Last time, my adventures through post-apocalyptic 1988 RPG Wasteland took me on a merry run around Needles, which is a little like a more desert-encrusted version of Fallout’s New Reno. I contracted Wasteland herpes from a three-legged prostitute, got hit over the head by an angry priest, gambled away all my money playing poker, met a rad lady called Christina (who joined my party), killed some jerks, and gained a few new skills.
Today my quest is to uncover the mystery behind the Bloodstaff murders, and to return the real Bloodstaff (not another fake) to the bishop of the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud Church.
I began my search for the real Bloodstaff at the old town waste pit. My party of seven entered to find dried blood and torn shreds of bloodstained clothes covering the floors. We entered a room apparently used for sacrificial murders.
Downstairs more blood covered the floor. A door had been blown open, leading down a corridor to a new, locked, steel door. This place seemed very ominous.
We used TNT to get through any steel doors that stood in the way, disappointed to find room after room empty but for blood and rust.
Down another level, a crocodile-like pit ghoul nearly wiped us out. Christina’s skill with an uzi saved the day, blasting the ghoul from here to eternity. Smarty Skirts saved the lives of Felicia and Ace, who were both critically wounded in the fray. Smarty Skirts is now a level 4 Medic.
We broke into a room of destroyed technology, with a poster on the wall that reads “MXII launch room.” What’s that? Some kind of weapon? (Update: So it's an ICBM from the 80s. Well, you learn something new every day. Being only a year older than this game is not helping me understand its cultural references.) In the area where the ghoul attacked sat a radioactive waste can. Speedy II and Smarty Skirts checked it out, wearing the new rad suits we found lying in a room, but couldn’t find anything of interest.
Back outside, we wandered north. I guided the party through a radioactive field, whenceupon I spied the Temple of Blood. The side entrance led to what the game described as a bus—much to my confusion, since it appeared to be part of the building.
Inside, we were described as temple desecrators by the guards. The walls were flowing rivers of blood encased in glass. Robot hunters attacked us as we explored the building. Christina took them out in one burst with her uzi. I was instructed to read paragraph 112 in the manual upon entering a room up top.
The glowing torchlight flickers across a horrific scene. Men in torn and blood spattered robes struggle against the ropes binding them to massive steel tables. The tables slope down at the head and a catchbasin at the lowest corner is used to collect the dark flow of blood dripping from the small wounds cut into each writhing victim. Priests rush from one table to another, gathering buckets the way a dairy farmer gathers the bucket of milk from his cows. They pour the smaller quantities of blood into a hole in the floor, but you cannot tell where the dark fluid drains away to in this dim chamber of horrors.
Out of the frying pan and into hell. Two executioners said it was time for us to die. They didn’t even get a shot off before we had them in bloody shreds on the ground. They left behind a bloodstaff; I wondered if this was the Bloodstaff, or just another fake the bishop would break over our heads.
I disabled the machine, freeing the hobo. Another hunter interrupted the rescue. The hobo was killed in the crossfire, before I could talk to him. Damn. The room across the hall contained an electric chair. The narrator said to have a seat. I didn’t dare.
I used Speedy II’s strength to knock down the wall to an electric torture room. The entire party was briefly knocked unconscious by the pain. The narrator said I told you so. I’m starting to really dislike the narrator.
The rooms in the hallway were filled with blood. One had these words written inside: “The launch code is MOTEKIM.” Another had three throwing knives and two jugs.
We bumped out of there to heal up—those patrolling hunters are tough. A quick trip to Leroy’s
clothing weapons store for ammo preceded a day of rest at the police station and an angry “what are you trying to pull?” at the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud Church (I guess it wasn’t the real Bloodstaff). Then it was back to the Temple of Blood, ready to shut down their entire operation.
Deep inside the temple, I came across a pair of Blood Guardians manning a complex control panel. One of them muttered “infidels” under his breath. A gigantic chessboard stood behind them, possibly not at all intended for chess. I stepped up to the panel.
“Welcome to the holy game grid. Would you like to play?” I don’t know—would I? I said yes, feeling apprehensive.
Suddenly transported onto the lower half of the chessboard, I was instructed to not stray from the path if I value my health. Spectators jeered from the galleries. I thought of the Hunger Games. Will I stumble across a wily and beautiful teenage girl and fall in love, causing a rule change and bringing an end to anti-civilization as we know it?
I strayed from the path, unaware of what precisely that is. We got one warning before the laser turrets started firing. They only did five points of damage to each party member, so we were still okay when we reached the golden robot dude with three hits from the turrets.
He asked me a question I could not knowingly answer: “How many steps is the one true path?” I said 10, which was obviously wrong. I had to start again.
This time it took considerably longer. But I counted my steps and figured out the path through trial and error. After 30 steps on the “true path” (and countless others not on it), I reached the end. I gave my answer, and we dropped through a trapdoor into a chamber of bloody water. An island lay to the north, barely visible in the distance.
I took care of the snipers, broke into the small building on the island, hopped across the pressure plates, cleared out the bad guys, and used a crowbar to remove a heavy wooden door from its hinges. Inside this inner room I found the Bloodstaff. Only problem was it was in the hands of an “utterly corrupt” demon-priest, surrounded by six guards and 20 bloodbeasts (dogs, essentially). This is gonna get messy, I thought.
Christina tore into them, killing several of the beats at once. That lady sure can handle an uzi. Speedy II started throwing grenades, and Lucky III pulled out her flamethrower to help us work through the huge number of enemies. Speedy II ended up being the star of the show, simply because he was the only one able to withstand their attacks. Where everyone else drifted in and out of consciousness, he stood strong.
The real Bloodstaff and another fake one in hand, we backtracked to the spot beneath the trap door, and headed up stairs. The room was a missile, with its insides removed. As far as I could tell, we were locked in. A man stood at a control desk, begging me to tell him the launch code. “I’ve been trying to figure out the launch code for months,” he said. I obliged, granting us both freedom. Some kind of electric field teleported us outside.
What a crazy cult.
I went back to the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud Church. The bishop thanked me for returning the Bloodstaff, and gave me some stuff to help in Las Vegas. I guess I know where I’m going next, then.
The items were two AK 97 assault rifles, one M1989A1 Nato Assault Rifle, four 9mm clips, 17 7.62mm clips, a kevlar suit, 10 sticks of TNT, and an engine. That’ll serve me well, but it wasn’t easy figuring out how to carry it all. I’m in the process of migrating the last few party members to assault rifles, which I believe are the most powerful non-laser guns in the game. I can’t wait to get laser pistols.
Next entry: Vegas Robot Covenant
Diary of a Child-Killing Ranger
Death by Mutant Bunnies
Zealot Monks, Outlaws, and Mortal Wounds
Pretty Ladies, Bar Fights, and Life After Death
Bomb Disposal Unit
Death, Decay, and Needles
Needles in Rad Places
Got any tips for me? Hit me up on Twitter or leave a comment below, but no spoilers please.