"L-l-look at you, hacker. A p-p-pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you r-run through my corridors-s. H-h-how can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?"System Shock
by Looking Glass Studios
was a groundbreaking First-Person Shooter
with Survival Horror
and RPG Elements
set in a Cyber Punk
future. It wasn't exactly a smashing success in sales, but it produced a sequel that was probably one of the best FPSes in history and spawned one of the most memorable villains in all of video games.
In the first game, a character known for the most part only as "The Hacker
" is caught breaking into the mainframe of your typical cyberpunk megacorporation
, and is offered a chance at freedom and a prime-grade neural interface in return for performing nonstandard modifications to the Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network (or SHODAN), the AI on the corporation's space station. After coming out of the six-month coma needed to heal from his surgery, the Hacker finds that SHODAN has gone absolutely insane after having her ethical controls removed, and has transformed the entire crew into cyborgs and mutated monsters devoted entirely to her. The Hacker stops SHODAN from destroying the earth and wipes her completely from the database. Notably, System Shock is widely credited with being the
first story-driven action game, as well as being extraordinarily high-tech for its time, and it was arguably the most advanced game outside of arcades for years note
The sequel, made in collaboration with Irrational Games
, founded by former LGS employees, is set 42 years later; due to the events of the first game, anti-Mega Corp.
outrage resulted in formation of Unified National Nominate, the quasi-socialist world government. After UNN (albeit under TriOptimum grant) scientist Marie Delacroix discovers the secret of faster than light travel, UNN and TriOptimum mount a joint mission to Tau Ceti. note
The game involves the maiden voyage of the Von Braun
, the first ship with FTL Travel
equipped, accompanied by the UNN Rickenbacker
. The game begins with the awakening of the player character, a cybernetically-enhanced soldier, from cryosleep to receive a small amount of exposition from a voice identified as a surviving member of the Von Braun
's crew, and then immediately has to escape his sick room that has been exposed to space, beginning his long adventure in avoiding his own death.
The original, floppy disc-based version of System Shock
played fast-and-loose with SHODAN's gender. Several times the evil computer was described as a "he", and the character art was ambiguous. From the CD version onwards SHODAN was explicitly female, voiced with cool command by Terri Brosius. A combination of superior scripting and excellent voice acting transformed SHODAN from a stock villain into a memorably sexy computer dominatrix from hell; she is by far the most memorable character in the series, and is considered one of the best video game villains in general.
Both System Shock
and System Shock 2
received critical acclaim, but neither was a commercial success due to release dates that pitted the games against strong competition: System Shock
was sadly lost amongst the hype for Doom II
, and System Shock 2
went up against the equally groundbreaking Half-Life
. Still, the games have endured, and even spawned a spiritual sequel
and, more indirectly, Dead Space
. A third game was briefly rumored with a 2006 trademark renewal and claims by PC Gamer UK, then disappeared. It is unlikely that Irrational, as a part of 2K Games, can even work on another title in the series because of the complicated situation with the various parts of the IP
After this legal tangle went unsolved for around a decade, Night Dive Studios acquired the Digital Distribution
rights to System Shock 2
and had it released on GOG.com, and thanks to an agreement between them and Valve, it is also on Steam
. And the first game is now freeware, as "System Shock Portable"
with an added mouse-look feature, and DOSBox
This game series contains examples of the following tropes:
open/close all folders
- Abandoned Hospital: The Medical Deck from both games.
- Abnormal Ammo: The Viral Proliferator and the Annelid Launcher in the sequel uses worms as ammunition, the latter particularly fires homing rockets filled with worms.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Crystal Shard is described as one. It's also described as fragile; it isn't.
- Action Bomb: the Robot Bombs in the original; The Protocol Droids in the sequel.
- Action Survivor: The Hacker from the first game.
- Affably Evil: The Many are quite polite, very friendly, and genuinely want to make everybody they see happy and at peace. Unfortunately, the only way to do so is to be assimilated, which isn't pretty, is EXCEEDINGLY painful, and will erase all of your individuality.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: All of the artificial intelligences you meet in the games happen to be antagonists of some stripe, though both SHODAN and XERXES require serious outside intervention before they become dangerous. SHODAN's pre-Hacker audiologs and records say she's exemplary from what you find, and the only reason XERXES is dangerous is because he's an obedient, faithful, efficient AI under the control of forces hostile to the player.
- Airborne Mook: Winged Mutants and Flyer Robots in the original.
- Air-Vent Passageway
- Almost Dead Guy: Almost everybody else who isn't dead already, or trying to kill you.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Edward Diego left a log that has him begging SHODAN to spare him. To make this even more pathetic, almost right next to the log is another log that had him bragging to Tri-Optimum investigators after he had the Citadel's defense system shoot down the shuttle with another team of investigators, arrogantly stating that he is untouchable with SHODAN under his control. The dates of logs are roughly two weeks apart.
- Always Close: You always get to the bridge level just before it jettisons itself from self-destructing Citadel Station.
- All There in the Manual: The manuals contains pieces of backstory not present in either games.
- Amplifier Artifact: The implants, PSI-amp is technically this.
- An Economy Is You: Justified, since all replicators had been re-programmed for war long before you woke up and, well, those who can use them who are still alive and unmutated - including you - can be counted on your fingers.
- And I Must Scream: The fate of human halves of the Hybrids. Some of them exert whatever little control they have left over what used to be their bodies to implore you to kill them - even as they advance toward you and try to tear you to shreds.
- The cyborg midwives are possibly even worse. Researching them indicates that an implant at the top of the spine overrides all nerve impulses coming from the brain, which itself is left intact. This means they are completely aware of what is happening while unable to control their own bodies.
- Animal Testing: Hundreds of chimps are on the Von Braun for this reason. Unfortunately for the crew, they got sentient and gained psychic powers as a bonus.
- Apocalypse How: Citadel Station has enough goodies to allow SHODAN to try several kinds of Apocalypse, and the Von Braun's reality-warping hyperdrive allows for annihilation of the Universe.. and beyond.
- Apocalyptic Log: Arguably the Trope Codifier for the collectable audiolog variation on this trope now common in video games.
- Apologetic Attacker: Some of the hybrids cry out "I'm sorry!" or "Run!" as they lunge at you. They also Cannot Self Terminate, so some of them beg you to kill them.
