Nightmare Fuel / Fallout
Not pictured: Creepy voices, Vault Dweller's brown underwear.
Burned out ruins of proud cities from a long gone age? Bloodthirsty, giant, deformed creatures that once were ordinary humans and animals? Old empty vaults with fading signs of the madness that once tore them up from the inside? Oh yes, the Wasteland is indeed a scary place. While there may be much more content, and therefore, much more exploration and possibility for scares in Fallout 3 and beyond, the first few were legitimately terrifying in their own respects.

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Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 have their own pages.

  • The ghost farm in Fallout 2. With that creepy City of Lost Angels aside, all there is to it is a very large cornfield and what looks like bodies impaled on stakes. A closer look reveals that they're nothing but dummies, but in the house you can fall into a cave unexpectedly. The atmosphere of the situation does not make it calm.
  • The intro in the second game is Nightmare Fuel. The first half is funny, but then it switches to the vault door opening, and you seeing a Vertibird and a few soldiers with machine guns. They all are silent, and the camera cuts to the silhouette of a family waving through the door. All of a sudden, the machine guns fire, and then the screen cuts to black with a scream echoing in the distance. Say hello the the Enclave! This is what they do.
  • In Fallout 1 and 2, the talking heads for certain characters tend to be Uncanny Valley material due to their rigid animations, and are often shocker material if you first play the game. Hell, even the first cutscene can be startling at first.
  • The intro in the first Fallout game has shades of this. The news that Canada has been annexed by the USA (pressumably by force), a clip of two soldiers killing a tied-up person (in a way that closely resembles some infamous photos of executions during certain wars), the soldiers then become glorified and a banner of the USA is shown…with far less stars than normal. And then the camera shows that that's a TV still emitting… in the middle of an empty, ruinous building in a city equally as destroyed. The classic music playing then ends… with an eerie echo that resonates in the massive silence of the ruins. Only the sound of the wind remains as the echo dies. And then the narrator begins telling you about what happened in the beginning and what triggered everything. It can be harrowing to see how it could all actually happen in real life if certain conditions occured. Despite certain funny parts of the opening (the ads for the car and the Mr. Handy robot qualify), it's a pretty chilling introduction to the horrors you'll encounter in the franchise. And it only gets worse from here…
    • The execution clip reveals a lot about the horrors of the prewar world. Note that the video was propaganda that the American government wanted people to see, not some leaked footage. If the government is willing to show the American people something as horrifying as that, what even worse things have they done that they DON'T want people to know about? Play the game and you'll find out.
    • On the opposite side, imagine how apathetic or fanatical the general populace would have to be for that kind of thing being shown on broadcast television and not lead to a public outcry. Or possibly too preoccupied with their own neighbourhood going to hell to give much thought to what's happening on the other side of the border.
    • Not to mention various corporations and companies who put profit and lucrative government deals over pretty much everything and also engaged in ethically dubious actions (and that's putting it VERY lightly). In a way the Great War can be seen as a macabre form of mercy kill executed on an entire crapsack world.
  • The Master's Lair in Fallout 1 was quite creepy at the time, as you recognize a Vault…but as you go deeper more and more of the Vault seems directly connected to some kind of biomass…
