Looking Back: Fallout: New Vegas – Dead Money DLC
We take a look back at Fallout: New Vegas’ Dead Money DLC, one of the franchise’s most difficult expansions.
No matter what level your character is, nothing can prepare you for what Fallout: New Vegas‘ Dead Money DLC will put you through. I love Fallout. I love sandbox games, the freedom to explore, and level up. It’s especially rewarding to level up to a point where the enemies fall before your feet. Ah yes…I’ve died so many times in this DLC that I’ve lost count. Dead Money was the first DLC for Fallout: New Vegas. It was released on December 21, 2010 for Xbox 360 and was later released for PC and PlayStation 3 on February 22, 2011.
Dead Money hinders you from the very beginning. You start the DLC by following a radio transmission, entering an empty chamber, and then you black out. Next, you’re transported to another world, apart from the Mojave Wasteland. It’s a dreary, desolate resort, filled with fog and death. The sky is always black, and the streets are literally devoid of any life. There are a handful of survivors, lots of holograms to speak to, and a horde of undead creatures in gas masks that cannot die. Welcome to the Sierra Madre.
You awaken in the resort square, with a collar that explodes. You can’t remove it, ever. You are tasked by a mysterious man named Elijah to infiltrate the Sierra Madre Casino. First, you needed to gather your allies: Dog/God the Super Mutant, Christine the mute human, and Dean the ghoul. These companions also have a similar collar. If they die, you too explode. Game over.
From the get go, once you are spirited away to this once breathtaking resort, you lose all your money, all your weapons, everything! So if you spent your whole time gathering arms to raid the rest of the wastes, parading through the Mojave like a badass…you’re in for a surprise. No amount of weapon gathering will save you here.
There are also no stores or merchants to buy or trade from. Just a vending machine that uses currency you find here and there. There aren’t any stimpacks for sale, either. Just junk food. Oh, and a doctors bag, and some other useless odds and ends. Well, stimpacks are available, you just have to find the item in the medical district to be able to purchase them from the vending machines.
Eventually, I found vendors that can sell things to you. They’re holograms. But they require caps…which do not exist here. They have 0 caps. You have 0 caps. So all the goods they offer serve no purpose to your quest. It’s simply there to tease you. I found out later, after I beat the DLC, that you can indeed trade with the vendors…Wish I would have tried while I was still playing. It would have made everything a lot easier. Sort of.
There’s also a toxic red hell-mist that lurks in random places that zaps your health as you walk through it! And there’s no telling how far this venomous fog stretches. You just have to run through and pray that it’ll end before you die. And let’s not forget the enemies: the Ghost people. They throw bombs, spears, and come back to life if you don’t tear off their heads. Seriously. And since there’s a lack of ammo, a lack of anything helpful really, when they begin to assault you in hordes, it gets really annoying!
My favorite part of this DLC is that there are radios throughout the level that interfere with the signal in your collar, which causes it to explode if you stand next to it for too long. You get a beeping warning that quickens, giving you time to either destroy the radio, turn it off, or run away. The problem is when you can’t see the radio and have no idea which direction to run! Then it’s, beep, beep, beep, dead. I’ve watched my head explode more times than I care to admit. I nearly ended up rage quitting the DLC all together.
Oh. There are also radios that are shielded. That basically means that no weapon created in heaven or earth can destroy them. Ever. Then there are holograms…that can kill you. These holograms patrol a few of the games areas and they cannot…cannot be killed.
Dead Money was the greatest challenge I’ve experienced during my play through the Fallout games (only played 3 and New Vegas- planning to get the rest for my PC soon). The writing, the characters, and the interactions were amazing, though! I love the dialogue. Wondering what Dog/God, Christine, and Dean would say next was one of the driving reasons why I didn’t put the game down, or rage quit. The characters were truly the best part of the experience.
Dead Money was a pain. In the end, after it was all said and done, and I watched the small ending credits reveal the fruits of my decision, I actually felt an odd sense of accomplishment. I don’t think I’d play through it again, but I’m actually glad that I sat through and finished it.