Incredi-bargain! STALKER! Incredi-bargain!

We normally reserve talk of discounted games for Saturday’s Bargain Bucket post, but this one’s too good to leave for then. STALKER: Shadow Of Chernobyl is a title that instantly flickers into the forebrain of both myself and Jim whenever the question of the last few years’ best/most important PC games is raised. It is not a perfect game, but it realises a world, a place, an atmosphere, a dream of what games can and should be that pretty much nothing else even tries to come close to. And it’s £3.50 on Steam (not sure of US price – presumably around $5?) until Monday. I find that almost insulting. On the other hand, it means there’s essentially no excuse to not buy the thing if you haven’t already. What else could you spend that £3.50 on? If you do invest in it, I strongly advise you apply the STALKER Complete 2009 mod compilation for maximum post-apocalyptic prettiness.


  1. qrter says:

    Gamersgate had more or less the same deal, the whole last week – 5 euros.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Arse, it’s back up to £15 now, otherwise I’d edit that in.

    • qrter says:

      Yeah, I checked if it still was on before commenting.

      I’ll tell you something, though – I just rebought STALKER on Steam at that price. It’s typically one of those games I will be revisiting quite a few times in years to come.

  2. James G says:

    Picked it up in a charity shop a few months ago, and still haven’t got round to playing it. (Doesn’t help that I’m not a major FPS fan. So despite all the praise for it, its difficult to build up the motivation to install it.)

    • fulis says:

      lol just wait until you install it
      That’s when you’ll need the motivation
      It’s worth it though, really is, but the start of the game can be tough to get through

  3. Lilliput King says:

    “On the other hand, it means there’s essentially no excuse to not buy the thing if you haven’t already. ”


  4. Vae Victus says:

    I also love STALKER. I’ve been playing through again with the Oblivion Lost mod: link to

    It does a lot to enhance the experience. It doesn’t focus on graphical improvements like the STALKER complete mod but it adds more weapons / artifacts / monsters and overhauls the AI. Highly recommended.

  5. Mr_goat says:

    Awesome. the ol’ dvd was getting a bit dodgy ( not to mention the problems ive had with my drives, they seem to explode every other week)
    having this is the digi-download collection will make my life easier….. :)

  6. Phoshi says:

    I prefer the “AMK” mod (only partially because my PC would die if I pointed it to c2009’s textures), but unfortunately that requires the 1.4 patch, and downgrading on steam appears to be impossible.

    Ah well, it’s an incredible game nontheless, highly recommended.

    @James; Just play it. It’s an FPS, yes, but it never feels like generic “Kill these guys!”, it’s more atmospheric than any RPG I’ve ever played, and I’ve cared about some of the totally irrelevant characters more than some characters with actual backstory.

  7. LewieP says:

    USA price is $5, Euro price is €5.

    I’ll be getting this, and I think we already know next weeks deal of the week, since it would take something pretty big to top this,

    • Vinraith says:

      OK, it’s 4 AM so forgive me for being slow, what are you thinking they’ll discount?

  8. MacBeth says:

    Hmm, I thought I had bought it already and added it to the towering stack of games I have bought but still haven’t played… turns out I hadn’t. But like the man says… at that price there was essentially no excuse to not buy the thing since I hadn’t already… or something.

  9. Lambchops says:

    Great . . . another one to add to my ever growing list of “there was no reason not to buy it for the price” games that I’ve bought from Steam.

    Cheers for the heads up though guys. i’ve always thought this looked like one to eventually pick up when it got cheap – it’ll be interesting to see if I like it or not.

  10. Amnesiac says:

    I bought this a few weeks ago. But for some reason after a couple of times booting it up its asking me to activate it again and not accepting my product key :(

  11. Spacewalk says:

    For that price I’d buy it again. Not looking forward to downloading all that though.

  12. MacBeth says:

    Also I’m sure the Steam store didn’t let me do one-click purchasing before, but it did for this… I am scared now… one less barrier on a system that’s already so difficult to resists…

    • Lambchops says:

      Yup! I noticed that – it changed a couple of weeks ago I think. Without having to enter 16 digits it feels even less like I’m spending money. Damn you Valve and your clever ways!

  13. Dain says:

    So is there a definitive list of lots of mini mods to apply before playing, or will these large mods suffice?

