That Sinking Feeling

As part of my quest to play instalments of games before the one that follows goes on discount, I started playing Fallout: New Vegas last week. So far, it’s been great fun: the revisited content and mechanisms are comforting rather than stale; the new content and mechanisms provide excitement rather than frustration; even the return of my least favourite creature, the Radscorpion, isn’t so bad now I have survived enough encounters with the beady-eyed sprint champions to remember how to do it. However, one threat still causes me irritation: unmarked quicksand.

While passing Primm I detected six enemies. Still being low-level, I didn’t want to rush into things without surveying first just in case it was a pack of deathclaws rather than some mole rats. So I crept up to a large rock and peered over the top. As soon as I discovered it was coyotes, I unslung my trusty rifle and took aim. The first one went down real easy.

The others noticed the bang and ran towards me, but I was expecting that; so I stepped back. But nothing happened. I was stuck in place.

I tried moving left. A short distance later, I couldn’t move that way either; and the same to the right. By this time, the coyotes were close, so I postponed moving to plug them righteously. Somehow I missed.

I finally shot the first coyote as it leapt.

Wounded, it tried to flee but only made it a short distance before it too could move no further.

Quicksand Warning Sign
©Eamon CurryCC BY 2.0

After an arduous slog, the nearby coyotes were dead and the more distant ones fled so I could once more fast travel. However, when I tried I was told I couldn’t because I was falling.

There was only one explanation* for falling without seeming to: I had stumbled into unmarked quicksand.

Finally stumbling free, I continued, a more wary person. And I have so far avoided becoming trapped in quicksand again.

However, my bête noire, the Radscorpion, has adapted to use this post-apocalyptic mire to its advantage. Already low enough to be almost hidden by low undergrowth, they now approach beneath the ground, only the tip of their stinger exposed above the ground. While this combination snorkel and weapon represents the Fallout ethos of adapt-and-reuse perfectly, it might be a step too far.

*other explanations might exist. For example, a tiny bug in the terrain model letting me walk inside the terrain then become trapped.

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