For two decades, the Fallout series of role-playing games has enraptured game players from all over the world. Set in an alternate timeline inspired in equal parts by pulp fiction and Atomic Age science-fiction, players find themselves thrust into the role of a post-apocalyptic survivor.
While all the Fallout games have storylines of a sort, the games are also famously open-ended and infinitely repayable. Players can ignore the main quest if they like, focusing on whatever goals they wish to assign their character. The characters's skills and statistics are also completely customizable, allowing players to be a smooth-talking diplomat in one play-through and a pistol-packing gunslinger the next. Most of the game's quests have multiple solutions, so players have the option of slugging it out with the antagonists, sneaking around obstacles or just trying to talk things out.
The one certainty whenever you start a new Fallout game is that you will be faced with a lot of choices. Some of these choices offer complex moral dilemmas that can leave your soul hurting as you try (and frequently fail) to bring something positive out of a no-win situation. Other times it doesn't matter what you decide because your choices have no bearing on what happens.
With that in mind, here are 7 Most Disturbing Choices In Fallout (And 8 That Are Completely Pointless).
15 Pointless - Your Spouse's Appearance
One of the most-touted new features of Fallout 4 was an enhanced character design engine that allowed more options than ever for sculpting your face and styling your hair. What's more, you could also decide what your spouse looked like.
This led to the creation and sharing of many saved game files and mods which allowed you to play the game with the faces of your favorite celebrities or fictional couples, as in the above picture where protagonists Nate and Nora have been transformed into Agents Mulder and Scully from The X-Files.
As nice an option as this is for those who dream of being married to a virtual Robert Downey Jr. or Emma Stone, this ultimately does nothing to change your gaming experience. Your spouse dies during the opening scene of the game, meaning your efforts to create your dream lover ultimately end with nothing but a beautiful corpse.
14 Disturbing - Wasteland Survival Guide
Shopkeeper Moira Brown has dreams of writing the ultimate survival guide. Ignoring that book-binding is a lost art and that most of the inhabitants of the wasteland are illiterate, this dream is hampered by one small complication - Moira has no practical survival experience! This means that Moira needs to find a co-author to assist her with fact-checking the answers to questions like "Does Radiation Really Make You Sick?" and "Are Mirelurks Intelligent?"
Your character can help Moira with her research but there's nothing to stop you from just making things up if your Speech skill is high enough. This takes on a horrifying turn in the games following Fallout 3, when you discover that Moira was somehow able to get her book delivered around the country. That means that countless people probably died following Moira's advice and your laziness is to blame!
13 Pointless - Saving (Or Killing) Caesar
In the world of Fallout, the man called Caesar rules an empire that stretches across much of the American West. The society of The Legion, based on the laws of Ancient Rome, is harsh and brutal. Slavery is legal, women are property, and military service is mandatory. Horrible as The Legion is, however, many settlements submitted to Caesar's rule because he is efficient at protecting his territory from raiders.
Fallout: New Vegas gives you several opportunities to kill Caesar, be it through intentionally botched brain surgery or simply attacking his camp with all the firepower you can muster. This does nothing, however, to throw The Legion into chaos or thwart their plans to take over Hoover Dam. If Caesar dies, the power vacuum is immediately filled by The Legion's greatest warrior, Legate Lanius, and nothing else changes.
12 Disturbing - I Could Make You Care
One potential companion that you can recruit in Fallout: New Vegas is Veronica. A scribe with the secretive Brotherhood of Steel, Veronica is something of an outcast due to her outspoken opinion that The Brotherhood should be developing new technologies and helping people rather than hoarding old electronics and hiding in their bunker.
Veronica's companion quest - I Could Make You Care - gives you several options in helping her to convince her boss, Elder McNamara, that there is still hope for humanity among the survivors on the surface. Unfortunately, there's no way to give Veronica a happy ending. Even convincing Veronica to abandon The Brotherhood to join the more liberally-minded Followers Of The Apocalypse ends badly, with The Brotherhood's more militant members destroying a Followers' outpost and the formally exiled Veronica fearful of sharing her knowledge with anyone ever again.
