yet already, be sure you are playing version 1.1 of Fallout. You'll find a link to the patch in our downloads section
. It substantially reduces the number of bugs and makes your playing experience all the more pleasant. When you boot up the game, the lower right hand corner of the main menu will tell you what version you have.
This walkthrough is meant to be a fairly quick run-through, yet will cover nearly all of the quests. That's mainly because there are so many ways to play the game, and frankly, it's best if you discover some of the alternative options yourself. It will, however, walk you through getting the most powerful weapons and armor in the game. On that subject, whenever you're interested in finding out all that's available to you during the game, check out our complete equipment section
In Fallout, there are no classes. The stats and skills you choose at the beginning make a big impact on defining your character, and how you spend the future skill points and perks at various levels will round him/her out. It's possible and very viable to play as both a sniper-type, a diplomat, a bruiser, stealthy assassin, or any type of combination, and equally possible to shift midway through the game to another lateral type; it's all in the stats.
With that in mind, there are a few recommendations for stats and perks I can make to facilitate your progress in the game.
Think about what type of character you want to play first and base your stats upon that type of character; that's part of the fun. The highest any stat can be is 10. At some points of the game, you'll be able to (if you play your cards right) increase a number of stats by one or more. Because of this, consider not going above 9 for any of them. It's another option. Also, take a look at the Optional Traits before finalizing your primary stats. Several of them modify one or more primary stats. The "Gifted" trait is perhaps the most beneficial optional trait in the game, but does come with a slight penalty, as do they all.
A higher strength allows you to carry more items, which is always a good thing in this game. Many weapons will require a minimum strength to use effectively, and though you may use them with an insufficient strength, your chance of a misfire will increase. It also influences melee damage modifiers. A tip: the Power Armor you'll most likely find increases Strength by 3, and you'll also be able to surgically increase it another point. That's 4 points extra, so unless you're going for a brute character, ease off the attribute at the beginning.
The most damaging weapons in the game are ranged energy weapons, but there are a handful of good weapons of every type. If you're planning on sniping for a large part of the game (which is perhaps the easiest route to win), make your perception fairly high, as you'll be able to hit more accurately and from farther with a higher perception (~7+). Traps (though a minor part of the game) are also noticed easier with a high perception. Perception can be increased by one during the course of the game at the right place.
This is the stat that determines the number of HP you get initially and every level thereafter. It also determines your resistance levels and the fairly insignificant healing rate. I'd recommend leaving it at average for anyone except perhaps a melee character or kamikaze. It can also be upgraded once in the game.
A higher charisma modifies NPC reactions toward your character, as well as their barter prices, and also determines the amount of followers you may have. You'll be less likely to offend someone through conversation with a high charisma and more likely to be allowed to further dialogue. It's a fairly important stat for the diplomatic character, and others who wish the most quests should keep it at least average, along with tagging the speech skill... more on that below. You may be able to increase Charisma by 1 during the game if you find a special random encounter.
A high intelligence allows you to open up more lines of dialogue in the game, and occasionally solve a quest relating to something a smart person would know. It also modifies stats such as science, repair, etc., and gives you your number of skill points per level. It's advisable to make this at least average, but higher if you're taking the recommended trait (see below) "Gifted" to offset the -5 skill points per level.
The number of action points you have to spend each combat round is completely dictated by your agility score. The more agility you have, the more attacks per round you'll be able to fire off, and further you'll be able to move. Later in the game, there are a handful of great perks you'll want to be aware of to further increase the amount of action points. I'd recommend not skimping on Agility, and making it 7 or higher. It can be enhanced by 1 during the course of the game, so I usually make this number no higher than 9 for my characters.
Ah, luck. In most games, I usually ignore it. Not so in Fallout. Poor luck means more misfires and critical misses, and modifies all sorts of events during the game. For instance, special random encounters are partly influenced by luck. There's a chance to increase this number by 1 during the game.
Like the name implies, you do not have to choose any before starting your character. The maximum number is 2. Below are some of my recommended traits--ones that probably won't let you down regardless. Again, pick which ones most interest you rather than attempting to become the character with the highest stats. Any type can complete the game. Read the description carefully before choosing as there are also some marginal or worse traits thrown in, as well as some other adequate ones:
Later in the game, you'll be doing quite a few more criticals than you did at the beginning. This is mostly due to calling more targeted shots instead of a general fire/swing/thrust in their direction. This trait makes you hit for less damage, but gives adds 10% on top of the original measely 5% to your critical chance to hit. It's great for ranged sharpshooters and highly recommended. For those with high luck, you may opt out of this due to the Sniper perk at level 18, but by then you may be finished with the game and this will last throughout. If the game lasted significantly longer than 18 levels, it would be less of a benefit. Well, the max is 21 but unless you're doing random encounters, the end of the game should find you somewhere near 17 to 18.
