Every Fallout game has been full of surprises, but some of the best are sealed away in Vault-Tec’s collection of post-nuclear panic rooms. As the doomsday clock ticks down to Fallout 4’s release, we thought we’d roll back the giant cylindrical doors of our favourite Fallout vaults and take a peek at whatever’s lurking inside.
A big sign outside Vault 22 reads, “Stay out, Plant’s kill”, which about sums up what the problem is here. Fail to heed the warning and you discover what became of a so-called “green” vault; an attempt by Vault-Tec scientists to keep everyone alive using photosynthesising plant life. Unfortunately, this is a Fallout game, and so as well as oxygen the plants pump out deadly spores that turn everyone inside into vicious monsters. The striking greenery everywhere makes for a somewhat more cultured battleground, at least. Squint and you can pretend you’re fending off foes in a royal botanic garden, which is a lot less terrifying an image than the giant mantis currently biting off your goolies.
Vault 11 wins a lot of credit, not just for featuring the kind of chilling horror story we’ve come to expect from a decent Fallout side quest, but also for a marvellous twist at the end. The poor sods in this vault were made to believe they would frequently have to sacrifice one of their own, lest everyone be killed. Cue plenty of in-vault bitching, ethical quandaries and anti-election campaigns where the most hated dweller is voted up for slaughter. Little did they know that it was all just another Milgram-style social experiment from Vault-Tec, and that all the deaths were for nothing. Still, what a difference that system would make to Big Brother. I’d tune in every week on execution night.
Everyone who’s anyone who’s played Fallout 3’s main quest has taken a trip down Tranquillity lane in this landmark vault. Meeting up with a cute little girl (well, as cute as the uncanny valley can allow) and reeking havoc on an idyllic virtual street was the perfect release for all that pent-up wasteland aggro. Funnier still was finding Liam Neeson afterwards and having him lightly scold you for blowing up Megaton, before carrying on as if nothing happened. Great writing, everybody.
You’d think the confines of an underground bunker would make you batshit enough without someone leaking psychoactive drugs in through the filters, but in 106 that’s exactly what Vault-Tec did. A lot. Long after the hallucinogenic gases have driven the last vault dweller loony, you rock up on the scene to find the drugs are still very much working. You’ll be walking down a corridor and suddenly Amata from Vault 101 will appear impossibly at the end of it, which is awkward. Especially if you chose to kill her father. You can only imagine the conversation were the Lone Wanderer to speak outside of text boxes; “h-hey Amata how are things? How’s your Da- I mean, bye!”
The location for a sort of Psycho-cum-Sesame Street mash-up only Fallout could get away with, Vault 77 is the only vault to have just one inhabitant. Well one inhabitant and a load of puppets he begins to talk to and impose personalities on as his mind becomes slowly unhinged, that is. While it’s unfortunate that the only evidence left of Vault 77 is a fetching jumpsuit in Paradise Falls, we can’t help but be relieved we never have to witness the puppet horrors left inside. One imagines a Super Mutant Cookie Monster, or an irradiated Elmo with a ghoulified face, begging you to be his friend as fur drips from his maw in fluffy patches. And yes, I do need help.
At first there was Vault 108. Then there was a scientist, given a few years to live by a rare strain of cancer, who began doing experiments in 108. And then there was Gary. If you’re one of those players who doesn’t read up on a vault’s backstory as you go along, you’ll be at a loss as to why 50 clones of Gary are now trying to club you to death while screaming “Gary” in unison. Although even if you have read up, it’s still fairly surprising.
Here’s hoping Fallout 4 continues to expand the already solid vault lore over it’s alleged 400 hours of play time. If previous games are anything to go by, we’ll only be spending about 395 of them freaking out.
Image sources: fallout.wikia, Flickr