11 Pointless - Romancing Your Companions
Nearly every RPG these days offers the potential for seducing your companions and the Fallout games are no exception. Unfortunately, the Fallout 4 version of romance is sadly lacking in actual romance, with your success being based as much on random Charisma checks as your actions. Even if you do all the right things to woo your intended, a low Charisma score may doom you to be single forever... at least until you reload and try again. But where is the romance in that?!
While you do get a special perk for developing your relationship with your companion to the maximum level, there is nothing to stop you from doing this with multiple companions and forming a small harem of "true loves." You can even have them live in the same settlement and none of them will say a word about the other people with whom you share a bed.
10 Disturbing - Allowing Ghouls Into Tenpenny Tower
Built into an abandoned hotel, Tenpenny Tower is a gated community in Fallout 3. When the player first arrives there, they witness an argument between a ghoul (i.e. a human scarred by intense radiation) named Roy and a guard named Gustavo. Roy can afford the tower's steep rent but Gustavo says it doesn't matter, because the owner, Mr. Tenpenny, doesn't like ghouls. The player then has a choice of helping Roy liberate Tenpenny Tower from the rich racists running it or helping Gustavo kill Roy and his followers.
There is a peaceful option where you can persuade Mr. Tenpenny to let the ghouls in and kick out anyone who dislikes the new policy. Unfortunately, one week after settling-in, Roy and his followers kill all the humans who remain, even though none of them objected to letting ghouls live among them!
Why? Because in Fallout, no good deed goes unpunished.
9 Pointless - Eye For An Eye
There's an old line about how "military intelligence" is an oxymoron. That certainly seems to be the case in Fallout New Vegas where First Sergeant Astor of the New California Republic Army is concerned.
In the quest Eye For An Eye, Astor tasks the player with planting listening devices inside Cottonwood Cove - a nearby Legion base. The player has the option of sneaking in unseen or just walking into the base if their reputation with The Legion is good. They can even inform The Legion of the plot and go back to Sgt. Astor with a falsified report.
What makes Eye For An Eye so pointless is what happens next. Regardless of what the player did, Astor's next order is for the player to kill every Legionnaire in Cottonwood Cove! Even though it's kind of hard to gather information from a base where all of the enemy is dead...
8 Disturbing - The Secret of Cabot House
Spotlessly clean, the sight of Cabot House is unsettling even before you enter inside and meet The Cabot Family. As you perform odd jobs for them, it becomes clear that there's something not quite right about them. Then you discover that scientist Jack Cabot developed a formula that halts the aging process and that he and his family are over 400 years old!
Eventually, the strange truth is revealed. Jack committed his archaeologist father, Lorenzo Cabot, to an insane asylum in 1898 after his father was driven mad by his exposure to an ancient crown of alien origin and the immortality serum Jack created is made from his father's mutated blood!
The player has the option of freeing Lorenzo and helping him get revenge on his traitorous family or killing Lorenzo before he escapes the asylum. Either way, The Secret of Cabot House evokes feelings of Lovecraftian horror.
7 Pointless - Which Factions You Help In Fallout 4
The main story of Fallout 4 draws the your character into the conflict between four groups - the technology-focused but morally-indifferent Institute, the militaristic Brotherhood of Steel, the populist Minutemen, and the freedom-minded Railroad. The last group seeks to free all the synths (i.e. realistic human robot slaves) created by The Institute and protect them from The Brotherhood, who consider artificial life an abomination.
Your character can perform quests to help all these groups but eventually a choice will have to be made. This means that you'll be forced to fight against some of your old allies but in terms of the overall story, it doesn't matter which side you take in the final conflict. There is no option for negotiating an alliance between The Brotherhood and The Institute, nor teaming The Minutemen with The Railroad. Like War, the ending of the game never changes.
6 Disturbing - The Power Of The Atom
Megaton - the first settlement the player is likely to encounter in Fallout 3 - is a literal ticking time-bomb, built around an unexploded nuclear warhead. As illogical as that is, things turn darker when the player is approached by a man named Mister Burke about setting off the warhead and destroying the town.