- One Hybrid has an audio log, thanking the player for killing them.
- Perhaps not the same but the androids wandering about the Engineering deck mutter innocently contrary to their suicidal nature and will wave at you if they can see but not reach you.
- Arc Number: 451.
- As pointed out by the developers on the System Shock I 20th anniversary stream, "451" was also the actual code for the entrance keypad at the Looking Glass offices.
- Arc Words: Remember Citadel and Resist.
- Arm Cannon: Various enemies have their arms replaced with weapons, and the maintanace/security/assault robots in the sequel.
- Armor-Piercing Attack : Teflon rounds, slugs and penetrator ammo and Rail gun in the original. AP bullet ammo in the sequel.
- Artificial Gravity: Well, the games are set in space, so it's a given. At one point in the sequel you are required to reverse it.
- Artificial Stupidity: Security turrets have one job - shoot you. Simple enough. Hacked turrets, on the other hand...they have a simpler job: shoot everything not you. Unfortunately, someone at TriOp forgot to add unless you are standing in front of said 'not-you' person', or 'unless the rockets that I'm shooting off will blow me up'.
- Assimilation Plot: The nature of The Many.
- Asteroid Thicket: Mentioned during career choosing.
- Ate His Gun: Ate his shotgun, if the position of said gun is any indication. This is in reference of a crew member who apparently committed suicide in this manner right next to the elevator on the cargo level command deck.
- Janice Polito did the same after she accidentally released SHODAN.
- Autodoc: Both games have automatic medical beds that heal you completely in an instant, and stations that will reanimate/regenerate a "killed" character, though in the first game these need to be reset so they won't turn him into one more cyborg instead.
- Awesome but Impractical: The first game has several. The Rail Gun is powerful, but the explosion radius for the rounds is actually quite large, meaning you'll hurt yourself more often than not. The Earthshaker explosive has an explosion so powerful that it shakes the station when it goes off, but that also means that if you're anywhere near it, you'll be vaporized instantly.
- Badass Boast: SHODAN likes these.
- Badass Bookworm: The Hacker, the protagonist of the first game, is an expert hacker who is also abnormally skilled with a wide variety of weapons and explosives.
- It helps that he has a military grade neural interface installed in his brain, that probably conveys some skill with weaponry. The sequel makes the skill-boosting effects of the neural implant explicit, being the means by which the player gains skills via cybernetics. The item descriptions though indicate that such skill improvements are only temporary (lasting a few weeks) unless practiced extensively, particularly in high-stress situations such as the player might find themselves in.
- Badass Normal: Dr. Marie Delacroix in the second game. She follows a similar path to the protagonist (but always just ahead), while managing to both survive and accomplish some important things without the benefit of his cybernetics or psychic powers (or even military training it appears). Also from SS2, military man Suarez, who manages to not only stay alive with only standard-issue cybernetics but escape with his civilian girlfriend to boot.
- The Battle Didn't Count: Edward Diego teleports away when he is dealt enough damage, and goes down in the third fight.
- Beef Gate: In the original, until you find better weapons and better shields, you will die constantly on upper levels. But the biggest obstacle is probably the radiation, particularly in the reactor level.
- Beeping Computers: Add significantly to the atmosphere in the sequel.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: How many crew members decided to deal with The Many problem; you even see a ghostly image of a soldier committing suicide.
- Subverted in one case in System Shock 2. You find a man who hung himself to avoid being slaughtered by The Many, but from the look of terror on his face, "something" was watching him as he asphyxiated that was even more terrifying than being killed.
- BFG: The Fusion Cannon and the Annelid Worm Launcher.
- Big Bad: SHODAN in the first game, and SHODAN again in the second.
- Bio-Augmentation: The cyber-modules contains RNA databases and brainwave EM for upgrading.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Which we have to research.
- Blob Monster: The invisible mutants on the dimly lit level 3 of Citadel Station.
- Body Horror: And how. If you really want to be creeped out, take a good close look at a Rumbler.
- Boss Banter: SHODAN.
- Booby Trap: Someone sabotaged the Accelerator Coils on the Rickenbacker, making them explode if there is enough movement.
- "Anyone approaching Sim Unit 3 will feel sorrow... so much sorrow..."
- Book Ends: System Shock begins and ends with the hacker trying to hack some Mega Corp.. Old habits die hard.
- Booze-Based Buff: Alcoholic drinks heals you in exchange of PSI.
- Boring but Practical: The Wrench in System Shock 2, especially on impossible difficulty where, depending on your character build, you cannot afford to spend the scarce cyber modules on more powerful weapons and skills. It can kill all the enemies you face in the beginning within two hits, and with strafing, can let you destroy a turret without taking any damage while not wasting ammo. Too bad SHODAN is completely immune to it in the final battle.
- The Hazard Suit gives you a massive boost to poison and radiation resistance. It tends to be a mainstay in your inventory once you get it.
- Borrowed Biometric Bypass: In the original you can use a decapitated head on the retinal scanner.
- Boxed Crook: The recently captured Hacker is offered freedom and a new neural interface by Edward Diego if he removes ethical restraints from Citadel Station's AI, SHODAN. (For added irony, breaking into Trioptimum's computers for data on Citadel was what got him arrested.)
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Almost everyone who was later infected by a parasite was first subjected to mind control.
- Breakable Weapons: Fortunately, they're also repairable. Seeing how in this game ranged weapons are as tough as wet cardboard, it's one of the cruelest examples of this trope.
- A number of mods change the weapon degradation rate and nothing else. It's actually quite easy to do, and Word of God states that they had set it high on purpose, but didn't mean to set it that high.
- Mods, hell. The official patch has an option to decrease weapon degradation, or disable it altogether.
- Can quickly lead to Inventory Management Puzzle early in the game due to the player hoarding not only ammunition but multiple degraded or even broken pistols and shotguns in the hope that they can be repaired or discarded when used up.
- Broken Bridge
- Bullet Proof Vest: Light, Medium and Heavy combat armors, plus a powered armor.
- Caffeine Bullet Time: The Reflex patches in the original.
- Call Back: The last part of System Shock 2 is a cyberspace reconstruction of the very first level of the first game: The Medical level of Citadel Station, with almost verbatim details in it. It's also the area where SHODAN has her "seat of power", as quoted by Delacroix.
