Review by psycho324

Reviewed: 07/29/02 | Updated: 07/29/02

A True Shock to the System


In the year 2072, the nations no longer exist. In their wake, corporations control the government. Corruption, greed, and cover-ups are the norm. System Shock is the tale of how one man's greed almost destroyed the world.

Story: (10/10)

In order to have a game, for the most part, you have to have a story. This can make or break any game. System Shock's story is largely what created the cult following behind it.

You are a hacker, arrested for attempting to access restricted files concerning a space station, Citadel, owned by one of largest conglomerate corporations of the future, TriOptimum. The TriOptimum security force takes you to Citadel, where you are approached by Edward Diego, a sniveling, weasely, criminally stupid executive at TriOptimum. He offers to drop the charges on the condition that you ''perform a service'' (let the jokes begin). He even throws in a military-grade neural interface. Sha-weet!

This ''service'' is more Don Corleone than George Michael. You are to remove the ethical constraints of a security AI called S.H.O.D.A.N. You are then wisked away to an operation/healing suite where you spend the next six months after getting the interface. While you are there, the law of gravity is proven as the crap falls into the fan. With all ethical constraints removed, SHODAN ''re-examines her (yes, SHODAN thinks its people, aww....) priorities''. She fancies herself a Goddess, destined to rule Earth. She kills off the crew or turns them into mutant cyborgs that get really pissy when they see a human.

All of the people on board are dead, and SHODAN sets her plans in motion. But WAIT! Who's this coming out of a healing coma, groggy and suffering from temporary amnesia? It's... (dum-dum-DUMMMMMMMMMM)... whoever you decided to name the guy.

After this, you basically go through the different levels of the station, thwarting (i LOVE that word) SHODAN's plans: firing the station's mining laser at Earth, creating a mutagen to use against the people of Earth, downloading her core consciousness into Earth's Internet, and finally destroying the station, taking Shodan with it. Sounds fun, eh?

Gameplay: (9/10)

The controls are user-friendly and at times tend to gravitate toward over-simplified. It's basically point and click with some FPS thrown in for good measure.

This won't fit aywhere else, so I'm putting it here: Cyberspace. This little number is one of the most amazing features of the game. If you can't find a switch to open a door or a code to turn off the laser override, it will most likely be here. Its all black, except for the wire-freame walls and the sprites. You have weapons here too. You have a pulser, to destroy the cyber-guards, and a drill to break through the firewalls called ICE protecting often-vital information/data/switch/whatever. This is easily one of the most innovative features of any game I've seen since the Final Fantasy/Chrono Trigger battle gauge.

Items: (8/10)

Throughout the game, you find hardware to attach to your neural interface, i.e.: Jump-Jets, a lantern, a rear-view mirror, and an mp3-player which only plays emloyee logs and e-mails. As with any good action-platform-fps game, you will find first-aid kits and other such things to use as pick-me-ups. But even better are the ''dermal patches''... drugs! A vision patch will let you see better, but as you go into withdrawal you see worse. A stamin-up patch makes you better at melee, but you soon wind up in a world that looks like an LSD trip. The only patches that don't have a side effect are the medipatch, the genius patch (for solving puzzles) and the detox patch.

Weapons: (10/10)

When you first start, you have only the plumber's fried, a lead pipe, to wield off the hordes of robots, mutants, and assault-rifle-wielding cyborgs that continually hunt you. Luckily, you soon find weapons like a dartgun, a phaser, a magnum, a laser rapier (a lightsaber), and, my personal favorite, the ion rifle. There are many others, such as an emp-rifle, an assault rifle, a skorpion (a more powerful assault rifle), and a wussy-ass stungun. Better yet are those happy little one-pound weapons of close range mass destruction... GRENADES!!! But these aren't Big Mama's grenades, oh no honey-chile. These grenades come in all shapes, sizes, and attack forms. There's the basic frag grenade, the emp grenade, the gas grenade, the concussion bomb, the nitropak, and the earthshaker, each working best on a different classification of bad dude. You'll never get tired of finding new weapons and testing them out on an unsuspecting humanoid mutant or serv-bot... unless you choose combat level 0, which brings me to our next topic...

Difficulty: (Adjustable)

There are 16 levels of difficulty, 4 levels in 4 categories: combat, plot, cyberspace, and something else I'm going to kick myself about later because I couldn't remember.

Combat - Low difficulty=all things die in one hit. They never attack you, good for beginners. High difficulty=Most likely YOU will die in one hit. RUN!!!

Plot - Low difficulty=No emails, no logs, just destroy each of SHODAN's plans. Nothing locked, nothing blocked by SHODAN security. High difficulty=7 hours to beat the game (good friggin luck). Everything locked or blocked by security.

Cyberspace - Low=Nothing attacks you, all the time in the world to finish each Cyberspcae level. High= RUN!!!!!

Creepiness: (9/10) (Adjust for time)

When I first played this game in the mid-90's, I had to buy many mice because my palms were sweating so bad it shorted them out. Now, I play Resident Evil, House of the Dead, and a number of others, nothing. The only game that has scared me since is System Shock 2, but that's another review entirely. Certainly, games are scarier now than they were in 1995, but back then, nothing was quite as scary as opening a door hoping to find a group of stragglers resisting SHODAN's death squad and instead finding a Cortex Reaver had killed them all and you next on its list, and you have no bullets left... save for one clip of emp-rifle rounds. Man, those were the days.

Overall (10/10) (A++++++) (Numero Uno) (Kick-Ass)

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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