Tartarus Outer Worlds Guide: Prison Amongst the Stars

Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds is a first-person RPG that allows players to explore a colonial solar system controlled by massive corporations. One of the biggest appeals of the game is its whip-smart writing, amusing dialogue, and environments that all show a world where unfettered capitalism went too far. One of my favorite locations in that solar system is Tartarus, a maximum-security prison that dominates nearly an entire planet.

Key Info Up Front

Key Features: The Labyrinth, The Pit

Related Characters: Sophia Akande, Chairman Rockwell, Phineas

Related Quests: Brave New World

Related Achievements: Hard Time

Tartarus Overview

Tartarus is a gas giant planet similar to Venus in our solar system. It is considered a barren planet, hence its name being derived from Greek mythology. Tartarus’s main role in the solar system is that of a maximum-security prison named the Labyrinth, thanks to the Halcyon Corporation’s prison complex.

As part of the prison’s security, the space surrounding Tartarus is also filled with gunships to make sure that only authorized ships leave or enter the planet’s atmosphere at any given time. Since the Halcyon Corporation runs it, it houses both legitimate criminals as well as political and corporate enemies of the company, allowing them to remove their competition or those who are the most outspoken against them at any time.

You’ll come to the planet after going past the point of no return in the game, so make sure you have everything else wrapped up first. Before you head to Tartarus, however, you’ll likely see it being referenced sporadically throughout The Outer Worlds. One particular place you may see it is through the Tartarus Sauce consumable that is created by opening a container of mayonnaise to the planet’s surface briefly, giving it a tangy taste thanks to low-level toxins that incorporate with the sauce.

Key Features

The Labyrinth

The Labyrinth is the main structure that dominates most of the available space in Tartarus. It is a sprawling maximum-security prison where the Halcyon Corporation can house dissidents and political enemies alongside dangerous criminals. However, it is not only a prison, as those imprisoned there are also frequently subjected to torture and execution.

It is widely thought throughout the solar system that if an individual is ever sent there, they are not expected to return. This has led to the prison taking on an almost mythical quality where the cruelty and extreme security measures are the stuff of legends spread by those fearful of the Halcyon Corporation’s wrath.

The structure is a mostly utilitarian mass of dull metals broken up with plush executive offices spread throughout the facility. As you make your way through it, you will come across legions of corporate soldiers, security robots, and non-hostile space rats kept there as companions. Since the Labyrinth is the only building on Tartarus, the following two locations on the planet are subsections of the larger prison complex.

Docking Bay

Docking Bay
Image From Star War Fandom

This section of the prison is where all of the ships coming and going do so, making it a critical part of its construction. The Docking Bay means that the entire prison gets its resources, without which it would fail to function since there is no way to gather its food or materials from the gaseous planet itself.

It is also the first part of the Labyrinth that you will visit at the end of the game, depending on which route you follow through the Brave New World quest. The path you follow is based on previous decisions you made during the game, but all of them take you through the Docking Bay.

There are two strong options when you need to make your way through the Docking Bay. My personal favorite is stealth. The area is open enough that you have plenty of opportunities to make it past each enemy you come across, and it can help you save a lot of resources. The other option is to shoot your way through it, which is also fun.

If you plan on shooting your way through the Docking Bay, however, I recommend customizing your loadout. The area is pretty open and large, but there is still cover, so I recommend using a long-range rifle to do most of the heavy lifting. This will also allow you to find a good place of cover, engage the enemy, and then let them come to you, keeping you safe for longer during the firefight. If you favor close-ranged weapons, they should work here; you’ll have to play pretty carefully and keep an eye on your health bar.

The Pit

The Pit is the central part of the Labyrinth that serves as a prison structure and a hibernation complex. It is a large circular hallway with three levels you can weave between with general ease. The area is also filled with more corporate goons and prison guards, so make sure you stock up at the vending machines as you make your way toward it from the Docking Bay.

However, you have more freedom in dealing with the challenges in this area of the map. The guards are spread out enough that if you engage with one, it will not trigger combat with all of them, and there are some NPCs you can interact with and use social skills to get past entirely. There is also a lot of information about the planet and prison itself, so if you’re keeping an eye out for lore, explore the Pit thoroughly before moving on to the area’s boss fight and finishing the game.