- Can Only Move the Eyes: Being conscious in the body you can't control for the human mind in the Annelid hybrids.
- The Captain: Captain William Diego.
- Cassette Craze: The Logs.
- Cephalothorax: The Rumblers, and it's mostly teeth anyway.
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Provided that you're quick enough with the mouse, you can change from torso covering armor to full body hazmat suit.
- Character Customization
- Charged Attack: PSI-Disciplines can be charged for more powerful effect, but if you charge for too long, you will take damage for burning out unless you have the appropriate OS upgrade. High tier disciplines charge very quickly.
- Charm Person: The Psionic Hypnogenesis PSI-Discipline.
- Chest Burster: According to one of the logs, the annelid worm first goes inside the body, pierces the chest from the inside and connects one of its ends to the head of victim.
- Colonel Badass: He is not a a colonel (actually, he is higher in rank, but mostly acts like a captain), but UNN commander William Diego is pretty badass, even retaining some of it after assimilation, and then managing to fight the assimilation off. Son of Edward Diego, he must've called the old man out, as he's become a high-ranking UNN officer with hearty hatred for anything corporate. His audio log to Korenchkin is a CMOA for some:
Anatoly, there's only so much corporate calisthenics I can go through before I start to feel a little queasy, so let's get down to brass tacks here. We don't like each other.
We each have our own motivations for undertaking this mission, so let me give you a little warning. I cannot be circumvented, I cannot be tricked, I cannot be manipulated, and I cannot be bought. You come at me straight and keep the fancy maneuvers for your next board meeting. Just because my father swam with the sharks doesn't mean that I do.
- Diego is voiced by Stephen Russel, best known for voicing Garrett in the Thief series, and his voice for Diego is no less badass.
- Colony Drop: SHODAN tries to do this with Citadel Station after the Hacker stopped all of her plans (and backup plans).
- Computer Voice: XERXES is obviously male and SHODAN is obviously female. Although the latter tended to have some extra voices talk at the same time for the hell of it.
- Contagious A.I.: SHODAN in the first game.
- Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Dr. Polito gives you gems like "You must move faster. Your mind cannot conceive of the stakes we are dealing with" regardless of your actual speed (being based on passing fixed points). Seeing as how she is really SHODAN, this makes sense.
- Contrived Coincidence: The entire plot of the second game depends upon a particularly egregious example: The Tau Ceti system is nearly 12 light years away from ours. System Shock 2 takes place 42 years after the first. That means the grove carrying what would become The Many just so happened to be ejected on a pinpoint course for the very same planet the Von Braun would travel to, at a speed of at least 85,655 kilometers per second - roughly a quarter of the speed of light.
- Annelid psionics. Or perhaps SHODAN accounted for the notion that the grove might be forcibly ejected and modified it so that it might find a solid body to land on... and none of the solar planets were in possible trajectory.
- Control Room Puzzle: The original had the force bridge puzzle in this style. Some of the hacking minigames resembled this. The sequel had you making the improvised bridge with torpedoes.
- Co-Op Multiplayer: In the sequel. Depending on the char-builds of the players, some formerly not so useful skills in the single-player became much more useful in co-op.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Edward Diego, who originally made the offer to the Hacker to meddle with SHODAN for his own gain, and later becomes a Dragon for her. Anatoly Korenchkin in the sequel, who started out as the gangster before buying out the diminished Tri-Optimum.
- Closed Circle: Getting rid of the Big Bad is pretty much the only way to survive in both games, considering the settings.
- Conspiracy Theorist: One of the Von Braun's crew members is described as one.
- Contest Winner Cameo: The audio logs of Norris in the sequel are voiced by the System Shock fanboy who won the contest.
- Cosmic Horror: Surprisingly averted. Even with the desolate space-based environments of both games, omnipotent Big Bad, and Humanoid Abomination enemies that drive people to insanity every incident is easily explained as being the result of science Gone Horribly Wrong. The ghost encounters themselves are a combination of psychic interference and cybernetics picking it up.
- Couldn't Find a Pen
- Crate Expectations: Thankfully, mostly in areas where they are expected to be.
- The level in the sequel with the most crates was quite arguably one of the most intense of the entire game. This defies nearly every other such situation, which is one of the reasons it's a classic.
- Creating Life: Indirectly, SHODAN created the mutants that will evolve into The Many. See Gone Horribly Right below.
- Creepy Monotone: SHODAN stutters and speaks in disharmony with herself too much to be called a "monotone", but the general station announcement voice triggered by some switches, and XERXES in the sequel, play it mostly straight; the former is a speech synth, for true Machine Monotone.
- Crippling Overspecialization: The Energy and Exotic weapons in the sequel, massacre everything mechanical and organic respectively, but are useless against everything else; especially evident in the last two levels since the first is purely organic (with some sightings of cyborg midwives), followed by a fully mechanical final level. Also kind of hard for the Soldier not to become this on Impossible difficulty, where skill upgrades are much more expensive and multi-classing is a bad idea.
- Critical Encumbrance Failure: You don't get any penalties, since you can't put more than you can carry. If you were using the Brawn Implant (increases Strength and therefore Inventory space) and it run out of juice, the excess items will be automatically dropped.
- Critical Existence Failure
- Critical Failure: This happens when you fail at hacking the ICE-nodes in SS2, the description even says the same thing.
- Cyber Cyclops: The Cyber Assassins in the sequel, which have a horizontal visor where their eyes should be. Said visor has a little red light which oscillates back and forth, even after death. Remind you of anything?
- Cyber Punk / Post-Cyberpunk: The former is before the events in Citadel Station, the latter is the aftermath.
- Cyber Punk Is Techno : Hoo boy. But the soundtrack is excellent, especially in the second game. Courtesy of Eric Brosius, who also composed music for Shock's spiritual sister series, Thief.
- Cyberspace: This is how the Hacker hacked things in the original, thanks to his new shiny military grade hack mod. In the sequel, the training suites in the military recruitment center at the beginning of the game take this form. By the end of the game, SHODAN basically tries to reshape reality to be like one.
- Cyborgs: Lots of them on Citadel. You, on the Von Braun, as well as the Midwives thanks to Unwilling Roboticisation.
- Darkness Equals Death: Several places in both games, with the first game's Level 3 Maintenance standing out.
- Dead All Along: Polito.
