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So, after a number of technical difficulties, frustration, swearing, uninstallation and reinstallation, I finally completed Fallout for the first time yesterday. Being one of those who had only played Fallout 3 (and having no basis of comparison nor any ammunition in the war of words between diehard original fans and the johnny-come-lately-Bethesda-FTW-set who are widely criticised by the former), I'd decided to give things a go - and let's just say I'm glad I got that copy of Fallout Collection before they could get pulled off the shelves or who knows what else. It's a very addictive game, and whilst I still love Fallout 3 just as much in its own way, I now know what everyone has been going on about.

At first I found things hard to get into; the game looked its age, although the hi-res patch made it easier to play. Not that old graphics equals bad gameplay, of course - but the isometric view took some getting used to. I felt like I was 16 again, mucking around with Diablo on my boyfriend's computer and not having a clue what I was doing for quite a while. But the game definitely felt more RPG-ish than the first-person view in Fallout 3 ever did, and I believe it allows for much more strategic gameplay. I hadn't realised until last night when I was going mental after my game crashed just how addicted and involved I'd got in playing it.

The dialogue and descriptions were hilarious. It's a real shame that this wasn't carried through to Fallout 3. There were so many times where I laughed out loud, especially after one Psycho too many.

The turn-based combat was far more of a challenge than VATS ever was. Looking back, VATS made things way too easy, especially with some of the more advanced perks like Concentrated Fire and Grim Reaper's Sprint. I didn't mind this at the time; I've realised I don't often play games these days for the challenge. It's more about mindless escapism for me, in the same way others  watch TV at the end of a long day. The extent of my strategy in F3 was "walk in, mow them down, take their stuff" - and it worked quite well because the game allowed for this. Not so with the original: after being blown to bits again and again, I realised I actually had to THINK and so came up with some pretty inventive solutions that have probably been thought of by everyone else ten years ago but were all part of the fun. (I can't believe I actually managed to kill Lou with a plastic explosive.)  My "mindless escapism" policy may just be on its way out.

It has been said that F3 is a good game, but a poor sequel. This may indeed be true; I think, after having played both, F3 pays good homage to the original but has been contemporised for a mainstream audience, and is thus enjoyable for what it is, not what the first was. Should it have been called a sequel? I dont know; I think I'll sit on the fence on that one, and put up with a spiky picket up my backside if I have to. All I can say is my experience of Fallout 3 has definitely been enhanced by playing the first Fallout and that I love both games for what they are.

Anyway. I'm off to play Fallout 2.