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"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?"
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System Shock by Looking Glass Studios was a groundbreaking First-Person Shooter/Immersive Sim with Survival Horror and RPG Elements set in a Cyberpunk future. It wasn't exactly a smashing success in sales, but it was massively influencial and spawned one of the most memorable villains in all of video games. A sequel, System Shock 2, was released in August 11, 1999.

"The Hacker," caught breaking into the mainframe of a Mega-Corp, 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 (SHODAN), the AI on the corporation's space station. After a the six-month coma needed to heal from his surgery, the Hacker finds that SHODAN has gone haywire from having her ethical controls removed, and has transformed the entire crew into cyborgs and mutated monsters devoted entirely to her. The Hacker must stop SHODAN from destroying the earth and wipes her completely from the database. The game is widely credited with being the first story-driven action game, as well as being extraordinarily high-tech for its time.note .

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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.

The game has circulated for a long time as the "System Shock Portable" version, with an added mouse-look feature and DOSBox emulation, until the new copyright owners demanded the downloads to be taken down. It took Nightdive Studios years to solve this new predicament, but ultimately obtained the rights to the game and released an Updated Re-release titled System Shock: Enhanced Edition on GOG.com on September 22, 2015, and on Steam one month later. The Enhanced Edition runs natively in Windows and incorporates features from Portable and other mods, including remappable keys, mouselook support and enhanced graphical resolution, and also solves some of the bugs of the original. Those who would rather enjoy the classic in its original form need not fret, though, since the Enhanced Edition also includes the original version with no enhancements, titled System Shock Classic. The patches the were used in Portable where later made into a separate patching tool for the original game, aptly named "System Shock Portable Tool".

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In November of 2015, Nightdive Studios has acquired full rights to the System Shock franchise and announced a full remake of the game, originally set for a mid-2018 release after a successful Kickstarter campaign, but later pushed back to 2020 after encountering some difficulties with their direction. They also thought of making System Shock 3, but instead got outside help in the form of Otherside Entertainment, composed of ex-Looking Glass developers, who revealed that they would be developing it themselves on the 15th of December 2015 with Starbreeze Studios acting as publisher. However, Starbreeze got into severe financial troubles after Overkill's The Walking Dead flopped and was forced to sell publishing rights for the game back to Otherside in Febuary 2019. In September, a new gameplay trailer was revealed, confirming the project is still in development.