  14. Dominic White says:

    Just pointing out that most mods do pretty major things to change the game.

    STALKER Complete 2009 doesn’t. It’s an enhancement mod, pure and simple. It makes the graphics, UI, audio and translation all better. The core gameplay is unchanged, except for some minor AI enhancements.

    It’s an absolute must-have for a first play. You won’t notice it if it’s there, and it won’t negatively impact the experience in any way. It’ll just make your first time through a nicer, prettier, more atmospheric experience.

  15. Dain says:

    Hrmm, given that I’m playing on a computer with fairly low capabilities graphics wise and have heard things about the stability/fun of Stalker, would you reccomend a vanilla playthrough first? Or go straight in with the mods?

  16. kyrieee says:

    S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is such a great game. It really stands out among all the games I’ve played in the past three years, but at the same time I don’t have the will to go back to it and I’m not sure I could handle another expandalone. Its world is just harsh. Dark, scary, irradiated and punishing. The atmosphere is amazing, orders of magnitude better than any other game, but it’s not a pleasant atmosphere. I love it but at the same time I want to stay really far away from it

  17. Alex Hopkinson says:

    £3.50 is 49p less than a Commodore 64 budget game on tape! Stalker – cheaper than Bubble Dizzy.

    • Weylund says:

      It’s only cheaper than Bubble Dizzy if you did not, in the act of buying said C64 game, accidentally kill a clown.

  18. Heliosicle says:

    Oh come on! I’ve pre ordered borderlands and l4d2 already, don’t wanna have to invest more time into something…..

  19. hide says:

    Why should someone buy Shadow Of Chernobyl instead of basically the same game but made better like Clear Sky is ?
    (Convince me, i want to buy SoC but i need reasons)

    • Ted says:

      Clear Sky isn’t made better. It’s a very good game, but the original is the better game.

    • qrter says:

      The weapon upgrades in Clear Sky are nice and I liked the find-the-artifact system in CS much better instead of accidentally tripping over them now and then in SoC.

      But SoC is a more rounded game with a better story, I’d certainly go with that one over CS.

  20. Ted says:

    STALKER’s a great game, but it ran like shit for me, and the computer I played it on was high end. Does it slow to a crawl if you pump the graphics up more?

    • Tim James says:

      Only Clear Sky slows to a crawl when you jack up the sun beams and shit.

  21. El Stevo says:

    Bargain! I was very excited, until I went to Steam and discovered I’d already bought Stalker without realising.

  22. Leper says:

    The steam version will work with the mods will it? Just want to make sure before I put down such a substantial sum and I remember some game beforehand not playing nice with mods.
    Shame I can’t play it for several months though as I’m consigned to this Uni laptop but at least I can put it into the cloud storage ’till I can use it. Cheers for the tip!

  23. Dan says:


    I’m assuming that it’s possible to apply the mod to a Steam-installed version of the game?

    • Lambchops says:

      I’m currently in the middle of downloading a version oof the Stalker Complete 2009 mod which says it’s compatible with Steam so the answer should be yes.

    • Smithee says:

      I’m using the Complete 2009 mod with the Steam version right now. No obvious problems.

  24. Sam says:

    It cost me US$3.75 which equates to AU$4.10 according to my bank. What an absolute bargain.

    Also Steam’s different prices for different regions are screwed up – except for us Australians :D

  25. Starky says:

    ARMA and stalker cheap in one day, nice.

    I baught STALKER once, could not get it to run for more than 15 seconds without crashing so returned it for a refund (back in the day when you still could get a refund on PC games) and never bothered again.

    Still worth the 3.50 to get it into steam to see what I missed, now that I have a much better machine and the game has been patched to high hell.

  26. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Look, I already have bought more games this year than any other. I say no. It looks very interesting, but not so much that I can’t resist.

    • Dave says:

      Yeah. I bought RFG on Friday and am loving it to tiny pieces… or maybe that’s the explosives.

      Borderlands just unlocked yesterday and I’m wishing I could take off work to get to know it better.

      And there’s also Torchlight to get soon.

      And L4D2 when the inevitable Steam sale happens.

      Sorry, Stalker. It was never meant to be.

