I reload from a save and try again to trigger the ending I want. I play by the hidden rules and then make my way to the Hoover Dam to get on with finishing the battle on the NCR's terms. That's when the shooting starts. Seems they've decided to go aggro again for no reason. As soon as I walk into the room, the entire NCR army opens up on me. I can't even get close enough to say "I'm here to help." More like "I'm here - " BLAM! Game over.
This is the point at which I lose my mind. I crack a strategy guide for the first time, hoping for a clue. Nothing. So I turn to the internet. Guess what? It's a known bug. If you do the things that I did in the order in which I did them, the NCR will try to kill you. This makes no sense. It isn't supposed to happen, but it does.
This ending is now unfinishable for me. Time for Plan B, I guess. Assholes.
Play Time: 108 hours
Broken Missions: 3
Headaches: More than I can count
The Final Battle (With System Lock)
It all ends the only way it could have ended: with bullets and blood. The Legion marches on the Dam, the NCR mobilizes to meet them, and me and my robot army and a cross-dressing super mutant roll in from the flank, taking everyone by surprise.
Although I'm basically an unstoppable badass at this point, it's still a close fight. The NCR go down easy, but the Legion mount an effective counter-attack. My super mutant follower bites it on the second or third charge leaving me to take down a good half dozen of Caesar's best men.
It takes everything I have, but in the end, I prevail. The top of the Hoover Dam is littered with bodies, covered in blood (some of which is mine) and at long last - it's quiet. I take a moment to look around and savor the victory. The view spreading out in both directions, down the Colorado River and across Lake Meade, is striking. Too bad my damn Xbox is stuttering like Porky Pig.
That's when the Boomers show up with their refurbished B-29 bomber. They're late to the party, but that's not my biggest concern. Seems drawing the bomber is a polygon too far. The Xbox stutters once, then dies.
Final tally: Four NCR Rangers, more 50 Legionaries, one robot and a super-mutant tranny dead, one wounded. Seven hard crashes and reboots.
Total Play Time: 108 hours
Crashes: Over 22
Time spent cursing a broken game bought at full retail cost: Priceless
Russ Pitts is the Editor-in-Chief of The Escapist. To date, he has been playing New Vegas for about 200 hours and has found enough bugs to be named an honorary QA tester.