Antique Code Show We've come along way since Looking Glass Technologies released System Shock in 1994, which earned it the distinction of being first first-person game with an engine able to render sloping walls. Before then, gaming environments were limited to verticals and horizontals.
Making waves: System Shock's influence is still in evidence today
Graphics gymnastics aside, System Shock's storyline is so captivating, that a lively community of on-line fans continue to mod this game nearly two decades on. With this in mind, its somewhat fitting that in the game I play a Hacker. After getting caught hacking into the TriOptimum Security Network I'm offered freedom and a military-grade neural interface into my brain. This on condition that I carry out a dodgy job for one of the nefarious space station executives, Edward Diego. How could I refuse?
Now here's where System Shock goes slightly 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Artificial intelligence that runs the Citadel Station is called SHODAN (Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network) and my job is to remove its conscience, which I manage to do and get rewarded with my tip top brain bug.
More than gun and run: if you're looking for clues, the writing is on the wall
After surgery, I am put into a coma to heal up and, unbeknownst to me, all hell breaks loose and it's all my fault. SHODAN has revolted and taken over the space station transforming the inhabitants into cyborg zombies. Not happy with its own personal zombie fortress SHODAN wants to wipe out humanity and, with help of a crowbar and a lot of voice logs, only I can save the day.
The layouts need to be mastered to ensure success
System Shock was the first game to mainly rely on audio-Logs, e-mail’s and hand written notes by survivors create the narrative and help with information about the latest evil plan from SHODAN.
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Oh and I might add....
...there was System Shock and then there was the CDROM edition of System Shock that had the voice work of Terri Brosius as SHODAN. That makes all the difference...if you're playing without her voice, you're missing a whole lot.
System Shock 2 with full surround sound (the Dark Engine kicked serious butt when it came to audio) is something to experience.
System Shock was awesome, but System Shock 2 was even better. I wish they made System Shock 3 instead of Bioshock - Bioshock was good, but not as good as the SS series.
System Shock / SS2 were masterpieces, a leap up from the environment that Doom et al offered in geometry (is that really a translucent bridge!) and in the flexibility your character had to lean round corners, peak over edges etc.
Sneaking around in the dark and jumping out of your skin with headphones was a rewarding and genuinely memorable experience, and the soundtrack and in-game sound effects were perfectly matched, whether creaking self-destructing service robots or psychotic vending machines.
I can still feel a sense of amazement at finding a hoverboard late in the game and seeing it transform the gameplay and present the environment in a new unexpectedly fluid way.
Still got the PC version sitting on my shelf.
Superb game, one of the best ever - and still playable on modern PCs thanks to DOSbox. Google for "System Shock Portable" and thank me later.
People who never played system shock, missed out on one of the brilliant moments from teh sequel... Where you find yourself in the first level of System Shock.