In the history of CRPGs, the Wizardry series should give every old school gamer a chill of ecstasy. The series began already in the early 80s and ended only in 2001 with Wizardry 8: Destination Dominus, but under licence, it has multiple further spin-offs. like Wizardry Online, primarily in Japan until the year 2012. An icon of game design called D. W. Bradley created the huge worlds of Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstorm (1988), Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge (1990) and finally Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant (1992) for the company Sir-Tech before jumping ship and founding his own software company. D. W. Bradley even surpassed himself and created the (in my view) only legitimate successor to Wizardry 7, namely Wizards and Warriors, already one year before Wizardry 8.
What is a M.U.L.E.? It stands for Multiple Use Labor Element, the robotic backbone of the economy on planet Irata which is about to be colonized by members of different alien races. And, well, from human history, we all know what 'colonisation' implies: Grabbing land before anyone else does, exploiting it for profit and when you've milked it dry, move on – leaving political and economical chaos behind.
OK, so the long-term socio-economic aspects are not really part of this game. It is even completely unknown whether the planet has a native population to start with. It all plays rather like a board game: Each player can acquire one square piece of land per turn which they can then choose to develop to produce one out of four trade goods: food, energy, coal and gems. This is where the eponymous M.U.L.E. comes into play: One of these devices need to be deployed on each square. Otherwise, no produce.
On its surface Fallout 2 looks like nothing special: Seems like yet another one of those typical RPGs from around the millennium. Which means isometric view, small characters running around, giving each other a bad time with their weapons, a health bar somewhere… hmm… but not in a cheesy ‘epic’ fantasy world? No, actually this takes place in the exact opposite: A violent apocalyptic setting. That's already setting it somewhat apart from the rest. But its real strength only becomes apparent by taking a closer look: The one thing in which Fallout 2 really excels is its high degree of freedom, hence its potential to create your very own story with your very own character that comes bundled with this. In so doing the role playing isn't simply restricted to choosing what kind of damage you want to deal, but for once you can fulfil almost any tasks in your very own way. Thus Fallout 2 is one of the few games which comes as close as it gets to a decent implementation of pen&paper role playing on a computer, as best as it’s possible without some fellow human players. The brilliant game world, created with great love for detail, ensures the icing on the cake.