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The Dead Space Between My Ears, And The Resulting Fallout

Written by: Russell Davidson, CC2K Sports Editor

ImageI’d heard that the new Xbox 360 game Dead Space was fantastic. It combined horror, which I dig, with survival, which I’m for, with outer space, a terrific backdrop. So I got it.

Lemme say that yeah, the game looks great. Creepy and unsettling, body parts everywhere, sometimes your own, Dead Space had everything going for it. Except, as it happens, a way through. Seems I couldn’t survive this survival game.

I’d call myself a mid-core gamer. I’m not psycho enough to play these games 14 hours straight, but I am into them enough to buy them and do my best. I got about half way through Dead Space when I ran into this bad guy that I just couldn’t beat. It was some big tentacled beastie that took about a million shots to kill. This would have been okay if I’d had a million shots. I kept running out of ammo with no way to get anymore, so I couldn’t off this creature. Now, there comes a point where you have no choice but to give up. I won’t use cheat codes to give me unlimited power and bullets, it’s just not right. But walkthroughs, well, yeah, I’ll use ‘em if I have to. And the Dead Space walkthrough clued me in on how to kill this baddie, but I still couldn’t. So I threw the controller. I cursed like a drunken sailor. I threatened the developers. I swore off gaming forever, I just didn’t need the stress!

Then I got in my car, took Dead Space to Game Stop and traded it in for Fallout 3.

A good choice.

ImageFallout 3 is tremendous. I’d never heard of Fallout’s 1 & 2, but that didn’t stop me from sinking into this game big-time. It starts post-apocalyptically, in a ruined Washington, DC. I liked this, as I live in Washington, to be able to go to familiar places and see what had happened to them was kinda fun, in a twisted way. And the city is wide open. You could spend untold hours just walking around, killing the occasional mutant or giant ant, marveling at your freedom, at your ability to go just about anywhere. These kind of no-boundary games are mind-boggling, awe-inspiring. Yeah, there are all sorts of quests and challenges, bring this thing there, kill that, fix this, destroy that, but none of it you have to do, really. If you choose to complete tasks you level up, you alter your character with perks and skills chosen by you, allowing for a more personal plaything. If you want to be a weapons guy, go for it. If you want to be a smooth-talker, with more finesse, you can do that, too.

And the plot choices available to you aren’t limited. You can agree to some deal with some guy but then double-cross him. You can be good, helping people, or bad, offing them, or, like me, a little of both. You sleep, you eat, you shoot, you talk, you roam, you zero in, you laugh, you cry, you destroy cities, and on and on and on. Fallout 3 could be the last game you ever own. You could play it forever.

After the headache of Dead Space, Fallout 3 saved me. Its variety is unmatched. It reminded me a little of GTA, in that anyone can be talked to, killed, or both, or neither.  Oh, and it looks cool and is technically near-perfect (how great is that V.A.T.S. targeting system?). Fallout 3 is total immersion.

And in today's world, who couldn't use a little of that?