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"Negative.Primary directive one states:Preserve human life at all costs."- Cochise AI

Project Darwin (original base name unknown), established before the nuclear war, was a classified genetic and biological research center located in a remote mountainous location in Nevada. The base was designed to be entirely self-sufficient, with a radioactive field prohibiting access to and from the facility and the adjoining town, with only a winding mountain route remaining as a clear connection to the outside world. The town served as a housing area for the massive research facility, with all necessities on-site, including a hospital, convenience store, bar, emergency chemical lab etc. While the research base provided enough living space for the base's personnel, the men simply chose to live in the town.

The first (and only) director of Project Darwin was Irwin John Finster. A man with interests in mathematics, baseball, psychology and cybernetics, he led a dedicated team of scientists with the mission of creating life that would adapt to a post-nuclear war. The covert nature of the research would prevent the research team from gaining a Nobel prize in genetics, which was won by Andrea Mills from Sleeper One. This led to an escalating rivalry between the two research centers, which went even further as Irwin John Finster attempted to enhance his performance with aid from Base Cochise AI, turning into a cyborg. With that, he lost his humanity.

After the war broke out, Darwin became isolated. The town was self-sufficient and over time grew extremely xenophobic and withdrawn, but at the same time a haven for wasteland outcasts and those who couldn't fit elsewhere. One of them was Dr. Jekyll, who opened a Body Shop in the city limits. The base's police also became increasingly wary of any outsiders, sometimes shooting them on sight.

Darwin changed it's mission slightly - now, it aimed to produce life capable of surviving in the harsh wasteland, useful life. As Irwin John Finster became a cyborg through the influence of Cochise's AI, he created a cybernetic interface called the Mindlink, to oversee the research and control the labs directly.[1] Other research team members were disturbed at the results of his research and eventually, Finster begun releasing some of the creatures into the town to terrorize the populace, locked up most of the staff in the lower levels of Project Darwin and infected lower ranking security and maintenance staff members with a disease to prevent them from revealing the truth.

Finster was cooperating with the Base Cochise AI, to fulfill it's goal of creating the perfect form of life that would inherit the Earth. The vision was madness to the common human - Earth would be transformed into a red planet, populated by mutants unlike anything any man could dream before. The labs of Darwin and the biodomes served as cultivators for the plague that would consume the Earth as we knew it.

Before the plan could come to fruition, however, Finster was assassinated by a group of Desert Rangers, who also shutdown the project permanently, to prevent the plague from being released.

SublocationsEdit

Darwin Village is surrounded by a belt of radiation. In fact, the only safe way to visit Darwin Village is with a Rad suit, or by circling around and picking your way through the mountains from the north. Darwin Village is a good place to shop and to grind for experience for prospective adventurers.

Surface (Darwin Village)Edit

Darwin Village map

"Hey, you scumbags."

Darwin Village, although small in size, holds a wide assortment of buildings: two shops, a doctor, a library, a lab, and a bar, the Black Gilva Tavern.

At the bar, you can hire two comrades: Metal Maniac and Mad Dog Fargo. Both are very capable companions that must first be cured of their disease before being available. Also of interest is the bartender who, upon purchasing any of the offered drinks, can be asked a few subjects; though, asking for a second "DRINK" will provide additional info to your party (namely two passwords).

The lab holds nothing more than a workbench that can be used with chemicals and fruits to produce antitoxin. If you find yourself short of fruit, feel free to visit the general store located directly west to get your fix.

Although the general store holds nothing more of interest, one shop of importance is the Black Market (located to the South West) where you can purchase pretty much any gun or armor (short of Pseudo-chitin armor or Laser Weaponry) you want. Upon entering the store however, you will be asked to give a password. Fail to answer correctly twice, and you will be attacked by two Desert Scum (both drop an Uzi as well as some ammo and cash upon death). The correct password is "CRETIAN".

The base itself is discussed in greater detail below.

Underground (Darwin Base)Edit

Darwin Base map

You must have Secpass 7 to enter the Base and open the doors. This prevents you from entering the Base until after you've repaired Max and visited the Sleeper Base. The Base itself holds three levels: the ground, upper, and lower level. All of which can be accessed by the use of an elevator, though the lower level will require a password.

The ground level holds nothing of interest except a few empty rooms and an unused mess hall, all of which can accessed with Secpass 7 for the curious. At the South West end you'll find tiles that will teleport you to the biological testing grounds located on the upper level.

The upper level houses various rooms, namely Finster's Pet Project the biodome which can only be accessed by the teleporter or the lower level. Taking the elevator here will allow you to confront Finster himself in his office, garnering a different reaction depending on the circumstances. If you have not yet freed the staff located on the lower level, he will greet you, and you'll be prompted to read Paragraph 14. If the opposite is true, he will be angered by the news and attack you. Upon his death he will drop a Finster head. At the far right end, a room built for a single individual holds the Mindlink, which can be used with the head to enter the Mindmaze (provided the character passes a Cyborg Tech or IQ check).

