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Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money

With the success of Fallout: New Vegas, itís clear that the game is perfect for add-on material in the form of an expanded story line and an increased level cap. Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money brings both into the main game, increasing the cap by 5 levels and adding a radio signal to your trusty pip boy that will lead into a quest for the lost treasure of the Sierra Madre casino. Once you go in search of the signal, the courier will be knocked out by Father Elijah and outfitted with an explosive collar. Father Elijah wants you to seek out help from three other prisoners with similar collars and making your way via a perilous route to the Sierra Madre casino. Once inside, you must recover the riches inside and return them to Father Elijah to earn your freedom. But as it is in all Fallout games, there are many paths to achieve your freedom.

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Dead Money is a character-driven story and seeking out the help of the other prisoners is the more entertaining part of the add-on pack. There are three Vegas folks to recruit: a slick ghoul named Dean that can slip out of any situation, a mute named Christine Royce that requires a high intelligence to understand and a mutant with a split personality that goes by the names of Dog and God depending on the personality. These characters all have excellent stories to unravel as well as collection quests to finish for their assistance. The characters also have perks when joining you as well, some of which are more helpful when traveling to the casino.

Unfortunately, the collar that you are wearing is built on very old technology and will explode if you get near a radio signal. In addition, radios / speakers are hidden all over the area surrounding the casino and makes navigation a painstaking process of trial and error. In addition, there are traps all over the place in the form of mines / clamps / shotguns and an annoying red dust cloud that wears down your health as more of it enters the courier. You have to travel slowly around the environment attempting to spot these traps and radios to disarm or destroy them. Itís extremely annoying and navigating the maze of similar streets doesnít help.

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In addition, the town is filled with ghost people that enjoy getting back up to attack the courier and friends after they have been shot down or punched out. Add in the fact that thereís really limited ammo / supplies in the area and those who lack unarmed skill probably in trouble. In addition, the only currency for buying these supplies comes in the form of casino chips from the Sierra Madre. You also have to locate codes hidden around the city to unlock the higher quality supplies like quality guns or ammo. All in all, the gameís difficulty is pretty high and you probably shouldnít attempt it until you have some decent skill growth under your belt. Just like other Xbox 360 add-on packs, there are also five achievements added onto the game. A couple of them are spoilers for the story, so Iíd recommend not peeking at them until finishing the main story.


The visuals in Dead Money are identical to New Vegas obviously and that comes with both the great desolate landscape as well as the buggy problems of the graphics engine. Expect to see the same choppy frame rate, pop-in problems and character model clipping issues of the original. The Sierra Madre casino is also pretty boring to explore as well as incredibly confusing to navigate.

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Once again, the voice work is phenomenal and definitely up to par for the Fallout universe. The supporting characters have interesting back stories and the voice recordings offer an excellent account of what happened to the town / casino. The creepy sound effects support the survival horror themed design of the add-on pack and the music does a similar job.


Iím curious if Obsidian led off with their weakest Fallout Vegas add-on pack as the repetitive, frustrating gameplay emphasizes the weaker elements of Fallout: New Vegas and seems even more buggy than the actual game. Raising the level cap by 5 does help extend the life of the first game though, even if the add-on pack is on the average side. On the positive side, the story is the strongest aspect of the add-on pack and makes the journey to finding the Treasure of Sierra Madre highly entertaining. (Itís also apparent that the developers are fans of the Bogart film.) You are looking at about 5 to 7 hours of playtime to finish the quest for $10 on the Xbox Live Marketplace. If you are a Fallout Vegas fanatic, you will probably enjoy the material. Just be wary of the frustrating trial and error format and you probably donít want to attempt the pack until you have about 20 levels under your belt.

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