Codex Gamicus

Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game is a critically-acclaimed computer role-playing game published by Interplay in 1998. The second game takes place 80 years after the first Fallout, in 2241. It tells the story of the original hero's descendant and his or her quest to save their primitive tribe from starvation by finding an ancient environmental restoration machine known as the "Garden of Eden Creation Kit", or GECK. Although featuring an almost completely new game world, stories, and adventures that are several times larger than its predecessor, the game mechanics from Fallout remain mostly unchanged.


Character attributes[]


Fallout 2, like its predecessor, uses a character creation system called SPECIAL. SPECIAL is an acronym and initialism of Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. These are the seven basic attributes of every character in the game. They are used to determine the skills and perks of the given character.


There are 18 different skills in the game. They are ranked from 0% to 300%. The starting values for those skills at Level 1 are determined by the player's 7 basic attributes, but most of those skills would fall between 0% and 50%. Every time the player gains a level, he will be awarded skill points to be used to improve his skills, equal to 5 points + twice his Intelligence. The player may choose to "Tag" 3 of the 18 skills. A tagged skill will improve at twice the normal rate.

  • 6 combat skills: Small Guns, Big Guns, Energy Weapons, Unarmed, Melee Weapons, Throwing.
  • 8 active skills: First Aid, Doctor, Sneak, Lockpick, Steal, Traps, Science, Repair.
  • 4 passive skills: Speech, Barter, Gambling, Outdoorsman.

Books found throughout the gameworld can also improve some of those skills permanently, although books are scarce early in the game. However, after a skill reaches a certain level, books no longer have any impact. Some NPCs can also improve Skills via training. How high a Skill can be developed is affected by the character's Attributes - a character with a low Intelligence will not be able to boost their Science rating as high as a character with high Intelligence, for example.

Some skills can also be improved while having certain items equipped. (E.g. equipping a lock pick would improve lock picking skills.) Stimulants can also temporarily boost player's skills; however, they often have adverse effects such as addiction and withdrawal. As Skills grow higher in rating, they begin to cost more Skill Points to increase.

Traits and Perks[]

At character creation, the player may choose 2 optional traits for his character. Traits are special character background. Most traits have profound effects on gameplay. A trait normally contains one beneficial effect and one detrimental effect. They are listed under perks in the character sheet. Once a Trait is chosen, it is impossible to change, except by using the "Mutate" Perk that lets them change 1 Trait, 1 time.

Perks in the game are special elements of the level up system. Every 3 levels (or every 4 if the player chose the "Skilled" Trait), the player is granted a perk of his choosing. Perks grant special effects, most of which are not obtainable via normal level up in the game, such as letting the player have more actions per round. Unlike traits, most perks are purely beneficial - they are usually offset only by the infrequency of acquiring them.

Changes from Fallout 1[]

Fallout 2 featured a much wider array of items, weapons and armor from Fallout 1. Most of the items from Fallout 1 returned, but had alternate and upgraded forms: the minigun, for example, is now joined by the Avenger and Vindicator miniguns. Item prices were also increased at stores, making scavenging for items more important. In addition to old, upgraded weapons, several new weapons were introduced for all branches of combat, thus making no one combat skill the best, and allowing the player to be powerful with any firearm. The range of enemies was also increased to a wider diversity. The end result is a much more complex combat environment.

Skills start off at a lower rate than the first game, and the various skills are also more important. Previously, skills like Unarmed, Doctor and Traps were used sparingly, but now, a wider range of skills are useful. The maximum level of a Skill was increased from 200 to 300. The Unarmed skill in particular was made much more sophisticated by adding different types of Punches and Kicks depending on the player's Attributes and skill level. Several new Perks were added while most others were retained, allowing a greater degree of customization.

Karma is accompanied by Reputation, and while Karma affects the player on a whole, Reputation affect how the player is received in a single town. While Karma is achieved by doing good things and killing monsters, Reputation grows based on how the player helps the city, usually by completing subquests. By nature, Reputation and Karma tend to grow parallel to each other. As in Fallout 1, good/evil characters react differently to players with different Karma. Also, the player can acquire certain titles (Gigolo, Made Man, Slaver) based on their actions that also affect the game and how others react to them.

