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This is a good one to do quickly, as several of the other research labs are locked off with force fields. Unlocking the sonic emitter’s ability to break these will let you loot more effectively as you explore the Big Empty. Also, if you let to scavenge, note that there are tons of cigarettes inside the lab, so it may be worth it to leave some extra space for the cartons.
This is a fairly straight shot, and it doesn’t seem to be too dangerous of a walk along the way. I only ran into a few lobotomites and a couple of nightstalkers and cyberdogs near the entrance. The cyberdogs aren’t terribly tough. Decent armor shrugs off most of the damage, it's not hard to move around them and they’re fairly vulnerable to most weapons. I had luck with the proton axe, the sonic emitter and just about any rifle that I had on me. The survivalist’s rifle is particularly good, for anyone lucky enough to be coming from Honest Hearts before this.
Regardless, get your weapon out and push up the steps and into the facility.
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The X-8 Lab
The path to the right will take you into two orderlies, which are just mister handy robots. Any energy weapon or rifle should be able to break through their shell and take them down quickly. If you can keep away from their flamethrower, it’ll be easy. Note that you can get a holotape off of the operating table which will let you splice a dog and a robot. The splicing lab is down the left side of the main lab, so backtrack out if you want a quick companion.
The left side has one orderly inside. Keep your distance and use something with a high damage per shot to tear him up. If you wish, you can make your own cyberdog using the splicing machine. It will be friendly and should follow you just fine, and provide minor support. Just head back to the right when you're ready.
The kennel can’t be opened for now, and it’s actually a separate challenge that we can get to in a little bit.
The main path is ahead. If you’ve read the computers, you’ll understand that they were running tests on subjects to see how effective the hall monitor turrets and cyberdogs were at defense (while the good Doctor Borous worked out some anger issues). Walk up to the door to the main test area and confirm that you wish to run the basic test. This will unlock the door and run the test.
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First Test Run
Like before, the cyberdogs shouldn’t be any threat against you. Just use whatever your favorite weapon is to take them down quickly. They also shouldn’t come in anything more than groups of two. The turrets should only take one or two rifle shots before blowing up.
Move forward and into the halls. There isn’t much of note, so just keep moving forward. Swing into the classrooms on the right and watch for the marker. The computer you need should be in front of the skeleton in the second classroom. Watch out for the hall monitor turret, then access the computer to get the grades.
Move forward and go into the library. There will be a few lobotomites in here, and I strongly suggest that you try to stick to ranged combat. Since they’re library guards, they only have BB guns. They also can have proton axes or super sledges though, so I suggest you don’t give them a reason to go to melee.
Take them out, and move over to the computer in the corner. You should be able to get the second set of records off of it. Walk out to the hallway and look for the stairs up to the upper level. Move up and watch for the turret on the force field, and a few remaining robot dogs guarding the last hallway.
The final set of records is on the computer in the coach’s storage area. Just kill the dogs in your way, grab the records and head out. Another two will spawn in the hallway, so take them out and exit into the observation area.
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The Advanced Test
The observation deck is fairly safe. There are a few lobotomites over in the observation area by the cyberdog residential section, but the rest of it should be fairly empty. Just watch for anyone in the path and use the proton axe to make short work of them.
Go back out and use the testing computer to choose the advanced testing course, which will now be available. When you go inside, the computer in the back right corner will now be active. You’ll be able to download the upgrade for the sonic emitter. It will now be able to kill any forcefield by shooting it.
You can test it out by shooting the fields over the trophy cases inside. There are several energy cells lying on the blocked shelves, so it’s a straight up positive trade. Then take down one of the barriers to the hallway, and run the course again. This time you’ll probably want to take out the shield over the nurse’s room, and run in a counter-clockwise pattern. The heart of it is the same though.
The only notable difference is that there are now protectrons inside the course, but I don’t think that they’ll cause you much trouble. Just aim for the head with a good rifle and they’ll take a lot of damage.the sonic emitter is alright for this in its current state, if you're pressed for ammo.
Hit the computers again and then make your way back out. Note that Mobius will not be happy, and he will flood the area with roboscorpions again. The sonic emitter seems to work fairly well against them, but a proton axe will work great in these close quarters. Just watch out for the bigger one by the exit, or the group of three waiting outside. Otherwise, you should be okay just taking them out a few at a time.
This is actually it for the time being, although we’re not done with the course just yet. If you read the computers, there are a few things to note. First, if you didn’t have the 50 points in Guns to convince Dr. Klein to give you the K9000 Cyberdog gun, you can get one by going to Y-12 and killing a tough trauma harness that currently has the lost weapon.
Second, there are a bunch of nightstalkers locked up in the kennel, and there are still tests to be done on them.
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Go through the marked exit at the back of the hallway to pop out next to the entrance. You should now be able to go into the residential cyberdog storage area, which currently houses Gabe. Just choose to enter that testing ground on the computer by the lab door, and then go through it as usual. You’ll wind up inside with Gabe.
Gabe is just one tough dog. I had no trouble just shooting him with a full magazine from the K9000 gun, but a rifle should work too. He’s basically just about 3 cyberdogs in one. Once he dies, you’ll need to run away and wait for the countdown to run off. There will be a massive explosion at the end. Make sure that you’re not close to Gabe’s body or any of the buildings. Note that there is no way to save Gabe, you have to kill him or somehow avoid him.
Loot his body for a fairly nice energy rifle (LAER), and then search his digging spots. The one you want is the one far to the back close to one of the alcoves in the cave.. You’ll be able to find “Gabriel’s Bark" as a holotape inside it. This will let you alter the sonic emitter with a more effective sound wave, which will be nice.
Note that you need to activate the jukebox in The Sink first, which means a trip to house 108 in Higgs Village, the large complex that Dr. 8 will be willing to mark on your map after a conversation.
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If you want to do this one, you’ll need to go X-13 and get the X-8 kennel key out of the suitcase by the entrance. Shoot the forcefield for the side room to get access to it. You can then go back to X-8 and use the key to enter the kennels through the door to the left of the course entrance. You’ll need to kill a few nightstalkers once you’re inside. A proton axe works just fine, if you remember to keep moving and stay out of bite range. If you have the bullets, just about any weapon will work too. The sonic emitter is a little slow, but not terrible for taking them out.
Once you kill the few in the kennel, you can go to the computer in back and release the “unusual specimens" into the test course. This will replace all of the cyberdogs with nightstalkers, so be ready for it.
Once that’s done, just replay both of the test courses through the lab’s entrance menu. The computers will shift a bit, but you’ll be fine if you just follow the markers and remember to check upstairs too.
If you can repeat this test twice, and not die to nightstalker poison, you’ll be able to leave and use the computer to record the test data. This will net you some extra experience, and give you a perk that grants a permanent 10 percent boost to damage against nightstalkers.
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All screenshots from Fallout: New Vegas - Old World Blues
This was done with a level 35 character. If these strategies don't work for you, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.