Related Quests

When you first arrive at Tartarus, you will receive the achievement/trophy Hard Time, as well as any for beating the game on the difficulty you are playing. However, since Tartarus is much more linear than other locations in The Outer Worlds and only serves as the last section of the game, there is only one related quest.

That quest is called Brave New World. The quest is fairly straightforward and has two endings depending on if you side with Phineas and kill or talk your way past Sophia Akande or if you side with the Halcyon board and kill Phineas.

Brave New World Walkthrough

Brave New World Walkthrough
Image From The Outler World

The setup for Brave New World is determined by whether you sided with the Board or Phineas earlier on in the game. If you didn’t do the Hope to Terra 2 quest you’ll have sided with Phineas and will be trying to free him from prison. If you didn’t do the Hope to Tartarus quest you’ll have sided with the Board and will have to go into the prison to shut down a revolt started by Phineas that has seized control of the Labyrinth.

Arriving at Tartarus

Regardless of which path you’re going through Brave New World on, your first interaction when approaching the planet will be a video call with a prison guard. His demeanor will be different depending on which path you’re on, but either way, it is an opportunity to get a very useful item called the Labyrinth Prisoner ID Cartridge.

Getting this item can help you sneak through massive chunks of the mission, but you’ll need at least one of your dialogue skills to be level 100 to get it. If you can’t you can still complete the mission, but you’ll have to be prepared for a lot more combat. If the prison is in open revolt and you have a Persuade or Intimidate level of 40 you can also convince the guards to help you fight back against the escaped prisoners that are in control of the facility. If you can do this I’d recommend doing so, but if you can’t don’t worry about it too much as they don’t offer much help.

Docking Bay

Docking Bay spaceship

The Docking Bay is where the mission really kicks off. If you’ve completed the quest Happiness is a Warm Spaceship you’ll run into the crew of the Groundbreaker who will pledge their allegiance to you and help you through the mission.

As you go through the area, go up the stairs to your southeast when the dock area widens out eastward. Then go south toward a bay door and some stairs that lead to a walkway. Go up to the walkway and head south and go through the door to the east. There are some cabinets here that you can loot to find a Rotating Password List with some handy information on it. Then, go out the western door, and head south to find a door that can be lockpicked with a skill of 55. This will open up a place to drop down to the next area away from enemies, putting you in a great position to get to the elevator and ride it down.

The Cargo Yard

The Cargo Yard star wars
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If you got the ID Cartridge earlier in the quest you’ll be able to walk around this area and freely explore to your heart’s content. If you didn’t, you’ll have to sneak or fight your way through the enemies here, which is no small task.

Once you get out of the elevator, though, head south through the Cargo Yard until you pass two red buildings. Turn east after you walk past them and go into the room there to find another Rotating Password List. If you have the ID Cartridge, good stealth, or good dialogue skills you can then continue south and go up the elevator before going through a bay door to the south to continue the quest.

If you’ve been having to shoot your way through the mission, I recommend instead going back north from the room with the list and heading back to the original structure you came from before heading east. Keep going east and then go toward the two lines of cargo that make three paths to walk through. Go down the middle path and climb up the ladder to your right to reach the same area the previous path would have taken you, but with far less enemy resistance.

Once you’re up on the walkway, follow it south. If you’ve been fighting, though, I highly recommend stopping at the room to your left as it has vending machines and a workbench for you to repair your gear and replenish your resources.

The Pit, First Floor

Once you make your way to the first floor of the pit, travel around it counterclockwise. You’ll eventually pass a barricade where you can go down a ladder. Follow that lower pathway to the southwest and then south to go up a different ladder. Afterward, head south until there is a hole in the wall for you to crawl through.

On the other side of the hole, there are no enemies, so you can walk around freely. Explore if you want and then head southeast to find a room filled with terminals. Use the terminal to the northeast to get the option to use pacification gas. You need a different password to use it though, so go and talk to Melody to your northwest.

