|For Hoover Dam as it was supposed to appear in Van Buren, Black Isle Studios' canceled Fallout 3, see Hoover Dam (Van Buren).|
Hoover Dam, called the Old World Wall by Ulysses, is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Colorado River in 2281. It lies on the border between the former U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada and serves as a major flashpoint for the factions of the Mojave Wasteland. Hoover Dam was originally constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression, and was dedicated in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Originally known as Boulder Dam from 1933 until 1947, it was officially renamed Hoover Dam in 1947 for former President Herbert Hoover.
One of the wonders of the Old World, Hoover Dam straddles the Black Canyon along the Colorado River and impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir by volume in the pre-War United States. The dam became a major supplier of power and water to the American Southwest. The company town that originally housed its construction, Boulder City, continued its life as a municipality.
As the resource crisis escalated in the 21st century, the dam was fortified with anti-aircraft weapons to protect against an aerial attack. In 2077, the People's Republic of China attempted to sabotage the dam. The attack, led by their Crimson Dragoon special forces, was foiled by U.S. forces.
When the Great War first broke out, some of Mr. House's laser battery systems kept the Hoover Dam in almost untouched condition, along with a majority of Las Vegas. However, due to the war, the plant was shut down, abandoned and left to the elements for nearly two centuries. The Followers of the Apocalypse would confirm Hoover Dam's remaining presence as early as 2170, and in 2274, Hoover Dam was occupied by the New California Republic (NCR) during their Mojave Campaign. When the first NCR scouts arrived at Hoover Dam, Mr. House was spurred into action by the sign of civilization. He sent his Securitron army out onto the New Vegas Strip and rallied the tribals occupying the city, ensuring that when the NCR first reached New Vegas, they would return with stories of a city of lights in the middle of the desert, bringing in the tourist revenue required for Mr. House to carry forward his plans. He worried about the independence of his new city's power source, but the arrival of Caesar's Legion in the region meant that the NCR could not take the dam and the Strip without leaving them vulnerable to the Legion. Mr. House and the NCR drew up the Treaty of New Vegas, out of necessity more than anything. 95% of the dam's power output would go to the NCR, and in return Vegas' independence would be guaranteed. Within a year of the treaty, the NCR had the dam running at 50% capacity and New Vegas was running bright on its 5%. At one point in time, the NCR had the dam running at 75% capacity but, for unknown reasons, the dam's output declined back to 50% capacity.
In 2277, the Legion, led by the Malpais Legate, attempted to take Hoover Dam, but were defeated shortly after when Chief Hanlon, alongside NCR Rangers and First Recon sharpshooters, performed a tactical retreat to destroy the Legion's elite forces by trapping them in Boulder City with NCR troopers under the command of General Oliver managing to successfully hold the dam and both decimate and rout the Legion's main force. After the Battle of Willow Beach and the Battle of Arizona Spillway, the dam stands as the only foothold the NCR has east of the Colorado. It is the central point of the power struggle between NCR, the Legion, and Mr. House, and with the Second Battle of Hoover Dam on the horizon, it is certain that the outcome will determine the fate of the entire Mojave Wasteland.
While troopers are active here, there are also a large number of civilian contractors and engineers who are trying to keep the dam running as smoothly as possible. They are of a secondary concern to Moore, who is preparing for an impending attack by Caesar and a visit by President Kimball.
Hoover Dam covers a large area with extensive exterior and interior sections, despite there only being one map marker for the entire location. Following the Colorado River downstream (or coming upstream from Cottonwood Cove), the player character will encounter a pontoon barrier.
The west side of the dam is controlled by the NCR and features the anti-aircraft gun seen on billboards. The fast-travel map marker puts the player character just outside of the entrance to the Hoover Dam visitor center along former Highway 93, south of the Nevada Spillway. Just north of the visitor center building is a stage and viewing area. To the west of the stage is a large anti-aircraft cannon.
Across from the visitor center stands the Hoover Dam dedication monument, designed by Oscar Hansen, featuring the Winged Figures of the Republic. A plaque between the sculptures is damaged but reads:
Atop the dam
Continuing north along the barricaded road leads to the top of the dam itself. Two towers are along the south edge of the road. Access to Hoover Dam Intake Tower 01 and 02 is via a bridge connected to the north side of the road. The road ends at a checkpoint door which is inaccessible until any of the final quests, such as Eureka!. The checkpoint contains a Very Hard locked terminal and a few lockers with minor loot. It also houses a small sniper nest on the roof, accessible via a ladder.