    • The Master himself (Richard Grey), a Vault City exile who goes into hiding and accidentally falls into a vat of FEV serum, and undergoes a hideous transformation into a biomass that looks like a cross between a Centaur (see the Fallout 3 Nightmare Fuel page, not the one seen in the first two) and a Vault Terminal, whose only wish is to make the world "peaceful" by turning every man, woman, and child into a Super Mutant. The worst part may be that he believes he's right, unless you are charismatic enough to Heel–Face Turn him. How? The Super Mutants are a pre-War experiment for disposable super soldiers, and are thus STERILE. The Masters insane plan was doomed decades before he was born
    • You can find logs where he describes the progression of his own mutating body, first with horror and gradually the tone turns into eerie calmness. Early on he describes how a rat came near him, upon which a tendril shot out of his body and grabbed it. It didn't eat the rat, but assimilated it into its own biomass.
    • If you enter the hallway leading to his lair without a psychic nullifier or the Mental Block perk, the results are pretty terrifying; to sum it up, the Master uses his psychic powers to make your character hear voices calling their name from the walls, see visions of old friends from the past, start having heavy nosebleeds, have one of their eyes stabbed by a piece of bone that fell from the ceiling (resulting in lost of Perception and Intelligence) and overall trying to slow your character down and attack your mental state.
    The pain in your head is maddening. You feel the sins of others wash over your soul. And it gets worse, as your sins answer them. Like madmen, they fight through your psyche, and in the process tear your personality apart.
    Your head is pulsing with the intrusive thoughts of others. The pain grows and grows. Suddenly, as if it never existed, the pain vanishes. You fall to the ground and weep. But something does not feel right.
    • It's notable that the Vault Dweller himself refused to speak of whatever it was he had found beneath the Cathedral in the Boneyard. In his memoirs, he wrote " I still cannot bring myself to write of this discovery, but let it be known that when I left, the Beast was dead and the Master of the mutant army was no more."
  • Many of the death animations in the original games are absolutely horrific:
    • The Lieutenant seems to melt from the inside out as he twitches around.
    • Frank Horrigan, who manages to rattle out his Famous Last Words despite his legs and torso being explosively separated not half a minute earlier.
    • Critical hit-kills with plasma weapons causes the victim's flesh to melt off the bones, as they're screaming.
    • Shot from laser rifle can cleave you in half, revealing the protruding stump of your spine.
    • Alien blaster and pulse weapons will turn your target into pile of ash or outright disintegrate it.
    • The Overseer gets his entire left half blown apart, his intestines dragging behind him as he tries to crawl away before twitching violently and dying.
  • The ending where you side with the Master. You get treated to a scene where you are wrapped in bandages and squirming as you get dipped into FEV. The next thing you see is Vault 13 being invaded by mutants. The mutants start murdering everyone, including what looks like the Overseer as he has a futile last stand against the mutants made of iron. In the unpatched game, after 500 days (400 if you gave away the location of Vault 13 to water merchants), you get the same cutscene, except without the Player Character being dipped into FEV. You know who finally killed the overseer? It was YOU.
    • Although a later patch replaces the 500 day limit (to a maximum of 13 in-game years for limit reasons), so you can take about as much time as you want. Eventually, the mutants will however take over areas of the map.
  • Remember those iguana treats, the ones that always provided you with a little extra health? And then going in to see good ol' doctor Morbid, and accidentally going into his basement to discover iguana bits are people!?
  • The newer games have done away with it, but the first two let you target children. You could blow them up, disintegrate them, put out both their eyes, set them on fire, and leave them a limping, bleeding mess with a single remaining hit point. Or you could just shoot them with a gun. And were you feeling like a big man and started a shootout in a populated area? There's some chance of accidentally hitting those kids if you miss. Take some time to think about it while their detailed death animation plays out.
