Even for a game about the grim and terrifying world of post-apocalyptic Washington DC that's been taken over by bandits, feral radioactive zombies, and an insane fascist government, Fallout 3 is a creepy game that's packed to the gills with weird and unsettling things. So many things, that the game developers didn't even bother to mark a lot of the things that are the MOST creepy....
An unmarked location in Downtown DC, the house belonged to the McClellans, comprised of the parents, two children (a baby and an older boy), the family dog Muffy, and the family's Mr. Handy. We only know what happened to three of these family members: the boy's remains lie in his bed, the dog died in the backyard, and the robot remains in its place, albeit unused in a great while. If activated, Mr. Handy can be ordered to read a bedtime story to the child, in which case he floats into the bedroom and begins reciting "There Will Come Soft Rains" to the skeleton of the child - a 1920 poem about Mother Nature retaking the Earth after humanity has wiped itself out through violence and war...and which was prominently featured in a short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury, which featured an automated, computerized house going about its daily chores, unaware that its inhabitants had been incinerated by a nuclear explosion.
If told to walk the dog, Mr Handy will approach the skeleton of Muffy and attempt to prop it up in order to walk it. The sight is both sad and yet tremendously disturbing. Interestingly, the only living thing in the Bradbury story is a wild dog (changed to the family's dog in some versions), which had been dying gradually of radiation poisoning and was making its way back to the house. Once it arrived, it died - and its corpse was cleaned up by the house, as if it were any other kind of common trash.
In other words, poor Muffy.
The Enclave's base of operations in the Capital Wasteland, it suffers the weakness of being a bit to easy to self destruct. However, blowing up big bad bunkers (alliteration....alliteration never changes) isn't the main reason you want to visit this super secret science center: FORKS.
The metal grating in the floor is the bane of butterfingers everywhere, and if you climb into the crawlspace beneath the Enclave Mess Hall, you will find HUNDREDS of forks, spoons, and knives that have slipped and fallen through the cracks. Developer thinking of everything, or developer too lazy to delete the objects when they were misplaced during the construction phase of the map? Who knows, but it sure is an amusing and vaguely unsettling sight to behold.
Let's face it - the player housing in this game is sketchy at best. You can either save a crummy, weird town from getting nuked and recieve a crappy shack whose containers eat your items on a regular basis (RIP Nuka Cola Quantum in the fridge), or a penthouse that you only get after you murder an entire town that was nothing but kind to you. However, there are several locations throughout the Wasteland that offer suitable housing with no personal sacrifice to get them, and the king of these houses is the Sniper Shack, above Rocko's Last Gas. It contains a ridiculous amount of loot, including the Victory Rifle, and has its own containers, fridge, workbench, and even your own pet Radroaches, named Fluffy and Jitters.
The only issue with this location is that upon exiting the shack, you will often be greeted by either Regulators or Talon Company Mercs, as it is a random encounter zone. Why are these angry murderers always showing up outside this quaint shack from out of nowhere? Just think of it like living in a bad neighborhood in old 21st-century America, except you now have mutant cockroach pets and are able to stop time by looking at your wrist.
By far one of the most interesting discoveries in the base game - if you follow the power lines south from the MDPL-13 power station, you will discover a crashed alien ship. An alien corpse lays on the ground, and (sadly) is returned to its location within a few days if it is moved, which means no dragging it to your house as a decoration. While you won't find anything as interesting as facehuggers or pulse rifles in the area, you can find the Alien Blaster, the most overpowered gun this side of the BFG. Alien Power cells litter the wreckage - 120 to be exact - and considering that they are the rarest form of ammo in the game, it's worth taking the time to collect all of it.
Still, there are a lot of unanswered questions about this craft - some of which that eventually were answered in the Mothership Zeta DLC. What was a reconaissance ship doing in this nuclear wasteland? How did this ship crash? Why doesn't Three-Dog ever get any new songs?
Some questions were never meant to be answered.
Throughout the Capital Wasteland, you can find radio towers littering the rubble. Turn them on, and you typically intercept a some kind of generic message in Morse code, leading to a bunker or hideout of some sorts with supplies. There are two exceptions to this rule however, and are both tragic and horrifying in their own right.
The broadcast signal for Oscar Zulu is found northeast of the Temple of the Union. Flipping the switch, you expect to hear more indecipherable code, but instead begin listening to a father desperately beg for medical aid for his critically injured son. Upon finding the drainage entrance mentioned in the message, you discover the skeletons of two adults, lots of medical supplies, but no child. Perhaps in his injured state, he blindly wandered into the newly minted wasteland, never to be seen again.
