System Shock 1 is damn fun

All that talk in the BioShock thread got me motivated to play the original System Shock, which I haven’t done. Having only played the sequel it feels like an inch that needed to be scratched, a loose end, a check against my gamer status. And I’m glad I finally did! It’s awesome once you work around the myriad of compatibilities issues (still don’t have music), coup with the abysmal controls (no mouselook, non-standard keys), and look pass the horribly dated graphics (640x480 you say). This is furthest back I think I’ve ever jumped, but the game is quite amazing so far (Deck 5). I finally got to see SHODAN at the height of her power, when she is in control. She runs a tight operation, likes quiet stations, threatens me when I get near security nodes, and sets up semi-unwinnable traps for me. But at least she calls me hacker instead of useless insect which is admirable. Collecting audio logs and receiving e-mails never gets old, and the plot thickens with each acquisition.

Some noticeable differences from the sequel – the arsenal = a lot more viable arms which include the robot raper err laser rapier (nerfed in Shock2), Star Trek esque lightpointer/laserbeam phaser thingy, and Star Wars esque “set to stun” gun (and no weapon degration). Also Cyberspace which is a cool diversion and alternate way to get information and gain access to other areas. And my personally favorite - Death! Uh I mean I die…a lot more. But I think I can blame 95% of all deaths on the controls. And this is why the relief when switching a cyborg converter back into a medical reviver is so sensational.

So bascially what I’m trying to say is the “played System Shock 2 only” screwheads should really be bothered to play it!

System Shock elevator music for your listening pleasure, roguefrog.

Get the rest of the music here.

Rocket skates ROCK!

Get the rest of the music here.

Well, the music was my last problem when I tried to make the game work (CD version).

Have you tried with VDMS (the sound emu)?

I think DosBox runs it well but I’m not 100% sure. You want the music though and more importantly the voice acting.

System Shock is definitely in my top 5 games of all time. I like it much better than SS2, though I do like SS2 quite a bit. It has so many of those “Oh wow” moments in it for me.


Some examples of those real memorable moments:

Right after you blow up the first set of nodes on the Medical Deck, Shodan sends an army of cyborgs at you. You’re holed up in this dead-end room, probably already hurt and low on ammo from fighting the guards to get IN there, and like three dozen cyborgs pour into the corridor that leads to the exit. I remember using up all my ammo, switching to that little pea-shooter phaser gun, using up almost all my remaining energy, and finally blindly tossing one of the few grenades I had out into the corridor. I heard that lovely “kss-crackle” sound that meant one of the cyborgs had died, and then silence. Dozens of cyborg bodies were out in the corridor. Right then, I was goddamn John McClane.

Later on in the game, I forget which deck, there’s this little side room where you can see a bunch of goodies and ammo across this little chasm. There’s a little ramp on your side of the chasm. I looked at it, turned on my “rollerskate” mod (whatever it was called) and skiied down to the ramp and jumped over the chasm. As soon as I land, a message from Shodan pops up. “Nice jump,” she says. Then two Secbots jump out from the walls at me. Awesome.

Oh man. I could go on and on about that game. Now I have to play it when I get home.

I have the rest of the audio - SFX, VOs, etc… I tried VDMS but it makes all the audio (music, sfx, etc) really choppy and the game goes to a crawl. Absolute silence can be creepy in it’s own way though.

I have the Tri-Op new-message sound on my phone for when text-messages come in.

Oh, so very geeky. But fun.

Shock 2’s big mistake for me was that SHODAN stopped being scary and started being…well…a bitch. LG really nailed the feeling that this all-seeing AI that existed as nothing but about five scripted moments and a whole lot of really well-timed audio actually existed, pulling the strings as you slowly severed her power. Or pulled the lever and nuked Earth by accident.

Whaddya mean, accident?

Try configuring the music as Roland or General Midi.

I had problems setting it as a normal soundblaster, buth the other modes were perfect.

I didn’t use the doxbox, though. Just a patch to make it run under XP without crashing, if I remember correctly.

Yeah, just tried.

I used the .exe that you can get from here.

And ran it directly with VDMS and nothing else. Sound effects configured as a SB Pro and music as a roland or general midi.

Well, the first time it was an accident. After that, it was just a short-cut to seeing my beautiful Queen.

:( I hope it’s one of at least 6 inches, rf.

You can up the resolutions now (see ). I had run it in 1024x768, and the result is amusing and yet playable.

I’ll fiddle with the audio setting a little more when I get off work, thanks guys.

pulled the lever and nuked Earth by accident.

nitpick: It’s a big red button

One thing I don’t really get is, in a message somewhere it stated Citadel Station was in Saturns orbit. How the hell does the mining laser reach Earth? (Awesome range or what?) Blowing up the mining laser was satisfying but didn’t seem to really phase SHODAN that much. However I think she’ll be really PO when I thwart her mega virus plot. (all her eggs seem to be in that basket)

Actually, one of the plot points involves SHODAN moving the station closer to Earth, which has to do with your deadline for shutting off the laser.

  • Alan

hmmm, it didn’t seem like there was a deadline. Is there some kind of hidden timer that keeps track of how long you’ve been playing or something?

There’s only a timer when you crank one of the difficulty settings up to maximum - anything else, you get to play at your own pace.

Did anyone manage to run into a Cortex Reaver that wasn’t trapped inside a room? I found two of them, and they were both scary and intimidating until I realized they couldn’t fit through the door and chase me around. Maybe it was a limitation of the engine or something.

I don’t remember having any trouble with any Cortex Reaver at any point, except the one in the death animation. SHODAN was a great villain, but her minions…kinda sucked.