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A 1988 CRPG that was groundbreaking in its combination of a gritty post-apocalyptic setting with a nonlinear play style. The designers notably sacrificed more modern graphics for extended detail in the gameplay, as well as creating a rich backstory that appeared in the game's copy protection, a set of 'Paragraphs' that were referenced by number at various plot points. Woven into the paragraphs were numerous Red Herrings not referenced in-game to keep players from skipping to the end of the story.Celebrated on several sites, most notably at the Ranger HQ Grid, which includes info about the game as well as some surprisingly good Fan Fic.After a very successful Kickstartersupport campaign, inXile Entertainment, under Brian Fargo's leadership, have begun work on the sequel, Wasteland 2, with Obsidian Entertainment, and Chris Avellone in particular, joining in as co-developers. The game was released 19th September 2014.An enhanced version of the original Wasteland - with optional music, voice-overs and an integrated paragraph book has been released on digital distribution sites (including Steam and gog.com) to coincide with the sequel.See Also Fallout, the series' Spiritual Successor.
This game provides examples of:
Action Bomb: The Radiation Angels at the Temple of the Mushroom Cloud explode into a pile of glowing blue dust after you defeat them. Why, yes, it is radioactive.
Action Girl: Christina, a mercenary and potential party member who has a unique picture. She likes to use full-auto on her weapons, and starts equipped with an UZI submachine gun.
Added Alliterative Appeal: In the southeast corner of the agricultural center's farm, there are four foot tall pears. They're pleasingly plump, and perfectly prepared to possibly plummet onto passing pedestrians.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: AI research goes pretty badly awry, and is hinted to have caused the nuclear holocaust in the first place. Notably, the game's main villains are a robot army commanded by an insane Cyborg and an ancient Military AI.
A.K.A.-47: Played with. Some weapons use their real-life names, and the manual explains that some of the fictional ones are simply future versions of then-contemporary firearms, but many of the game's weapons are still entirely fictional.
Anti-Villain: Finster believes that with the nuclear holocaust, humanity has proven to be bad stewards of the earth, so he is wiping them out it to start over. The PCs are just in his way.
Apocalyptic Log: A number are found and related in the Paragraphs, including actual logbooks from the Sleeper Base.
Artificial Stupidity: Recruited Party Members are only under a small amount of control by the player. Often they refuse to take orders, or take them too well. They also can't tell between friendly and non-friendly NPCs.
VAX and Christina in particular will use full auto (which empties a magazine) as an attack option 90% of the time, wasting precious ammunition. This is especially painful if they're using the rare energy weapons
Backtracking: There's a fair amount involved for numerous quests, most notably finding the Real Bloodstaff.
Beef Gate: The Guardian Citadel can be approached very early, but the game notes that it will be impossible to defeat the defenders until much later in the game.
Cloning Blues: If you take the time to learn the associated skills, you can clone any of your party members. This can be used either to invoke We Have Reserves should you manage to lose one of them in battle OR to outfit your team with a carbon copy of your toughest Ranger to increase the team's overall ferocity.
Creator Cameo: Faran Brygo is an obvious reference to game designer Brian Fargo.
Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Dropping below 0 hit points results in a number of progressively serious wounded states, and unless the Medic or Doctor skill is applied, the character is gone for good.
Dungeon Bypass: You can use the sewers to move around towns without triggering Random Encounters. Many buildings have multiple ways through as well, allowing the player to skip through hostile encounters.
Dungeon Town: Most major settlements. While the first is empty, the agricultural facility to the west has hostile animals, the town to the north has wandering bandits, etc.
Dump Stat: Charisma. It affects almost nothing of any value, whereas other stats can be game-changers if balanced correctly
Everything Breaks: Not really, but the furniture in the abandoned buildings is described as about to fall apart at the lightest touch.
Two NP Cs request that the Bloodstaff be found and returned to them. The player can turn it in to the first one for a reward in Needles, and then ask for it back to give it to Charmaine in Vegas.
In Vegas, Fat Freddy asks the Rangers to kill Faran Brygo for his Onyx Ring.
Gang Of Bullies: The kids in Highpool who laugh at your troop of hardened soldiers falling on some slippery rocks. You can kill them if you choose to, although everyone hates you for it and it results in the town becoming deserted.
The Great Politics Mess-Up: Being created in 1988, the game world is an aftermath of USA-Soviet nuclear exchange from 1997, with Cold War getting hot.
Much of the game's context, backstory, and even basic features are left unexplained in the game proper, and no version currently available contains the game's manual. This means that modern players will typically have to hunt down game guides in order to figure out how the game's stat system works, and even what you're supposed to be doing in the first place.
The end game is nearly impossible without energy weapons. These require your characters have an IQ of 23 to be able to even use them. This means you have to create your characters with as near an IQ to 18 as possible and then constantly raise it when given a chance to get to the minimum requirement.
Guns Are Worthless: Played straight during the first half of the game, when a decent Brawling skill lets you deal way more damage; partially averted after the party reaches Last Vegas and finds assault rifles. The Proton Axe is still a valid alternative until the end of the game, though.
Healing Potion: Averted. There is no way for characters to regain health except by resting.
I Fought the Law and the Law Won: Averted. You are the law, and in the few places that you're not, you can still beat out the competition if you have high enough combat skills.
Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Usually averted. You can blow up or knock down virtually any door, including several that have key slots (though those generally require explosives to knock down) and a good number of walls, and there are plenty of fences that can be climbed, too.
In-Universe Game Clock: The in-game clock runs at different speeds typically depending on the scale of the current map. This makes resting to recover health a lot faster in some locations than in others.
Purely Aesthetic Gender: It influences exactly one thing: which restroom you can enter without getting weird looks from people.
Rail Roading: Beautifully averted. While the car takes you from city to city and there are two locations that NPCs need to reveal, but otherwise, you are free to explore the whole map, returning to any earlier location you like and even trying farther ahead ones.
Red Herring: The manual includes paragraphs not referenced in-game which, if read together, create the impression that the game is really about a war on Mars. This is done to punish players who try to read the paragraphs without being prompted to do so.
Regenerating Health: You can get back to full health by waiting. In some versions, when your entire party is unconscious, they may recover after a few minutes. However, if you are sick or became seriously wounded from combat, you must get medical treatment or die.
Rock Beats Laser: A spear is more powerful than a sizeable chunk of guns and other weapons. It's also listed under AT weapons with LAW launchers and sabot rockets.
Saving the World: Your ultimate goal is to destroy Base Cochise to stop Finster from exterminating mankind.
Story-Driven Invulnerability: There are characters who can be attacked and those who can't. The vast majority, including people you wouldn't want to attack, are the former, but a few (like Spam Shade) are the latter. Some of these change types after a given plot trigger, such as if you complete Fat Freddy's quest.
The Gambler: Dan Citrine's skills qualify him as one. You can also discover that he was only captured by Ugly John's gang to retrieve a stash of money. The same goes for Mort.