Recruitable NPCs were very simplistic in the first game, and the only extent of control the player has over them is controlling what weapons they use and telling them to stay at a certain distance. In Fallout 2, team NPC control became much more sophisticated, with them being able to level up, equip armor and be issued orders before combat ranging from when to run away to when to heal themselves. The NPCs also possessed distinct personalities and characteristics, similar to previous games. The recruiting process has also been made more complex, with NPCs refusing to join the player if he has negative Karma or before a certain quest has been completed. Finally, there is a limit to the number of NPCs a player can recruit, as well as a larger amount to recruit (over a dozen).

In the original Fallout, subquests in the towns and cities were usually solved within that city, with only a few subquests requiring the player to travel. The cities, fairly isolated except for caravans, were concerned with their own problems. In Fallout 2, however, the cities have a great deal of contact with each other, and with the sole exception of Klamath, actions in one city will affect the state of another, and subquests will often require the player to go back and forth from location to location to kill enemies and deliver messages and items. To assist this, the makers of Fallout 2 added a vehicle, The Chrysalis Motors Highwayman (sometimes erroneously called the Roadmaster, which is a real car). The Highwayman, based on the 57 Chevy with sci-fi upgrades, reduces map travel time significantly. It can be upgraded several times in various missions, and it runs on the same nuclear cells as certain weapons in the game; this element is faithful to 1950s concepts of future vehicles, such as the Ford Nucleon.

The game's overall theme matter was more R-rated, with drugs and prostitution becoming major elements of the setting and the drug "Jet" central to one of the major subplots. Profanities are also encountered more often. During the course of the game, players can join the Mafia, become a porn star, get married and subsequently divorced, and nearly every town in the game features some sort of prostitute that can be slept with. Slavery also becomes an important subplot, with players able to side with the Slavers or join their opponents who try to stamp slavery out, and also allowing NPCs to be bought and sold.

Also, a speedrun is much more difficult than in Fallout 1. In Fallout 1, players could go straight to the Military Base, destroy it, then travel to the Cathedral and do the same. In Fallout 2, the final base cannot be accessed until a computer part from Vault 13 is found, and Vault 13 in turn cannot be found until one of two quests have been completed, thus requiring a great deal of fighting that makes doing these tasks difficult for a starting character. Also, while they can recruit allies for the battle, there is no way to avoid the final boss battle in Fallout 2, again, encouraging combat and making a speedrun difficult. In spite of these factors, the game was completed in 17:51 on a video posted on the Speed Demos Archive website.

Easter eggs[]

In Fallout 2, there are an enormous number of easter eggs. Some references include; a random encounter of a crashed starship and a portal reminiscent of an episode of Star Trek, a crashed boat referencing the Titanic, a splattered whale with a pot of petunias next to it referencing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a giant rat with plans of world domination called "The Brain", King Arthur and his Power Armor clad knights searching for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, the Bridge of Death, referencing Monty Python and the Holy Grail, an explanation of how Vault 13's water chip broke and a literal easter egg.



At the end of original Fallout, the hero Vault Dweller was exiled by the Vault Overseer for his prolonged exposure to the outside world. Unable to return home, the Vault Dweller with a group of willing companions traveled far north. Eventually they started their own tribal village called Arroyo in what is modern day Oregon. Decades have passed since the original Fallout, and the Vault Dweller has died.

In the time since the Vault Dweller's exile, a new government known as the New California Republic (abbreviated NCR) has begun to unify the southern towns and is spreading to the north. A mysterious new organization known as the Enclave has emerged with the most sophisticated technology in the wastes, even surpassing the Brotherhood of Steel. And a new drug, Jet, has become a cancer on many towns with a nearly 100% addiction rate, forcing many to rely on the town of New Reno to keep them supplied.


During 2241, Arroyo suffered the worst drought on record. Faced with the difficulty, the village elders asked the direct descendant of the Vault Dweller, referred to as the Chosen One, to perform the quest of retrieving a Garden of Eden Creation Kit (GECK) for Arroyo. The GECK is a device that can create thriving communities out of the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The player, assuming the role of the Chosen One, is given nothing more than the Vault Dweller's jumpsuit, a RobCo PIPBoy 2000 handheld device, a Vault 13 water flask, and some cash to start on his mission.

