Just a couple days ago, I was noting that Wasteland declined to become the first CRPG to offer a sexual encounter by having my tryst with the barmaid turn into a quest-based conversation with her wheelchair-bound daughter. But then, in Needles, I ran into a three-legged prostitute (Total Recall did the mutation thing a wee bit better) and took her up on her offer. So I am pleased, after all, to report that Wasteland is the first CRPG to offer up sex.
Unfortunately, it also turns out to be the first CRPG to offer up a sexually-transmitted disease:
The good news is that the post-apocalyptic, radiation-poisoned, violence-ridden world of Wasteland, unlike the modern world, has a cure for herpes.
Let's back up a bit. When I last blogged, I had prematurely entered Las Vegas and, as I alluded at the end of that posting, it wasn't fun. I got assailed by legions of tanks and robotic warriors and had to flee the city. I wasn't expecting robots. Who's controlling them? Skynet?
It turns out I was in the wrong city anyway. Earlier in the game, I had hopped into a jeep with Ace and took off for Vegas. When the jeep broke down and we ended up in a garage, I somehow had the idea that I was in Vegas. I left the city to go buy a new engine from the Rail Nomads and returned to Vegas only to have the robots chase me out. A little while later, I discovered that the garage wasn't in Vegas to begin with; it was in Needles. That worked out well, since samtam90 told me that's where I probably should be anyway.
I spent most of the day solving the quests in Needles, and after it all, I'm still not quite sure what happened. When I arrived in town, there was a lot of talk about murders going on, and it had something to do with a missing "Bloodstaff" from the Temple of the Mushroom Cloud. There were several sub-areas to explore in Needles, including a downtown inset, a police station, an ammo dump, and a waste pit. I decided to do the latter first, using TNT to blow up sealed doors. Everything was going well until I forgot to watch my Geiger Counter and accidentally stood on a barrel of radioactive waste. Most of my characters were rendered irradiated and unconscious, and Mayor Pedro and his wife were killed before I could get to an infirmary. I kept their corpses for a while because I didn't want to redistribute their goods, but eventually I replaced them with new NPCs I picked up in the city.
The Temple of Blood, where I massacred a cult and retrieved the Bloodstaff, was quite difficult. First, I had to get by a bunch of random encounters with mechanized killers. Several times, I was forced to retreat outside the compound to rest and heal. Then there was some kind of puzzle that required me to navigate a chess board via a "sacred path." If there was a hint about the nature of the sacred path, I missed it, so I crossed it through trial and error, taking significant damage along the way.
After the chessboard, I was dumped into this underground lake, and my characters took damage swimming through it and from the snipers in the corners of the cult compound. Ultimately, though, I was victorious, retrieved the staff, and exited through a hollow, decommissioned missile.
I was confused about a lot of what happened, but ultimately the priest of the Mushroom Cloud temple thanked me for the return of his staff and gave me a nice reward.
Throughout all of this, I was referred constantly to adventurer's journal entries. This was a memorable one from a torture chamber in the Temple of Blood. I got it just before I rescued a prisoner, a hobo named Ralf, who became one of my NPCs:
The glowing torchlight flickers across a horrific scene. Men in torn and blood spattered robes struggle against the ropes binding them to massive steel tables. The tables slope down at the head and a catch basin at the lowest corner is used to collect the dark flow of blood dripping from the small wounds cut into each writhing victim. Priests rush from one table to another, gathering buckets the way a dairy farmer gathers the bucket of milk from his cows. They pour the smaller quantities of blood into a hole in the floor, but you cannot tell where the dark fluid drains away to in this dim chamber of horrors.
Some other miscellaneous notes:
- I left a few mysteries in Needles. One was a train that just goes back and forth on its track for no obvious purpose. Another was a howitzer, for which I have shells but no particular reason to fire it in any of the directions it offers.
- I keep accidentally running into cacti, which cause several points of damage per character.
- There were some hills in the southern part of town that increased my climbing skill when I trundled over them. At the top of one was some kind of quest-related note for the Savage Village. Glad I took that effort. It makes me wonder what else I've missed by not stepping on every single square of the game.
- There was a library in town that allowed me to spend my accumulated skill points. Two of my characters were smart enough for the "doctor" skill, which I guess is a more advanced version of "medic." One of the skills offered was "toaster repair." Is this a joke, or does it really come in handy somewhere?
- A hot dog stand had some really disgusting offerings. The post-apocalyptic world of Wasteland has apparently resorted to cannibalism.
- The police station had a bunch of robotic police officers that were not happy with my picking the lock to their storage room. Gunning them down didn't seem to bother anyone else at the station, though.
- I've finally given up on the "melee-only" thing. Too many enemies attack from a range. All my characters have sub-machine guns or automatic rifles now. Right now, I have plenty of ammo, but I wonder how long that will hold, especially with the ability to fire off an entire clip at once (when you shoot a gun, you have options for "single," "burst," or "automatic" modes).
Finding places to use skills, attributes, and items has become second-nature to me. At the beginning of the game, I thought this system would drive me crazy, but it's not as hard as I thought. Every time you get some interesting message about the environment (e.g., "you're standing next to a jumbled bookcase"), you try your perception skill. If there's a trap or bomb, you attempt disarm. Locked doors give way to picklock, strength, or (as a last resort) demolitions.
But I could be missing out on a lot. I haven't found any way to directly use dexterity, intelligence, or any of the attributes other than strength, for instance. Someone clue me in if these play a big role.
My next stops will be Savage Village and then I guess I'll have another try at Las Vegas, although there's still that Darwin Village off to the east. I'll try to write some more about combat next time.