About the Author
Mass Effect
Final Fantasy X
Batman:Arkham City
Borderlands Series
Weekly Column
Champions Online
World of Warcraft
DM of the Rings
Good Robot
Project Frontier

Fallout 3: Kaboom!

By Shamus
on Friday May 7, 2010
Filed under:


I didn’t write a column this week. But I do have this Fallout 3 screenshot to amuse you:


This requires some explanation:

No cheats were used. Yes, my character is dead at this point. Yes, she’s missing three limbs. Her shotgun is positioned so that it looks like a prosthetic leg, but it’s really just floating in the air beside her. She and the shotgun are tumbling through the air together.

Cars in this game explode if shot. When they go off, they leave an eight meter mushroom cloud and irradiate the area. I was standing amongst a 200 year old traffic jam and happened to set off one of the cars, which caused a chain reaction, which is what launched me into orbit.

I was still gaining altitude when I took this shot. But the game auto-reloads your last save after a few seconds, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the entire ride. This shot was taken about a second before the game reset me.

I’m currently playing two characters: The above stealth / sniper, and melee brute guy. I have to say it takes several levels before the stealth and small weapons investments pay off, but the melee points pay off right away. The (early) game is easier in melee, which I wasn’t expecting.

Comments (60)

  1. Valaqil says:

    My favorite? Arlington Cemtery, right beside Mama Dolce’s, has this perfect spot where you can look over the entire cemetery : No one attacking you, wide open area. I got bored one day and, since I could make multiples of bottlecap mines (3 schematics), I decided to have some fun. Tell Charon to stand still, drop ~10 activated mines, stand back, shoot a mine. He flies end over end _very_ far. If you do it right, you can propel someone straight upward to the point that they disappear. It’s particularly fun to blow yourself up so you get to see the view.

    Anyone else remember Warthog jumping? Man, I _love_ physics in video games.

    EDIT: And, of course, nice pic Shamus. Those car accidents seem to happen a little too often for me. Oops.

  2. Sekundaari says:

    Where were you? If I had to guess, I’d say south next to the Flooded Metro entrance, between Arlington Library and the Nuka-Cola Plant. Nice big traffic jam there.

  3. GoodApprentice says:

    She’s going to be okay. A little bactine and she’ll be right as rain again.

  4. Gnagn says:

    I managed to break the game last time through. Played a melee/stealth character, and once I had the Silent Running and Pyromaniac perks, combined with the Shishkebab and the stealth armor from Operation: Anchorage, I was unstoppable. I was one-shotting everything with the stealth crits on top of the double fire damage. Bad guys would burst into flame and die, while standing right next to a group of their friends who wouldn’t notice because I was wearing the stealth suit. It became far too easy and boring, so I started over yet again…

    How many times am I going to play this game?

  5. Nick says:

    I hate minefield for this very reason. That one hillbilly in the tall building in town there, even if you are not detected, even if you are stealthing, still knows you are there and picks at the cars if you stand by them. All you hear, though, are a sort of *ping* sound, like hot metal cooling. Then the car and several nearby mines explode, killing your limbs. >.<

    • Vipermagi says:

      There’s a few scripted areas where he shoots at either you or cars. It’s pretty nasty.

      • Jeff says:

        I love this area as one of my starting haunts.

        First pick up the free sniper rifle outside of Megaton (crappy quality and low skill, but we compensate). Go to the mines, disarm all of them. Shoot the sniper in the head with your crappy sniper rifle when you can. His gear + the TONS of mines = TONS of caps.

        If you have enough skill to disarm the nuke when you first enter (which I always do, since I know ahead of time) then you have enough to collect all the mines.

        Fairly easy way to get a massive boost at the beginning.

        • RTBones says:

          Its one of my favorite as well.

          Most recent playthrough (ongoing), out of the Vault, stopped at Silvers, and headed north. Snaked my way to Agatha’s House, then to the minefield, where I collected a bunch of mines. North to the alien landing site to get the blaster. ENE to the disposal site to get the Bobblehead there. North to Vault 94(?), only to be stopped by doors I couldnt pick yet.

          Mines are useful to get rid of monsters too tough to take out yet. Get them to chase you along a path, and leave “breadcrumbs” for them to stumble over….

        • A Dog says:

          Usually when ever I play a sneak character the VERY first thing I do in the beginning is locate the outcast brotherhood scouts and follow them to there base and kill them all as quietly and as neatly as possible, once there dead I just loot there entire base sell all there armor and weps that I can’t or don’t care to use and I have so many caps and good weapons, I believe theres like two mini nukes a couple power fists a few laser and plasma rifles and a perfect minigun and I’m usually no higer then level two by this point, the game breaks after this…but I just love the challenge of sneaking an entire military compound to death at level 2.

    • Greg says:

      If you approach from the hill instead of the middle of town, there are opportunities to snipe him before he can spot you.

