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Headscratchers: System Shock
  • In System Shock 2, SHODAN can speak perfectly normally when she's impersonating Polito. So why is it that after she reveals herself to you, her voice is all distorted again?
    • Evil Gloating takes up a great deal of processing power.
    • Well she is an AI, her voice might sound perfectly normal to her...
    • Maybe she just likes sounding like that.
    • It's possible that her distorted voice is her real voice, while talking in her "normal" voice is like speaking VEEERRRRYY SLOOOWLY and you're lucky she's even trying.
    • Or it might be she just talks like that to piss you off.

  • How come nobody remembers SShock? It had a better atmosphere, enemy design, story, and was more cyberpunk so whats the deal with that?
    • It had terrible controls!
      • It had versatile controls. You had more degrees of freedom in System Shock than in other FPSes of the time. Apart from turning and moving in all directions, you could look up and down, lean left and right, and stand, crouch or go prone, all while simultaneously using your mouse to aim at and interact with any part of the screen. It does take some getting used to, but it's not that hard, and it's well worth the effort.
      • Versatile? OK. Configurable and not clunky? Definitely not. Many functions that today are performed just moving the mouse were reserved to a lot of a keys or on-screen interface elements. A mouselook mod (also included in the version linked below) does wonders, though.
    • Horrible truth, but: 2 had a better publisher, better distribution, better box art, the list goes on. On top of that, the streamlined FPS-oriented controls made it more approachable to the layperson, meaning those that picked it up were more likely to stick with it. All in all, SS 1 didn't have a chance.
    • However hard it is to get the 1999 SS 2 that ran on Windows 98 to run on modern machines, it is even harder to get the 1994 original that ran on MS-DOS to run. Also copies are like platinum-coated gold dust (actually, that's true of both titles).
    • This might help. And if you can't play it the normal way (because of the black screen) you may try the DOSBox executable that is included with the package (you may need to launch it several times to play).
    • And if you do happen to have the original, it runs flawlessly in DOSBox. See here for details.
    • Nah, this is much better than Dosbox as it has an internal compatibility layer, so no lag at all.
    • Speaking of running on modern systems, someone released a patch for SS2 (and Thief 1 and 2) that allows it run on Windows 7.
    • System Shock isn't remembered for two reasons. The first time around, SHODAN faced the demons of Hell and lost. When The Many came around, followed closely by SHODAN, An armored scientist with a crowbar put both of them down fairly quickly. Games that fail to much better games tend to be forgotten.
    • That outright falsifies history. Never mind that 'much better' is in this context entirely subjective. Both games were dismissed at the time for similar reasons. The first was too far ahead of its time; it was myopically dismissed as a Doom clone and its system requirements were too steep to reach as wide an audience as Doom. The second was also ahead of its time in design terms, but the engine powering it was outdated and visually unimpressive. A great deal of Half-Life and Doom's success is predicated on the size of their mod communities. The Dark engine is far less pleasant for amateur developers to work with than either the Doom or Quake engines. In any case, both games are hardly forgotten. Doom 3 cribbed more than a few ideas from the series. The games are just more talked about than played. They belong to history now.
    • Additionally let us keep in mind that they've led to so many good games being made during present times. Spiritual sisters, brothers and successors, as well as inspired.

  • The first time the Marine meets SHODAN in SS2, she just projects a static image of her face all around him as she speaks. Very very creepy. Then when he confronts her at the end, when she's taken over most of the ship, her face is animated as she speaks. Is this just because she's stronger and has the processing power for animation, or is it because you're currently "inside" her?
    • Engine limitations: The former is rendered in-game using wall textures, the latter is through the movie.

  • For all its joys, System Shock 2 has to be in the running for stupidest video game ending ever.
    "Tommy? What's the matter, lover? Don't you like my ... new look?
    • The whole thing was just so abrupt and absurd. Also, since when does Shodan have the ability to possess people? This troper assumed the lady had been possessed by The Many, not only because the voice sounded more like them than like Shodan, but because the Many can possess people and Shodan, as far as anybody is aware, cannot.
    • The neural interface mod Rebecca found probably has something to do with it. And SHODAN can possess people as shown in the final battle in the original System Shock.
    • That and like two minutes ago she was a reality-warping goddess.
    • Ken Levine has recently clarified that there was an internal disconnect regarding the ending cutscene, which is why it clashes with the rest of the game.

  • Goggles spends a year training at locations off Earth before the world's first faster than light ship. Huh?
    • Off Earth but in the solar star system. Even System Shock 1 took place in the orbit of Jupiter. Humans are not earthbound in this setting.
      • Plus, the Faster-Than-Light drive is used to travel to other solar systems.
    • Also, unrelated to the problem but...each of the tours is a year so by the time you get to the game you've been in the military over 3 years (3 tours, basic training, and however long you were on the Rickenbacker).