When you talk to Melody you can use a score of 100 in Persuade, Intimidate, or Lie to get the password from her. Return to the terminal and you can use the gas to kill all of the enemies on the first floor. Then, search the table to your southeast to find the third Rotating Password list. Once that is done, continue heading counterclockwise to reach the elevator and move on to the second floor.

The Pit, Second Floor

On the second floor of The Pit, you will get some help from the Iconoclasts as long as you left them on top of the Monarch or got them to agree to an alliance with Stellar Bay earlier in the game. They will take out many of the enemies in the first area of this floor, which can be a massive help if you’re taking a combative approach to the quest.

Whether you have the Iconoclasts or not, head counterclockwise until you reach the bridge with the large bay doors at the end. You can sneak your way through, but you can also fight past the enemies relatively easily thanks to all of the cover on the bridge. Either way, get through it and you’ll find yourself in a room with Chairman Rockwell.

If you are trying to stop the prisoner uprising, Chairman Rockwell will already be dead by the time you reach this room. Otherwise, he’ll be very alive and you’ll be able to talk to him. From here you have three options. The first is to attack him and his robot guards down, which is a very difficult fight, you can leave him be, or you can convince him to promise future aid with a 90 Lie, Intimidate, or Persuade dialogue option or a Temperment check.

I do want to note though that if you have Felix in your party you cannot reach an agreement with Rockwell otherwise he will leave your group then and there.

The Pit, Third Floor

Once you exit the elevator on the third floor, you can get some more help, this time from MSI. However, they only help if you left them in charge of Monarch or if they ended up allying themselves with the Iconoclasts. Whether or not they come to help you turn to the south from the elevator.

At the screens, the end of the quest can go three different ways. The first is a boss fight with the robot named RAM which you will have to fight on either path if you can’t convince Phineas or Akande to stand down. The other two paths are if you can talk your way past RAM To have a showdown with either Phineas or Akande instead.

Akande Showdown

To skip the RAM fight and just face Akande, select the dialogue option “Let’s talk about this” when you talk to her on the screens. The default path through this conversation requires you to pass three dialogue checks. The possibility for each stage of checks are:

  • Persuade 100, Charm, Intimidate 90, Heavy Weapons 60, or Two-Handed Melee 60
  • Lie 100, Perception, Persuade 90, or Science 90
  • Intimidate 100, Lie 90, Hack 90, or Temperament

However, there is another path that you can take through it as well. To take this path you have to have ransacked her lab earlier in the game, giving you a dialogue option that requires a Science, Hack, or Engineering rank of 60.

Once you make it past the conversation you can go through the door to your right. Continue to the room at the end and take the Chairman’s Key off the table and use it to free Phineas, which will end the game.

Phineas Showdown

Talking to Phineas on the screens has a very different tone to Akande, especially because he isn’t much of a villain. However, it has a similar list of three checks that you can pass to talk him down. These checks are:

  • Lie 100, Persuade 90, Science 90, or Perception
  • Persuade 100, Intimidate 90, Handguns 90, or Intelligence
  • Intimidate 100, Persuade 90, Medical 90, or Temperament

If there are any of those that you can’t pass, however, there is another route to circumvent one of them just once. To do this you’ll have to bring up his experiments, which he displays obvious regret about. This will give you these options:

  • Science 60, Medical 60, Perception
  • Say “Except Me” which is guaranteed to work

Once you pass the checks Phineas will be reduced to a broken man and he will allow you to enter the room and grab the Chairman’s Key to free Sophia. This will end the game and give you a cutscene that explains how the solar system is left after your actions.

Facing RAM

If you are unable to talk down Phineas or Sophia, you’ll have to face the final boss RAM. As you follow the path forward you’ll come to a room with two doors. The door to the south will take you to the large room where you’ll fight RAM.

When you fight him he will shoot plasma blasts from one arm while holding a shield in the other. It also will do a dash attack, but you can hear that move charging early enough to get out of the way. He also has weak spots on his back, so you’ll want to use your companions to flank him as much as possible. Eventually, he will be assisted by a group of combat drones, which makes the encounter much more difficult.