  27. zakkmiester says:

    Or, as the guy from zeropunctuation would say: ess tee ay ell kay ee ar

  28. Muzman says:

    Depending on how far you are patched the driver version can affect speeds in a big way. Usually something other than the latest driver version will be the best (sometimes a couple of versions back).
    This is true with Clear Sky as well; the god rays dropped my system to single digits with the latest nvidia drivers, but were smooth as silk with much older ones.

  29. Mil says:

    Is it the horror-unpleasant-grimness type of game as it seems to be? I don’t like that type of game.

    • qrter says:

      Yes, it’s quite grim and quite unpleasant. Also one of the few games that has genuinely managed to scare me.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      It is one of the most horror-unpleasant-grimness-iest games ever.

      But you should play it anyway.

  30. Muzman says:

    Doh. Reply Fail

  31. Vinraith says:

    I bought it when it was new, but have still never made it further than a few hours in. Twice I’ve made it to the junk yard full of buses, but it seems impossible to win that combat as the enemies appear to spawn infinitely. I usually get fed up at that point and stop.

    • Krondonian says:

      Yeah, basically try and win the first wave, but don’t count on holding off the bandits forever. My first playthrough I tried to totally destroy everything, and collected EVERYTHING from corpses, as I do in RPGs.

      Once I learned to stick to the game’s rules though, always keeping moving, it got a lot faster and more interesting.

      It’s the only game I know where helping NPCs is a decision made at personal cost. If you want to help them, you won’t get a nice bounty at the end of it- it’s you or them.

    • Dominic White says:

      Huh? There’s only like 10 of them total. No respawning. You should have an SMG by that point, too.

      Also, let the friendly dudes. Stick with them, and shoot at what they’re shooting at. The entire fight lasts a minute at most.

    • Schmitzkater says:

      Somehow, whenever I played, I stopped at that exact point. Not because I died or anything, I just… stopped. Whatever the reason may have been.

    • Krondonian says:

      I don’t know about that. Maybe the AI was being screwy, but the last time I played the bandits respawned almost immediately after the first lot, while the entirety of the ‘good’ guys were obilterated by the first lot.

      The first time through however, we destroyed them without a casuality.

      The AI is certainly likely to mess up though. In Clear Sky I walked into the same area once, went up to the bandit leader who wasn’t attacking at all, tried to talk to him, then every single one of them decided to shoot me at once, with no warning.

    • merc says:

      Yeah, I’ve tried to get into the game twice, too, and gave up twice only shortly after that area. Game has some infuriating issues.

    • Vinraith says:

      “Huh? There’s only like 10 of them total. No respawning. You should have an SMG by that point, too.”

      I killed at least 30 before they finally got me, and they kept coming. Maybe it’s a recurrent bug, I wouldn’t know, but as best I can tell it’s impossible to win that fight. Am I supposed to run away from it or something?

      And I’ve never had an SMG at that point either, actually, just the sawed off shotgun.

    • Vinraith says:

      No wait, I DO have the SMG, just no ammo for it.

    • Muzman says:

      Maybe it needs some patching. I can remember the bandits there being pretty relentless early on. But a couple of versions later they’re spaced out a bit better in the respawns and you stand a chance.
      It is true that you aren’t supposed to worry too much about hanging around there if you don’t want to.
      More often than not with Stalker you might think you see the “narrative” of events the game is trying to lay out for you and play accordingly, but it’s frequently unnecessary and you can play it another way entirely.

    • Vinraith says:

      Huh. Well, I wanted to give it another try with the STALKER 2009 mod anyway, it seems like the kind of game I’d love if it would quit with the infinite respawn. If that’s actually a bug, and potentially something that’s been corrected, it’s definitely worth trying again.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      I’ve had the same problem as Vinraith at that place. I guess it is either a bug in the code that randomizes the number of enemies that spawn, or there are several waves that arrive at the same time – one scripted wave from your arrival, and one or more random ones.

      Once I was sneaking up on a path towards an abandoned farmhouse, and a group of shotgun wielding bandits spawned around me. One second later – 8 * BOOM!

      This was an early version of the game though, hopefully these problems have been fixed in patches.


      There are in fact multiple very different endings to this game. Some of the endings are reached more or less through “emergent gameplay”, some through solving specfic quests. Unlike most RPGs you are given little or no indication of this in advance, you don’t get any “Warning, you are diverging from the main plotline, you are not allowed to leave this area before you find vital clues.” or “This quest gave you +10 karma” messages. You are supposed to figure things out for yourself.

