by Liam Edwards
reviewed on X360
Dead Money is hard. Expect to die a lot - again and again and again. Around every corner there is something that will stab you in the back, blow your limbs off, melt your face of with a laser or just plain poison you. Explosive mines, bear traps, poisonous gases, security holograms and Ghost People will all make you cry.
Ghost People especially will have you screaming. They are the inhabitants of this dead city: humanoid creatures driven mad by the poisonous gases and tough to kill. They use melee weapons to attack and can move quite quickly towards you, making it hard for you to keep a steady aim on them if you use the iron sights. Shooting them is useless, unless you want to knock them out. The Ghost People are not killed by simple bullets. To destroy them completely you need to dismember them, chopping off their limbs and removing their heads usually does the trick.
As you know, swapping weapons in Fallout is quite a slow process of bringing up the pip-boy and selecting the weapon you want to use. To kill the Ghost People in the easiest way possible is to shoot them and then attack them with a melee weapon such as a knife or a staff. Simply using a knife is no good, because if you let them come to close to you they will easily dismember you before you can do the same to them, and when there are groups of them you will need to knock them all out before you can kill them. The process of changing weapons every minute can become quite painful and you will be sick of using the same technique over and over again, but this really is the only way to get rid of them.
Dead Money is harsh on dishing out the ammo and health too. You will rarely find weapons and stimpacks are almost like finding diamonds. When you realise that you cannot pass the next point without rifle ammo, you will then have to whizz back through the gases and mines you just passed to see if you can find any. Itís a tough cookie and you would expect some feeling of satisfaction for completing sections like you do when you complete other difficult games, but this doesnít happen with Dead Money because itís all too Argh... And if you stand around long enough to enjoy the satisfaction you will realise your limbs have just been thrown in the air by a mine or some fast moving Ghost.
What Dead Money does well is storytelling. Your three team-mates are by far the most interesting characters you will come across in the wasteland, and they are so full of interesting dialogue. Your first and most valued companion is the Super Mutant, Dog. Dog is a loyal fellow who believes Father Elijah is his master and he listens to everything you say. But he has a split personality. Dog is the loveable but quite stupid part of him, while God is his egotistical, intelligent and dangerous side. You may think this is a gimmick, but Dog/Godís split personality is a very clever gameplay mechanic, with you having to command Dog to complete some sections and then realising that you need Godís intelligence to complete others. Dogís overall strength is a god-send with him being able to easily dismember and devour Ghost People, but he is driven by his hunger and will sometimes not listen to you unless you feed him.
Your second companion is Dean Domino, a casino entertainer back in the day and all around suave smooth talker. He has some of the most entertaining dialogue options in the game.
Excellent dialogue and characters. A very well written and in depth story.
Empty surroundings, lack-lustre gameplay and sometimes quite difficult.