MOD OF THE WEEK
Every week Chris Livingston picks out a fantastic mod to help you get more out of your gaming library, and have some adventures along the way.
Heists. Hits. Hats. Those are the three essential components of gangsters, and a mod called Blackrow uses them all in Fallout: New Vegas. Visit a town controlled by organized crime, meet the man in charge, and start working your way to the top of the mob, first by rubbing out some of the competition, then by ambushing convoys and robbing a bank, and finally, by taking down another major crime boss.
The town of Blackrow, north of Vegas, is quite obviously a major criminal hangout. Armed goons in suits and hats lounge against walls and stroll through the streets, and the town features a bar, a gun store, and a brothel. I paid a visit to the man in charge, who made an offer I couldn't refuse. Well, I could have refused. Easily. It just wouldn't make for a very interesting article.
Mr. Sharp runs Blackrow, and he asked me to prove my worth by taking down a drug-runner who'd made off with some of his merchandise. After gearing myself up mafioso style -- tommy gun, shotgun, and revolver -- I found the mark hiding in a bunker and dispatched him, along with a couple of his henchmen. Mr. Sharp was pleased, and offered me a second hit: a general at the Mojave Outpost who couldn't be bought. I was well-liked at the outpost, so it wasn't hard for me to stroll in, activate a Stealth-Boy, and pop the general with a silenced pistol. Then I strolled back out, no one the wiser.
My next target was tougher, another competing criminal with a bunch of heavily armed and armored goons protecting him at his hideout in Freeside, but after airing him out, I became a trusted figure in Blackrow and Sharp referred me to his associate for more work. This time I'd need to intercept a convoy carrying a stash of caps. It went well, though I was ambushed mid-ambush by some of Caesar's assassins, apparently tasked to rub me out over some former slight I can't even remember. Also, the Brahmin pack animals attacked me as well. Still, I recovered the shipment.
From there, I was onto something big and dangerous, an actual bank heist to snatch five valuable gold bars from the vault. I changed into some real gangster gear and scoped out the bank.
Bursting through the door, I found the place packed with guards, tellers, and civilians. I ordered everyone to get on the ground, but no dice: the tellers ran around in a panic and everyone else drew their weapons. It was chaos, the best kind, a snatch-and-grab turned shoot-and-get-shot. Eventually, I'd taken down all the guards, and only one teller hadn't fled the building. To ensure he didn't spill the beans, I had to... how to put this delicately... murder him in the face with a gun. Wait! No. I should have said something like "I had to silence him... permanently." That would have been way more cool.
After retrieving a couple keys, one of which the bank manager wasn't too keen to relinquish (I murdered him in the body with bullets), I had another brief skirmish with an armored guard in the vault, then I collected the gold and stepped out into the streets, prepared to nonchalantly walk away. It wasn't that easy. It never is. Seems this was no ordinary bank, and the owner of the gold was himself a made man named Cohen. His collection of natty thugs weren't about to let me stroll off with his bling.
Eventually, I returned to Blackrow HQ. The bank job had caused a real problem between Sharp and Cohen, and it seemed the best course of action was to take down Cohen's entire operation before he did the same to us. I hit one of his convoys, finding not only a safe but some classic loot bags with dollar signs on them! Then it was time to eliminate Cohen himself.
This was a massive battle in a dusty town tucked away in the hills. Cohen had tons of goons, and I regretted not bringing a sidekick to help out, or at least serve as another target. I settled for using little extra firepower to mop up, then infiltrated Cohen's personal hideout, where more goons were waiting.
Once I had Cohen alone, I decided to take him out in classic mob fashion: by beating him to death with a baseball bat. Unfortunately, I didn't have one, so I went with my back-up plan: incinerate him with Tesla-Beaton Prototype. It's an large anti-tank energy weapon. It got the job done.
This is a pretty cool mod, with maybe an hour or two of play, depending on how tough you are. There's another quest-giver in town once you've helped out Sharp, which will allow you to participate in another, bigger bank heist, and the town has a hotel to stay in and a few other amenities. There's no custom voice-work, which is fine: this game is mainly about rubbing out thugs and making off with the loot.
You can download it here. It's a single .esp file you can drop in your data folder, and then you can just tick its box when starting the game. For me, at least, Blackrow didn't appear on my map automatically, I had to physically step into it before the icon appeared. You'll find it north of H&H Tools Factory near North Vegas Square.