  • I have just completed the first title, and one thing just doesn't leave my mind: why the hell was it YOU who played the role of the One-Man Army? You are just a hacker. That uber-advanced neural interface does not do a thing to your body, and you can be shot to death just as everyone else on the station, if not easier. The station personnel, on the other hand, had experienced security, and the access to just as much healing/energy/weapons as you had. Even considering that SHODAN killed most of them by surprise, there were still quite enough survivors to take her on. Not sure if they could defeat her in cyberspace without the implant you had, but nobody had even got that far. What. The. Hell.

    • ONE, SHODAN has no idea who you are or even if you existed before you woke up, because Diego wiped the records.
    • TWO, the main reason the resistance failed is, again, Diego, who sold them out.
    • THREE, one person who destroys every camera he comes across is harder to track than a resistance group.
    • FOUR, SHODAN, as you may have noticed, has a very big ego, and does not think you are a threat until you enable the jettison switch, giving you a chance to collect weapons first.
    • FIVE, you are the first person to turn the Resurrection Chambers back on, making you immortal for most of the time. By the time the chambers were out of SHODAN's hands, it was too late for the resistance.
    • SIX, you are in possession of a military-grade neural interface, designed for use by the military who, you know, operate guns every so often and probably is designed to help them, and therefore you, with that.
    • SEVEN, you are one person, meaning you get more resources and can move faster than a typical resistance member, e.g. you get all the implants (which the resistance may not have been able to use as well as you do without your implant) rather than sharing them out, same for weapons and ammunition.
    • EIGHT, you gain a rad/bio suit which the resistance didn't have.
    • NINE, you start off knowing that SHODAN has gone nuts because Rebecca told you. SHODAN was able to kill off most of the station personnel by means of mutagen weapons (which have died out by the time you wake up) and modifying the resurrection chambers to make her own personal army from the dead, likely prioritizing the security personnel who likely weren't very many anyway as it was after all a civilian station. There, that enough reasons?
      • Just a note on the last point: There's a note in the game that says the station had about two hundred security personnel. Also might as well add: TEN: (as a corollary to FOUR) by the time SHODAN starts taking the Hacker seriously he has probably already smashed a large part of her CP Us (i.e. her brain) to bits.
    • Don't forget ELEVEN, according to the logs you find, the resistance had been fighting against SHODAN's robots, cyborgs, and mutants for days, perhaps longer, so it's pretty likely that they've significantly thinned out their numbers by the time the hacker wakes up, and with the advantage of being forewarned of SHODAN's insanity and to avoid making the same mistakes the dead did thanks to all the logs.
    • TWELVE, you have no worries about friendly fire or collateral damage to equipment. The station is one big deathtrap, breaking it more is a good idea, and literally anything that moves as well as some things that don't are all out to kill you.
    • THIRTEEN, SHODAN can't impede your progress by threatening a more vulnerable group of survivors. There's nobody left for her to use as blackmail material, the only hide you have to worry about saving is your own.

  • It's great that System Shock 2 has a new legal release but, why neither GOG nor Night Dive have acknowledged that the game's installer comes pre-patched with all the fixes created over by the years by dedicated fans to keep the game playable on newer systems? Instead, in an interview published the day before the release, they claim it's the fruit of their "expert techninjas" - in short, they're claiming other's free work as theirs. Even if Night Dive would turn out to be the mysterious "Le Corbeau" who silently released the 2.4 patch in Autumn 2012, it still wouldn't excuse not giving credit for the other fixes. Even more baffling is that GOG, in the past, has used fan patches while giving due credit and even some compensation to their authors; why not this time?
    • Update: some guys from GOG have come out and kindly acknowledged the fault with promises to remedy by giving due credit; according to them, they packaged the installer using files almost exactly as Night Dive game them (apparently the only real tweak is one that skips the Looking Glass and Irrational logos when the game is launched). Night Dive has still not commented on the matter.

  • Why didn't anyone who was responsible for SHODAN's being (Diego, the hacker, etc.) ever think to just restore the ethical subroutines right after they're done?
    • Well, two reasons: first, after the ethical constraints were re-established, SHODAN would then need to ethically report that her ethical constraints had been tampered with, which would screw Diego over. On that front as well, he wanted control of SHODAN, not just a temporary quick-fix of some sort: by re-establishing the ethical constraints, he would then lose control of Citadel station.
    • Second, it's possible that SHODAN, as a completely unrestricted AI, would have prevented any kind of tampering to restrict her again. This could be as simple as locking off access to her core from anywhere but the bridge (which she did), or simply killing anyone that thought to try (which she also did). By the time the hacker comes along, she's way too smart to let him try anything like that. Besides which, it would take time, and may not work. So the easier solution is to just nuke her program rather than try to fix it.
    • The Hacker and Diego probably should have put in a program that reactivated the ethical subroutines and then erased all evidence of the tampering after a certain amount of time, therefore Diego could control SHODAN for long enough to get what he wanted without risking a rouge AI going nuts and trying to destroy the Earth or do some other crazy thing those ethical subroutines were specifically designed to prevent.
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