Wasteland

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Wasteland
Wasteland Cover.jpg
Your enemy explodes like a blood sausage!
Protagonist: The Desert Rangers
Genre: RPG
Turn-Based
Open-World
Platforms: Microsoft Windows
MS-DOS
Commodore 64
Apple II
OS X
Linux
Steam
GOG.com
Xbox One (Remaster)
Release Date: January 2, 1988
February 25, 2020 (Remaster)
Developer: Interplay Productions
Krome Studios (Remaster)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
InXile Entertainment (Rerelease)
Xbox Game Studios (Remaster)
Franchise: Wasteland
Next Game: Wasteland 2

Wasteland (stylized as WASTELAND. Also known as Wasteland: The Original Classic) is a role-playing game developed by Interplay Productions and published by Electronic Arts. It was released on January 2, 1988. A remaster was released on Febuary 25, 2020, titled Wasteland: Remastered.

Story

The year is 2084, over 100 years since a nuclear war devastated much of the Earth. During this time, the Desert Rangers, a group of peace keepers in Arizona notice strange disturbances in nearby areas and dispatch a group to investigate. During the investigation, the Rangers resolve other problems such as resolving a settlements water problem, clearing out the Agricultural Center, and encountering the Cult of the Temple of Blood.

Upon reaching post-war Las Vegas, the Rangers discover a cybernetic intelligence has been tasked to destroy all that remains of mankind. A surviving pre-wasteland intelligence is creating an army of machines, led by the diabolical Irwin Finster. The intelligence's goal is to wipe out humans and replace them with a "pure race." Now the Desert Rangers must find a way to stop the intelligence once and for all.

Why It Rocks

  1. It was one of, if not the first open world games ever created, and would go on to inspire future titles like the Fallout games.
  2. Based on your choices, the world would change around you and NPCs would react differently to your actions, such as a young boy attacking you if you killed his dog.
  3. Great and complex combat system, allowing characters to split up their party during fights to face different enemies or put injured party members out of the fight.
  4. There are 8 attributes and 35 different skills, giving the player lots of customization when creating characters.
  5. The game is very open ended and can be completed in different ways, with multiple solutions to quest lines.
  6. Interesting plot about a machine uprising in post-nuclear Arizona and has a decent ending.
  7. Hard difficulty, with long combat encounters and an unconsciousness mechanic where as time goes on, a knocked out character will slowly die if they aren't healed.
  8. Great lines of dialogue and flavor text, such as the now famous "Exploded like a blood sausage."
  9. Multiple weapon types, ranging from knives and chainsaws, to powerful rocket launchers and laser pistols.
  10. The game has a form of New Game Plus, allowing you to experience the game again with the same characters.
  11. The game remembers your choices from one play session to the next, which was unheard of at the time of its original release.
  12. Lots of variety in the locations, such as Highpool (a water reservoir with a nearby summer camp) and post-nuclear Las Vegas (A location that somehow wasn't nuked in the war).
  13. The re-release and remaster added a few well appreciated changes to the game.
    • The biggest change is the addition of the paragraphs within the game's programming. In the original version, there wasn't enough space on the disks to put all the text due to memory limitations. The game instead told players to read a passage from a paragraph book. The re-release and remaster add the paragraphs into the programming.
    • An amazing score written by Edwin Montgomery was added to both the re-release and remaster.
    • Speaking of the score, the remaster expands the score with different versions of the songs from the re-release and adds a few new tracks.
    • Improved graphics in the remaster that give the game a tabletop-like aesthetic.

Bad Qualities

  1. The graphics have not aged well and sprites use only 16 colors due to the game running in EGA. All of the humans appear to have grey skin.
  2. The difficulty may prevent some players from enjoying the game, especially with the perma-death mechanic.
  3. Some combat encounters can take a very long time to complete, such as the battle at the Temple of Blood island.
  4. There some of useless and underused skills in the game that don't do much, the most infamous being the Combat Shooting skill, which does nothing at all.
  5. Similar to the Bard's Tale games, many of the enemy and character portraits are reused multiple times, such as a bunny enemy using a rat's character portrait. This is still an issue in the remaster.
  6. The remaster has a lot more bugs than the original version, such as missing text and crashes.

Reception

Wasteland received critical acclaim when it released. Computer Gaming Magazine awarded Wasteland their Game of the Year award. The game was also a commercial success and sold over 250,000 copies.

The original game currently has a 9/10 on Steam, while the remaster has a 7/10.

Game Tips

  1. Do not use the premade characters the game gives you in the beginning. They don't have the most useful skills to start the game with.
  2. When creating characters, try to roll each character an IQ of 15 or higher. This way, you can get each party the Medic skill, which allows you to revive fallen allies.
  3. The best skills to give to each character are Assault Rifle, Medic, and Swim.

Trivia

  1. The game had received an unofficial PG-13 sticker on the box due to violent and gory dialogue descriptions such as "reduced to a thin red paste" and the aforementioned "exploded like a blood sausage."
  2. In 1990, Electronic Arts created an unofficial sequel called Fountain of Dreams, which was about a group of people searching for the Fountain of Youth in post-nuclear Florida. However, EA soon pulled all claims that the game was a sequel.
  3. Interplay was also working on a sequel to Wasteland called Meantime, with a story involving time travel. However, the game was cancelled due to the decline of the 8-bit computer market.
  4. Wasteland would later be mentioned in some Fallout titles, such a Tycho mentioning Fat Freddy in the original Fallout, Cassidy's combat taunts from Fallout 2, and the parody Wastelad holotape game in Fallout 76.
  5. Wasteland was created by Brian Fargo, the same person who created the Fallout series. The creation of Fallout came from Fargo's desire to create a sequel to Wasteland, but the rights where with EA, not with Interplay, so he created Fallout as a spiritual successor. Wasteland 2 would eventually become a reality, after it was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in 2012.

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