Fallout 4: More Fun Than a Barrel of Radioactive Waste (Page 2)

Oh. Now, That's Just Special!

In any game of this size, there are lots of things to discover, but sometimes, this game goes above and beyond just being "good enough." The topics in this section could all be considered minor spoilers, I guess, but very minor. (If it's more than that, I'll put the discussion in a spoiler tag.) I tried to get a sample set of the kinds of special things that Bethesda slipped into this game. This is nowhere near a full list. I don't want to risk spoiling these.

The Third Rail, a bar in the old Boston Metro station in town called Good Neighbor, has a singer named Magnolia. She is typically either already singing or just starting a song when you enter. She will also sing another song if you talk to her and ask her to. I noticed that the songs seemed to be higher quality audio than most found in video games, and it's probably not just my imagination. I did a little digging and found out that the songs (five of them if I recall correctly) were written by and are sung by Lynda Carter. (You may remember her as Wonder Woman if you're old enough.) She also does the voice of Magnolia in the game. If one or more of your stats is high enough, you can even have a romantic encounter with her. Once you hear those songs in the third rail, they will be added to the rotation of songs on Diamond City Radio. I have a short clip below (posted on YouTube) so you can see and hear what I am talking about. If you have played through the Diamond City quests, you may be able to associate the lyrics in the clips to one of them.

 

Another one of the locations is Vault 81, which seems to be the only operational vault in the game - though there are other vaults such as the one you started in. I'm pretty sure I got sent there as part of a quest or it was mentioned by somebody I met.

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It turns out you get different conversations from the Vault 81 locals depending on who you have as a traveling companion and what you are wearing. I was originally wearing power armor, and the residents seems envious, but apprehensive. I took the power armor off, and after that, I got special conversation options because I had put on the Vault 111 suit that I had left that vault with. One thing I especially liked was the background music that played inside Vault 81. I don't believe you hear it anywhere else in the game. (Medium spoiler)

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Vault 81's quest line is very good. If you pursue it enough, you will find out that there is a secret outer vault surrounding inner vault. That vault was supposed to be manned by scientists researching the ultimate cure to all the viruses plaguing mankind. In a later phase of the research, the residents of the inner vault were to be the test subjects. The vault's overseer objected to the testing (as I think she was to be one of the test subjects) and sabotaged the recall system so that only three scientists made it to the vault when the bombs fell. Those three, the overseer eventually trapped and starved to death. There's more to the quest line than that, but it's in the outer vault that I found the research robot Curie (the same basic type as a Mr. Handy) who has spent decades researching the cure for all the viruses given to a colony of mole rats. Curie can become one of your companions. She later goes through an amazing .. transformation if you get her affection level up high enough to get her special quest line.

You don't have to ever go into Vault 81 to complete the main story line, but if you do and take it to completion, which will take an hour or two, you get a new companion, a bobble head, and if you are bitten by a mole rat - a -10 HP penalty for the rest of the game. You will find it difficult to avoid becoming bitten. I'm pretty sure I got marked as bitten because the Protectron robot I had hacked and had running point got bitten. (Yes, the robot got bitten.) You can recover if you take the single dose of the cure that Curie has left. However, that's needed to cure one of the vault's children that was bitten by a mole rat (before your arrival). If you take it, he dies, which pretty much makes you persona non grata with the vault. If you cure the child, you are rewarded with your own room. (I never used it once I got it.)

 

Shaw High School, a former high school that is currently inhabited by super mutants, was the domain of one Principle Tanner. Tanner, a failed Vault-Tec salesman turned educator, was trying to improve the school's test scores by having students take Mentats. Better test scores meant more money to the school district - money the principal hoped to pocket. As part of the effort, Tanner enlists a delinquent student named Rusty to distribute the Mentats. One of the neat little details is that you (might) find a terminal taken over by Rusty, which he is using to keep a journal. The entries start out as one or two badly-spelled, wonderful examples of poor grammar. Rusty starts taking Mentats himself and the later terminal entries get more eloquent. He eventually gets smart enough get a forged key to the principal's office then reads the messages on the principal's terminal and finds out what the principal is up to. Rusty ends up blackmailing Principal Tanner for half the money.

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Dunwich Borers looks like a typical quarry. When I looked down into it from the top, it seemed like a quick frag & take. However, when I got to the bottom, I found a cave to one side that turned out to have a whole story of its own. In the cave, you run across lots feral ghouls, which is no surprise since they are everywhere.

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(Light)

Spoiler: Highlight to view

The surprise is that when you encounter certain ghouls, you see flashbacks to when the ghouls were still human and worked in the cave as miners and foremen. At the very bottom of the cave, you find an irradiated well of water. There, you witness a flashback to when there was an alter at that site. In order to investigate the pool, you have to take off power armor or otherwise you will never be able to swim up. I used a mirelurk cake that allows breathing underwater and a Rad-X to increase radiation resistance and swam down. It's almost just a deep, columnar pit or well except there is a cave that juts off horizontally very near the bottom. That cave ends at a different alter, which has a rare knife on it. I found the whole level really creepy.

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I thought that Bethesda put in a little something extra even beyond that. While I was in the cave, there were occasional tremors. After I left the cave, I noticed that the ground still occasionally shook. Did I anger some beast from times gone by? That would be cool, but as it turned out, I hadn't. I had just recently put my companion in power armor. Whenever she ran to catch up to me, the ground would shake. It had probably happened before, but I hadn't noticed. The tremors inside the cave were for effect, but the ones outside the cave were from something else completely.

Diamond City Radio is one of the radio stations available on your Pip-Boy arm computer. Diamond City Radio's DJ, Travis "Lonely" Miles, starts off the game as a horrible, stuttering, rambling mess. Through your aid in a quest, you help him become a much better DJ. For which, he thanks you. On the radio. Over and Over. He does get much better, too. As mentioned above, once you visit The Third Rail, he adds five songs from the bar's singer, Magnolia. I also used the More Where That Came From - Diamond City Radio Edition Fallout 4 mod to add a bunch more songs. (More information on Fallout 4 mods is coming on the last page.) As you complete major quest paths in the game, Travis will report on them during his news updates. (That was also true in other Fallout games.)

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