It gets darker still if the player agrees to Burke's plan and goes to meet Burke's employer, Mister Tenpenny, who runs his own little kingdom out of the abandoned hotel he dubbed Tenpenny Tower. The whole reason Mister Tenpenny wants to destroy Megaton is that he thinks the squalid little town ruins the view from his penthouse suite. Imagine dozens of people killed just to satisfy the whim of one greedy old man and try not to be sickened. Or accept his offer and get a fancy apartment and a ton of cash.
5 Pointless - Sacrificing Yourself (Or Not) In Fallout 3
The ending of Fallout 3 was famously panned. Players were forced to choose between nobly sacrificing themselves to start a water purifier that would save the wasteland but expose them to a lethal dose of radiation or sending Sentinel Lyons of the Brotherhood of Steel to die in their place. Annoying as the plot railroading was, it was also illogical. By this point in the game the player probably had a companion who was immune to radiation, such as the super-mutant Fawkes.
The Broken Steel expansion changed this but ultimately made the choice even more pointless. While you could now ask one of your radiation-proof companions to start the purifier, the player would survive their suicide run and continue the game with Sentinel Lyons knocked into a deep coma if they chose the hero's path. Or Sentinel Lyons would be dead, if the player took the coward's way out.
4 Disturbing - The Pickman Gallery
Located in an unassuming little building hidden among the ruins of downtown Boston, The Pickman Gallery is one of the most disturbing locations in all of Fallout 4. Decorated with paintings made with human blood and twisted sculptures made from human body parts, the gallery is full of gore and viscera.
Exploration of the gallery's basement reveals that Pickman is, much like Jeff Lindsay's Dexter, a killer of killers. Pickman has a deep-seated hatred of raiders - the savage killers who live apart from what remains of civilization in The Wasteland - and turned his gallery into the ultimate trap as well as a display-space for the fruits of his rage-fueled labors. The player has the option of saving Pickman from a group of raiders seeking revenge or killing him themselves. Either way, they're rewarded with a mighty fine knife.
3 Pointless - Sparing or Killing Benny
Benny - leader of the Rat Pack inspired gang known as The Chairmen - sends the story of Fallout: New Vegas into motion with his attempted murder of The Courier, aka the player's character. The hunt for Benny and your quest for justice and/or revenge fuels the opening hours of the game.
It doesn't really matter what you do with Benny once you catch him, however. You can kill him or cut him loose once you confront him in his own club on The Vegas Strip. It has no real bearing on the overall main story. Even trying to show Benny mercy for being the pawn in a bigger game is ultimately pointless, as he'll emerge later as a captive of The Legion and you'll be given the choice of killing him in the arena or seeing him crucified for his treachery.
2 Disturbing - Nice Day For A Right Wedding
Angela Staley is a waitress at Gary's Galley in Rivet City in Fallout 3. Angela loves Diego. Diego, while thinking Angela is nice, wishes to devote his life to the priesthood and thus cannot marry her, much less have sex with her. Angela says she's sure she could make Diego see reason if she could get her hands on some giant ant queen pheromones - a potent aphrodisiac.
The player can help Angela in her quest to seduce an acolyte and force him into a shotgun wedding. Yet even that is not the most disturbing part of the Nice Day For A Right Wedding quest. The most disturbing part is that you are rewarded with positive karma once the two are married - all for helping a teenage girl to assault an aspiring priest!
1 Pointless - The Nuka Cola Challenge
The tiny town of Girdershade is home to two people. One of them, Sierra, is obsessed with Nuka Cola. The other, Ronald, is obsessed with Sierra. The Nuka Cola Challenge quest sees Sierra recruiting the player to find 30 bottles of Nuka Cola Quantum. Ronald will offer to pay the player for the soda so that he can give it to Sierra, hoping he'll later be able to "give it to Sierra."
Despite being largely the same scenario as Nice Day For A Right Wedding, helping Ronald procure the highly addictive glowing soda (shades of Slurm from Futurama) results in bad karma. In the end, it doesn't matter if you help Ronald or not. Sierra is still too innocent to notice his sleazy efforts at seducing her.
Is there a pointless or disturbing Fallout choice we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments!