This thread is here to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of five groups:
Looking Glass Studios, who designed the Dark engine
Irrational Games, who worked with LGS to bring System Shock 2 to the masses
The mysterious benefactor who acquired the disparate rights
The wonderful people at GOG.com, who are now distributing System Shock 2 for the paltry sum of $10 ...
and the TTLG forum community, who collected wisdom and kept SS2 running on modern machines, developed modifications, and even released a handful of fan missions.
So, what is System Shock 2?
Well, no. That's SHODAN. An artificial intelligence who sort of went insane. And then tried to murder everyone. But that was years ago, in System Shock 1. She's mostly very iconic, which is why she's used in the SS2 promotional material
recommend playing System Shock 1. In quite a few ways, it's actually better than SS2. Unfortunately, it's afqasddsa---incoming transmission
:: SYSTEM SHOCK 1
is now available on GOG as an 'enhanced edition'.
Alright, you've bought the game and watched that opening cinematic
I mean, you have
Oh, I'm supposed to sell you on the game first?
Mutants! Robots! Cyborgs! Cyberspace! Mega-Corps! Ok, so now you're sold and you're looking at that main menu and asking - where's "easy"?
The short answer is there is no 'easy'. Or medium, or hard. There's a difficulty index. I'm a little fuzzy on the specifics.What do you want, it's been literally 21 years since the game came out.
(when my favorite games are legally allowed to drink, I know I am an old.)
There are four categories: Combat, Mission, Puzzle, and Cyberspace. Each settings controls difficulty within that category - a 0 in each will make the game trivial; a 3 in each will make it crazy-hard. Combat is straight-forward enough: enemies range from ignoring you to having a bloodlust. Higher Mission difficulty will impose time-limits on critical tasks. Puzzles will be made more complicated. Cyberspace will gain a time-limit, harder combat, and (I think) more difficult controls.
(as an aside: the puzzles are my favorite aspect of the game. I wish more games would have the variety found here.)
Let's look at your default HUD
(there's a full-screen version that's a lot more readable, at least to me. The second box on the left side of the screen will switch to that mode)
Remember that pipe-swinging hybrid your successor will have met in the sequel? This time, it's your turn
Off in the upper-right we have two bars.
- the top is your health. Apply medical patches or find a healing station to restore this.
- the bottom is your energy. This powers your hardware (for a broad comparison, think of the augments in Deus Ex) and any energy weapons you may find.
The boxes that frame this screen are your hardware and other features. Compass, E-Mail, and full-screen are available from the beginning of the game. Others must be found.
Bottom left and right are what we old-timers call MFDs - Multi-Function Displays. The function can be changed via the vertical tab selection off to the side of each.
The map (displayed here on the right MFD) can be viewed full-screen. And you can place notes!
Bottom center is your inventory. The horizontal tabs select different inventory sections. Your various treasures - medical patches, grenades, cyberspace software, empty bottles of cola, you know - will go here.
The top center has two mini-panels, and is a clever answer in the days before mouselook. The right mini-panel controls leaning, kneeling, and going prone. The left mini-panel controls your eye level. There are keyboard shortcuts for each, naturally.
I know, it looks super complicated. It's pretty easy to get used to it.Glancing at
Stealing the bullet points from the store page, I see they added
* remappable controls (the original was well aware you had a full 128-key keyboard and a mouse; it made full use of those facts)
* higher resolution support
It's a great game. A pioneer, even.
It's absolutely worth $10.
:: end transmission
:: original file continues
System Shock 2 is considered, by many authorities, to be one of the best games ever made. Certainly among the best in the relatively niche FP-RPG hybrid genre.
It is also one of my favorite games of all time.
The simplest definition of SS2 is: First Person Role Playing Game.
Run about as a floating gun (or wrench) and try not to die. This is much harder than it sounds, especially on the higher difficulties. You see, this game is very much a survival horror game; at least early on. Limited ammunition, special ammunition types, and weapon degradation combine to put you in a situation where you are down to your last bullet, a very angry creature is barreling down on you, you aim, hit the fire button ... and the weapon clicks. Jammed.
Pants. Shitting. Terror.
As you accomplish goals, you are given upgrade points. This is explained in a handwavey, in-universe kind of way. I like it.
Upgrading your skills allows you to smash things with the wrench better. Or use different weapons. Or hack terminals. Or shoot fire with your mind
. This last is not recommended for the first play through, sadly, as most people consider it unbalanced. Er, in a negative sense. For your first play through, I recommend treating PSI as a supporting power set.