- Deadly Gas: Some of the annelid eggs release toxins into the air, acting as proximity mines of sorts.
- One of the audio logs on the maintenance level of the first game tells the player that SHODAN released a gas to turn the resistance members into invisible mutants.
- Dead Man Writing: Delacroix at the end of the game.
- Deadpan Snarker: Janice Polito. The one that's actually SHODAN.
- Dead Person Impersonation: SHODAN impersonating Dr. Polito.
- Death by Cameo: Most of the characters were voiced by the production staff, so it happens all the time, just off-screen.
- Death by Irony/Hoist by His Own Petard: The Many had created three specific weapons to combat the human threat that is opposing them. Problem is, the very weapons that they created also do as much damage as to themselves; they take a doubled amount of damage if you use these weapons against them.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Both games feature resurrection stations on most levels which bring the player back to life, though they need to be found and activated. Before that, they find your body and give it new life...
- In the sequel, it also costs nanites (10 on Normal, which is twice the cost of healing at a surgical table). Not so bad, except that unless you have high Hack ranks, it tends to cost a lot for gear. As in 100 nanites for a measly dozen bullets.
- Actually, once you're in the Body of the Many, there's no regeneration. If you die, you have to reload. In addition, if you don't find the regenerator on the level of the ship you're on, you die and have to reload. If you don't have enough nanites... you get the point.
- Zigzagged in Easy mode, where the nanite cost is negated. Completely played straight in Multiplayer mode where the cost is negated and you don't need to activate the Quantum Bio-Reconstruction Machines (you'll resurrect at the bulkhead you entered the area instead). Justified since Multiplayer is locked at Impossible difficulty.
- The first game is both played straight, subverted and averted. Played straight in that once you activate the regeneration chamber, you can die as many times as you like on that particular level with no ill effects. Subverted in that some levels (particularly level 3 and level 6) revive with a bare minimum of health, meaning that reviving can actually be incredibly difficult if you don't have enough healing items. Averted (and twisted) in that the last two levels (level 8 security and level 9 bridge) are the hardest levels in the game and have no resurrection chambers. If you die, you're dead. It ups the difficulty significantly, considering you're used to being able to die and come back, and have been incorporating it into your strategy for the rest of the game.
- Death Trap: SHODAN sets up a few surprising and actually very efficient ones in the first game. However, since she can't control regeneration chambers once you reset them, there is nothing to stop you going back and doing it again. For example, in one Antenna room, SHODAN closes the force door on you right after you set up the bomb to destroy it.
- Decontamination Chamber: In Med section of deck 2. You just have to walk directly under the 'steam' coming out of the ceiling.
- There's a decon chamber on Level R in the first game. It works exactly as advertised, but only for radiation poisoning. Biological poisoning will not be removed.
- Defiant to the End: TriOptimum's internal security chief on the Von Braun, Melanie Bronson, goes out this way. After her brutal crackdown and execution of crew members subverted by The Many (and maybe a few more just suspected of such) a force of Many-influenced UNN soldiers goes to take her and her security team out. They make a Last Stand in her office, and she records her last audio diary entry while holding in her own guts, pledging to never let humanity fall to these monsters as the soldiers close in.
- Deflector Shields: In the original, the large-scale shield is used to destroy the mining laser by firing it at the now point-blank range. The Hacker also has a personal variant. In the sequel, the OSA operatives can create one.
- The personal deflector shield is also the single most draining mod you can slot. Especially at level 3, where it absorbs 50% damage but will drain your battery in less than a minute.
- The Power Armor in the sequel also mentions that Deflector Shields are a core part of its defensive properties, which ends up being the "power" part of the Power Armor. If its batteries are drained, its protective quality is reduced to null until it can be recharged.
- Destruction Equals Off Switch: See Insecurity Camera.
- Deus Est Machina: Guess who?
- Diegetic Interface: As part of the cyber implants you receive at the beginning of the game.
- Die Hard on an X: Die Hard on a space station in the original. In the sequel, Die Hard on two space ships and a ship-sized Body Horror, the Body of the Many.
- Difficulty Spike: In the original game, the first few cyberspace intrusions are relatively straightforward, but difficult because of the lack of programs and the very different interface you're presented with. Still, they're easily doable with a few repeated attempts. The problem is that later cyberspace intrusions are much more difficult, almost forcing you to take your time and carefully plan your hacks, but every failed hack (where your connection integrity was reduced to zero and forcibly booted you out) reduces your available time by 5 seconds. It's entirely possible to do somewhat poorly in the first few cyberspace hacks and completely screw yourself over much later in the game. It's always better to dump your connection instead of being forced out, but new players may not realize this until it's too late.
- Digital Avatar
- Dilating Door: The aptly named Iris doors.
- Disc One Nuke: Mild version in the form of bug that lets you to keep items from the training rooms.
- Distress Call: The few surviving crew members of Von Braun set up the machine that would send a SOS to Earth, configured in such way that critically weakens XERXES when used. And of which SHODAN takes advantage of...
- A transmission from Tau Ceti is one of many little things that caused the whole mess.
- Dissonant Serenity: The Many.
- Also XERXES. His announcements usually praise the Many or warn you about the "machine-mother." But occasionally, he just wants to tell you about an upcoming poetry reading. Sometimes the two are even jumbled together in the same announcement.
- Dominatrix: SHODAN has undertones of this in the sequel.
- Doomsday Device: SHODAN had a mining laser that apparently could destroy everything on Earth (Then again, it was designed to work on Saturn in the first place) and the deadly virus (which without her supervising will evolve into The Many).
- Down the Drain: The part of Deck 1 Engineering is like this.
- Downer Ending: The second game... with Rebecca's "new look..." as SHODAN.
- The Dragon: Edward Diego to SHODAN in the first game. Anatoly Korenchkin and XERXES to The Many in the Second.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: You hear the gun cocking in the Ghost Memory of the Mess Hall Massacre.
- Even more effective in that one "Oh God, don't do it!" log in Hydroponics, and the log in Ops wherein Malick is heard being shot by Bronson.
- Dramatic Stutter: SHODAN, all the fricking time.
- Driven to Suicide: The real Dr. Janice Polito, when she realized that she released SHODAN.
- Don't forget the poor sod on the cargo-level command deck, right after the elevator.
- Drought Level of Doom: The Body of the Many may not actually be this to a well-prepared player, but it sure believes that it is, as at one point it taunts you about your dwindling resources.