Base of the dam
Access to the north and south bases of the dam is blocked off by a pontoon barrier constructed with toxic waste barrels, which holds sections of the chainlink fence in place along the top of the water. Weights keep the submerged ends in place and the whole structure taut.
The south base of the dam is accessible by descending through interior sections of the dam and exiting from the second tier of either Hoover Dam Power Plant 02 or 04. There are spectacular gushes of water from outflow pipes high up on the east and west walls of the river canyon. It is possible to swim from the west to the east side and climb up on the concrete area by swimming all the way to the south end and walking up the sandbar to the southeast corner.
The east side of the dam is controlled by the Legion. Going west along the barricaded road leads to the top of the dam itself. Access to Hoover Dam Intake Tower 03 and 04 is via a bridge connected to the north side of the road. There are two towers along the south edge of the road; one is ruined. The Arizona Spillway is situated on this side of the dam, south of the roadway.
See the individual buildings and sections for descriptions of the dam interior.
- Hoover Dam snow globe - On the central reception desk in the visitor center.
- Two Chinese stealth armors - In the offices' radioactive barrel storage, in the middle stack of crates.
- President Kimball's suit - Can be looted off his corpse if he dies during the quests Arizona Killer or You'll Know It When It Happens.
- General Oliver's uniform - Can be looted off his corpse during the quest Veni, Vidi, Vici and No Gods, No Masters.
- 12 frag grenades - In a locker in intake tower 2.
- Hoover Dam saferoom key - One found in each of the three desks in a large T-shaped room between the central and eastern wings of Hoover Dam offices, with another being found in a desk in the room directly to the right after entering through the Hoover Dam power plant 01 door. Opens a saferoom in the second floor of the visitor center that contains nothing of interest.
- Elaine's letter - Next to a bed in the soldiers' quarters around the corner from Quartermaster Bardon, in the Hoover Dam offices.
- The head engineer, Mike Lawson, talks about repairing the non-functional dam turbines, but even though the Courier can swim down to reach the turbines, the game never makes the repairs an option for quests.
- If the Courier jumps on the artillery cannon, runs down the barrel and jumps, they can go past the game's barrier and go to the bottom of Hoover Dam. Just save before hitting the ground, then load a save. Facing the direction of the river, if the Courier goes on the right side, they can find a door to the Hoover Dam power plant 2 and a door leading to power plant 4. Otherwise, this area of the map is inaccessible. There is an "exit door" in the northeast corner of plants 2 and 4, behind the metal stairway which ascends west to the top of the generator, that can be used to exit to the spillway. One of these doors is also used in the final quest.
- At the base of the dam, while it is possible to get above the top of the chain link fence from the water, invisible barriers prevent the player character from actually hopping over it, even when attempted from the cliffs far above the barrier. However, it is possible to jump off the north side of the dam into the water. This places the player character on the opposite side of the pontoon barrier and allows them to swim the length of the Hoover Dam. However, using the console to toggle collisions, then continuing into the northern side of the dam's waters through the pontoon barrier, will cause the game to crash. A one-way ladder upwards is available to return to the top of the dam on the NCR side of the river.
- When on top of the first sniper tower, the Courier can lock and unlock the ladder. However, it can be used either way.
- If the Courier jumps down from the Hoover Dam into the water on the north side, and swims as far east as possible until they can't jump/walk any farther, they may begin to hear artillery fire and flying shells even though they have not started the battle at Hoover Dam. In addition to the sound effects, the theme music of Hoover Dam will change to the version heard in one of the end game quests. This music is unique and will not play in any other location in the game.
- The NCR rangers walking on the dam do not actually wear NCR Ranger patrol armor, but a lower resolution type of clothing that is only for aesthetic purposes. The insignia on the shoulder is blurry, the water pack on their backs is flat, and rifle-grip weapons do not change position when holstered. Much like the face masks worn by troopers, the armor cannot be looted from their inventory. The masks look like the goggles and bandana of recruit helmets, worn beneath regular helmets like the trooper helmet and centurion helmet.
- If the Courier jumps off the north side of Hoover Dam and returns to the top of the dam, the game may glitch and cause things like the artillery cannon to completely disappear and the texture for the road in front of the visitor center to change.
