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The Evolution of Deathclaws in the Fallout Series

Fallout Deathclaw

Few things inspire as much fear as the sight of a deathclaw in the wasteland. These mammoth-sized mutants are a rare occurrence in the wastelands, but are scarier than Caesar's legions (Fallout New Vegas) or maybe even scarier than the nuclear apocalypse itself. Let's take a look at the evolution of Deathclaws throughout the Fallout series.

What are deathclaws?

Deathclaws are large mutated creatures that emerge after the nuclear apocalypse. They are heavily radiated mutant versions of the Jackson Chameleon. Many in the wasteland believe the nuclear radiation caused the mutation, but this is false.

In Fallout 1, the main antagonist, The Master, reveals that the government was genetically experimentally with mixed animal stocks to create the perfect soldier/warrior. The plan was to create a genetic soldier that could replace human troops in battle. To this end, the government was testing with genetic manipulation and the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV). All of this occurred before the Great War

Their name comes from the massive 12 inch nails that extend from their hands and feed. Deathclaws stick to herds which consists of several females and one alpha male.

Fallout 1

The first appearance of a death claws occurs in Fallout 1, where the player is tasked with exterminating the deathclaws that may have attacked a caravan. You will ultimately come across the mother deathclaw and all her eggs, which must be destroyed to complete the mission. 

The deathclaw in Fallout 1 is more golden in colour and the horns and claws are a little less pronounced than in other versions in the series.

Fallout 2

Deathclaws come in two different flavors in Fallout 2 - the original (same as Fallout 1) and the more intelligent variety, which are the result of experimental testing by the Enclave (the remnants of the government left over post-war). 

One of the characters in the game, Goris, is intelligent enough to have conversations with. He is an albino deathclaw embedded with intelligence/sentience and is often hooded to conceal his appearance.

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel

Fallout Tactics introduces a new species of deathclaw, the hairy deathclaw. They are even larger and stronger species of deathclaws that were created by a psychic tribe known as the Beastlords. The Beastlords tried to exploit their psychic powers to control the deathclaws, but the deathclaws were strong enough to fight them off. Later on the deathclaws work with the Brotherhood of Steel to rescue and save their matriarch.

The psychic control made the deathclaws more intelligent and may be the reason why they have fur. Although, Chris Taylor (lead designer of Fallout) mentioned that deathclaws were likely meant to have hair all along, but weaker rendering power in computers made it difficult to add this in - which is likely why it wasn't included in older games.

Fallout 3

Entering into the world of 3D, Fallout 3 created a three-dimensional vision of the deathclaw that is just as menacing as the unit in earlier games. For the first time, players could see how towering and aggressive deathclaws were.

However, deathclaws in this version were reduced to their simpler form - mindless monsters wandering the wasteland ready to devour and destroy all in their path.

Fallout: New Vegas

Deathclaws in New Vegas are a modified form of the version in Fallout 3. However, their horns have become much longer and spiralized. Their claws are darker and their face has become more ghoulish in appearance with glowing eys and sharpened teeth.

Deathclaws are also much stronger and have a higher level of perception in New Vegas than their Fallout 3/Washington counterparts.

Fallout Shelter

Deathclaws in Fallout Shelter look similar to the New Vegas version, although they now have very pronounced spikes on their back and distinctive markings, including specks and tribal-esque patterns.

They are very aggressive managing to attack and break into vaults, which is something that deathclaws have been unable to do in previous games. They attack in pairs and are rarely seen on their own in Fallout Shelter.

Fallout 4

Fallout 4 builds on the changes introduced in New Vegas and makes deathclaws more demonic in appearance. The spikes seen in Fallout Shelter are even more pronounced to give a sense that its armored. Deathclaws faces are also more dragon like than reptilian. The tail  has been shortened and is less smooth and better resembles an alligator or crocodile.

Lastly, the deathclaw's eyes are a glowing red or yellow color and they can now emerge from under the ground, tunneling out to surprise wasteland settlers.

What's next for deathclaws?
The Evolution of Deathclaws in the Fallout Series The Evolution of Deathclaws in the Fallout Series Reviewed by Expert on Monday, January 02, 2017 Rating: 5

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