    • Dominic White says:

      To be fair, there’s a bunch of premature ‘bad’ endings, and one good ending. The good ending comes from completing the main plotline – just look at your characters journal to find out what you’re supposed to do there. You can’t miss the true ending if you just follow what it says.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Dominic –

      Yes, you are right, perhaps I oversold the “branching storyline” bit. But from reading forums it seems quite a lot of people played it as a standard FPS and missed the “good” endings.

  32. drewsk says:

    The only problem with buying games near release is that you miss out on all the bargain basement goodness later on.

    Still, that’s a corking deal.

  33. Tony says:



  34. EBass says:

    “I bought it when it was new, but have still never made it further than a few hours in. Twice I’ve made it to the junk yard full of buses, but it seems impossible to win that combat as the enemies appear to spawn infinitely. I usually get fed up at that point and stop.”

    A) You don’t have to do that fight if you don’t want to.

    B) No they never spawn, theres one wave of about 8 guys, though your weapons are irritatingly cack at that point. Thats what makes the game incredibaly irritating early on, the early weapons take a full clip into the chest to drop someone wearing a leather jacket. So aim for the head? Not the point at all, a few chest shots should drop someone,

    Anyhow, I’ve got the DvD right next to me so I feel no need to rebuy it. Hows the new Stalker shaping up? Call of Pryipat or something? Well I say “new” I’ve no doubt it’ll be the same rehash Clear Sky was. I really want them to make a proper new game.

    • Vinraith says:

      “theres one wave of about 8 guys,”

      As stated above, not in my game there isn’t. Running 1.0005 I’ve reached that point twice, the first time I killed about 15 before they got me. The second time I was prepared, acquired everything I could to survive that fight figuring it was a quasi-boss encounter, and managed to kill about twice that many. If there’d been 8, it would have been a walk in the park.

    • Clovis says:

      I remember having very similar problems my first time through there too. I tried it several times. Finally after one attempt they just stopped.

      I ended up moving onto a different game shortly after getting to that first big city. When I came back I ended up doing a mission where you escort some jerk in a HVAC suit. I tried that mission 4 or 5 times. It went wrong every time because HVAC-man kept getting stuck on stuff or would run out into the middle of the firefight and get killed. I ragequit and haven’t gone back since.

      I have way too many games to deal with STALKER’s problems. I hope they can make a less buggy sequal in the future. I definitely understand why people like it so much despite the flaws.

  35. Ian says:

    This isn’t the first time it’s on sale for this price on Steam.

    I wonder what the occasion is?

  36. neems says:

    Celebrating it being the best single player fps ever made.

  37. Jose says:

    Best menu music ever.

  38. Snuffy (the Evil) says:

    I hate Steam. All of these excellent deals are making me run out of money.

  39. bill says:


    I’m on a self-imposed ban from buying any more of these bargains. But Stalker was one of the 3 possible exceptions.

  40. Atalanta says:

    Fantastic timing — I was planning on picking this up anyways.

  41. meax says:

    This item is currently unavailable in your region. :(

  42. sfury says:

    I was just thinking what would they discount for Halloween this week, 5 euros is insta-buy for me! :)

  43. DMJ says:

    I wish I hadn’t bought it already, so I could buy it now.

  44. Simplex says:

    Europeans are ripped off again, the price in Euros is merely 49% higher than in Dollars. Thank you, Steam!

  45. trdbglr says:


  46. Risingson says:

    I got the collector’s edition in a bargain. It’s funny: lately I’m having a nice collection of games in their collector’s edition: Far Cry 2 with its big box, making off and t-shirt, Stalker with its nice box, World in Conflict with its *cough* real Berlin Wall piece… each one of them for around 10 euro..

  47. Vitamin Powered says:

    At £3.5 that’s actually cheaper than getting my copy back from Melbourne. Hurray!

  48. Fox says:

    Yay, “unavailable in your region”. Thanks Steam…

  49. eto says:

    I don’t know if anyone will agree with me but I really suggest playing this game with the crosshair turned off (you still have ironsights). I think it does a lot for the immersion because you’re not staring at a part of the UI all the time.

  50. Doctor Doc says:

    I didn’t like Complete Mod. I found LURK was much better. Complete is also too bright and got more of a hollywood, half-life 2, bright and pretty princess kind of feeling. That’s not very Stalker at all.