  • Frank Horrigan. It's telling that he is the only boss in the series who can't be talked down… you have to fight and kill him. This is probably for the best.
    • Frank Horrigan: Darth Vader meets The Incredible Hulk with the mind of an Eagleland psycho. Mutated at Mariposa with help from Enclave scientists, Frank had become an "ultra super mutant in power armor"; a "genetically engineered total homicidal maniac cyborg bodyguard". Bound to his suit, he can take anything you can dish at him and throw it right back at you. You have to kill him.
    "Your ride's over, mutie. Time to die."
  • In the Fallout universe, Richard Nixon was such a loved president that many items praising him can still be found after the war. Makes you wonder what their equivalent to Nixon was… Alternatively, it was already such a Crapsack World by his presidency, his methods were considered relatively benign by comparison. Instead of causing a national scandal leading to him ultimately being impeached, no-one cared.
    • One fan theory posits that Senator Joseph McCarthy eventually became president.
  • The series whole timeline. Oh God, it's horrible how it all makes sense, and the not-entirely unlikely idea it could actually happen. With oil supplies running low in the mid to late 2000s and no reliable sources of alternative fuels available, Europe is forced to invade the Middle East because they can't afford to import oil anymore, and China and the US go to war over the last remaining oil well found in the Pacific Ocean. International tensions flare, countries grow increasingly militant and paranoid over dwindling resources. As a result, the United Nations disbands, the European Commonwealth falls apart, and the United States annexes Mexico and Canada. And through it all the world governments pursue ever more amoral technology in the pursuit of better weapons or alternative fuels. All because of the butterfly effect of the transistor never being invented, leading to an Atomic Era instead of an Electronic Era.
  • This chilling description of the Great War's aftermath, from the Fallout wiki, paraphrased from the Fallout Bible:
    Around a week after the initial nuclear explosions, rain started to fall; however, none of it was drinkable. The rain was black; tainted with soot, ash, radioactive elements produced by the nuclear explosions, and various other contaminants produced by nuclear weapons. This rain marked the start of the terrible fallout that marked the true, permanent destruction caused by the Great War. The rain lasted four long days, killing thousands of species that had survived the initial destruction of the bombs, be they animals, plants, or microorganisms. Those few living things – human, animal, or plant – that survived after the rain ended were left to live in the now-barren wasteland that had spread across Earth, where nearly all pre-War plant life had died either in the initial explosions or from the intense radiation produced by the fallout.
  • Myron. Just let him tell his story about how he developed Jet to get an idea of how much of a sociopathic monster he is.
  • Somehow managing to play Fallout 2 for so long that you reach the game's built-in 13-year time limit. Though it's mainly a still image of the wasteland with "THE END", the Scare Chord and blowing wind make it unnecessarily spooky, especially when you aren't expecting it (not to mention how it just dumps you to the title screen without a word afterwards.)
  • Unlike the later games, which often kept the real name of the various cities and landmarks, Fallout 1 either featured original locations built after the Great War like Shady Sands or Junktown, or pre-War facilities that dont exist in real life like the Vaults or the Mariposa Military Base. This creates a nasty shock when you get near the endgame and get directed to a place called "The Boneyard". Then, you're shown The Boneyard's title image, which happens to be a Pre-War map...
  • The journal of Captain Maxson, the founder of the Brotherhood Of Steel, which can be found deep inside Mariposa. It details the last days before the Apocalypse during his stay at the Mariposa Military Base, and the soldiers discovering exactly what their goverment had been up to for all this time...

