I REMEMBER THIS FONDLY
I used to love playing this on my old Apple ][e. Me and my friends would huddle around the computer and play coop before it even existed. Each of us created unique characters inside of Ranger Station slamming on the SPACEBAR forever to roll up the best stats and get the best points. We essentially would play cooperatively on 1 computer where we would take turns actually using the computer. The player would type and move around, while the other people simply watched the game and spoke aloud what they wanted their characters to do. "Attack, Burst, Leather Thug to the left". "Disband, move up." This last statement our close combat character would literally say 100 times each session. It was all part of the fun, and while it sounds painful, it was actually a blast. We'd make our party consisting of a "gun guy", a "brawler", a "doc", and a "nerd".
The gun guy we'd load up with gun skills like SMG and Assault Rifle (M1989A1 NATOs baby!) and AT Weapon, this guy was clutch for making sure he shot and actually hit stuff in the game, where even if you have a really good DEX stat you might not hit what you shoot unless you take the skill too.
The brawler would get pugilism and melee weapon skills (basically a tank in close quarter combat) and of course he'd get dibs on the Manglers and Clubs and stuff. Of course he never really relied only on melee and could take out some punks at a distance with a .45 or whatever. The doc is well, a medic with loads of Medic skill and a ridiculous INT stat, and the nerd was a well-rounded character that had a maximum INT but took skills that were not medic; forgery, metallurgy, lockpick, etc.
IT IS NOT EASY
I can't tell you how many hours of my life I spent huddled in front of the glow of my color composite monitor swapping disks playing Wasteland. It is a brutally difficult game by todays standards with permadeth period. No options for ressurection unless you save your game ahead of time, when you die you're dead. Perphaps part of what made this game so compelling to me and my friends was that we actually had to focus, use our brains for team work, and have a strategy instead of just mindless button mashing like we were doing on our NESes with Rush'n'Attack, Rygar, and Ikari Warriors (among others). We would die often and we would regroup and rethink of our strategy. We would pick better skills learn more about the attributes and when they played a role and for what and this whole time we were actually having a boatload of fun. I can remember TPD (total party death) once we reached Las Vegas (♥♥♥♥ I remember this happening in Quartz too, the game is freaking hard and the deck is definitely not stacked in your favor) as we got shredded to pieces by a cyborg with energy weapons (up until then we didn't even know energy weapons existed). It took hours to rebuild, start over, and level up to be strong enough to get back to Las Vegas and actually take those bots down.
AND WE CHEATED
We used to build 4 characters in Ranger Station, only 1 of which would we actually try to make decent. This character was the "courier" he would be escorting the cannon fodder other 3 characters straight to Quartz, where they would sell EVERY piece of gear they owned, then he'd Pool the money and walk them back to Range Station, and we'd delete them. Do this 100 - 300 times, and you can amass an enormous cache of weapons, armor, money, etc. Then when you have your loot and gear all sorted, you build 3 other characters and you give a ♥♥♥♥ about them too. After those 3, we would give the couriers ♥♥♥♥ to another remaning character either kill the courier to create a better character, or sometimes we'd just keep him. We used macros to automate most of this. In essence, this is cheating against the spirit of the game, but it was ♥♥♥♥ing hard and we were young and thought we were clever. I can tell you even then it wasn't always easy after. Yes we might have SMG's and NATO Assault rifles with boatloads of clips and TNT and Kevlar armor, but we still got our asses handed to us in Vegas.
WE NEVER BEAT IT
We got ver close to beating the game, but we could never find the Sleeper Base to make it to space.
IT IS OLD THOUGH...
I know, right? It' s pretty old, and it doesn't age super well. If you didn't grow up playing this game you might hate it. If you can get past the old-ness of the game, the graphics even with this re-release are not great, the SA antialiasing helps, but I kinda like the crunchy pixels better. The music and the voice overs are pretty awesome in this version; we had a paragraph book we'd use to read from (which doubled as a form of copy protection).
If you like oldschool RPGs that are top-down (like Ultima, or 2400AD) and you are ready to commit to actually trying to win (if that's your thing) and don't mind getting your ♥♥♥ whipped until you learn some tricks and techniques, this game will reward you.
There is a lot of game in ths small package, and there is a lot of personality and character that this game had that no other game did. EA innovated on many fronts with Wasteland, and not just in the computer but the paragraphs really added a ton of story and immersion to the game that other RPGs of the time lacked sorely. It was like living in the best "Choose Your Own Adventure" (don't get be started about how awesome those books were in my childhood) computer game ever made.
THIS WAS WHAT STARTED THE FALLOUT(s)
If you're a fan of Fallout at all, you will probably like this game. It takes time and dedication, but this is the precursor to all the others. For that reason alone you should check it out, but the game has tons of merit as well, and the re-release really does try to polish an old title to a more modern standard. I think it does a pretty good job, but I had some issues getting the mouse to work. The keyboard is the way to go and it works no problem.
GIVE IT A SHOT I RECOMMEND IT
You needed an imagination in the old days, and you still need it today, but the voice overs really do help make this game a lot better than it was. The music is OK too. Is it going to blow your mind? Probably not. Is it going to keep you coming back, maybe. Is it going to make you work for the reward of the story? Without a doubt.
Wasteland is one of my favorite games and I highly recommend it.