- There are invisible walls around the area where Kimball speaks. This may result in his body coming back because he bounced off the wall (if exploded and killed, as ragdoll physics will take over).
- Arcade Gannon will make some comments about the dam when first brought to the area.
- It is one of the few locations with fresh water outside as well as inside. The water inside is marked as owned, but inflicts 0 rads.
- The Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel were initially focused on taking the dam and putting it to use, but they were sidetracked at HELIOS One, allowing the NCR to claim it first, although, in theory, they are still planning on taking it.
Behind the scenes
- The Hoover Dam is based on the real world location of Hoover Dam, a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona.
- Many sections and landmarks of the real world Hoover Dam are seen in-game, including the towering bronze Winged Figures of the Republic sculptures, plaque and flagpole, dam blueprints, visitor center, spillways, power plants, intake towers, lower levels, architecture, outbuildings, and structure of the dam itself, art deco style, and details in the surrounding area.
- The maps of the Hoover Dam scattered around the Mojave are blueprints created in the 1930s and can be seen in the University of Nevada Las Vegas Digital Collections.
- On the side of one of the stone guard towers is a banner reading, "LEGION GO HOME." This is a reference to the real life slogan "Ami go home," originally a protest from European communists against US occupiers after WWII, later adopted by European peace movements during the Vietnam War and more recently the Gulf War.
- The other side of this is a reference to the film Monty Python's Life of Brian wherein the main character writes "Romanes eunt domus," grammatically incorrect for "Romans, go home." He is later corrected by a Roman centurion.
- During the battle at Hoover Dam, most non-player characters wear masks. This was encouraged by Joshua Sawyer as an attempt to reduce memory usage, since "FaceGen/FaceFX data can be expensive."
|The following is based on Fallout: New Vegas cut content.|
- Cut content from Spare Us the Cutter
|End of information based on Fallout: New Vegas cut content.|
- Order of Withdrawal
- Hoover Dam on Wikipedia
- The Courier: "What can you tell me about Hoover Dam?"
Monroe: "It's one of the biggest sources of electrical power in the region, so the NCR's fortified the place pretty heavily. When President Kimball shows up on his inspection tour, I'm sure he'll be confident that the Dam is safe and secure."
The Courier: "The President is coming to Hoover Dam?"
Monroe: "It's probably just a political thing - you know, give a few speeches, shake hands with the troops, boost morale."
- Rose of Sharon Cassidy: "Check out those guns - rumor had it they used to shoot planes down before the war."
(Rose of Sharon Cassidy's dialogue)
- American intelligence report
- Hoover Dam terminals entries; Terminal, No Clue What These Are
- The Courier: "What preparations did you make to save Las Vegas?"
Robert House: "On the day of the Great War, 77 atomic warheads targeted Las Vegas and its surrounding areas. My networked mainframes were able to predict and force-transmit disarm code subsets to 59 warheads, neutralizing them before impact. Laser cannons mounted on the roof of the Lucky 38 destroyed another 9 warheads. The rest got through, though none hit the city itself. A sub-optimal performance, admittedly. If only the Platinum Chip had arrived a day sooner..."
(Robert House's dialogue)
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.458: "Controversy over the Vegas Frontier
The NCR spread east into Nevada in large numbers just five years ago on a 'humanitarian mission' to 'bring the light of civilization to the savage wastes of the Mojave.' Hoover Dam was the symbol of the expedition-reports from the Followers of the Apocalypse had confirmed that it was still intact as early as 2170-and its occupation by NCR troops in 2274 was a celebrated event. Even more exciting was the restarting of the dam's hydroelectric plant eleven months later, which dramatically improved the access of many NCR citizens to electricity and water.
Since then, most of the news has been bad. Skirmishes with local tribes and the first battle for Hoover Dam have cost the lives of more than 400 of the NCR's soldiers and civilians. Until the oft-promised annexation of New Vegas becomes a reality, the government continues to spend much of its budget on 'safeguarding the region' while in return receiving not one Cap in tax revenue. The expedition has proved to be an enduring, low-intensity political embarrassment for President Kimball.
Among NCR citizens, the most common political attitude is impatience. They want Vegas annexed; they want it over with. Most expect that this will finally occur once Caesar's Legion has been 'beat for good.' Opposition to the Vegas occupation amounts to a vocal minority, and of these, most oppose it as a waste of lives and tax caps. The more radical opinion that the expedition amounts to the imperialist subjugation of an unwilling territory is seen as unpatriotic: the kind of pap spouted by the good-for-nothing agitators like those Followers of the Apocalypse."