It increases all of your stats by 1, an absolutely fantastic advantage, and still not offset by the -5 skill point penalty at every level-up. It essentially gives you a free 7 points to modify your primary stats, above the 5 you would normally get. To help the skill point imbalance, some people like to choose the "skilled" trait but I tend to choose a higher intelligence, which helps both my skills and dialogue. The perk you lose when you take the skilled trait is usually too good to pass up, for me. You may of course choose either method, none or both.
The diplomatic type of character should strongly consider this. The 20% initial boost to great skills such as speech, barter and doctor, can save you lots of money, and give you a jump start on saving those skill points for the weapons category. It's a highly recommended trait for the peaceful approach to solving quests.
It's a great perk if you're strength is decent to begin with because it adds one to your Agility (which you can then subtract and use it anywhere else!), but your carrying weight will be reduced to 15 x Str rather than the normal 25 x Str. Pick and choose what to carry and you'll be fine. But for pack rats, having a low carrying weight can get tedious.
The maximum skill threshold in Fallout is 200%. It's 300% in Fallout 2 and works slightly different.
Most players will want to either tag small guns or at least increase it early, as this skill alone is enough to last you throughout the game during combat. There are also books to increase your small guns skill up to 91%. You won't find energy weapons early unless you a) know where to look in which case you don't need this walkthrough, or b) progress far enough within the game to find some, which is about roughly halfway through a normal play through. You of course may choose unarmed or melee, both of which are also viable. But tag at least one offensive skill, the one of your choice.
Since you get three tagged skills (skills which increase at twice the rate), a good duo is energy weapons and either small guns, melee or unarmed, depending on which you want to focus on early. A good energy weapons skill will allow you to efficiently handle the most powerful weapons in the game and is therefore highly recommended for ranged characters. However, if you have two offensive skills tagged, what next?
Use your character type to pick. If you'd like as many quests as possible, speech is a good option. Most of the NPC's, including powerful enemies, will also be more likely to listen to you when you talk your way out of combat. Other good options include the doctor skill, lockpicking, and steal. It all depends on the type of character you wish to be. Steal can be particularly helpful if you're so inclined.
Keep in mind that books you find and buy during the game can increase science, repair, first aid, small guns and outdoorsman skills. Books can only increase your skill to 91%. If you're past that already, you will still use up the book, but will not learn anything new.
Every three levels you'll get a perk (unless you have the skilled trait, in which it's every four levels). Perks are like feats in D&D, and are usually incredibly beneficial. Think of a perk as like a trait without the negative. The following perks are recommended as they become available. Any other perk not listed may be just as good for your character, so it's more up to you. This is just a general listing of the perks you'll at least want to consider:
Awareness at level 3:
Since this perk is available at level 3, it's usually a good one to choose early on, as many of the other choices aren't quite this good. With this perk, you'll be able to see the hit points and subsequently, the items NPC's and enemies are carrying. Not essential but nonetheless very helpful, especially in combat where you want to give yourself the best advantage.
More Criticals at level 6:
5% more criticals may not seem like a lot, but later in the game you'll likely be spending most of your action points during combat making targeted shots, which is where the criticals become much more likely.
The peaceful character may wish to choose Ranger, which decreases the hostile random encounters.
Bonus Rate of Fire or Better Criticals at level 9:
I'd almost always recommend you take Bonus Rate of Fire, as it's probably the best perk in the game for ranged shooters, other than Sniper of course... which comes at level 18 (and when you're either almost through or done). However, if you have a spare perk and don't know what to use it on, choose Better Criticals. I'll usually take it at level 15, since the only new one at that point is Mental Block.
Action Boy at level 12:
This is another of the best perks in the game. One free action point per round to spend on whatever you wish. Extremely useful if your Agility wasn't great to begin with.
Your choice at level 15:
Mental Block is not really a factor in this game, so you may wish to use this open slot on something else, like Better Criticals if you didn't choose it at level 9, or something novel, like Explorer, which makes those neat special random encounters happen more frequently...
Sniper or Slayer at level 18:
For the melee-minded, there is nothing better than Slayer. Likewise for those range weapon enthusiasts with Sniper, though this perk requires a luck check on every hit to determine whether it's a critical. If you're planning on going all the way to level 21, you may wish to neglect some of the "critical" perks earlier since these two will negate their effectiveness anyway, so plan accordingly. I will say that even at level 18, most characters will be master of the wasteland anyway and going up to 21 is likely overkill. Either way, it doesn't get better than these two.
For information on the Game Timer, which ammo is good to use, and other good questions, continue to our walkthrough FAQ
, generally spoiler free.