The second of the two is a bit more jarring. When activating the tower for Signal Yankee Bravo (just south of Canterbury Commons), one is greeted with the sound of heavy, gurgled breathing. This will almost certainly startle you, and upon following the signal to its source, you find a drainage chamber with several ghouls clustered around a Ham radio. This leads to the horrifying conclusion that the inhabitants of the sewer must have mutated into the mindless zombies while still trying to call for help.
That's a mind-blowing amount of nihilistic despair for a triple-A major game release.
Forget Psycho, if you really want to have a REALLY crazy trip, do the main quest line for the Point Lookout DLC. After battling your way through a small army of Mirelurks in the Sacred Bog, you find the massive Mother Punga. Upon approaching it, you get gassed by spores and pass out, waking up to a world distorted and very different from your own. After a mind bending trek back through the bog, a massive nuke explodes in your face, and you wake up to find yourself laying on a straw mat outside the swamp. Turns out that while you were tripping balls, the ferryman that brought you to Point Lookout stalked you and performed amateur brain surgery on your unconscious body. Thankfully there seem to be no side effects aside from a hideous scar and the fact that a little bit of your brain is now sitting in a jar in the back of his boat. But at least you can carry it around with you for the rest of your adventures. Probably works pretty well as an ice-breaker.
There are two truths unanimously agreed on by Fallout 3 players the world over. One, the Metro tunnels are the stuff of nightmares. And two, Reavers are assholes.
Thankfully, this item alleviates both of these issues. When settling the dispute of the ownership of Tenpenny Tower, siding with Roy Phillips and his gang will grant you this mask, turning all feral ghouls into friendly NPCs. The weird thing though, is that someone MADE THIS. Someone (presumably Roy Phillips) sewed together, Buffalo Bill-style, enough Ghoul skin to make a mask.
Granted, to get this, you must be responsible for the slaughter of dozens of innocent residents of the tower, but hey, at least now you can walk through the Dunwich Building in relative peace. TAKE THAT DUNWICH BUILDING, YOU CANT SCARE ME ANY MORE.
Fort Bannister had it rough - clearly the victim of at least one nuclear attack, its surface facilities are pretty much entirely wiped out, and now is a base of operations for the Talon Company. But behind it lies a series of mysterious craters, including a large one that's flanked by a few ditches. What happened here? It seems likely that a plane may have crashed, with debris forming the ditches. However, it could have been the site of another alien crash, as there are alien power cells in the area...but this one would have had to have been dragged off by someone (like Talon mercenaries). What makes this one so odd and unsettling is the total lack of information - there are no terminals or notes to give a hint at what may have happened, just some radscorpions, some craters, and a whole bunch of alien ammunition.
A hidden underground town mentioned in the GNR radio play "The Adventures of Herbert "Daring" Dashwood", the town was a safe haven until the smitten Dashwood led the raiders right to their door. Now sealed off, the remains of Dashwood's "stalwart ghoul manservant Argyle" can be found half buried in the rubble. Informing Herbert about the corpse will result in him giving you the key to his safe containing quite a bit of juicy loot. One man's loss is another man's gain, eh?
This spot is particularly difficult to find - you have navigate very carefully over a number of objects in Takoma Park to find it, tucked away behind a factory - once you do find it, you'll uncover a sad and deeply unsettling story. All you'll find at the camp are two dead scientists dressed in radiation suits, Isabella Proud and her husband Jason, some supplies, and a number of feral ghouls near a pond (including a named glowing one called "Samuel"). By digging into Isabella's research on a terminal, you can discover that both were scientists, but Isabella was particularly interested in studying feral ghouls. Her research was driving her to greater and greater lengths, which made Jason nervous, although he cared about her too much to stop her or leave.
Eventually, Isabella decides that - after discovering the feral ghouls are attracted to radiation - she must cover her radiation suit in radioactive resin so that the ghouls will be attracted to her...but she also (unknown to him) covers Jason's radiation suit in resin as well, so that the ghouls will be attracted to both of them.
What happened is left to question - the ghouls probably attacked and killed both Isabella and Jason, but maybe the heavy doses of radiation coating their suits poisoned them both? Either way, it seems Isabella's obsession took the lives of both herself and the man who loved her.