The game is quite possible as a psi-only character. Or a wrench-only character. Or, my personal favorite, a laser pistol only character.
Some gameplay information:
This player is in "use" mode. Accessed by pressing <tab> by default, it suspends mouselook and allows you to access your inventory, equip items, and check emails or the journal. The game is not paused in this mode. Be careful.
At the top of the screen, you'll notice a large grid. Yes, this game features a full inventory system. Can't rotate the items to make them fit better - vertical is the only way to go. Strength upgrades give you extra inventory space.
To the right of the inventory is the equip slots: one weapon, a piece of armor, and an implant.
Implants come in a few different flavors; I won't go into details.
Along the bottom left of the screen, there are the usual RPG staples: green is health, red is mana. The beaker lets you review your research and begin a new one. It'll also tell you which resources you need for a given topic. The question mark transforms the cursor into one, and you can click on the use screen elements to get information. Below this is the map. You'll want to access the map immediately and tick the "minimap" option. Next are "nanites". Call it gold, gil, dollars, credits, or loonies, the point is: money
. Purchase items from vending machines, use them for hacking, modifying, and repair jobs. Among other things. The last one in this section shows your current cybermodules (i.e., exp). Expend these at the upgrade terminals.
Jumping across, we first see the "log" button. Check your to-do list, listen to emails and other audio logs. Next is the key card - mostly useless, just lets you know what you have. The MFD button, I've actually forgotten what it's used for. The last, empty box contains the active PSI ability.
Got that? Good. Here's what that big thing in the middle does:it's a wrench, you hits things with it.
Oh, you meant the blue thing?
This is a "Tech" upgrade terminal; there are four. Weapons, PSI, Tech, and Stats.
As you can see, the Tech terminal covers things like Hacking, Repair (for that jammed gun), Modify (make that gun better), Maintenance (prevent it from jamming) and Research (do more damage to the creatures, mostly)
The Weapons terminal does similar things: upgrade your skill in standard, heavy, or energy weapons. Can't use that rifle until the appropriate skill is leveled.
Stats - agility, strength (hit things harder), a few others. You get the idea. Interestingly, upgrading things like agility affect how you move. And just wait until you inject that speed hypo -- ooh, man. Just try to avoid running into walls. Yeah. Physics.
PSI is the most expansive, as there are 5 levels of PSI powers, each with many different "spells".
There is one other type of terminal. They are exceedingly rare: only four exist in the game. Each offers upgrades from a specialized pool; consider them "perks".
There are 16 perks.
Once a perk is selected, the terminal shuts down.
Choose carefully. The next one is pretty far away!
A note on weapons. A few have an alternate fire mode: the pistol and machine gun switch between single and 3-round burst; and the laser pistol switches to an 'overload' shot. GOG's defaults are 'f' to switch ammunition type and 'v' to change weapon mode. Don't ask me why.
As with other RPGs, SS2 includes a variety of minigames.
The first, and by far the most common, is the hacking minigame. The same game is used for repair and modify, to my chargin.
Each task (hacking a terminal, upgrading a weapon) has an overall difficulty associated with it. This is made easier by upgrading relevant skills and acquiring software. Each attempt costs a few nanites.
Basically, you'll want to connect 3 nodes in a straight line. Each node has a percent chance to light up, or fall dark. If too many fall dark, you can't complete the hack and should restart (or move on to do other things). However, there are special red-outlined, "ICE" nodes. If these go dark, you just failed in a big way. Maybe the alarm will go off. Maybe the chest will explode. The weapon will break.
Some locked doors ask for a 5-digit code. I believe
there is a code for every single one, even if the game never gives it to you. On top of this, all of these keypads are "active" from the get-go. That is, if you know the code, you can open the door - you don't need to have been given the code in the current playthrough.
So, it may be in your best interests to write all the codes you are given down as you acquire them, along with a note indicating which doors they open.
It's pretty hilarious to enter Engineering ahead of schedule. Or that armory...
Along the way, you'll encounter a device called a GamePIG (totally not a gameboy, I swear).
Ok, I lied. It's a far future gameboy. You find cartridges and can upload them to the GamePIG. You can also hack the device to unlock all the games. But it's a super hard hack. Needs level 6 hacking, if I recall correctly.