  6. Pete says:

    Once with my level 20 character, I took every mine I have ever collected in the game so far (I hoard explosives, okay?) and dropped them on the road in front of Vault 101, then shot one. Bounced right off the skybox.

  7. Nathon says:

    “Her and the shotgun…” -> “She and the shotgun…”

  8. Factoid says:

    Stealth/Energy Weapons is unbeatable past level 12 or so, because by then your opponents regularly feed you ammo refills on their corpses, but it’s rough going for the first five levels, and you’re almost forced to go with small weapons as a backup skill.

    My major complaint with stealth/thievery in this game is that it requires too many skills. If I want to be a brute, I just need strength and melee as my primary skills, maybe heavy weapons for fun.

    But with Stealth I need agility, intelligence, sneak, lockpick, pickpocket and probably electronics as well. Plus I need a weapons skill.

    EDIT: I also loath how no matter how good my luck, sneak and pickpocket skills are I get caught 99% of the time if I try to take more than 50 caps off a person at once. I generally just save and reload until I succeed. Such a waste of time.

    • eri says:

      That’s what you get for copying and pasting Oblivion’s skill system into Fallout!

      Also, yeah, game is horribly combat focused compared to the original (and even Fallout 2), so that’s no surprise that characters who want to pursue a less brute force approach get the short end of the stick.

      • Factoid says:

        I didn’t think they copied and pasted. THey actually modified it a lot.

        Oblivion’s skill system is based on repeating the skills until you get good at them. It’s a really interesting and novel approach, even though it progresses too slowly for some skills and too quickly for others…but that’s just a matter of balance. The overall system is nice.

        For Fallout your skills are based on a simple XP and skill point system, plus the interesting Perk system from the original games.

        They had most of the same skills in Fallout 1 and 2. You still needed a lot more skills to be a thief/stealth player than to be a brute with a stick, but it makes sense that this is the case.

        The main difference is that the stealth and thievery in F1 and F2 actually felt balanced in relation to the combat. As you say the combat is over-emphasized in F3.

        I don’t really mind this, but they could have thrown us a bone and combined a few skills so we weren’t so underpowered the first 10 levels.

        I’m playing through now as a “scientist with a stick” character. No lockpicking or stealth, just melee weapons, science and medicine. The high intel is great for maxing skill points early in the game, so I’ll have all my “class skills” maxed by level 8 or so and then dump the rest into various skills I’ve never paid much attention to, like unarmed or heavy.

        I bet the end-game gets really hard as a Melee fighter, so I might have to pick up energy weapons or something

  9. Mike says:

    re: Minefield – sneak up on him and let him see you, then hide. When he pops around the corner to shoot at you, let him have it with the mesmotron, take all his gear, and either kill him or collar him and send him on his way to the slavers. :) I never took a single point of damage doing this – but he’s quick, so as soon as he MAY have seen you, hide. :)

    • Michael says:

      I always went up around behind the water tower (which triggers a random encounter (you’ve been warned)), and then come down next to the building he’s hiding in. You end up fairly close to him without him having a line of sight. You also only cross a couple landmines that way, Limiting your chances to be pureed on the way in. When you get close enough he might get a shot off at you, but you never have to play dodge the nuclear cars.

  10. bbot says:

    Insert rote complaining about how that’s not what nuclear reactors do when shot here.

  11. Psithief says:

    I think the console command ‘tfc’ (toggle free camera) prevents the game from reloading your last save when you die.

    So give it a shot? Boom!

  12. modus0 says:

    In contrast, shooting the cars in the drive-in near Tenpenny is amusing due to the presence of raiders amongst them.

    And if planned right, any car with an engine is tactically a pre-set mini-nuke.

  13. somebodys_kid says:

    Very nice, Shamus! Blowing up derelict cars is so much fun…except when it happens to my character of course…

  14. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Can’t a mod remove the auto-loader?

    Seems to me it’s something annoying. If I don’t wanna reload, I don’t reload. Period.

    • Irridium says:

      Yeah there’s a mod for Oblivion that does that. I’d imagine it couldn’t be too hard to make it for Fallout 3, since they managed to make a mod manager and script extender in under a week with around the same functionality as the Oblivion ones.

      And nice picture. Sometimes the deaths are the most entertaining.

  15. BarGamer says:

    I like how, even though she’s missing 3 limbs and her torso is twisted the wrong way, her face is still pristine. “Not the face! Anything but the face!” XD

  16. FalloutFan says:

    what kind of armor is that?

  17. GnomishMight says:

    I’m surprised no one’s mentioned the babbling loony with the booby trapped alley yet.

  18. Jeff says:

    Just FYI, the single largest/longest chain of car explosions you can set off is directly north of Paradise Falls (the slaver town).

