(This is part of my journey playing through Wasteland. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)
So here’s probably the most terrifying aspect of Wasteland, the one fact that should warn you away from this game and toward, say, Fallout instead: Wasteland only has one save game, and that’s over-written every time you leave or enter a new area.
This stems from the olden days of yore, when PC games came on floppies and there just wasn’t enough space to create multiple save games. In fact, you were instructed to make copies of the disks and play from those, else the game would save on your one and only original.
This means that as I go through Wasteland, I’m in a constant and very real danger of ending up permanently screwed. For example, now that I left Highpool, Jackie is dead and reloading the save won’t change that. It’s entirely possible to find yourself in a time-limited situation or in inescapable fights without any way to win. So let’s keep that in mind as we see how far we can go.
Syp’s Rangers, bruised and battered from beating up kids, have emerged from Highpool and decided to head over to the Agricultural Center instead. Apart from a few items and XP, we really didn’t come out ahead from that previous area. The only way I can figure out how to heal up right now is to run back and forth on the overworld map to make time pass. Gradually, my party heals to full and we go into the Center.
Everyone here is really bummed out, not — as you might imagine — because their lot in life is to be farmers in the middle of a radioactive wasteland. Nay, it’s because there are mutant bunnies and some sort of catapult attack messing up their farm work. Because when you’re on the lowest rung, mutant bunnies can always drag you down one rung further.
Instantly upon getting close to the guy at the front desk (what is THAT job like?), I’m told to read a paragraph. This is Wasteland’s notorious copy protection system, which used a book of descriptive paragraphs in an attempt to stymie pirates. I don’t think it worked, really, but all of the fake paragraphs in the book proved to be entertaining reading. In any case, the reworked Wasteland I’m playing incorporates the paragraphs (and new voice-overs) into the game itself.
One does wonder what twists and turns of life a man must go through in order to lose contempt for humanity and instead start ordering rabbits around. I think there’s a deep tale here that’s gone untold.
The fight is really tough. I have to equip two of my clip pistol-skill users with pistols to make it through on the sixth try, and that ended with one of my guys unconscious. It’s all worth it, however…
The 100-year-old farmer then invites me into his root cellar. And if there’s one thing that I know to be true about the universe, it’s that if a 100-year-old farmer wants to lure you down to his musty root cellar, it’s going to have a happy ending.
Since the farmers are so appreciative that they won’t unlock their gates for us, we’re forced to go through a bunny/rat/opossum-infested cave to exit the Agricultural Center. It’s a long slog through a ton of mobs with fights that have my characters entering and exiting unconsciousness because I can’t heal up but the bunnies can’t deliver a blow serious enough to kill.
Ahh… the sweet desert. How I’ve missed you.