Welcome back to the Wasteland

The graphics look a lot more colorful than I remember and the gameplay is just as tough.

The graphics are a lot more colorful (my first exposure to Wasteland was the low-def Apple II version, not the neat IBM PC DOS version that inXile is re-releasing and which I’m now playing) with gameplay that remains just as tough. Yeah, Harry the Bunny Master, I’m looking at you. Also, this screenshot is with the pixel smoothing feature disabled.

Yesteryday, I recieved a pleasant early bird surprise from inXile as a backer of the new Wasteland 2 game — the original Wasteland!

But inXile have also made a few cosmetic improvements to the game as an added bonus. Smoothed graphics, a voice over reading all of the paragraph references that had also served as copy protection for the game (and contained a number of amusing red herrings such as a story arc on Mars), and a clean installation make it more than ready to take on the irradiated world with more modern machines.

I grabbed my copy from Good Old Games which are partnered with inXile’s rollout of the game which officially drops for everyone else tomorrow on the 12th for $5.99.

In setting things up, I decided to stick to the “old school” by keeping the graphics in their original,rough pixel, look. Call me old fashioned, but there’s something nostalgic about seeing pixelized portraits onscreen matching the worn down and beaten world of Wasteland’s devastated backdrop. The only thing I miss from this update so far was the animated intro showing an SDI satellite scooting into position before being blown out of orbit as missile dots arc towards their targets (which, as Infinitron points out below, was a sequence unique to the Apple II and C64 versions of Wasteland — the IBM PC DOS version simply had the mushroom cloud title panel with the text describing how the world went to hell below it).

So far, it’s as fun as I remember it and just as tough. Poor John Matrix was killed by desert dwellers after getting hit again while he was unconscious. No one in the party had a medic skill high enough to help him out. I have a feeling that I’ll probably be re-rolling a few more before this is over.

This is with the "smoothing" option enabled from the setup screen. Here I am in the Agricultural Center trying not to die while getting my skills up to snuff.

This is with the “smoothing” option enabled from the setup screen. Here I am in the Agricultural Center trying not to die while getting my skills up to snuff.

Here's a shot of the game with the high-def portrait setting along with the smoothing option. Unlike the low-res pixel versions, it's not animated, but it still looks great.

Here’s a shot of the game with the high-def portrait setting along with the smoothing option. Unlike the low-res pixel versions, it’s not animated, but it still looks great. And the party has John Matrix 2.0 back in my somewhat unlucky party.

Here's a shot of another Desert Dweller, this time with the high-def setting turned off and the smoothing disabled with a luckier look at my party now that they've healed up a bit more by wandering around the wastes.

Here’s a shot of another Desert Dweller, this time with the high-def setting turned off and the smoothing disabled with a luckier look at my party now that they’ve healed up a bit more by wandering around the wastes. Another reason I like going low-def are the animations.

Wasteland has always done a great job in creating the impression that every stat counts making investing those points an exciting -- and sometimes harrowing -- part of the gameplay. More agility? More speed? Or more strength? It's totally up to the player...and there's no auto-leveling here, either, to help out.

Wasteland has always done a great job in creating the impression that every stat counts making investing those points after gaining a promotion an exciting — and sometimes harrowing — part of the gameplay. More agility? More speed? Or more strength? It’s totally up to the player…and there’s no auto-leveling here, either. Your party’s survival is completely in your hands.

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2 responses to “Welcome back to the Wasteland

  1. Sounds like you’re familiar with the Apple II or C64 versions. The original DOS version of Wasteland was just as colorful. It also didn’t have the intro.

    • You’re totally right, the Apple II version was what I was going from when I wrote that up (and have now clarified). I also added two new screenshots to try and show the differences (with the new portrait of a desert dweller with my party listed below with the new “smoothing” option enabled). Thanks for pointing that out!

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