Video Game: Fallout 1

Life in the Vault is about to change...

"None could stand in my way. I had a mission. I had a goal. I had a really large gun."
— The Vault Dweller's memoirs, from the Fallout 2 manual.

The first game in the Fallout series: the most straightforward and unarguably true to the original vision. Released in 1997.

Vault 13 is an okay place to live. There's plenty of food, water and friends, and the Overseer keeps everything nice and tidy. Not that you have much choice: the Overseer says that the world outside is a big pile of radioactive ash and bleached bones, with the only life being horrifying mutant creatures that could kill you in seconds. The wasteland is simply inhospitable. Good thing there's no reason to leave, right?

Think again. The water chip, the source of all the water in the Vault, has broken and there's no way to fix it. The only way to get another one is to seek out another Vault and take theirs. But wait, that means someone has to go into the wasteland! Who would do something that crazy?! The Overseer decided that the most fair way to find out, was to gather all the inhabitants of the Vault and have them draw straws. And guess who drew the shortest? Oh yes... it was you.

You leave the Vault for the first time. All you can see is a dark cave filled with rats, all of which look quite hungry, and a skeleton dressed in a Vault jumpsuit just outside the entrance. The door you just came out of won't respond to your password... This Is Gonna Suck.

This Video Game contains the following tropes:

