(This is part of my journey going playing through 2010’s Fallout New Vegas. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
The journey from Primm to Novac ended up being surprisingly long, taking several gaming sessions and not just a few detours while in the wasteland. My favorite part was coming across two battling groups that I let kill each other so that I could loot their corpses in peace.
Eventually, however, I arrive at this fabled town and bear witness to its dominating landmark: a giant dinosaur statue (that also doubles as a gift shop). I also learn that “Novac” is short for “No Vacancy,” as in a modified hotel sign. Ah. Gotcha.
Bizarrely, Victor the Cowboy Robot shows up, having felt led to cross the desert and beat me here… for some reason. He doesn’t know what, and I get the feeling that there is so much more to this machine than he is letting on. I do not trust it.
One great running joke of Novac is that the wastelanders inherited boxes and boxes of small T-Rex souvenirs that nobody (rightly) wants to buy now. There are desperate signs all over the place to this effect, and the store even has 1,000 unsold dinosaurs waiting.
I did not buy one. What I *did* buy, however, was a very special pistol that had a big bonus to critical chance. It also looks all space agey.
Novac isn’t in any immediate danger, but the few townsfolk are concerned about a bunch of ghouls (Fallout’s version of zombies) that are holed up in the local rocket factory. Guess what job I’m given? Let’s go clean house!
I would love a tour, but I assume that I am too late. On the road to REPCONN, a guy accosts me and says that he’s been following me because I picked up a blue chip somewhere (which I don’t remember) and he wants to tell me about this fabulous treasure hunt that collecting such chips puts me on. Then he runs off. Okay, then, thank you for that nonsensical interlude!
REPCONN itself is one of those large, ugly, and maze-like Fallout dungeons that I’m not as fond of exploring. It was dark and not very photogenic, so just believe me when I say that I killed a lot of ghouls and stealthy supermutants (called “Nightkin” in this game). The ghouls try to get me to help them out, saying that they’re actually peaceful and need to have the mutants gone, but there’s a bunch of armed rockets in the basement that say otherwise.
At least I got myself a genuine spacesuit for my troubles. I look awesome! Might just wear this for the rest of the game.
With the ghouls’ obstacles overcome, they’re finally able to go on a “Great Journey” to some wonderful place via rocket ship (naturally). I mean, if you were looking for a game where zombies become astronauts, well then, you’re in luck here. I just felt bad for Chris, the human ally who thought he was a ghoul, since he had to get left behind (radiation danger, you know). I resettled him in Novac.
All of the hard work of clearing out the REPCONN facility paid off nicely once I got to see the rockets take off to the Ride of the Valkyries on the radio. Godspeed, zombienauts!
One thing I realized going through this playthrough is that I really haven’t been doing much in the way of side quests. And that’s not good, so I’m going to try to ferret at least some of these out and backtrack to finish some I’ve missed along the way. There is one in Novac that has to do with the kidnapped (and subsequently killed) wife of the town sniper, Boone. It takes some detective work — including interviewing the local crazy man — to finally discover that it was the nice desk lady that sold her (and her unborn child) into slavery for 2,000 caps.
This upbeat quest is resolved by dragging her out in front of the dino, where Boone shoots her. Justice?
At least I got to level 7 and obtained my first companion in the game. Boone isn’t much of a talker, but I’ll be glad for his firepower. To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about companions or pets in the game up to this point.