(Behind the Bright Lights & Big City)
- The Courier: "Where does New Vegas get all its electricity?"
Robert House: " , of course. A hydroelectric dam? The NCR had it up and running at 50% capacity within a year of occupying the dam. By treaty, New Vegas receives 5% of its output - more than enough."
(Robert House's dialogue)
- The Courier: "What can you tell me about Hoover Dam?"
Cassandra Moore: "It's of immense strategic value to the NCR. Hoover Dam sends enough electricity west to light every city and major settlement. It's moderately defensible, with a single point of entry on the east side. To get to the power plants below, the enemy has to cross the entire top. The Legion's tried to cross the water on a few occasions, but slow-moving boats make easy targets for sharpshooters."
(Cassandra Moore's dialogue)
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.372-376: "[3.33] Hoover Dam
All of the Main Quest in Act III centers around this location, as do the Main Quests involving the visit of President Aaron Kimball. A stronghold of extreme strategic importance for centuries, this location has seen recent turmoil between major Faction too. A few years before current events, Caesar's Legion rolled in, led by ex-Mormon missionary Joshua Graham, Caesar's Legate. Not considering NCR's army to be a serious threat, Graham exercised somewhat lax control over the Legion. During the Battle of Hoover Dam, NCR Rangers and Sharpshooters from First Recon employed risky tactics against the Legion with the help of the enlisted Troopers, and despite horrific loss of life, Caesar's forces were pushed back, but not routed.
The NCR has been holding the dam continuously since, and have fortified positions along the dam and up and down the west side of the Colorado River. Recently, the Legion pushed the NCR off of the east side of the river at the Battle of Willow Beach (which destroyed an NCR military camp) and the Battle of Arizona Spillway. Day to day military operations at the dam are under the command of Colonel Moore. While troopers are active here, there are also a large number of civilian contractors who are trying to keep the dam running. They are of a secondary concern to Moore, who is preparing from for an impending attack by Caesar and a visit by President Kimball."
(Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition Tour of the Mojave Wasteland)
- The Courier: "What happened to Boulder City?"
Monroe: " The sharpshooters in the Rangers picked off the Legion's veterans from a distance, and the rest of the Legion just rushed on in. Then - boom!"
- The Courier: "General Oliver, Hoover Dam is ours. Leave at once."
Lee Oliver: " Who the hell do you think you are? Looking to cash your chips to the sound of NCR bullets, eh? I can oblige."
The Courier: "Are you sure that's wise?"
Lee Oliver: " You been far enough West I'm guessing to know how far that claw stretches. Fuck with the Bear, and..."
The Courier: "How about I ask these robots to fuck you and your entire battalion with a rocket barrage?"
Lee Oliver: "Do you know what you're doing? Making a nation - like you think you're doing, ain't like chowing down on a pile of Fancy Lad Snack Cakes. Think you got the guts to carve out a frontier? Build towns, protect the roads, run supplies, train troops?"
(Lee Oliver's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Why is the Brotherhood interested in Nevada?"
Veronica Santangelo: "It was the Dam, really. We'd heard rumors it was working. Figured we could claim it, put it to use. Didn't end up mattering. We got sidetracked at HELIOS One and the NCR took the Dam in the meantime. We're still after it, though. In theory."
(Veronica Santangelo's dialogue)
- Dead Money endings
- The Courier: "How did you end up as Caesar's legate?"
Joshua Graham: "This way lies the path to hell. Edw- Caesar needed me to translate. Translation became giving orders. Giving orders became leading in battle. Leading in battle became training, punishing, terrorizing. A series of small mistakes before a great fall. And I stayed in that darkness until after Hoover Dam. After I failed Caesar and he had me burned alive, thrown into the Grand Canyon."
(Joshua Graham's dialogue)
- Old World Blues endings
- The Courier: "Whatever you believe happened, you have it wrong."
Ulysses: "It was you walking that road that kept the Divide alive. It grew from what you did. Settlers... camps... filling that Old World city. Like Hoover Dam... but not Old World, something made. Road was a supply line."
- UNLV Digital Collections
- Romanes eunt domus in Life of Brian
- J.E. Sawyer Formspring