The testing grounds is home to a variety of dangerous animals, namely the Humongous Coyote, as well as assistant Spawnmasters. An ill-equipped party is very susceptible to death here, with most creatures being able to bypass Kevlar suits, though this does provide good combat and aid training if one is willing (the Humongous Coyote alone can boost most combat skills to 5). Thankfully however, there are four pit holes that can found with repeated climbing which provide a good resting place for the party if needed. Three of them carry hatches that can either be opened (which greets you with a set of animals) or blown shut. Also of note is a fixed encounter with spawnmasters which can occur while exploring, providing a very generous set of loot upon victory: 2 Laser Carbines, 6 Power Packs, a Fusion Cell, and a set of Pseudo-Chitin armor!

The lower level houses the prison which is currently being occupied by staff members Finster wished to be kept tucked away. Use Secpass 7 or 3 to open the door, and the members will run out. To access this level from the upper, use the password "PROTEUS".

MindmazeEdit

Darwin Mindmaze map
After successfully connecting yourself to Finster's head with the mindlink, you'll be dropped into a psychedelic world meant only for a special few. Various messages ranging from philosophical to outright deranged are scattered within the course, but some do provide details pertaining to the plot.

The first three challenges are simple numerical questions. Their answers are, in order, "32", "512", and "20".

In between those questions however you'll be presented with the first (and possibly most formidable of the game's) encounter. the Night Terror, a manifestation of what may have been the character's childhood boogeyman. With HP ranging from a bolstering 8256 to 40000, attempting to kill him will be a dangerous, if not time consuming task. However, if one is equipped with Pseudo-Chitin armor, one really not need worry. In that case, one should also attempt to kill him in a melee manner to gain an even bigger XP bonus of 64,000.

Next is a room that teleports you around as you walk across tiles of arrows. After visiting the three corners containing arrows, you'll begin to be mocked by Finster if you attempt to move further. Using IQ, DEX, or Acrobat in succession will allow you to proceed to the last corner which prompts another question of who is allowed further. Reply with "FINSTER" (or any variation of his name) and you'll advance.

Half way across the next room you'll encounter another manifestation, the Lie Spider. With an AC of 6 and an occasional good amount of health, he can take a few hits but his bite is nothing to worry. Afterwards, you must get past the webs of deceit, which can be overcome with a variety of skills and attributes: IQ, ST, Confidence, Forgery (the only time it is ever used in the game), or a knife.

Then it's time for baseball, which coincidentally was of great interest to Finster. As you walk up to the plate, the game will run a check on DEX to decide whether or not you land a hit on Christy Matthews' pitch. Each time you gain a strike, the check becomes harder. Three strikes, and your out, specifically to the showers. Use Confidence, Bureaucracy, LK, or CHR to convince the coach to let you play and you'll advance. If you happen to pass any of the DEX checks however, the game will then check your ST. If you fail, you'll only land a single, and will have to step up to the plate again to restart (possibly due to a scripting error). If you pass, you can hit a double, slam a triple, or tag a home run. The first and second instances will require you pass yet another check on several other stats (SP, LK, AGL, or Silent Move), while the the third will automatically advance you. Hitting a double will require you to pass twice, while a triple only once. Pass them, and you'll advance. Fail any of them, and you'll get gunned down and sent to the showers (as already covered).

Now it's time for a set of encounters, but you must first pass the silicon wall. Use ST or explosives to bring them down, and you'll soon be greeted by an Android. Defeat him, and his body will disappear upon looting. To the far right will be a silicon block that gives hint to its fragility. Destroy it with the same method, and you'll meet up with a Psychopathic Android. Kill him, walk over the bottom left tile within the encasement, and move on.

The next set of encounters prove interesting. The first is of a pathetically weak version of Finster who begs to be killed, followed by a more formidable Finster Dexter and Finster Sinister. Kill all of them, and loot Sinister to be prompted with the last question, "April 15, 1912 I killed a ship." Obviously referring to the Titanic's collision with the iceberg, reply "ICEBERG" and advance.

Next is a moral decision: give up your life ("Damned if you do"), or those of your friends ("Damned if you don't"). Choosing either will make no difference though the latter results in an additional bit of scolding by Finster. Obviously you cannot take back a decision so the only thing left to do is move on.

After expressing his tire with you, you are teleported to a small encasement with philosophical tidbits lining the walls around. In reality, you are actually in a comatose state with your friends expressing worry after noting the flat EEG reading. Use IQ on your location and you'll grow progressively more conscious. Eventually, you'll succeed with your party expressing great gratitude. Then it's off to face Finster one final time.

For the final confrontation, you'll have two traps to dodge (each of which don't really matter much with decent armor but make for a good kick in the balls). The first will check AGL, SP, and Acrobat, while the second IQ, Perception, AGL, Acrobat, and very strangely 16 Cash. Continue forward, and you'll finally be in sight of the Finster Leviathan. Plenty of heath, but little bite, he goes down without a hitch dropping a Secpass B for your troubles. Upon dying, he will express his reasoning for dropping the token, stating it will provide you with the things needed from Sleeper One to stop the places that spawned him or the recent robot menace. Enter the black pyramid at the center, and you'll be teleported back to reality.

Completion of the Mind Maze will close off further exploration within if one decides to return.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Cochise AI: "Finster was a fool. He thought he could rebel, but he was easy to break. If not for me, he would have killed you"

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