5 Most Unsettling Vaults in Fallout Games

The combination of a retro-futuristic alternate history aesthetic and a desolate post-nuclear apocalyptic setting lends an incredibly distinct aesthetic to the Fallout universe. Time and again, this is a series that weaponizes absurdity and over-the-top humour to inject its world full of texture, whether that’s in the form of captivating lore, hilarious satire, or unforgettable bits and pieces of storytelling.

And no part of the games captures that as well as when you’re exploring one of Vault-Tec’s many fallout shelters scattered throughout what remains of the United States of America. As engaging as it is to explore the wide open wastelands of the Fallout games, more often than not, the highlights of these games are when you find yourself inside a creepy vault and slowly uncover its dark and twisted history, shedding yet more light on just how morally bankrupt Vault-Tec was. Here, we’re going to talk about a few such vaults that stick out in memory.


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We’re going to start things off with a vault that you don’t ever actually explore in any Fallout game- in fact, we don’t even know where exactly it’s located. Vault 77 served as the backdrop for a web comic that Bethesda released in 2008 in the lead-up to Fallout 3’s launch, titled One Man and a Crate of Puppets. And what exactly makes the vault so creepy? It was designed by Vault-Tec to study the effects of complete, long-term isolation on a human.

Vault 77 had only one resident, who, due to years of complete and total solitude, ended up completely losing his mind. Some time into his life in the vault, the man found a crate full of puppets, and slowly started to believe that the puppets were alive and talking to him. Eventually, the man, known as the Puppet Man, grew deeply paranoid about what some of the puppets were planning on doing to him, and not long afterward, left Vault 77 and went out into the wasteland. Though we’ve never actually visited Vault 77 in a Fallout game, in Fallout 3, players can find a single Vault 77 jumpsuit, which might suggest that the vault was somewhere in the Capital Wasteland (unless, of course, Puppet Man traveled to Washington DC from wherever it was that the vault was located).


fallout 3 vault 87

If you’ve played Fallout 3, you probably remember Vault 87, for both gameplay and narrative reasons. As far as gameplay reasons go, gaining access to the vault is notoriously difficult. Though there are technically multiple ways inside, the vast majority of them are guaranteed deathtraps, whether that’s through shockingly high levels of radiation (presumably through a direct nuclear strike back in 2077, according a log in the game), or through a corridor crammed full of super mutants. Oh, and yeah, the vault is also full of super mutants. And centaurs.

Why exactly? Well, shortly before the bombs fell in 2077, Vault-Tec decided that Vault 87 was going to be used to study the effects of Forced Evolutionary Virus (or FEV) on humans- which, of course, led to the creation of super mutants and centaurs. Eventually, the beasts managed to break out, after which they started kidnapping people all across the Captial Wasteland and bringing them back to the vault to turn them into super mutants as well. One such mutant is Fawkes, who, it turns out, is not only friendly, but is also one of Fallout 3’s recruitable companions.


vault 95 fallout 4

Found close to the deadly Glowing Sea in Fallout 4’s Commonwealth, Vault 95 serves as the backdrop for one of Vault-Tec’s most twisted and exploitative social experiments (which is really saying something, given the company’s love for twisted and exploitative social experiments). Vault 95 was sold as essentially a rehab center for those with chem addictions. In fact, for quite a while, that’s exactly what it was! For five years, the residents of the vault adhered by its rules and, slowly but surely, dealt with their addictions, coming out the other side as healthier individuals.

Vault-Tec had, however, planted an agent within the vault’s residents, who, as per the company’s instructions, procured and opened up a bag full of drugs five years after the vault was sealed, with the intention being to record how the residents would react. Depressingly enough, what ensued was absolute chaos. Many instantly fell back into using chems, many resorted to violence, and many were able to figure out that they had been deceived by Vault-Tec. Though there were some who tried to keep themselves healthy, things did not end well. By the time players find Vault 95 in Fallout 4 a couple centuries later, it’s being used by the mercenaries known as the Gunners as their base of operations.


vault 108 fallout 3

When you think of weird vaults in Fallout games, you can’t help but instantly think of Vault 108, or what Fallout 3 fans think of as the vault full of Garys. The entire vault is full of clones of a single man named Gary, each of them violently aggressive against anything that isn’t a clone line themselves, and all of whom were presumably the cause of the vault’s downfall, given the fact that they’re the only survivors that players can find (other than monsters and creatures that have managed to find their way in as well).

Interestingly enough, cloning wasn’t even the full extent of Vault 108’s mandated experiment by Vault-Tec (though it certainly was the most memorable aspect). Vault-Tec also used the vault to study how a society would cope with the lack of leadership, with the vast majority of the vault’s leadership positions being left purposefully vacant. Even the overseer that was chosen suffered from terminal cancer. As if that and the cloning weren’t bad enough, Vault-Tec also intentionally rigged Vault 108’s power supply to fail within 20 years, stripped it full of anything that the residents could entertainment themselves with, and stocked it full of an unusually large amount of weaponry.


vault 118 fallout 4

Vault-Tec 118 started out as something deeply disturbing, and though the original vision Vault-Tec had for it never came to pass, what it ended up as was somehow just as freaky, if not more so. The original plan had been for Vault 118 to be a tightly controlled social experiment, where the vault would be split into two wings- a large, luxurious wing where 10 rich people would reside and have their every demand catered to by robot butlers, and a small, tight wing where 300 poorer people would be crammed in together, with the rich overlords acting as their judges in law, and the robots as the enforcers.

Vault 118 never became that, however, because not only did funding dry up, the group of wealthy people instead decided that they would outlaws the war and its fallout was to have their brains transferred into robobrain robots. When players find Vault 118 in Fallout 4’s Far Harbor expansion, not only do they get to meet its robobrain residents (who’ve well and truly lost it with the passage of time), but also get to solve a murder mystery in this bizarre environment. To say that it’s one of Fallout 4’s most memorable locations would be underselling it.

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