If you have a hard time dealing with all of the enemies, the strategy that I found to work the most even on harder difficulties is to run around the room and use the pillars for cover until you build enough TTD to attack one. Repeat this enough times and you’ll get rid of all the combat drones so that you can focus on RAM again.

However, the other door in the room with two rooms makes the boss fight much easier. To get through the door you’ll need a Lockpick skill of 100. This will reveal a room with a terminal that you can access with a Hack level of 89 to get access to some options that remove some of RAM’s capabilities.

The first option is a Hack 90 check to make the combat drones attack RAM instead of you, which can even completely kill it. The second is a Hack 100 check that allows you to access the RAM Override Menu. This submenu has multiple options as well, including one that weakens RAM’s weapons and one that allows you to just shut RAM Down. To do this, however, you’ll need to use the three passcodes that you’ve collected throughout the Labyrinth.

After you defeat RAM you just need to loot it to get the Hibernation Chamber Key. Take that through the door to the south to reach either Phineas or Akande, who you can kill with a single shot to get the Chairman’s Key and free whichever character you are there to save.

Key Characters

Phineas Welles

Phineas Welles
Image From Outer World Fandom

Phineas is a rogue scientist who has dedicated his life to working on a chemical formula to keep people safe when going into stasis for long periods. However, his pursuit of this technology drew the ire of the Halcyon Corporation, which labeled him a fugitive and devoted countless resources to tracking him down and killing him.

The company has particular anger toward Phineas because he was once a scientist in their employ and was even on the Board, but has been on the run from them for 35 years when the game starts. In fact, he is the first character that players interact within the game, and he helps them get started in the solar system with a ship and some gear.

During the Brave New World quest, he is imprisoned in Tartarus, where the Board plans to torture him for information so they can eradicate a rebellious colony. The quest is then focused on the player infiltrating the prison to free Phineas, although they can also decide to kill him and take the side of the Halcyon board instead.

Sophia Akande

Sophia Akande

Sophia Akande is a member of the Board and can be the antagonist of Brave New World, depending on the player’s decisions early in the game. Players interact with Sophia before that quest as well, as they run into Sophia on Byzantium, where she is revealed to be a shrewd and callous loyalist to the Board.

If Sophia does end up being the antagonist on Tartarus, the player can deal with her in two ways. The first is through good old-fashioned combat, where Sophia is a rather challenging boss fight that has the potential to take up a majority of the player’s resources. The second method is available only if the player has high enough skills and allows them to instead talk to her and change her perspective on things.

If Sophia Akande is convinced that her current approach is wrong, she will also have a section of the epilogue cutscene that plays after completing Brave New World. The section will say that she was never seen after the conversation but hints that her mind was changed so much that she decided to help save the  Halcyon colony rather than working to destroy it.

Chairman Rockwell

Chairman Rockwell
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Chairman Rockwell is the head of the Halcyon Corporation’s Board and has led the company to do many of its most depraved acts. When he is met on the second floor of The Pit, he will already be dead if the prisoners are in control of the Labyrinth, or the player will be able to talk to him. If he is still alive, the player will be able to convince him to help them, can leave him alone, or can kill him and his bodyguards.

Conclusion

While Tartarus is the smallest planet in The Outer Worlds, as far as gameplay and time spent, it plays a pivotal role. Ending a game is never easy, and the burden of pulling off a satisfying and fun ending falls entirely on Tartarus’ shoulders. Thankfully, Tartarus does a good job by delivering a unique location with varied mechanics, good story beats, and some fun combat encounters.

FAQ’s

Question: Is Tartarus the end of The Outer Worlds?

Answer: Yes, Tartarus is the final location that players visit during the main quest of The Outer Worlds.

Question: Is there a way to leave Tartarus in The Outer Worlds?

Answer: No, to go to Tartarus, you have to go past a point of no return, meaning that when you arrive on the planet, there is no way to leave.

Question: Can you play the DLC after finishing Tartarus in The Outer Worlds?

Answer: Yes, an update enabled the ability for players to play through the DLC packs for The Outer Worlds after completing the main story on Tartarus.

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