Such is LPs in the Zone - S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

In 1972, Soviet-Russian author/brother duo Arkady and Boris Strugatsky released the Sci Fi novel Roadside Picnic: Aliens arrive on Earth at six Visitation Zones, leave reality-warping artifacts and anomalies behind, and go right back to outer space, much like how people leave their trash behind after a roadside picnic; fortune-seekers, dubbed “stalkers”, illegally enter these zones in search of artifacts and knowledge.
In 1977, Antonina W. Bouis translates the book to English for the first time, and it becomes an acclaimed and influential novel across nations. In 1979, legendary Soviet-Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky loosely adapts the book into the equally respected and influential film Stalker. The Strugatsky brothers in-turn novelise an early screenplay of the movie as Stalker.

In 1986, a blackout safety test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine causes its core to explode. The surrounding area becomes highly irradiated and is closed off, dubbed the Zone of Alienation, the Exclusion Zone, or simply The Zone. The plant is hastily covered with a concrete “sarcophagus”. Those who re-enter the Zone, particularly the scientists and engineers exploring the sarcophagus, are called Stalkers. The Strugatskys’ book begins to show an eery prescience, and a mythology builds around the disaster.

All of this was not lost on the Ukrainian game studio GSC Game World. Come the new millenium, they took inspiration from both books and Tarkovsky’s Stalker, replaced the aliens with this mythology built around Chernobyl, and released one of 2007’s favorite cult hits.

Привіт, Сталкер. This is Shadow of Chernobyl.

The Game
SoC is an immersive FPS noted for its difficulty and realism. The nuclear wasteland setting draws comparisons to Fallout, but SoC is not a fun romp where you can strap any minigun you see to your back to sell later: the game requires strategy and management from the player. You can die very quickly from the advanced enemy AI, wander into a grinder anomaly by mistake, miss most of your shots if you’re not close, use up all of your piddly carry weight without trying, or fail in some other spectacular bug/glitch-related way. Despite this, and in many ways because, SoC and its sequel Call of Pripyat are acclaimed cult favorites.

The Story
Many years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a second explosion occurs in the Exclusion Zone. Mutated creatures, wonderous artifacts, and deadly anomalies appear throughout the Zone, and a group of explorers, scientists, and wealth-seekers called Stalkers jump right in to see what they can find. Word spreads of the Wish Granter, something hidden within the Chernobyl Sarcophagus that can gift whoever finds it whatever they want.

You are “the Marked One”, a stalker who turns up suddenly with amnesia, a tattoo on his arm saying “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.”, and a PDA that simply says “Kill Strelok”. With no other leads as to who you might be, you trek out into the Zone with only a pistol, a knife, a pair of binoculars, and anything else you can scrounge off the mountain of corpses you leave behind in search of this Strelok. Along the way, you just might uncover the secrets of the Zone and what exactly is the Wish Granter.

The LP
This is a straightforward playthrough of the standard version. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Complete is an available mod that fixes a lot of the game’s bugs and adds new content, but I wanted to give an authentic experience, so the only mod I’m using is the bug-fixing Zone Reclamation Project. Don’t worry, the funny ones never get fixed. All endings will be shown off, as well as at least one of each type of side quest, so you can consider this a completionist run (sidequests are radiant quests, so there’s no way to do literally every one). Extra videos of Complete, the Arena, etc, are possible down the line.
My co-commentators are JigglyJacob and Highwang. Highwang is more experienced with the game than me but usually plays Complete. Jacob knows nothing about the game.
This LP was originally uploaded in full between November 5, 2017 and January 28, 2018 for my Patreon patrons before it began being made public in February 2018.


Man, I’ve tried to get into STALKER so many times, and it sounds a lot like something I’d be into, but every time I end up dropping it, I’ll make sure to watch this so that I can finally experience it.

My experience with Shadow of Chernobyl is “play game, get killed at the car park a whole bunch, then get past that, get to the Bar area, and have the game crash because of a missing sound file”. I don’t know what’s happening that causes it to crash, and I haven’t found a way to insert a dummy file to get it to work, but the past three times I’ve tried installing it, it’s what’s happened. It’s a shame, because I love the hell out of the game. I should try Call of Pripyat at some point.

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If we implement a “take a drink every time Jacob jumps” policy, how bad will the liver damage be?

I haven’t played the STALKER series (partially because I watched a documentary on Chernobyl in high school and it scarred me for life), so I look forward to being informed and entertained. I will say I liked the “cover” mechanic, for lack of a better term. Every game I’ve played where you poke out of cover, it’s straight out, never at an angle.

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If we implement a “take a drink every time Jacob jumps” policy, how bad will the liver damage be?

I can’t recall, but I do know taking a drink every time he gets mad at the game mechanics is an eventful Saturday.

Dogs, death traps, and drunkenness dominate.

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Have to wonder if anyone has tried brewing something with an artifact from the zone? I could easily see some of the more insane zoners thinking that drinking vodka that was brewed with a jellyfish artifact inside the mix would convey its benefits.

I would have named this thread Blinding Them with Fashion. That said, good stuff so far. Personally, I hope we get see more of the wacky physics, because I am easily amused.

The creepy really starts to show itself.

its always interesting to me that outside of sidorovich and one other guy its quite possible to stumble across quest givers dead. The guy in the corridor that was under attack by the dogs, its quite possible to come across him already dead from the dogs and the dogs scattered or gone. Garbage is another interesting place because its quite possible for fights between bandits, and loners to be interrupted by the military.

He said come in, don’t stand there

"Isn’t Call of the Wild a shitty game or movie?"
Holy shit man. Well, it is either that or a renowned classic book by Jack London. I don’t know culture indeed. XD

Reading this at a later point, it comes off as super harsh and judgy. I did not intend it that way at all and I am sorry.

A little detour into a bloodsucker hunt.

Highwang was busy, so it’s one of a few parts with just me and Jacob.

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This didn’t go how I intended, so I made up for it after the fact. People can die hilariously easily in the Zone.

Also it’s late and my brain is off-wire and thinks it’s now Sunday, so I updated the wrong LP, but fuck it, early part. It’s still technically on schedule.


I always enjoyed stalker because only those inside the bar can not be killed. Particularly how the developers built around the idea that quest givers or important npc’s might die. Typically if a story important npc dies there is another npc or they have a pda with the relevant information on it.

Additionally i like to think krugolov died from trying to join the club of people who enjoy being set on fire. He just couldn’t stand the heat.

Is there an escort quest in all of videogame-dom that isn’t immensely frustrating?

Gotta love those Duty guys. Startled at first when they appeared outta the shadows, then couldn’t stop laughing when they’re just chillin’ in flame jets. “Hey, how’s it going. Fire anomalies, eh? Welp, see ya.”

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It ain’t a Gauss Rifle.




Oh… so that’s where he was.


What begins as a bit of fun in the arena and a massive identity reveal soon leads into inciting a faction war and watching the world… stretch?