    Oct 10, 2077

    I, Roger Maxson, Captain, serial number 072389 have started this log because it doesn't look good for any of us, and I'd like for people to know what really happened here.

    All hell broke loose when we finally discovered what those scientist bastards were up to. The Colonel has locked himself in his office and seems to be having some sort of breakdown. The men are screaming for blood. They're looking to me for answers, and I'm not sure what to do. Someone has to do something, though, before this place sinks into an anarchistic bloodbath.

    Oct. 12 2077

    Every time we get a report from higher up things get worse here. The war is going in a very bad direction and this place is about to go into full mutiny, with all the chaos that entails. I stopped one of the men from executing a scientist today, and demanded that we interrogate them to find out what their orders were.

    Oct.13 2077

    I killed a man today. I was interrogating Chief Scientist Anderson and he was giving me the full details of their inhuman experiments. He said his orders came from the Gov't., but I didn't buy it. He started screaming about how he was following orders, how he was a military man, and I just shot him. I tell myself it was to keep him from causing a full mutiny among the men, but I'm not so sure.

    Oct.15 2077

    I tried again to speak to the colonel through the door, but he seems to have completely lost touch with reality. I broke down the door with several of the men just in time to watch him blow his head off. Right before he pulled the trigger he said he was sorry.

    Oct. 18 2077

    By killing the egghead, I seem to have confirmed my position as leader of the men. They follow me without question now. The interrogations invariably end up being executions. Shellman held out the longest, but the end result was the same. Her arguments about her orders were a bit too specific to be completely made up. I'm getting a real bad feeling in my gut about how this is all going to end up. I don't even lie to myself anymore about my reasons for executing the scientists.

    Oct.20 2077

    I finally replied to the outside world over our radio. I don't know why they never sent anyone here to see what was happening when we stopped responding to their transmissions. It doesn't make any sense. Well, they'll come now. I declared ourselves seceded from the union. They remember Jefferson Davis. What will history say about me?

    Oct.22 2077

    What the hell is going on? We declare ourselves to be in full desertion from the army and no longer under the Government's command and what happens? Nothing. Something bad is coming down.

    Oct. 23 2077

    • About a week later, Maxson leads his men and their families on an exodus to the Lost Hills bunker, where they'll eventually found the Brotherhood. A week is all it has taken for surviving civilians to degenerate into the precursors to the Raiders out of desperation, who kill several of the unarmored members of the convoy, including Maxsons wife. The Raiders would go on to plague the post-War world for 200 years.

  • The truth about the Vaults were never revealed in the original games, and only became known to the fans through the Fallout Bible in 2002, but there is a deleted terminal entry in Fallout 2 that contains the logs of the Vault 13 Overseer, detailing the events after the first game and exposes WHY the Vault Dweller was exiled. The Overseer's last entry mentions something called the "Societal Preservation Program", which The Chosen One finds odd, and does a bit of digging in the computers memory. After hours of searching, he comes across a few well hidden documents, revealing a sinister truth...

    Overseer's Log

    {330}{}{This is it. Consider these my final words, as I doubt I'll live to write another entry. Oh no, the people of the Vault have spoken, and they've made it quite clear that they want my head. I knew this day would come, ever since HE managed to rile them up by doing the impossible. Sure, he saved all our lives, but he also ruined everything.}

    {332}{}{Let it be known that I took little joy in exiling our "great hero", but I had no choice in the matter. His adventures in the outside world had changed him too much. He was too great a threat to the project. Had I let him remain among us, he might have uncovered the true nature of the Vaults and jeopardized the experiment. Even if he didn't, he'd at least inspire others to venture outside, which would be just as bad.}

    {334}{}{He simply had to go. There was no other option. But even that wasn't enough. No, I'm afraid the damage had already been done. I allowed his most stubborn supporters to follow him into exile, and then tried to reassert my control over those who remained. But it was no use — I'd already been vilified. So be it. The only thing I'm guilty of is an entire lifetime of carrying out the demands of our Great Nation.}

    {336}{}{My only regret is that Vault 13 is not likely to complete the social experiment. Once I've been disposed of, I feel certain the others will leave the Vault. Not right away, of course — I've instilled too much fear in them of the outside world. But eventually, they're bound to overcome that fear. I have very little faith that Vault 13 will remained closed until 2277, as the experiment dictates.}

    {338}{}{I'm afraid I have failed my duty as Overseer. I can only hope that the rest of the public Vaults involved in the Societal Preservation Program have been more successful. To my superiors, who I'm certain will one day read this: forgive me. And may God bless America.}

    Hidden Documents

    {360}{}{After hours of scouring through the computer's archives, you're able to locate a few hidden documents concerning the Societal Preservation Program. As you read over them, you uncover a rather disturbing truth about the Vaults: they were never intended to save the population of the United States.}

    {362}{}{Incredibly, all 122 of Vault-Tec's public Vaults were part of a grand social experiment orchestrated by the US government. Only 17 of those Vaults, dubbed "control Vaults", were designed to function correctly (it seems Vault 8 was one of the lucky few). The rest were meant to have various critical flaws, so that the government could study the pre-selected occupants, and see how they react to the stresses of their situations, and how well they're able to re-colonize once their Vaults open.}

Looks like you're out of action points. Time to break out the minigun and hold the trigger down.

Alternative Title(s): Fallout 2