KDS Vault 77 (Fallout 3 mod) review…

KDS Vault 77 (Fallout 3 mod) review after the break…

KDS Vault 77 (Fallout 3 mod) review…

Nowadays, the launch of any Triple-A game must be accompanied by a blitz of tie-in media. Movies have their talk shows, where actors advertise their movie; Albums have their concerts where the singer goes on a city-by-city tour; Novels have their book tours, with the author going to swank coffeehouses to autograph books, shake hands & make side talk with fans who couldn’t write five complete sentences in a row if they tried.

For video games, however, the venue of advertising is different – The venue is the Internet. One of the many tie-in advertisements for Fallout 3 was a small comic series drawn by the creators of the web comic “Penny Arcade.”

The tie-in comic dealt with the tale of Vault 77. In the game, there are a series of underground shelters called “Vaults,” built by a company called (simply enough) “Vault-Tec.” In semi-official lore (It’s complicated but the gist is that one of the creators of the Fallout franchise devised this particular plot point after leaving the company but, since he was one of the original creators, the plot point stuck & is now ad-hoc official for all intents and purposes), these Vaults were not as they seemed. In fact, these Vaults were meant to be psychological studies with the vault dwellers being the test subjects. Various Vaults were given various slightly devious scenarios; One Vault involved a malfunctioning water chip; Another Vault insisted that it’s dwellers remain in the vault for as long as possible.

Unlike a Vault that has been used in an actual game, though, Vault 77’s fate was a bit more humorous – A single man trapped inside of a Vault with a crateful of hand puppets. Yup.

The game Fallout 3 pays homage to this comic strip tie-in ever so briefly with an audio tape & a special jumpsuit. Of course, the Vault was never officially released in the game. Modders have stepped in to fill that void.

“KDS Vault 77” is not the first nor will it probably be the last amateur attempt to recreate this particular vault. The mod was created by “KDStudios” (hence the “KDS” at the front of the name). I’m doubting that “KDStudios” is an actual “studio” in the classic commercial sense but, if a bunch of people want to call themselves a studio, then whom am I to argue?

I’d like to thank KDStudios for providing an actual README file with their mod which describes where the vault is (South of Tenpenny Tower, in case anyone needs to know). Unfortunately, it is at the very entrance where you find the first two glitches – First, the door is not seated into the rock cliff properly, betraying the illusion of depth by allowing itself to be viewed from behind. Second, when entering, the door says that you are entering “(null).” Looks like someone forgot to fill in some field…

However, after that initial stumble, one is greeted by a dark cavern corridor where a (or the?) “Puppet Master” awaits at the entrance of the vault with his comic book canon rideable ant, “Mr. Pinch” awaits.

As per the comic book, the Puppet Master is armed with a hand puppet & that hand puppet packs a wallop if you allow it to get too close. Your Strength stat, coupled with either your unarmed or melee skill (I’m guessing either one), will cause the damage level to fluctuate although regardless of any of them, this is one puppet prop that you do not want to be tagged with. Consider yourself warned.

Unlike the comic book, however, this vault has more then just a crate full of puppets & a crazed vault dweller inside of it. Indeed, there are a few crazed dwellers inside the vault that you must also dispatch. I found that frag grenades were especially handy for most occasions, as you’ll find a lot of the dwellers hovering close to doors as you open them.

Despite the Puppet Master, his pet ant & his crazed denizens, though, there really isn’t a tremendous amount inside the vault. There are hundreds of teddy bears lying around & I am guessing that they are the understudy for the multitude of hand puppets in the comic book.

I was surprised at the lack of containers or otherwise any part of interactiveness in the vault – This is strictly a metal dungeon with human villains & nothing else. Apart from some lighting effects that set up a nice mood, I didn’t get the sense that I was visiting someplace special. This was just another dungeon to clear out, nothing more & nothing less.

Since this is version 1.0 that I am reviewing, I’m just not aware of why the modders decided not to add in anything that would give this mod any extra character. Having dozens of teddy bears inside various rooms only goes so far… Why not a terminal with entries giving a backstory? Why not a loudspeaker with a simulated “play,” like how the “Preacher” speaks in one of the areas of the Wasteland? Maybe have a wasteland hostage who is forced to watch a really bad puppet play? Where are the other puppets? Why not have factions for the other puppets – Different puppet weapons have different strengths or different abilities (like a dart gun ability or a knockdown ability or even a stealth field ability)?

Also, for a Vault that is occupied, it really doesn’t have any facilities for the occupants to use. Where are the beds? The bathrooms? The kitchen? The… Anything? I’m always amazed at the number of mods that I review where the NPCs are expected to live in such nonsensical conditions. Do the modders live in a house without a bed? Without a kitchen? Without a bathroom? Every modder ought to ask themself when placing a resident inside a mod “Is this a livable environment?”

Besides the overpowered puppet weapon & adherence to the comic strip canon, there is little reason to recommend downloading this mod. There really isn’t much here & after you sweep the vault of enemies, there isn’t much to take away from it either unless you really, really, REALLY enjoy collecting teddy bears.

I sincerely hope that KDStudios elaborates on this mod further. It would be nice to see a fully-formed Vault 77 in all of it’s icky, slightly macabre, somewhat humorous form. As of now, though, that just doesn’t exist.

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4 Responses to “KDS Vault 77 (Fallout 3 mod) review…”

  1. jhon morris Says:

    teddy bears are useful if you have the pitt addon

  2. KDStudios Says:

    Wow.
    I was randomly googling to see what would pop up and found this.
    A review of one of my mods.
    Now it may have been made over a year ago but I hope the author gets to read this.
    Thanks a lot for the review. I think I made a few updates since then and still need to work on it further. But haven’t really had the time to.
    This review however has inspired me to try and find time to add more content to Vault 77.

    Thanks again!

  3. Lutonaut Says:

    Hi KDStudios and thank you for reading my blog.

    I no longer have Fallout 3 installed onto my system. Although I appreciate that there is a newer version of your mod available, it is unlikely that I will be able to review it in the near future.

    While a few of my reviews stray into “snark” (some more deservedly so then others), I do attempt to be fair in my evaluations. Above all, I attempt to remain faithful to the age-old critic’s credo “Explain why you feel that way and give examples.”

    I hope that my reviews of gaming mods does not discourage anyone from discontinuing their hobby but allows them to see their mod from a completely independent viewpoint that will, hopefully, allow them to make alterations that helps clarify their vision of what they wanted their mod to be. I certainly don’t write these reviews for the “fame”; If anything, I have been informed that my review of certain Fallout 3 mods have made me “infamous” in various Fallout 3 modding circles for reasons that I will allow my detractors to elaborate on.

    Again, thank you for reading my blog.

  4. KDStudios Says:

    Ah that’s sad to hear. But still I’m amazed someone wrote about it at all.

    Well you’ve certainly not discouraged me from modding.
    If anything you’ve encouraged me to work harder and to look at it from different view points.

    You can’t make everyone happy, there’s always someone who disagrees with you so I wouldn’t take the infamous parts seriously. Some people just follow popular mods and if anyone even questions them or criticises them even slightly they get abuse aplenty.

    Again, thanks for doing the review
    I’ll be certain to read more.

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