(This is part of my journey playing through Wasteland. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)
I probably should have posted this last time, but here’s my party with their skills:
- Beaker: Brawling (2), climb (1), swim (1), perception (1), assault rifle (1), AT weapon (1), acrobat (1), pickpocket (1), silent move (1), slight of hand (1), demolitions (1), SMG (1), rifle (1), clip pistol (1)
- Scooter: Brawling (2), climb (1), swim (1), assault rifle (2), AT weapon (1), bureaucracy (1), acrobat (1), medic (1), cryptology (1), clip pistol (1)
- Piggy: Brawling (2), climb (1), swim (1), perception (1), assault rifle (2), bomb disarm (2), acrobat (1), AT weapon (1), SMG (1)
- Animal: Brawling (2), climb (1), swim (1), perception (1), assault rifle (2), AT weapon (1), acrobat (1), medic (1), safecrack (1), metallurgy (1), rifle (1)
Obviously, the plan is to conserve ammo from the outset and punch things to death, although I’ve spread clip pistol/SMG/rifle around a bit and given everyone assault rifle for later on. They’ve got most of the other essential skills, like medic, lockpicking, and bomb disarm. This is gonna be fun!
Below the shop I bust open a door, apparently angering several “juvies.” So they’re not teens, they’re juvenile delinquents in dorms where “nothing” happens? Well, something’s going to happen right now, sonny. Let’s do this.
As I wait for the juvies to saunter into the room, I rifle through some notes and see a poster that gives me a little backstory on this location. Apparently this used to be a teenage summer camp, Camp Highpool. I guess the kids never grew up, they just stuck around for the apocalypse.
Time for my first fight!
This is what I always loved about the game: the encounter portraits. Unlike the extremely simple overworld view, the portraits had a lot more detail and were even slightly animated. So everyone, this is what a “Juvies” looks like. Admire that pot belly!
I always liked the combat in Wasteland, too. Basically, you queue up your party’s actions and then you’re treated to a scroll telling you what’s going on (often with creatively descriptive actions). I pummel the juvies to death while taking no damage, getting some cash and a rocket (!) as a prize. Hey, I just did humanity a favor — would you want teens running around a camp with a rocket? That’s just not safe. Not safe at all.
So I find a kid who is freaking out about his “sick” dog that he hid in a cave. Sick as in rabies. So a rabid dog in a cave. Yeah, this is going to end well for everyone. Time to go make more kids cry!
The dog does some minor damage on my team, but our fists are simply too awesome and he goes down. Wasteland does a couple of interesting things with its XP. First of all, only the character that kills a mob gets experience, even if others contributed. Second, you get double XP if you melee a mob to death instead of using a ranged weapon. So there’s good incentive to brawl your way through the start of the game.
Using my climb skill, I scale a few rocks (and slip occasionally with skinned knees) to discover an NPC hiding behind there. It’s a juvie named Jackie, and he/she is the first recruitable party member. He/she also had absolutely horrible stats — just 10 hit points and relies on knife fighting. But you know what? A pathetic fifth party member is better than only four party members.
Outside of the cave, I take a stroll in the creek, but slip and fall. This gets kids laughing at me, which of course no Desert Ranger can ignore. Hey you! You’re laughing at an ADULT? It’s time to… kill… you?
OK, Wasteland gets a little dark and I’m not going to make jokes about killing kids. They are just XP pinatas, I tell myself. I feel a *little* better when the game informs me that they’re mutant children with slingshots. Clear and present danger?
Oddly enough, even though I’ve “killed” the kids, the game tells me that there’s no blood and that I’m being taunted by voices from a bush.
Don’t think, Syp. Just punch your way to freedom. Punch for justice. Punch because they’re bullies and they’re teasing you.
Other than the dead kid leader at my feet, two other things happen. The camp transforms into a dry valley (because… why?) and Red Ryder himself shows up to teach me a lesson.
Wasteland: Don’t question it. Just go with the flow.
To make matters worse, Bobby — the owner of the now-dead rabid dog — joins in the fight because he’s angry that I killed his pooch. Bobby, Bobby… you threw your rabid pup into a cave with your best friend and then left him. Are you serious right now?
Anyway, this is a tough, tough fight. Red Ryder is blasting me for ~20 points of damage a turn from range, and since my pistol skills are crap I have to spend a couple turns running in just to get within melee range. The one saving grace of these fights is that Wasteland doesn’t kill you if you go to zero hit points. You typically fall unconscious and can come back into the fight in a few rounds. If you’re hit REALLY hard you go into critical mode and start bleeding out, and at that point you need a doctor or medic to get you back to unconscious.
At the end of the fight, Animal and Jackie are both in critical condition, so I run down to the doctor and pay a lot of money to get Animal stabilized. I don’t have enough for Jackie, and Animal’s medic skill doesn’t do squat. Oh well, at least Highpool is cleared and we can continue our adventures elsewhere.