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Fallout 3 is due on October 28th and if you've already played and replayed the first two games in the series, you're probably looking for something else to give you your "end of the world" fix for the next two months. Blend Games has compiled a list of five other titles that offer plenty of post-apocalyptic, genre-bending fun to tide you over:
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (PC) - GSC Game World - 2007
In 1986, a reactor exploded at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, leaking dangerous amounts of radiation into the area. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. depicts an alternate history in which a second nuclear disaster occurred, mutating the countryside around the power plant. The player controls a "stalker", one of the desperate souls who makes forays into the deadly Zone who seek to recover artifacts created by the scientific anomalies there to make profit. It's a moody, immersive game with survival horror, first-person shooter and role-playing game elements. As you explore the Zone, you'll fight and cooperate with a variety of human factions vying for control. You'll also battle ghastly mutants created by the radiation. Playing this game would be good preparation for the prequel which is due out later this month. This is also the easiest game on this list to find. You can still find it in stores or digitally purchase it through Steam.
Crystalis (NES, Gameboy Color) - SNK - 1990
In Crystalis, the protagonist has literally slept through the apocalypse. He awakens from a cryogenic sleep a hundred years after a nuclear war has wiped out modern civilization. Mankind now lives in medieval villages while mutated creatures roam the countrysides. The evil Emperor Draygon is combining forgotten, advanced technology with magic and seeks to conquer the world. It's a top-down action RPG that draws instant comparisons to Legend of Zelda, released a few years earlier. Crystalis has more role-playing elements than Zelda, though, with experience points, spell-casting, and equippable armor. Maybe it'll hit Virtual Console someday? If not, eBay or
Strife (PC) - Rogue Entertainment - 1996
The last game to use the DOOM Engine, Strife was much more ambitious than most first-person shooters of its day. Like Crystalis, the apocalyse has resulted in a mankind living a feudal existence. They're ruled by the tyrannical Order, which has a monopoly on the world's existing technology. The graphics were outdated upon launch (Quake also arrived in '96) but the game had a surprising depth due to its various RPG elements. Strife featured a "hub" city where the player could interact with NPC's and accept sidequests. Your dialogue choices had a concrete effect on events and the game sported three different endings. You can find it for free at Underdogs. All in all, this was a game that was very ahead of its time and its technology.
Redline (PC) - Beyond Games - 1999
Redline has one of the more unusual apocalypse scenarios I've ever heard of. The Moon's orbit has shifted, which results in Earth becoming a wasteland. The rich live in protective demos while poor folks like you have to work for criminal gangs to survive. You complete missions not only on foot but also by using a variety of vehicles. There were better FPS games and there were better vehicle combat games but rarely had games seamlessly integrated the two aspects of gameplay before. As with Strife, the game faced some stiff competition (namely Half-Life) but it had a lot to offer even if it didn't sell well. If you can't find it for free, you'll definitely be able to find it for dirt-ass cheap with some research.
Project Eden (PC, PS2) - Core Design - 2001
The scenario for Project Eden might not qualify as apocalyptic but it's a pretty dire future nonetheless. In the future, gross overpopulation has led to Earth's population living in enormous skyscrapers. Naturally, the richest live in posh quarters on the top levels while the poor and criminal eke out an existence in the dangerous lower levels, which are - naturally - inhabited by ravenous mutants. Up to four players control a team of Urban Protection Agents who are charged with keeping order in the megacities. Each of the four members of the team have different skills that you must utilize to accomplish objectives. With a cool mix of action and puzzles, the game is sort of like The Lost Vikings with pulse rifles.