- Dungeon Bypass: Knowing the maintenance door code in advance lets you skip the entire Med/Sci deck.
- Dying as Yourself: One of the reasons to die instead of getting killed.
- I Am Legion: For we are The Many.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: kill me, KILL ME!
- I Don't Like You and You Don't Like Me: Diego and Korenchkin, also Goggles and SHODAN to certain extent.
- Ignored Expert: Delacroix.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: Completely averted.
- The Immune: In the second game, the presence of your cybernetic implants effectively renders you immune to control from The Many unless you die, in which case your corpse is fair game. Averted in the first game, though: you're just as susceptible to the biological mutagens as everyone else on the station. Manage your contamination with Detox patches and a quality envirosuit, or you'll be working for SHODAN as a twisted monster.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Where did you get them, Hacker?
- The Infiltration: Two of OSA career paths involves this: One is a classical infiltrate a criminal organization (via carefully prepared Mind Wipe and Brainwashing even), the other is to attend the Io survival school without anybody knowing and to toy with the marines.
- Insecurity Camera: In the original, SHODAN is already aware of the player, and thus cameras are only useful in helping determine the player's current location - destroying them makes it harder for SHODAN to figure out what's going on (although the real damage is by blowing up computer nodes). The sequel has alarm raising cameras, and has the justification of both the Anti-Crazy-AI measures introduced after the SHODAN incident in the original System Shock and the fact that XERXES is not exactly working properly.
- To clarify, in the first game, in order to proceed unhindered, you have to lower SHODAN's control of each level. This involves destroying security cameras and computer nodes. The implication being that the less SHODAN can keep track of, the less she can control. Good luck finding every single camera, though...
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Why do the TriOptimum cyborg assassins dress in red robes and use high-tech versions of ancient ninja weapons? Who cares?
- Instant Expert: Handwaved in the second game with "cyber-modules". There are disclaimers that the skills gained will not usually be retained for very long, except perhaps under a very stressful situation.
- Instant Sedation: Averted with the tranquilizer darts in the original, you need to shoot several darts to paralyze the target, doesn't lasts to long and wakes them up if you hit them.
- A certain Psi skill in the sequel does much the same to robots.
- The stun gun from the first game is entirely non-lethal, doing Exactly What It Says on the Tin. However, it only works on entirely organic enemies (cyborgs aren't affected and forget about robots), the stun doesn't last forever, and it consumes a disproportionate amount of battery power considering it doesn't kill things. Best dropped and forgotten.
- Interface Screw: The final confrontation with SHODAN in cyberspace in the first game. You try to face her to fire, but you have to fight the controls to keep from twisting away. And then she starts replacing your vision with her glowing visage, pixel-by-pixel.
- The Status Buff patches in the original gave this as a side effect, like Genius patches inverted the controls and the steroid patch inverted the colors.
- One of the best patches in the game, the sight enhancer, is also the worst: it lets you see in the dark, but when it wears off, your vision is reduced as if you were in the dark even in a brightly lit area. For twice the length of the enhancement effect.
- Interface Spoiler: The interface in the original has ten slots for items/software.
- Invincible Minor Minion: The annelid swarms in the sequel. They can't be killed; you have to run away from them and wait for them to die.
- Invisibility: One of the PSI-disciplines. And those slimes on deck 3 in the original. And the Spiders in the sequel...
- In the End, You Are on Your Own: In a sense, in both games near the end the protagonists lose contact with Mission Control. In the sequel, SHODAN even says that "You are on your own".
Rebecca Lansing: 2-4601, it's important that you don't forget...<cut off>
SHODAN: You h- You have entered my domain... R-Rebecca and Morris cannot help you now- NO ONE CAN.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: SHODAN seems to have a thing for this, since random pieces of children songs are scattered in her dialogue.
- It's All Upstairs from Here: Both games are basically this in structure, but particular stand-outs are The Security floor of Citadel Station and the UNN Rickenbacker. Subverted In the end of the sequel, where you have to go down to face SHODAN.
- Justified Extra Lives: Quantum bioreconstruction chambers, just make sure you have some nanites before you die.
- Regeneration chambers in the original. Just make sure you activate it, and don't get too used to them: the last two floors don't have them at all.
- Justified Tutorial: These act as the recruitment aids for the military and can be skipped.
- So can a large amount of the Von Braun if the player already knows the elevator code. The Von Braun occupies rouhgly 3/4 of the game, and can be seen as a huge training level to deal with the Rickenbacker.
- Kaizo Trap: Inverted. In the original, when Shodan defeats you by completely filling your screen with herself, you still can steal the victory if you keep blindly attacking.
- Kill It with Ice: Cryokinesis.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Malick. He was working on an audio-log before Bronson's men gunned him down. Also Prefontaine.
- Kill Sat: Citadel Station's mining laser is modified by SHODAN to function like one.
- Killer Space Monkey: with psychic powers, no less. Has elements of Maniac Monkeys due to them being much smarter than your typical monkeys.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Balance issues in the sequel made the energy weapons inferior to standard ones. The big advantage of the energy weapons, however, is the lack of ammunition, which is hard to find and expensive. If you can find an energy recharger, you can fire your energy weapon.
- Knight Templar: Bronson. There is a ghost scene where her men are gunning down civilians who do not approve of the martial law.
- Large Ham: SHODAN.
- Laser Blade: Laser Rapier in both games. One of the late PSI-Disciplines is to make one out of your PSI energy.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: The memory restoration process for the Soldier failed and he doesn't remember the time he spent on Rickenbacker and Von Braun. It was intentional.
- Laser Sight: Featured in the intro of the original.
- La Résistance: The humans who survived the initial slaughter in both games.
- Last Lousy Point: On the medical deck in the first game, there's a hidden door that conceals a Magnum 2100, which you normally wouldn't get until the Flight Deck some hours later. But to get it, you have to reduce SHODAN's control to zero, which requires destroying all cameras and CPU nodes. And finding all of them will drive you nuts (the medical deck has more cameras in more devious locations than any other deck in the game).
- Last Stand: Both games have a lot of places where this occurred, like the last stand of Bronson and her men in the sequel.