Overworld 0 (totally not Ulti- ok, yes it's an homage to Ultima 1)
-- and since I'm not on my computer and can't check, I will grab a list from ttlg for the ones I'm blanking on:
GolfPing SwinekeeperHoggerTic Tac Triop
The bolded ones are the ones I remember. Not all of these are actually in-game.
A few months ago, in September, a guy calling himself "The Raven" (albeit in French) posted what has become known as "New Dark". It's a huge patch for the game, with many fascinating updates.
You can find more information here
As an aside, the forums at TTLG
are a wonderful resource for this game.
What fan community doesn't want their game to look better? TTLG is no different, and there is an excellent texture pack here
. If the models offend you, there is also a model pack called Rebirth; not something I personally care for, but I don't judge. Here
ADaOB is "Anomalies, Discrepancies, and Outright Bugs", and was created by Straylight. Would recommend installing this for a second playthrough.
Haven't personally used the others. Likely, they were developed after I stopped following the community. Will be looking forward to installing four hundred
One mod that isn't listed is this one
. A "vague" health bar for the enemies, to add more uncertainty.update: TetraNitroCubane has kindly collected many of the mods for SS2 in one easy-to-use download
Okay, uploaded to my Drive. I hope this works. Here it is
This zip file contains all the recommended mods from systemshock.org. Those include:
- 1. SHTUP (object textures upgrade)
- 2. ADaoB (bug fixing and rebalancing)
- 3. SHMUP (original music, better quality)
- 4. Rebirth (new enemy models)
- 5. Four Hundred (environment texture upgrade)
- 6. Tacticool (weapon model replacements for Wrench, Pistol, Laser Pistol, Grenade Launcher, Assault Rifle, and Shotgun)
- 7. Eldron Psi Amp (model upgrade)
- 8. Vurt's Space Textures (for nice window views)
- 9. Vurt's Goo (organics)
All you should need to do is unzip the contents of this archive to /DataPermMods. Make sure there are files in /DataPermMods, and that you havn't unzipped to a subdirectory in there.
One quick way to verify that the mods are running is to start a new game and approach one of the dataphones after you step off the tram. If you can read the text, then SHTUP is running correctly, at the very least.
My personal recommendation would be to check the /DataPermMods folder first
, and make sure GOG hasn't included anything by default. Until I get my video card back, I'm flying blind here.
Again, ADaOB should perhaps be saved for a second playthrough. The model replacements (Rebirth, Tacticool, Psi Amp) should not be considered "better"; just "higher-polygon" and "more recent". The same might apply for "goo", but I don't know what that is.
For myself, I prefer the aesthetics of the original models, even if they are low-poly. Recent conversations indicate I may be broken in this regard.
For SHTUP, ZylonBane went to great lengths to ensure nothing of substance was changed. Just higher-resolution for the most part.
I imagine Four Hundred, Space Textures, and SHMUP are along the same lines as SHTUP.
There are also many ini modifications you can make, including one that removes weapon degradation. You pansy
There have been some questions asked about the multiplayer mode.
1) Yes, it's official
2) Yes, it's buggy
3) Yes, it's tons of fun
4) It apparently works with the basic GOG install - but mods make it cranky.
If anyone wants in, just post (or pm / @ me) something along the lines of
!SS2 MP signup
Preferred time to play
and I will expand this section.
I don't recall
having to open any ports in order to connect and play multiplayer. In the interests of being thorough, I looked it up and found this:
It uses the standard MSN Gaming Zone:
2300-2400 UDP & TCP
47624 (Trigger Port) UDP & TCP
28800-28900 UDP & TCP
In the (paraphrased) words of another Looking Glass game, buy it buy it buy it NOW
Minor update: you can now purchase this fine game on Steam
The steam page indicates the game received the following reviews:
PC Game Of the Year - USA Today (1999)
Best Action Game & Game of the Year - CNET (1999)
Game of the Year - Game Revolution (1999)
Game of the Year - Computer Games Online (1999)
RPG Game of the Year - PC Gamer (1999)
Game of the Year - Evil Avatar (1999)
Game of the Year - Intelligamer (1999)
RPG of the Year - Gamespy (1999)
RPG of the Year - Games Domain (1999)
Adventure Game of the Year - Gone Gold (1999)
Game of the Year - Glide Underground (1999)
Single Player Game of the Year - PC Accelerator (1999)
Best Genre Bender - Gamespy (1999)
5th Best Game of All Time - PC Gamer (1999)