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|First game||Fallout (1997)|
|Voiced by||Jim Cummings ("male" voice)
Kath Soucie ("female" voice)
The Master is the prime antagonist and final boss in the original Fallout post-apocalyptic role-playing video game. He was also supposed to be the villain of the Interplay Films' cancelled Fallout film treatment.
The Master is the creator and leader of the super mutants. He is also being the mastermind behind a movement called "The Unity", the aim of which is to turn every human possible into a super mutant by means of the FEV virus. He claims that those who can not be mutated by the virus as well as those that choose not to will be allowed to live, provided they submit themselves to sterilization. Those that resist the Unity outright will be executed for trying to stand in the way of the Master's "progress." In theory, the Unity is for humanity's own good, as super mutants are better adapted to live in a post-nuclear wasteland. Also, according to the Master, turning all living beings into one single race would finally eliminate the differences and the human fallacies that ultimately brought about the nuclear war.
The Master was born as Richard Moreau, and was a resident of Vault 8, later known as Vault City, where he worked as a doctor. In 2092, he was exiled from the city for murder, although the circumstances surrounding the murder are unknown. He changed his name to Richard Grey and headed south, ending up at The Hub, where he met Harold, a prominent caravan leader and trader. Following ever increasing attacks on Harold's caravans by mutated creatures, the pair teamed up in 2102 and led a group of scientists who mounted an expedition to the north-west to investigate the source of the mutated animals, which were attacking the survivors of the nuclear war. On June 23, 2102, Grey and his party stumbled upon the Mariposa Military Base, in which the U.S. government had been mass-producing, and experimenting with, the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV). With the exception of Grey and Harold, the party was cut down by the mutated creatures and the base's internal defense systems. Harold barely escaped, and Grey was plunged into a vat of FEV by a robotic arm. Floating in the vats for almost a month, the FEV transformed Grey into the amorphous, blob-like being that would eventually become known as the Master. This entity expanded his biological mass by absorbing other creatures that came near the base, and bionically merging himself with computer equipment inside it. He also began capturing humans that stumbled upon his lair, and intentionally exposing them to the FEV. These initial mutated humans were incredibly flawed, and the Master consumed them rather than letting them live. In 2103, the Master perfected his method of infecting ("dipping") humans and began creating the "master race" of super mutants, who followed the Master's every command.
In 2152, as his army's influence began to spread throughout the wastes, the Master came into contact with a group of human doomsday cultists, led by a man named Morpheus. Realizing the benefits of retaining undipped humans in his service to act as spies throughout the region, the Master recruited Morpheus's cult into his service. In 2155, the Master discovered the location of an unnumbered experimental Vault-Tec vault prototype, located just south of the center of the ruins of Los Angeles, renamed as the Boneyard. Seeing great opportunity there, the Master relocated to the vault with his human cult followers and a portion of his ever-growing super mutant army, and oversaw the building of a large cathedral on the surface above the vault the following year. The cult became known as the Children of the Cathedral, and continued to be led by Morpheus, who reported directly to the Master. The cathedral is guarded by ghost-like creatures called Nightkin, which are actually super mutant elite troops equipped with StealthBoy technology. While the Children appear to be a fervent religious order - and, in fact, some of the low ranking members may not even be privy to the more sinister reason behind the cult's existence - in reality, the Children and Morpheus are simply a front that the Master uses to advance his plan for the future of mankind: "The Unity".
In Fallout, the Master has extremely powerful psionic abilities, able to project extremely vivid hallucinations that easily break the mind of any enemy without some form of mental protection. Besides his psionic abilities, the Master also has a genius level intellect and incredible natural charisma, having rallied an army of cultishly devoted human and super-mutant followers around him. He has mastered genetic engineering through his experiments with the Forced Evolutionary Virus. However, the Master's scenario is not realistic as all super mutants are sterile. The protagonist of Fallout, later dubbed the Vault Dweller, can help Vree, a scientist of the Brotherhood of Steel, come to this conclusion, and later use this information to convince the Master that his endeavour has no chances of success and to self-destroy. Unless the player joins the Master, the end result remains the same. The Master's death would trigger the nuclear device anyway, resulting in the destruction of the Cathedral. Returning to the Cathedral after the Nuclear Device is detonated, the Vault Dweller simply sees a gaping black crater.
Design and gameplay
The Master is a hideously mutated being composed of several other creatures and electronic parts, all apparently melded together. Apart from his appearance, one of his most notable features is his unique way of speaking, as his voice is computer-generated and sentences are composed from samples of several people's speech. His original name (Richard Moreau) was derived from The Island of Dr. Moreau.
One of the main objectives in Fallout is to destroy the Master. The Vault Dweller has three options to choose from. He or she can either kill the Master though combat (an extremely difficult task), convince him to abandon his plan (in which case the Master commits suicide), or bypass the Master entirely by manually setting off a nuclear device, located in one of the floors of the vault in which the Master lives. If the player encounters the Master, he or she also has the option of joining forces with the Master instead, which results in a non-canonical ending wherein the player is dipped and becomes a super mutant. The Master is very hard to kill through combat, due to his bio-electrical integration with the Cathedral Vault's Overseer Chair, giving him access to its twin gatling lasers with devastating firepower. The Master is also quite tough, he has 500 hit points, can attack twice per round, and is protected by an almost constantly respawning supply of super mutant bodyguards; he is, however, highly vulnerable to pulse grenades.
GameSpot included the Master among the ten best computer game villains for being "one of the most memorable antagonists in computer-gaming history". In 2010, GameSpot also chose him as one of the 64 characters competing in the poll Greatest Video Game Villain (including console gaming characters), in which he has won directly in the first two rounds of eliminations against Kain and Heihachi Mishima, before losing to Bowser. UGO.com in 2008 called him "one of the most deliciously evil yet incomprehensible villains in video games." GamesRadar also praised The Master's role as an antagonist, putting him in their 2013 list of the best villains in video game history at number 75.
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- Matt Bertz, Codec Chatter: Assassin's Creed Scribe Corey May, Game Informer, October 01, 2009
- Andy Chalk. "The Escapist : News : Bethesda Claims Interplay Wants to "Undermine" Fallout". Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- "The Ten Best Computer Game Villains: The Master". Liveweb.archive.org. 2013-01-06. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- "All-Time Greatest Game Villain - Current Standings". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- UGO Team (2008-09-17). "The Master in UGO's Favorite Fallout Characters". UGO.com. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- GamesRadar Staff (May 17, 2013). "100 best villains in video games". GamesRadar. Retrieved June 21, 2013.