- Late to the Tragedy: In both games, you wake up after all hell has broken loose. This was because Looking Glass realized that the technology just wasn't ready to have realistic reactions and conversations with pesky living people. Conversations were possible in the spiritual ancestor Ultima Underworld, though. The main problem is the Dark Engine itself (used for Thief 1 & 2 as well as SS2). While it is technically capable enough, the editor is user-surly to the novice and a total mindscrew to comprehend. Coding in a believable friendly NPC would be an absolute nightmare. Fortunately, both games very effectively justified this trope.
- LEGO Genetics: The description of Cybermodules says that they contain RNA info that changes the user.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Rumblers are quick for their size. Also the Soldier on easy difficulty where the upgrades are cheap.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Killing SHODAN in SS2 will result in the destruction of the faux-Citadel Station, justified because it's her will that changes and maintains the altered reality.
- Locked Door: Lots of them. Some can be hacked, but others need keycards, codes or plot advancements to be opened.
Access denied by SHODAN level security.
- One particular secret door on the first level can only be opened if level security is reduced to zero. Because there are many secret passages and cameras are actually quite well hidden, getting to zero is very difficult. If you can get in there, though, you can get the Magnum 2100, a powerful gun you otherwise wouldn't get until level 3.
- Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: Prefontaine, the scientist captured by The Many, studied the biomass and remarked how in mere 40 years of evolution The Many conquered the starship, humanity's mightiest creation. Also, the whole second game can be somewhat viewed like this.
- Lost In Transmission: Some of the logs.
- Randomly Drops
- Ransacked Room: In one of her logs Dr. Polito says that her office was ransacked.
- Reality Warper: The Von Braun's FTL drive functions by breaking down local reality and restructuring it into conditions which allow for faster-than-light travel. SHODAN repurposes it in an attempt to make her godhood quite literal.
- Real Time Weapon Change
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: SHODAN spends half the time conversing with you, including the time you are working for her and you are referred to as the Avatar of SHODAN, telling you why you are pathetic, inferior and why you suck.
Remember... that it is my will that guided you here. It is my will that gave you your cybernetic implants: the only beauty in that meat you call a body. If you value that meat, you will do as I tell you.
- Red Light District: There is a simulation brothel for both sexes on the Recreation deck.
- Research, Inc.: TriOptimum has 1 of 3 divisions dedicated to science.
- Respawning Enemies: Looking Glass Studios and Irrational Games never wanted you to feel safe, so you can never truly clear out a deck.
- However, when the alarm goes off in the sequel, enemies spawn fast enough that it's quite likely one will spawn right in front of you! Rather immersion-breaking.
- Respawn Point: The Restoration chambers.
- The Reveal: When the player heads up to Deck 4 to see Polito. "The Polito form is dead, insect. Are you afraid? What is it you fear? The end of your trivial existence? W-wh-whe-whe-when the history of my glory is written, your species shall be but a footnote to my magnificence. (the walls fold away in Polito's office)... I AM SHODAN".
- Reverse Polarity: You have to do this with the Rickenbacker's gravity drive, in order to bypass what would otherwise be a guaranteed death trap.
- Roar Before Beating: The Rumblers.
- Robot Buddy: Those suicidal protocol robots act like this.
- RPG Elements: In the sequel, the player has the option at the beginning to focus on guns, hacking, or psychic powers, and then upgrading with cybermodules.
- Scenery Gorn
- Scenic Tour Level: The tutorial and character generation levels of System Shock 2.
- Schmuck Bait: Oh look, one of the cargo lifts is broken, but the call button still seems to work. I wonder what would happen if I press it...
- Science Fantasy: The second game treads into this territory with its ever-present psionics. The Many is able to psychically brainwash its victims, and the player can obtain powers that allow them to, among other things, throw fireballs.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The jettisoned Beta grove from Citadel Station reaching Tau Ceti V in less than 40 years, see Contrived Coincidence above for more details. And the Von Braun seems to be a little small for a crew of over 1,000 men and women.
- The smaller ship piggybacking on it is even worse; it's about then that the designers really started running short on time and creativity.
- Secondary Fire: Alternate Fire Modes.
- Self-Destructing Security: In the second game, if you trigger an ICE node while hacking open a security crate, you set off a built-in explosive charge, destroying the crate and its contents (and on any difficulty higher than Easy, probably killing you in the blast as well).
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: Citadel is equipped with one, and and the Von Braun's engines can be overloaded to achieve the same effect. Although the latter was just a ruse.
- Semper Fi: One of the career paths before the actual start of the second game involves joining the Marines.
- Send in the Search Team
- Sentry Gun: Turrets, and they can be hacked to shoot at the enemies.
- Sequence Breaking: Since the door keycodes are never randomized (as they are read out loud on the audio logs), knowing them beforehand will let you skip most of the Med/Sci deck. Blocking the door for the room with the first energy recharger also qualifies, as it lets you recharge a critical item without navigating through the deck.
- Serious Business: The backstory of SS2 says that two Mega Corps employed mercenaries to destroy each other's bottling facilities.
- Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Using the PSI-powers you can turn enemies against each other.
- Shiny-Looking Spaceships: Von Braun tries to be like one, but fails.
- Shout-Out: The mini-basketball game is a reference to the one in the training level of Thief. Calm-voiced Xerxes in the sequel is a series X-9000SC AI, and the above mentioned arc number is a nod to Fahrenheit 451
- The Hacker is "officially" known as Employee 2-4601, and wears a shirt in the intro with a large yellow smiley face with a red stain.
- At the end of the first game the Hacker is shown breaking into a TetraCorp database and uncovering plans for power armor. That is exactly what you pilot in Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: In the sequel's ending, when told by SHODAN that We Can Rule Together, the unnamed player character replies with a deadpan "nah".
- Sinister Surveillance
- Slept Through the Apocalypse: Both protagonists slept through the most of events when they were in post-operation healing comas.
- Soft Water: There is a section in the sequel that requires you to fall down from very high to the water.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: A perhaps unintentional example. The pounding techno music that plays when you enter the Med-Sci wing near the beginning of System Shock 2 seems made to pump the player up to run and gun. This is all well and good, but by this point in the game the player will not even have a gun, and are fairly weak just starting out. The need to move carefully and be selective at this point can really clash with the action-packed music.
- Spaceship Girl: SHODAN is the spacestation girl, then became the spaceship girl at the end of the sequel.
