I have been lost in my own TARDIS for fifteen minutes.
Having finally located it in a junk yard in Fallout: New Vegas’s Mojave Desert I appear doomed to wander its innards, experiencing all the glory of time and space that can be offered by grey corridors which don’t quite correspond to anything I can draw in two dimensions.
In short: the Fallout Who Vegas [Nexus page] mod has exposed me as the world’s worst timelord.
I installed the Doctor Who-inspired mod after Graham forwarded some information sent in by a reader. The trailer itself seemed to just be a collection of things from Doctor Who rendered in Fallout: New Vegas’ engine and offered no real sense of the experience. Then I found a tech demo video of the exact corridors I am trapped in but with Weeping Angels spawning and pursuing you whenever you turned your back.
That was a lot more promising, as was this:
“Maintain and upgrade the TARDIS as you see fit, monitoring power, fuel, shield and hull levels as you travel.
Interact with Daleks, Cybermen, Autons, Time raiders, as you traverse from location to location, fending off attacking vessels or outrunning other-worldly anomalies.”
So I shelved my fear of modding things and downloaded New Vegas. Then I had to download Nexus Mod Manager because my version was out of date. Then I had to get the script extender. Then I needed to get whatever the script extender needed. Then there were a lot of conversations about things that were downloaded and not installed and how you even tell if something exists anyway and maybe you would like to hurl the whole thing out of the window and which were the exact button presses needed for opening up the command interface in Windows 7 as an admin and why is it so hard to cope with having a Steam directory on a different drive and I REALLY MEAN IT ABOUT THE WINDOW.
Eventually I was blinking in the desert light as the WHHHHHHNNN WHHHHHHHN WHHHHHHN of a TARDIS made itself heard. It was actually a really strong moment. I’m rather fond of the wheezing blue box so having it show up in a game I’d previously drifted away from on console about a third of the way through the story made the prospect of the wasteland rather more pleasing.
Something something time paradox, something something me from the future helping current me. It’s Doctor Who plot stuff. What you need to know is that I instantly replaced my quest to meet Sunny Smiles for a Fallout tutorial with the one about finding the blue box in the junk yard.
TO THE WASTELAND!
Five minutes later I was running away from Bark Scorpions. Bark Scorpions are nippier than I remembered and kept poking me as I retreated. That’s why I turned round and tried to punch one of them to death instead. This went about as well as you can imagine.
My next route involved avoiding the Bark Scorpions. It went really well on that front, but the reason the Bark Scorpions were gone was because I had wandered into a gully stuffed with Radscorpions. I tried to punch a Radscorpion to death. It went about as well as you can imagine.
A third route took me past the camp of a few Powder Gangers. I felt like I could probably take a Powder Ganger on account of them not being a type of scorpion so cautiously approached. Well. Cautiously but also at high speed and forgetting about land mines.
After another meeting with Bark Scorpions on my fourth adventure I came to the conclusion that Fallout Who Vegas does not make the Wasteland less awful and reluctantly headed off to meet Sunny Smiles. She taught me how to shoot sarsaparilla bottles with a varmint rifle, how to make healing powder and how to shoot geckos in the face.
I felt like a fraud. The Doctor doesn’t have a gun. He’d be all like “THE GECKOS ARE LOVELY AND SOMEHOW WE CAN SOLVE THIS PROBLEM OF BRUTAL SURVIVAL USING HOPE AND LOVE OR WHATEVER, GOODNESS ME RADSCORPIONS ARE JUST WONDERFUL AND MISUNDERSTOOD AND NOW I WILL PULL MY ENIGMATIC FACE”.
I felt especially like a fraud when, jittery from the Radscorpions, I used the VATS system to blow the head off what turned out to be a tiny praying mantis thing. Doctor Who doesn’t really go in for slow motion killcam shots.
Still! Armed with my gun I could now get to my blue box.
Except for the part where there are still Deathclaws in the game.
Nine regenerations later and I was nearly there (although also running away from a lady in tiny knickers who wanted to punch me to death and then three men who wanted to shoot me to death).
Reaching Novac meant the chance to get patched up by a doctor and then, joy of joys! finding the TARDIS.
Inside the TARDIS was a lovingly recreated version of one of the control rooms – I think you can find other versions in the mod but this one is the version from series five of the reboot – all orangey and staircasey. A hologram of a Time Lord told me my new transportation was in need of repair and thus I began a tutorial which featured trips to a workshop and resources like “bazoolium”.
I’ve watched a lot of Doctor Who but never retained much of the lore or the detail so I have no idea how much of this is improvised and how much is from the show but I can tell you it feels about right.
Thing is, the tutorial is bugged at the moment. Either that or it’s some kind of joke about time loops and futility. I got all the way through and then you have to step outside the TARDIS but the Time Lord hologram is in the way and keeps triggering a loop of dialogue which you can never escape. The only solution I found suggested by other players was to just go back to before you spoke to him the first time and opt out of the tutorial.
And thus I am back in the TARDIS. It needs repairing and I am trying to find the workroom solo so I can build a repair kit. But without holo-dude’s guidance I am hopelessly lost. So far I have kicked a globe over in a mysterious sitting room, discovered some kind of ammunition dump, and fallen through both the wall and the floor multiple times, dying in the blackness of slightly wonky corridor implementation (or possibly faithful-to-lore potential death if the TARDIS is broken and acting out or something?).
I would like to get a bit further because I really want to see what the Weeping Angel section is like but OH MY GOD HOW DO I NAVIGATE THESE HELL CORRIDORS I THINK MY TARDIS IS LAUGHING AT ME.