The first Fallout game to reach the consoles. Released by Interplay Entertainment in 2004, it commonly regarded as the nadir of the series, for reasons such as the Genre Shift from Western RPG to a Dark Alliance clone, blatant BAWLS Guarana Product Placement, the soundtrack's inexplicable change from Mid-20th century classics to Metalcorenote , and general contradictions to Fallout canon. It has since been declared Canon Discontinuity by Bethesda Softworks.
It's 2208, and the Texas Wasteland is not an okay place to live — there's raiders, mutants, and the occasional pests who plague the wasteland. That is why the Brotherhood was supposedly cleaning house here. While hunting for mutants, raiders and tech, of course, they all go missing in the town of Carbon and you are sent to find them before they are pilfered by the Raiders. Oh, the Vault Dweller from Fallout is also here. Apparently, he took a Wrong Turn at Albuquerque and is now in the Texan Wasteland along with Rhombus, who is now white.
Of course, it didn't matter to you. You are the Initiate, one of the three new recruits to the Brotherhood of Steel, with the unenviable task of finding what happened to the Paladins who have gone missing and bring them back. All while taking out anything that opposes you.
- Action Girl: Nadia is as tough as the guys, though a Fragile Speedster.
- Adaptational Heroism: The Brotherhood of Steel, who are known for being an isolationist faction only interested in collecting pre-War technology, are depicted in this game as self-proclaimed protectors of the Wasteland and are far more willing to recruit outsiders—including Ghouls—than in the first two games.
- Apocalypse Cult: The player fights a ghoul cult led by Blake in Los.
- An Arm and a Leg: Attis cuts off the player's arm, but you get a replacement. The player has to fight with only one arm for a bit as well and can only use one handed weapons. Hope you remembered not to sell all your pistols.
- Batter Up!: One of the three hidden weapons in the game is the Slugger, found in the early Docks levels and much more powerful than other melee weapons found at that time. You have to shoot kill some inaccessible enemies to spawn a huge glowing mutant and kill it to get the Slugger.
- Beam Spam: The Continuous Fire Laser and Turbo Plasma Rifle fill this role.
- Cain and Abel: There are two mutant merchants who are twins and will pay the player to assassinate the other one.
- Canon Discontinuity: Bethesda announced that the game's story was not canon, which was a pretty easy decision given how poorly it fits into the established canon.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him:
- For some bizarre reason, in one sidequest you face off against The Vault Dweller despite him having been on your side in the first chapter.
- Rhombus gets killed in Los also.
- Evil Matriarch: Variant. The Raiders based near Carbon have a matriarchal system, with females ranking higher than males. Jane, the Raider Matron and leader, is especially evil.
- FaceHeel Turn: The Mayor of Carbon, whom you meet in the beginning of the game as a friendly NPC, turns out to be the second boss.
- Fanservice: The pinups extra video.
- Fragile Speedster: Nadia. She has lower health than the other two characters, but she's quick and proficient with dual guns.
- Guns Akimbo: So far the only game in the franchise that has this. Pistols and laser pistols can be dual wielded by Nadia and Cain.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Cain. He's in the middle for stats, and can use both heavy weapons and dual guns but isn't as skilled with either.
- Mighty Glacier: Cyrus. He has high health and is good with heavy weapons, but he's slower and can't use dual guns.
- New Game+: Completing the game allows a replay with your previous characters or certain NPCs who can be unlocked who are basically reskins of the three main characters.
- Obligatory Swearing: The game aims for a more humorous and in-your-face style, which involved quite a lot of swearing in the dialogue.
- Product Placement: In a bizarre example of this, Bawls Guarana replaces Nuka-Cola for most purposes, and Bawls bottlecaps are worth 50 regular bottlecaps.
- Race Lift: So, apparently, Rhombus is white now.
- Rat Stomp: The player's first quest is to clear out rats and irradiated bugs from the town of Carbon.
- Religion of Evil: The Church of the Lost, whose main purpose is to guard the Secret Vault and ensure that nothing or nobody can get in or out.
- Secret Level: If you jump off of one section of Los, you can get to a secret area and find the meat cannon.
- Shout-Out: One of the hidden weapons is the Red Ryder BB Gun, which does 1-100 damage with each shot. While the Red Ryder BB gun is a real thing, its inclusion in the game is a reference to its appearance in A Christmas Story and Wasteland, the predecessor to the Fallout series.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: On a meta level. The other Fallout games utilize bleak ambiance and golden oldies in their soundtracks, while this game interjects boss fights with instrumental versions of heavy metal songs.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Attis is a thinly veiled stand-in for the Lieutenant from the original Fallout; both are highly intelligent super mutant leaders with cybernetic implants over their right eye, and share the same voice actor (Tony Jay).
- Universal Ammunition: Bullets are basically divided into big and small bullets, simplifying the ammunition system from prior (and subsequent) games, which means the Desert Eagle essentially takes the same ammo as a heavy machinegun.
- You Nuke 'Em: A nuclear explosive is built into the Secret Vault as an emergency Self-Destruct Mechanism in the case of a biological disaster. The Initiate activates it and then escapes in order to destroy the heavily mutated Super Mutant leader Attis.