Howdy Folks! This article includes spoilers for Fallout: New Vegas. There is also some swearing, partly because the game is rated Mature, and partly because the writer is Scottish. You have been warned. Have a good ‘un.
“You sick, vindictive fuck!”
These were Benny’s last words to me when I finally gave up trying to save him, opting instead to crucify him and pushed forward through the rest of Fallout: New Vegas, a brilliant yet bug-ridden game that entertained as much as it frustrated. By the bitter end, after numerous screen freezes and load errors, stuttering frame rates and other exasperating glitches, I stumbled through to the final fight, killing Legate Lanius and handing General Lee Oliver the conditions for the New California Republic’s withdrawal from New Vegas as dictated by Mr. House. All this while wearing a spacesuit helmet. I watched the epilogue narrated by the various characters I had met, but through it all, someone was missing.
Benny. One time leader of the Strip faction known as The Chairmen, with his checkered suit and ring-a-ding-ding dialogue (provided by “Friends” star Matthew Perry). Despite having shot the main character of the Courier in the game’s opening cut scene, Benny never actually makes an attempt on your life while playing Fallout: New Vegas. Sure, he has other people do it, but by the time he is captured by Caesar’s Legion, he has endeared himself. He’s like one of those annoying friends you have that keep screwing up and landing you in fifty feet of crap, but still you love them. It is a testament to the evolution of video games that, like films, they are able to fiddle our emotional heart strings and make us care for characters, even those who try to kill us.
So I decided, for the sake of my bromance with Benny, to return to an earlier save point in Bethesda’s bug-infested post-apocalyptic adventure and save the suave cat.
The set-up is this: Benny has been captured by Caesar and his gang of legionnaires. As the Courier I have been granted the Mark Of Caesar, allowing me access to the Legion Camp. After completing a task for Caesar himself, I am afforded the right to decide how Benny will die. Keeping him alive is not an option in the eyes of the Legion’s grim, bald leader. But there are other options available.
I try untying him, but neither of us made it out of Caesar’s tent alive.
I try sneaking him a Stealthboy and a bobby pin. “This little care package is all I need, baby,” he chimes. Clearly not, as we both end up dead again.
I try donning a Stealthboy myself and then sneaking Benny another one. Dead once more.
I try the option of a death match in the arena with machetes, hoping maybe there is an option to escape, but alas, no. I am instead forced to kill Benny yet again (although this time I get to steal his sexy checkered suit and even sexier pistol named Maria). But wearing Benny’s clothes or shooting Fiends and Powder Gangers with his gun is not the same as having him alive, talking jive, which leaves me only one option: taking out an entire camp of Caesar’s forces, something I doubt I can do alone.
In what resembles the Fallout version of the A-Team, I gather my companions (I opt for the sharpshooter Boone, and the Flash Gordon throwback prop robot, ED-E) and arm myself to the teeth, purchasing an Anti-Material gun and some .50mg ammo from the Gunrunners, while stocking up on grenades for the Thump-Thump. Along with some more ammo for the Caravan Shotgun, the .44 Magnum and the 10mm SMG, I shop for some Stimpaks as well as a variety of chems (Buffout, Jet, Psycho). After one last Brahmin Steak and some Purified Water to wash it down, I’m good to go.
I’m coming for you, Benny Boy.
We surge into The Fort, laying waste to legionnaire upon legionnaire, their bodies stacking high as Boone chooses which eye socket he wants his bullet to go through. ED-E is blasting frantically with his little red laser, until the first wave is annihilated without so much as breaking a sweat.
I go and make a cup of tea while the game loads into the next area.
Once it has, we’re set upon by a squad of Caesar’s soldiers and hounds. I junkie up on all my chems to get through this massacre. ED-E dies a couple of times so I reload until we manage to batter through, bloody, but alive, the Anti-Material gun proving rather effective at blowing people apart at close range, spraying brain matter over my companions. But they are alive, intact, and we move on, past the arena I stole Benny’s suit from in an alternate timeline, to Caesar’s Tent.
Through the flaps, I open up V.A.T.S. to get a clear shot of Caesar before he vacates his throne. It does very little damage, and afterwards, we’re surrounded by seven legionnaires, all armed with Power Fists, and one really pissed off dog. Immediate death follows on every reload, so I do what all brave warriors do: run away.
I back out of the tent and then I run backwards, firing the Thump-Thump’s grenades at the legionnaires who pour out. But wait, one of them is bald… is that Caesar? Caesar is running away. Towards me. A few shots of the Thump-Thump at his baldy napper, followed by a kill shot with the Anti-Material. I claim his Legion Ear (very clever Bethesda). As I finish off the last two bastards, I realise Boone and ED-E have died. But their sacrifice is not in vain. I re-enter Caesar’s Tent, completely deserted except for the cheeky chappy kneeling on the floor.
“You’re a scrapper baby. They didn’t stand a chance,” says Benny. “How about me?” he begs.
I untie him. I free my friend. There should be hugs and high-fives.
“That’s it baby. Time to vacate these premises.” And off he goes.
Wait, that’s it? After ALL the fucking crap I went through to free your checkered arse? After Boone and ED-E were savaged by the legionnaires? No, there must be more to it.
“Ta-ta,” he offers as I try to talk to him again before he reaches the gates of The Fort. Our bromance meant nothing to him.
Then, as if by some design of fate (or poor design of gaming), as Benny tries to leave The Fort, he gets stuck at the gate, phasing in and out like some human checkered version of Doctor Who’s TARDIS. I sit and watch it for a minute, chuckling to myself.
Screw you Benny, you deserved to die.