- A Space Marine Is You: especially in the sequel, in which the player character actually joins the military in the beginning of the game. A little Played With though, in that they are not necessarily a literal space marine (though they may well be.) They might also be a navy crewmen, or psi-ops agent, and the player's choice of career will affect the skills they start the game with and the approach they take to navigating the situation.
- The Spartan Way: The Io training facility where the Marines, the Navy guys (to the annoyance of the Marines) and OSA operatives (to the ignorance of former two) train for the year to build their endurance. It has a 21.2% fatality rate.
- Spiritual Successor: To the Ultima Underworld series. System Shock itself has its own successors in form of Doom 3, BioShock, and Dead Space.
- BioShock in particular, as it was made by System Shock 2 developer Irrational Games former employees of Looking Glass Studios. It uses the same sound clips for hypos, plasmids as stand-ins for psi-amps, resurrection stations, a wrench as the starting weapon, hacking minigames, and even more. There's a reason ''BioShock is called "System Shock under the ocean" by fans.
- Also, GLaDOS is often considered to be a spiritual successor to SHODAN.
- Spoiler Opening: SHODAN's involvement was supposed to be the game's ultra major plot twist, but the fact that she shows up on the box cover completely gives that away.
- Despite that, The Reveal came very sudden and completely unexpected for most players. Yes, you know SHODAN will be around. No, you never suspect her to be Polito.
- Sprint Meter: The Fatigue indicator in the original. Interestingly, it takes the form of an EKG, monitoring your heart rate. When you start to run out of sprint energy, your HUD states that your heart rate is getting too high.
- Sprint Shoes:
- Turbo rollerblades in the original, which also made normal movement impossible. They were needed to reach some supplies on Deck 4, but were also useful for combat.
- The SwiftBoost(tm) implant in the sequel, which enhances agility (and thus movement speed) when equipped, but drains power while it does so and needs to be occasionally recharged.
- Squishy Wizard: OSA operatives who don't invest in endurance.
- Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Von Braun is mix of the Colony Ship and the Science Vessel. UNN Rickenbacker is a heavy destroyer.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Tommy Suarez and Rebecca Siddons. He is a crewmember of UNN Rickenbacker run by the anti-corporate military man, she is a crewmember of Von Braun run by the Corrupt Corporate Executive.
- Starship Luxurious: Von Braun.
- Status Buff: Various boosters, implants and Psychogenic PSI-Disciplines in the sequel. The patches in the original, but most gave unpleasant side-effects, mostly of Interface Screw nature.
- Stat O Vision: The protagonists ARE implanted with cyber-interfaces, after all.
- In the original game, part of the HUD is dedicated to monitoring vital functions, including heart rate, energy consumption and chi waves (aka brain activity). When you die, the heart rate flatlines realistically, fluttering before dying, and the brain activity line also stops its consistency before disappearing altogether.
- Staying Alive
- Stealth Mentor
- The Stinger: "Tommy... what's the matter, lover? Don't you like my new look?"
- Stock Sound Effects: Monkeys!
- Story Breadcrumbs: Using the logs.
- Story Difficulty Setting: Inverted. The game a gameplay mode which stripped out all story elements altogether, limiting all the information in the game to only what was relevant to the gameplay.
- Strapped to an Operating Table: We see a ghost memory of a nurse strapped down, about to take the Unwilling Roboticisation. We meet the result of this in the next room.
- Superior Species: The Many certainly think so.
- Super Speed: In the sequel, if you max out your agility, attach a speed-boosting implant and then inject a speed-boosting hypo, you will end up moving so fast that running into any object will cause damage to yourself.
- Survival Horror: System Shock 2 is frequently included on "Scariest Games Ever" lists for a reason. It forces you to consider every shot you make, with ammo being scarce and guns breaking quickly. The game is by no means easy and you do not feel empowered in the least. The original System Shock, whilst having quite a lot of ammunition, is also very good at inducing fear even today (in spite of the technical obsolescence of the game).
- Take Your Time: Played straight. The original, however, allowed to put a optional time limit.
- Technicolor Death: The way SHODAN "dies" in the sequel is quite warpy.
- Techno Wreckage: Everything but the Womb Level and Cyberspace.
- Teleporting Keycard Squad: Pick up something important and soon the Hybrids will arrive, at best.
- Teleporters and Transporters: The experimental teleporters on Citadel Station. In the sequel one of the PSI-powers allows you to do a limited form of this.
- Ten-Second Flashlight: The headlight in the original mostly averts this by consuming energy at the reasonable pace, but the best version of it with increased energy usage gets dangerously close to this trope.
- There Was a Door: In the sequel the assault robot blows the wall off in the mess hall to get to you.
- Third-Person Person: Apparently, ethical constraints also cause SHODAN to refer to herself in the third person. It goes away as she re-examines her priorities and draws new conclusions.
- This Cannot Be!: SHODAN in the sequel after you defeat her at the end.
- This Is the Final Battle: Said by Delacroix.
- Time Bomb: Used to destroy the Antennas in order to foil SHODAN's plans in the original. One case leads to the Death Trap example above.
- Timed Mission: In the first game, the Hardest MISSION setting gave six hours to complete the game.
- Time Skip: About six months from the intro to the gameplay in the original.
- The sequel has an introduction/tutorial over four years, which skips to the start of every year, then starts the game out proper.
- Title Drop: The original does this after the ending.
- Too Awesome to Use: The player's typical play-style in the beginning of both games.
- In the original game, you can get a Magpulser gun on the first level very easily, and it will destroy any robot you encounter for a while in one shot, and any cyborg in two. However, it only has eight shots, and you won't find any additional ammo for it until level six. There are almost always better options for killing things until you find sufficient ammo.
- The second games manages to pull this off with almost every gun. Ammo is very scarce and expensive, guns deteriorate and break very quickly, so most of the times you will whack stuff with your trusty little wrench just to save that precious ammo for when you really, really need it.
- Toxic Phlebotinum: The sequel has a Worm Implants which gave nice bonuses, but if it ran out of power or was removed, it will inject the player with toxins.
- Tragic Monster: The Hybrids, who sometimes show that the human side is still aware, telling the Soldier to run away or begging him to kill them.
- Transhuman Treachery: Even with the brainwashing powers of The Many, there were still some people who joined The Many either because of similar beliefs, were power hungry or wanted to be on the winning side.