    It has a greyhound bus (or equivalent – are they “tour buses”? Never know what they’re called) on one end.

  19. eri says:

    That reminds me, I need a mod that gets rid of exploding cars.

    Also, I tried playing the game last night and it kept crashing like crazy. Apparently it has major issues with quad-core PCs, and the “solution” is to tell it to only use two cores… yeah, seriously, this is how sloppy Bethesda is, that they would release a game in late 2007 that doesn’t work on a system with more than two cores. Of course, it’s up to the community to fix the game for them! God I hate Bethesda sometimes.

    Okay, I lied. I hate them all the time. Arrogant, overrated, slack-jawed morons who somehow manage to be in the spotlight of the press. For some reason. Why is that exactly? Wow, their game sold a lot of copies and is, like, really big! It must be game of the year! Plus, it’s a sequel to a game that I heard was pretty awesome but never played, since my introduction to gaming started with Halo, and it is the benchmark I use for all future titles!

    Reading the press coverage for the upcoming New Vegas can be downright nauseating and even insulting to my intelligence. I even came across one mainstream article that directly insulted fans of the old games, using a fallacious appeal to majority as justification for the attack. From the sound of it, Obsidian are going to take everything that was worst about Fallout 3 (which is most of the game, really), and turn it into something that’s worth buying. I can’t wait for New Vegas to come out and alienate all of those shit-brained thirteen-year-olds that comprise the majority of Bethesda’s fanbase these days, when they realise that their new Fallout isn’t going to masturbate them every five seconds.

    Er… I’m done now. Sorry for that. But I would like to slaughter all those “games journalists”. And Bethesda’s fanbase. And Todd Howard, he’d die the slowest.

  20. Scourge says:

    Ah yes, the joy of Fallout 3.

    Aside from hilarious deaths are there fun times when enemy corpses get bugged.

    Cue to this

    It sort of reminds me of a Steven King book where a man finds an ever growing finger inside his bathroom that wants to kill him.

    As a sidenote, the corpse showed above is the corpse of a ghoul and the other pictures show a raider.

  21. sree says:

    why dont you guys open up the next spoiler warning to suggestions… still waiting for a jade empire spoiler warning… its not brown for one!! and it doesn’t involve guns..well there’s one gun in the whole game i suppose

  22. KremlinLaptop says:

    If your next series of Shamus Plays is Fallout 3 centric my head will just pop off with joy. Pop right off!

  23. Dys says:

    I seem to recall that the early sections of both Fallout 1 and 2 were easier in melee also. Low gun skills meant no accuracy unless you’re standing so close you might as well just punch them.

    Later melee falls down on damage, even with the super power fist you’ll generally be doing less overall than you could with a decent gun, and once your skills are high enough, there’s no real reason to close to melee range.

    That said, the extra % on melee skill (beyond the 95% needed to hit) increases special effect chances, which is why a decent high level brawler in F2 could knock a deathclaw off its feet, before kicking it to death.

    My favourite character ever was the one I made with 1 luck and the ‘Jinxed’ trait. He broke a limb almost every fight, but watching other people blow up their own guns was worth it. Also, spending a month crawling through the wastes, poisoned, irradiated and crippled a hundred miles from anywhere certainly does wonders for your medical skills. That which does not kill us, makes us stronger!

    By the end of that game he had over 400 hp, and fought deathclaws unarmed and naked, for fun.

    Oh, yes, and in Fallout 3, sufficiently high stealth breaks everything. Which is nice.

    • eri says:

      Yeah, beating the Master with a melee character, not to mention all the Super Mutants in his base, is extremely difficult. I managed to do it, but it required extremely cheap tactics of me running up to him and punching, getting blasted by his miniguns, running behind a pillar to heal, killing the Super Mutant he spawned with a critical hit, then repeating all over again. I don’t think I’ve ever abused quick save/load so much in my life.

  24. Dodds says:

    Very Nice screenshot. Easiest way to replicate something like this is to fire a Fat Man straight up (Well, as much upwards as is possible) and try to get it to land on you.

    For extra fun, try using VATS to fire a Fat Man at someone standing 2 feet from you. Because of the way VATS works, you’ll survive. Unfortunately you don’t get sent flying unless you’ve died, but it’s still fun to watch the enemies corpse fly…

  25. Andrew says:

    I once saw an overlord blow up the car he was using for cover. It *chipped* his health. Those guys take so long to kill…

    Also, a fun game of mine: try dying in an explosion that takes off EVERY limb (including the head). I ended up needing to fire 2 rounds of the MIRV (one straight up into the air, the other at the ground just as the airbound ones were about to land) to pull it off.

  26. Nick says:

    Why would anyone create a nuclear powered car? Isn’t that just asking for trouble?

  27. Talby says:

    The real tragedy is, she isn’t eligible for free healthcare. Thank you very much President Eden.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *


Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>