  • After the End
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The Master if you get him to kill himself, getting a My God, What Have I Done? reaction from him when he finds that all his work for nothing.
  • And Then the Vault Dweller Was a Super Mutant: Occurs as part of a Non-Standard Game Over if you reveal the location of Vault 13 to the Lieutenant.
  • Anyone Can Die: You can do a pacifist run, or it's possible to kill every living thing in the game, including the usually-unkillable Overseer.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Quite a few of them.
  • Atompunk: Especially before the war.
  • Asshole Victim: Decker may be an evil crime boss, but the people he wants you to remove aren't angels themselves. They include Darren Hightower, the leader of the Water Merchants who use their water supply as an economic weapon, and Jaina, a member of the Unity.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end you are banished from the home you fought so hard to save because you have become "too different".
    • The more time you take to defeat the super mutants, the more towns they invade and destroy. It's possible to defeat them all, but end up with Adytum (maybe) and Vault 13 as the only surviving places.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Centaurs and floaters look like nothing nature could've created (which is about right, since the former are failed FEV experiments, and the latter are the result of the US government's experiments on exposing the FEV virus to flatworms.)
  • Body Horror: The Master, who's only barely recognizable as human (or even humanoid) and talks in three different voices. The floor he's on isn't much better, covered from floor to ceiling in biomass.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Glow. While the player does need to go there to join the Brotherhood of Steel, they only need to visit the first floor, while there's still multiple floors full of loot, robots and radiation to deal with below (as well as being able to learn the origins of the FEV virus.)
  • Brand X: The gun magazines appear to be a Brand X version of Guns & Ammo.
  • But Thou Must: "The chip, please." Becomes a Crowning Moment of Funny if you play a below 4 intelligence character.
  • Chekhov's Town: Shady Sands, the humble First Town with a few minor sidequests, goes on to become the New California Republic, a major faction in both 2 and New Vegas.
  • Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth: Generally speaking there are three ways to accomplish anything. You can just use plain violence, you can use diplomacy, or you could steal something. This includes the final boss: you could convince him he's wrong and that he needs to self-destruct, you could just shoot him, or you could sneak into the basement and set off his self-destruct nuke. The three pre-set character builds are designed around this: A musclebound meathead with low intelligence, a Russian Femme Fatal who's good at spy stuff, and a charismatic smooth talker who would be what the pre-war world called a "Lawyer".
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: The Overseer will interrupt you every 25 days with a cutscene to remind you how important it is to return the water chip in time.
  • Cool Pet: Dogmeat.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus:
    • The Unity has a gothic style cathedral.
    • One of Followers of Apocalypse's symbols is a Celtic Cross.
  • Downer Ending: If you side with the Big Bad or give in to The Dragon, you get treated to one of these. The same thing happens if 500 days(or 400 if you give away Vault 13's location) pass. It is pure horror. See for yourself. The player character is dipped in FEV if he sided with the antagonists, Vault 13 is invaded, and everyone inside is slaughtered, including what looks like the Overseer as he makes a last stand.
  • Evil Is Sterile: The super mutants who are out to make all other humans mutants and destroy anything they can't transform, turn out to be sterile. This is a major plot point, as their Visionary Villain leader thinks mutants are the next evolution of humanity, and the revelation that every one of them is unable to reproduce means their race is doomed to eventually die out can be used to trigger his suicide.
  • Fat Bastard: Gizmo.
  • Firing One-Handed: There's a perk to allowed you to use one-handed weapons better with an accuracy penalty to two-handed ones.
  • Five-Bad Band
  • Five-Man Band
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Master was once just another Vault resident. Also, the Vault Dweller, especially if you take the more evil routes.
  • Foreshadowing: Have you paid attention to the lyrics of the song Maybe heard in the intro? Especially to the verse Maybe you'll think of me when you are all alone/Maybe the one who is waiting for you/Will prove untrue, then what will you do??. Cue the memorable scene of the Vault Dweller wandering towards an uncertain future, after being banished from the Vault 13 by the Overseer.
  • Gallows Humor: "This is Ed. Ed's dead."
  • Gorn: Some of the deaths can get pretty messy, usually when enemies are killed via critical hit (or if you have the Bloody Mess trait, which causes everyone around you to die the most violent deaths possible.)
  • Gray and Grey Morality: As with the rest of the series. Interestingly enough, it was going to be more gray in the sense of Junktown having a Bittersweet Ending no matter who you sided with.
  • Gun Twirling: Your character will do this when you holster certain guns.
  • Hulk Speak: Super mutants, as well as the player character if s/he has a low intelligence score.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: If you talk to the raider leader, he orders you to execute two girls. Saying "NO!" makes the raiders turn against you; Saying "Okay!" results in the girls begging you not to, before cutting to a sticky spot on the floor, and the raiders commenting that your style is "Messy, but effective." You lose a few Karma points and befriend the raiders.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Some talking heads resembles their voice actors. The most notable example is Killian Darkwater, voiced by Richard Dean Anderson, who basically is MacGyver without the mullet. Another example is Laura, who has long, blonde hair, like Kath Soucie.
  • Knight Templar: The Brotherhood of Steel.
  • Life Will Kill You: If Gizmo takes over Junktown, he dies by choking on an Iguana Stick in the ending.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Small Guns, Melee Weapons, and Unarmed Combat could be seen as analogues for a "Warrior", because they're common and will carry you through the game. Big Guns and Energy Weapons, on the other hand, are much less common yet they are superior to the other weapons by the endgame (Big Guns can deal high damage to multiple targets, and Energy Weapons have the highest damage per shot).
  • Lord British Postulate: Every single character in the game, no matter how important, is killable...except for the Overseer, at least under normal circumstances. Throughout the game, he's sitting in a raised pod (much like the Master) that protects him, and if you open fire on him, then he whips out a pair of special miniguns and One Hit Kills you. However, at the end of the game, the Overseer finally steps out of his pod to speak with you, and if you're quick enough, you can enter battle mode just before the ending FMV plays and messily execute him in one shot (though this also happens automatically if you have low karma or the Bloody Mess trait.)
  • Manual Leader, AI Party: The recruitable party members allow you to customise how close or far they stay from you, how often to use drugs to heal themselves, and how to use their weapons.
    • Artificial Stupidity: Unfortunately, there's no way to nudge them out of the way until the sequel game, meaning they can box you into a corner in more crowded areas and refuse to budge, necessitating a reload if you don't want to shoot your way out.
  • Megaton Punch: Combining the power fist (or, indeed a high enough unarmed skill) with the Bloody Mess trait results in the player being able to literally punch massive holes in enemies.
  • Modular Epilogue: The ending is a series of short epilogues detailing the future of the different settlements the player visited, with multiple endings highlighting the player's actions and their moral implications.
  • Plot Coupon: The Water Chip. It is not a MacGuffin since the item itself has relevancenote , and you need to "cash it in" in order to move the plot into the second phase.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Pissing off the Overseer will result in him pulling out a pair of plasma gatlings from his chair and one-shotting you.
    • There's also a more unintentional example. If the Regulators turn on Jon Zimmerman, his bodyguard will shoot him with a special scripted attack that deals 250 damage. It's possible to Take The Bullet by accident and keel over dead right then and there.
  • Sequence Breaking: Since the player can go pretty much everywhere from the very start of the game (although they only have the coordinates of one of them) it's entirely possible, with high enough skill, luck or repeated Save Scumming, to complete the second mission's objectives way before having finished the first one.
  • Shout-Out: A trademark of the series.
  • Snipe Hunt: Trying to join the Brotherhood of Steel will have them send you on a mission to retrieve something from the Glow, a highly irradiated death zone. Upon accepting the mission, one of the door guards mentions that they usually just give the mission out to get rid of people wandering in and wanting to join. If you do complete the mission, though, they make you an initiate anyway.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: An intelligent enough character that has found the right piece of evidence can do this to the Big Bad.
  • Timed Mission: You have 150 in-game days to find the water chip. This can be postponed 100 days if you tell a group of water merchants were Vault 13 is. Next you get 500 in-game days to stop the Master's Army from invading Vault 13. If you asked for help from the water merchants you only got 400 days. This leaves the player with relatively little time to explore a pretty interesting world, something Black Isle probably realized, because the first patch removed the second limit, allowing you to Take Your Time. Some of the cities still end up being destroyed if you take too much time though.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Vault 13 may seem a case at first, since its spare water chip shipment got misplaced. However, as you progress you'll see Vaults whose fates were much worse.
  • This Cannot Be!: The Master will at first claim you forged the evidence that the virus turns everything sterile.
  • The Unintelligible: Playing with a low enough intelligence score results in a character so stupid that they can't even form coherent sentences. Unfortunately, this also makes it hard to get into a lot of sidequests or even barter, because most NPCs are just too annoyed by you.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Master wants to turn every human into Super Mutants as he believes that it is the only way to unify the wasteland.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Pretty standard for its time and genre. But subtly lampshaded close to the end when you get to the Cathedral. When you speak to one of the Children inside, a possible conversation starter is "You know, every time I talk to someone, people keep repeating everything they say over and over again."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Master. He wants to replace humanity with what he genuinely views as being the best step forward. He reveals that he doesn't want to kill humanity so much as phase them out, and is absolutely heartbroken at everything he has done if you reveal how pointless it has been, and he is genuinely horrified and suicidal over all that he has done in the name of progress.
  • Wham Episode: The conversation with ZAX in the Glow, as well as reading the holodisks stored there.