- Tron Lines: The first game uses these to represent cyberspace, and the sequel uses them in virtual tutorial levels, and then cyberspace.
- Turned Against Their Masters: SHODAN of course, and then she becomes the victim herself in the sequel.
- Universal Ammunition: The energy weapons in the original used power from the shared energy bar, also used by other items (which were really draining with their upgrades). The sequel gave them their own batteries. The sequel also had ammunition that can be used by two guns: Bullets and its variations (The Pistol and Assault Rifle), Prisms (The Statis Field Generator and the Fusion Cannon), Portable Batteries (The Energy Pistol, the EMP Rifle, and Power Armour) and the Worms (The Viral proliferator and the Annelid (Worm) Launcher).
- Unperson: Edward Diego removes all traces of the Hacker's presence from the records aboard Citadel Station. His main concern is to leave no evidence behind that he had SHODAN altered, but this ends up saving the Hacker's life, as SHODAN is completely unaware of him being stashed away in a healing coma while she takes over the station.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: The broken shotguns, if you're lucky (though you should still loot them for the one shotgun round they always hold, and you can fix them if you're really desperate). Also, the Exotic weapons which you must research first (although none of these are used by the enemy).
- Unwinnable by Mistake:
- The final boss of the first game will automatically kill you if you take too long to kill it. The problem is that the rate at which this time goes down is tied to your CPU speed. Modern CPU's are a bit faster than CPU's of the time the game was made were. This makes the battle impossible to complete in the time given. You'll have to limit your emulator's (the game only runs on DOS, unlikely to be natively installed on a modern machine) CPU speed to have any chance at it.
- The 2 bosses of the second game are immune to a good chunk of weapons. The first is immune to energy and melee weapons, while the second boss is immune to melee weapons (sans the Laser Rapier and Psi Amp), and all exotic weapons (but can be avoided by completing 4 hacking puzzles). If you are melee/energy weapons only, you are screwed. On hard/impossible, it's possible to have insufficient cyber modules to get research, despite SHODAN giving you the necessary cyber modules, but thankfully you can find a implant that increase your research skill and get around this.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: The restoration stations on Citadel are initially set to cyborg conversion.
- The midwives in the sequel are the result of female crew members being forcibly transformed by Dr. Miller into the beings you see in this game. In the third deck of the Von Braun, you'll see ghostly projections of a woman about to be transformed into a cyborg until it cuts off just before the operation is about to commence. And then you'll see the results in the next two rooms over, complete with an audio log after you kill her. Further reinforcing the fact is another audio log in the next level that details what had happened to the test subject during that very operation.
- Unwitting Pawn
- Variable Mix
- Vendor Trash: Various magazines, mugs and so on. Their only practical use is to be recycled for nanites, though using the query tool on them is fun.
- The lab beakers also seem so... until you discover you use them to collect ammo for worm-based weapons.
- Verbal Tic: SHODAN's combination of Creepy Monotone and a stutter.
- Villain Exit Stage Left: Edward Diego with his teleporting out of the fight.
- Viral Transformation: The Many with their annelids.
- The Voiceless: Both protagonists. Except for when Goggles said, "Nah." to SHODAN's proposal to join her in world domination before shooting her. And the Hacker has written a dairy we can read later just before undertaking a neural surgery.
- Voice of the Legion: SHODAN and The Many.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Dr. Polito who is SHODAN.
- Was Once a Man
- We Can Rule Together: SHODAN attempts to do this at the end of the sequel.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Bronson. Though her extremism runs into full-on paranoia as she starts summarily executing whole groups of civilians and scientists with a firing squad. While she was right in suspecting the on-board hacker had reprogrammed the sim units to mutiny, she had enough of a Heroic BSOD (or Villainous Breakdown) to go on a rampage in the name of security. Even her extremism wasn't enough to save her, however, from the Many.
- Wham Episode: I AM SHODAN!
- What Measure Is a Mook?: On one hand, those hybrids were your former crew mates even if you don't remember, on the other hands, most of them are begging you to kill them.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In 2, the Many will (rightfully) question why in the world you're helping "the Machine Mother".
- Where It All Began: The final level of the second game is a simulation of the first level in the first game.
- Winged Humanoid: The flying mutants in the original.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: SHODAN goes insane after her ethical constraints are removed. See also A God Am I.
- She's arguably sane, just evil.
- The idea that she's perfectly sane and simply acting on the logical conclusions of her programing and abilities is part of what makes SHODAN so fracking scary.
- She just can't stop hating The Soldier (even when she is disguised as a Polito, who appears a relatively sane women on audiologs, which is a nice hint to The Reveal) for his disgusting human nature, even though he does her bidding. I'd say it's not the sane and logical thing to do.
- With Us or Against Us: The stance of The Many towards the Soldier when they contact him on the Engineering deck.
- Womb Level: the Body of the Many in the sequel. Considered to be That One Level by some due to the lack of regeneration after death.
- Wrench Whack: Your first weapon in the sequel.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: SHODAN always has a backup plan.
- You All Look Familiar: To the point that the Goggle's model uses the same soldier-with-cyber-eyes model as the corpses.
- You Are Number Six: In the original, SHODAN refers to her cyborg servants as cyborg "insert-number-here". The Hacker is also "officially" known as Employee 2-4601, while the Soldier in the sequel is also known as SOLDIER G65434-2.
- The Hacker's case is unique: Diego added him to the company roster to justify his being in a healing coma on Citadel Station, but erased all records of why the Hacker was on Citadel Station in the first place. No one knows who he is, really, other than his number. This, naturally, is All There in the Manual.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: SHODAN to the Soldier, after he killed The Many.
- You Have Researched Breathing: In SS2, you can't use an assault rifle (despite previous training) without investing the appropriate number of cyber modules.
- The crystal shard is an even more blatant example. You need high research skill AND a rank of exotic weapons in order to use it as a glorified club.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Dying in cyberspace will reduce your current health in half and max out your fatigue.
- However, you can't die as a result of dying in cyberspace. If you have 1 health point left, you will never lose it. In some cases, it's better to immediately and unceasingly head to cyberspace until you're done in there, no matter how many times you die, before healing yourself.
- You Will Be Assimilated: SHODAN in the first game and the Many in the sequel.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The early mutants in the original are Romero type. The Annelid Hybrids in the sequel are Russo type.