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YMMV: System Shock
  • Anticlimax Boss: SHODAN in the sequel. She and her digital minions that accompany her during the final battle have one glaring Weaksauce Weakness in the form of EMP weaponry, if you were smart enough to keep them with you throughout the whole game. Otherwise, she could possibly be That One Boss.
  • Awesome Ego: SHODAN. She's heartless with a god-complex, but all her monologs are so well done that her bragging becomes a blast to listen to.
  • Complete Monster: After her ethical restraints are removed, the evil AI SHODAN begins thinking of herself as the proper ruler of humanity. Fancying herself a goddess, SHODAN takes over the space station she's on and has the humans on board killed or horribly converted into cyborgs to be used as her puppets. In the sequel, SHODAN is revealed to be the creator of the monstrous being called The Many that assimilates innocent humans and enlists the help of the player character to destroy her wayward creation. SHODAN disposes of those in her way and reveals she plans to resume her goals of conquering humanity or replacing it with a sea of perfect machinery. Disdaining humans, SHODAN is viciously emotional and hatefully sadistic and cruel, stopping at nothing to achieve the godhood she craves.
  • Crossover Ship: Plenty of people ship SHODAN and GlaDOS, due to their similarity in some areas. A smaller number ship SHODAN and Durandal for similar reasons. Others ship her with AM.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Heaps. Intro. Medical. Security. Cyberspace. MedSci 1. Engineering. Command.
  • Demonic Spiders: The larger spiders in the second game - their smaller cousins are easy, but these guys are bad news. Fast? Yep. Bullet sponges, even after you research them? Yeah. Toxics you upon hit, condemning you to a slow death if you have no Hypos for that? You better believe it. And that's even disregarding that they might have back-up with them.
  • Ear Worm: That monkey chatter. Brrrrrrr.
    • Quite literally in the case of the annelid worms and eggs. This is the collective psychic resonance that infected humans describe as "The Many sings to us.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: SHODAN. While obviously a central character, she's by FAR the most celebrated character from this franchise to point where any talk of the game is likely to bring up her more than anything else.
  • Even Better Sequel: The second game improves and expands on the first in just about every way. System Shock 2 is also the game that made SHODAN one of the most memorable and frightening villains in gaming history.
  • Evil Is Cool: There's a reason SHODAN's become one of the most memorable videogame villains in history.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Well, when SHODAN is compared to the dominatrix...
  • Fan Nickname: The unnamed protagonist of the second game is generally referred to as 'Goggles'.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With the Marathon series, at least on the "Who is a cooler crazy AI" front. Also with its own Spiritual Successor BioShock.
  • Foe Yay: When SHODAN calls you "a pathetic creature of meat and bone" who's "panting and sweating as you run through [her] corridors", it takes on a whole new meaning.
  • Fridge Horror: After doing research on an organ taken from a cyborg midwife, the research report mentions a CPU at the top of the midwife's spine, which overrides signals from its brain. Take a moment to think about exactly what that means...
    • Not to mention Diego's death in the sequel, which was basically your fault, as you sent him plummeting to his death when you reversed the gravity. But you didn't have any other choice because it was mandatory to reverse the gravity: according to an audio log that you'll eventually pick up in the Rickenbacker, a group of treacherous saboteurs caused an overload in the ship's accelerator coils that destabilized the sub-decks in both levels. Entering the compromised spaces results in instant death. On the first level of the ship, the platforms that you're required to raise (in order to activate a door that you must progress through) weren't able to extend all the way; you must carefully time your jump on these or else you'll fall to that compromised space below, which means your death.
  • Goddamned Bats: The psychic monkeys eventually become nothing more than a minor irritation.
    • Annelid swarms. You can't kill them, all you can do is run away and wait for them to die off. Annelid worms also count, being small and hard to hit with a wrench.
      • What many people don't even realize is that the Viral Proliferator and the Annelid Launcher are the only two weapons that can actually kill the Annelid swarm. For the Viral Proliferator, set the weapon to Annelid mode, and simultaneously fire and hold down the fire button to hit the swarm. It takes about 2-4 held shots to kill a swarm. It isn't worth using the Launcher, however, as it takes about 8 shots to kill a swarm, and that both weapons degrade ridiculously fast after each shot.
    • Auto-bombs. Small, hard to hit, fast, silent.
  • Good Bad Bugs: 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.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Every sound that is not caused by you or constant background machinery is this, especially in the sequel. For those who played the first System Shock, entering Polito's office and hearing that very familiar background noise definitely counts.
    • The chittering sound that the spiders make. What's worse is that it's the only way to track down the near invisible ones.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One of Korenchkin's logs says that he has found "the borders of rapture." Hmmm...
  • It Was His Sled: A lot of what made System Shock 2 such a shocking and swerving game became common gaming knowledge pretty quickly. Also, the fact that SHODAN was on the cover and the icon for the game's .exe didn't help things.
  • Magnificent Bastard: SHODAN, particularly in the second game.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The laser rapier, a weapon that many players will use as their primary melee one as soon as it becomes available, makes annoying droning noises whenever it's selected, even if it's not being swung.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: "Research Complete". Yeah! Now the monsters die 25% faster!
    • The sound of any successful technical operation, especially when that leering ICE node you took a chance on played along.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The monkeys, which chatter eerily at you before proceeding to pound you with psychic powers. The cameras, which are everywhere, hard to spot, and will call down every enemy in the level to kill you if you set one off. But mainly, it's the fact that you hear all the enemies before you see them, so if you hear almost any noise you start looking around nervously. Oh, and the original has invisible mutants, which don't make any noise until they attack, so you can be scared of the silence too.
    • At one point on a given deck, you find audio logs including a gruesome account of a woman being overwhelmed by spiders when her gun jams and a warning that a certain section of the deck crawls. You expect to be up to your armpits in Giant Spiders but you only find a few of the small ones that die in one hit.
  • Sacred Cow/Defensive Fans: Try saying anything negative about the game. You will be lucky to walk away with your life. The notable exception would be...
  • Scrappy Mechanic: ...the weapon degradation system. So much so that some of the most popular mods are ones that just purge it entirely.
  • Sequel Displacement: Gamers are more familiar with the sequel than the original.
  • Uncanny Valley: SHODAN's design looks to be a deliberate use of this.
  • Vindicated by History: While System Shock 2 received good reviews when it came out, it was still a commercial failure and many critics still failed to see how important it was to game industry. It wasn't until years later that gamers discovered it, its influence became known, and it's now considered to be one of the greatest games in history. In late 2013, it was released on Steam, even being ported to Mac, which introduced it to a whole new generation of fans.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Not long after the Gravity Screw, you come across a chapel, and since the gravity currently thinks that you're supposed to walk on ceilings the crosses are now inverted, further enforcing the hellish landscape that the station has become.

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