The player eventually finds Vault 13 (the first place possible to obtain a GECK) devoid of the majority of its former human inhabitants. The Chosen One returns to find his village captured by the remnants of the United States government known as "The Enclave". The player, through variety of means, activates an ancient oil tanker and its autopilot, thus allowing him to reach the Enclave's main base on an offshore oilrig.

It is revealed that the dwellers of Vault 13 were captured as well, to be used as test subjects for FEV (Forced Evolutionary Virus). Vault 13 was supposed to be closed for 200 years as part of a government experiment, this makes them perfect test subjects. The Enclave modified the Forced Evolutionary Virus into an airborne disease, designed to attack any living creatures with mutated DNA. With all genetic impurities removed, the Enclave (who remain protected from radiation) could take over. The player frees both his village (Arroyo) and the Vault 13 dwellers from Enclave control, and destroys the Enclave's oilrig. In the ending, the inhabitants of Vault 13 and Arroyo villagers create a new prosperous community with the help of the GECK.


The fact that in both Fallout and Fallout 2 player characters are raised in an isolated community works with the plot structure, allowing the character to be as ignorant about the game world as the player would be and explaining why the map the character starts with is almost completely unexplored.


IGN 8.9 / 10
Game Revolution B+
GamePro 5 / 5
Ace Gamez 7 / 10
Quandary 4.5 / 5
Just RPG A+
RPG FAN 84 / 100
Game Over Online 96 / 100
Games First! 4 / 5
PC Gamer 89 / 100
Computer Games Magazine 4 / 5
PC Zone UK 86 / 100

Screen Shots[]


  • The song that plays during the intro sequence is Louis Armstrong's "A Kiss to Build a Dream On". The Fallout intro song "Maybe" reappears in the sequel, being sung by a minor character as floating text.
  • Holding Shift and clicking the Credits button in the beginning game menu brings up a series of humorous/lewd comments by members of the Interplay team that developed the Fallout games.
  • "War. War never changes" is the famous phrase uttered in the intro by Ron Perlman. The phrase is one of the foremost iconic catch-phrases of the game.
  • Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, secretly included one of his tracks from his album Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2. Untitled Disc 2 Track 6 "Windowsill" can be heard clearly in some parts of the game. The sound from about 5:14 in Windowsill is almost identical to one from about 1:10 in the track 05raider.acm (the one, which is played in Raiders in Fallout and Den in Fallout 2). He may have done this under the pseudonym EFX which appears in the game credits. It is unknown why he chose to do this, and what relationship he had with Black Isle, or even if such a relationship existed. Some speculation runs that James did not choose to include the song on the soundtrack, but rather it was chosen for him by Black Isle.
  • Winnipeg breakcore composer Venetian Snares used a dialogue sample from the game Fallout 2 on his album Doll Doll Doll, specifically the track "Befriend a Child Killer".
  • Serbian alternative rock band Jewy Sabatay recorded their album "Nihilist" in their home studio called Vault 013, naming it after the game and their hometown dial number.
  • In the online webcomic, Ctrl+Alt+Del, one of the main characters, Ethan, had to be taken to a psychologist to remove all traces of Fallout 2 from his mind, because he wouldn't ever stop playing it. Whenever he is reminded of Fallout 2, he goes on a rampage to find a copy of the game and play it, because he is obsessed with it. He has also, at numerous times, tried to acquire a beta copy of Fallout 3.
  • On several buildings in towns, you can see posters depicting an angry man's face with his mouth open. This is an image of Maynard James Keenan of the band Tool from the liner notes of their 1994 album, "Undertow". For example, look on the side of Smitty's shack at the Den.
  • In New Reno Jungle Gym,the boxing names that you can give your character are references to several fictional boxers such as Glass Joe,Piston Hurricane(name is in 2 separate parts),Raging bull(reference to the Martin Scorcese movie and Punch-Out),Machoman,Balboa etc...

External links[]



Wikipedia-logo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Fallout 2. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Codex Gamicus, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 (unported) license. The content might also be available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.