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Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money (Xbox 360) Review

January 7, 2011 | Posted by Adam Larck

Title: Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Genre: Action-RPG
Players: 1
Rated: M for Mature

I’ve had a lot of enjoyment with Fallout: New Vegas. More so than most people. So, I was looking forward to getting back into the game to check out the Sierra Madre in Dead Money.

However, after booting up Dead Money and starting the quest line, I quickly realized that this content may offer some of the hardest challenges the game has had so far. Not because the missions themselves are challenging, but because of the stipulations placed on you.

Like the content in Fallout 3, you start the quest by listening to a radio signal about the grand opening of the Sierra Madre casino, which was set to open as the bombs dropped. As you investigate the bunker the signal originates from, you get knocked out and wake up in a new area with no partners or weapons, except for one given to you by Father Elijah.

Elijah wants your help breaking into the casino, and tasks you with finding three other partners in the area. The catch is that, to make sure you don’t escape, you have a collar placed on you that can explode if you die or get out of range…or get near the dreaded speakers.

I don’t know whose idea it was, but the speakers quickly become the bane of the content. You won’t even know one’s there, but after five seconds of beeping by your collar your head blows up. If that wasn’t enough, some speakers can’t even be destroyed, claiming they are “shielded.” What speaker can withstand a laser blast or bullet is beyond me. So, for these speakers, you either have to just run by them or find a switch to shut them off. Finally, there are radios that emit the frequency that you have to find in some buildings to shut off.

While trying to find your three partners and dodge speakers, you also run into one of the two new enemies in the content: Ghost People. They will constantly get back up after being killed, unless you have Dog in your party or have him teach you how to take care of them.

I should go ahead and mention Dean and Christine’s abilities as well. Dean can make the acidic clouds not affect you as bad, while Christine can give you a longer delay on the speaker sounds. The only problem with the effects is, outside of finding the people and escorting them to their places to start the gala event, you’re always by yourself.

You’ll also find the acidic clouds in the Marketplace that will quickly drain your health, which is even harder to replenish here thanks to little to no water places, no resting areas and, most importantly, low money.

You have no caps here. Everything is bought with Sierra Madre chips from vending machines, which stock only basic food until more recipes are found that allow you to trade various things in for more chips or buy super stim-packs and other things. The good thing is that chips are scattered throughout near fountains, and you can selling cigarettes (and eventually some clothes) you find for more chips.

The plus side to the content is that weapons are easy to come by. You can find knives and spears all over the place, and ammo caches and weapons are spread out sporadically as you advance. Plus, there are some workbenches where you can craft ammo and weapons to use.

Anyways, after getting all three partners and placing them where they need to be for the gala event, you then have to get to your own place to trigger the event. This really made me appreciate partners, because the Ghost People can quickly swarm you, especially after starting the event. Thankfully, the spears I kept taking from them did quite a bit of damage, and allowed me some distance.

Once the event opened the casino gates and let me inside, the content got quite a bit easier, thanks to plenty of areas with non-radiated water and places to sleep. Sure, you have to deal with the hologram guards, which are invincible and quickly dispatch of you with mind lasers, but they’re easy to get rid of by finding their hologram emitter and turning it off. You also run into Ghost People here and there, but can be a bit bolder fighting them since there are more places to heal.

The other good thing about the casino is that, after turning the power on, you can gamble to get some chips and then exchange them all for pre-war money. The casino kicks you out around 10,000 chips, and they convert 1-to-1 to pre-war money. Altogether, I walked away from the content with around 20,000 pre-war money, meaning I’ll never have to worry about caps again.

While that is a nice side-thing to do in the casino, your main goal is to find the three partners scattered in each area. You have to stop Dog from trying to kill himself, and even meld Dog/God’s personalities together if you want good karma. Meanwhile, you have to stop Dean from trying to steal from the casino as well, which, except in one case, means you have to kill him. Finally, Christine has no problem just helping you reach Father Elijah, as long as you try to kill him to keep more people from being trapped in the Sierra Madre.

So, after taking care of all three of them, and going into the Vault the casino houses, you eventually come to the treasure of the casino: a pile of gold bars. The bars weigh 35 pounds a piece, but are worth 10,349. There are 37 to be found in there, meaning the total weight trying to escape is 1,295, with the value being about 382,913. Sure, by the time you find them you’ll have a lot of other items as well, but the game expects you to leave most of it behind to escape with as much gold as possible.

However, the problem to getting out with the gold bars is that Father Elijah must be dealt with. You can either kill him or trap him, but have to quickly escape after doing so, or you’ll be blown up. I actually failed the first time and ran into a glitch where he wouldn’t spawn where I needed him, meaning I was stuck in the area. Thankfully, just shutting down and restarting fixed this for me.

There are a few other things this content gives beside an easy way to increase your caps quickly. You can gain five more levels, choose from seven new perks when leveling up and even get up to four new special perks, two of which come from dialogue options with Veronica from the original game.

The content only takes a few hours, but may take a bit longer just due to the speakers and having to be a bit more cautious. The main draw is the easy money you can get, but it does add more to the Fallout universe as well.


  • Content offers great way to make money.
  • Content gives new companions for short time, help expands universe.
  • Gets quite a bit easier once you hit the casino.


  • Content makes you come to hate radios and speakers because of detonating collars.
  • I really started appreciating companions after being stuck by myself for most of the content.
  • Security guards can’t be destroyed, only turned off with high repair.

    The 411:

    For players needing more caps in their game, Dead Money offers plenty of ways to get a ton of caps after beating the content. Unfortunately, along the way will come some of the more annoying gameplay that has been seen in the game. If you really need a way to expand New Vegas the content is worth a look, otherwise you may want to see what else Obsidian has planned.

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    Adam Larck
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