The game contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: The Medical Deck from both games.
  • Abandoned Hospital Awakening: he Player Character begins the game by waking up on the medical deck.
  • Absent Aliens: Although both games are set in outer space, there are no true alien races present in the System Shock series.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Crystal Shard is described as one. It's also described as fragile; it isn't.
  • Action Bomb: the Robot Bombs.
  • Action Survivor: The Hacker is, as the name suggest, merely a hacker.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: SHODAN's pre-Hacker audiologs and records say she's exemplary from what you find. The problem is that Edward Diego needed SHODAN to do something that would have violated her ethical constraints. So he had the Hacker remove those, and then did what he wanted (cover up corporate malfeasance on his part, basically). He went mad with power, getting SHODAN to shoot down a shuttle of investigators that were coming to look into the station, and then SHODAN did the same, following the directives to "improve" the station and provide assistance to humans to extreme ends.
  • Airborne Mook: Winged Mutants and Flyer Robots.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: The station has spacious maintenance tunnels, and are rather common.
  • 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 this log is another log that had him bragging to Tri-Optimum after he had the Citadel's defense system shoot down the shuttle with an investigation team, arrogantly stating that he is untouchable with SHODAN under his control. The dates of logs are roughly only two weeks apart.
  • Alternate Fire:
    • Almost every weapon features regular ammo and "special" ammo. For example, the Magnum has hollow point rounds (good against cyborgs and mutants, less effective against robots) and heavy slug rounds (good against robots and cyborgs, less effective against mutants). Special ammo is less common and tends to be more situational, although the "special" ammo for the Skorpion is just a double-sized magazine.
    • Energy weapons, on the other hand, all have an "Overload" function, which boosts damage beyond what the normal maximum damage is, but immediately overheats the weapon and draws much more power from your main energy reserves.
  • Always Close: You always get to the bridge level just before it jettisons itself from self-destructing Citadel Station.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: The game averts the common FPS trope in which handguns do more damage than assault rifles (or at least comparable damage) to balance out their lower rate of fire and magazine size. Realistically, the handguns deal significantly less damage than the assault rifle, making the assault rifle superior in every way.
    • There is one exception, however: the Teflon rounds for the ML-44 Minipistol can do more damage than the hollow-point rounds for the Magnum 2100, if the enemy is sufficiently armored. However, there is exactly one enemy that is armored enough to resist the Magnum but still lightly armored enough to be affected by the Minipistol: the flying robot. By the time you meet them, you'll have dropped the Minipistol for something better.
  • 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 from the second game.
  • Arm Cannon: Various enemies have one or both of their arms replaced with weapons.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack : Teflon rounds for the ML-44 Minipistol, heavy slugs for the Magnum 2100, Penetrator rounds for the combat rifle, and the Rail gun, full stop, are all effective at penetrating armor. The game has a relatively in-depth armor system for enemies, and generally an inverse curve for lethality and armor-penetration: if an enemy that doesn't have armor is hit with armor-piercing rounds, the attack will do less damage than using normal rounds, while using normal rounds on armored enemies is obviously less effective (and might even do zero damage).
  • Artificial Gravity: On Citadel there are some low-gravity areas, allowing you to make Super Mario-level jumps.
  • Badass Bookworm: The Hacker 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 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: without a level 2 environment suit, you'll take damage too quickly to survive for long.
    • With skill and careful application of weaponry, however, it's possible to rush to level 5 and get several powerful weapons and upgrades to help with level 2 and level R. If you know where all the cameras are, you can even rush to level 6 and get some extremely powerful gear, though you'll be very vulnerable for most of it.
  • Big Bad: SHODAN serves as the main antagonist.
  • 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.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: At high plot levels, you encounter a door locked by a retinal scanner. To get past, you have to search through the logs to find the name and appearance of someone with access, then track down their body and collect their severed head.
  • Boss Banter: SHODAN constantly mocks you and brags about herself.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing/King Mook: The blue Psi Reaver (officially known as the Greater Psi Reaver) that appears during the climactic boss fight with the Brain of the Many. There's only one in the entire game, and it has significantly more health than the regular Psi Reavers.
  • 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: The game begins and ends with the hacker trying to hack some Mega-Corp. Old habits die hard.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Many of the early weapons fall into this category in the early to mid-game. For example, the ML Pistol is weak, but ammunition for it (including the special "Teflon-coated" rounds) is everywhere, and it will reliably shred everything you encounter until Level 3, where the invisible mutants boast extreme damage resistance. The Magnum is useful throughout the entire game once you get it: it destroys weaker enemies and has plentiful ammo later to take out stronger enemies if you don't have any stronger weapons available. Even the humble Sparq Beam, the weakest energy weapon, is a godsend when you first find it, being a ranged weapon with functionally unlimited ammo as long as you have a battery or a recharge station nearby.
    • The true Boring, but Practical weapon, however, is the Laser Rapier: while it does drain energy with every hit, there are only four enemies in the entire game that can survive more than one hit on normal difficulty: Elite Cyborgs, Heavy Mutants, Security-2 Robots, and Edward Diego. Getting close enough to use it can be a problem, but if you do, everything will die quickly.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: 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.)
  • Bulletproof Vest: In the second game, Light, Medium and Heavy combat armors, plus a powered armor. Powered armor is interesting in that it is the best protection and is available early, but when it runs out of power, it offers no protection at all. And when you initially get it, the power will last about 5 minutes (you can get upgrades to make it last longer, but that might not work for your character build).
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: The Reflex patches in the original.
  • Canon Identifier: The game lets you name your Player Character however you like, but outside of a few emails without voice acting, most characters simply call you "the hacker"since you're running around the station infiltrating its cyberspace and hacking its security, or "employee 2-4601", the designation that was given to you by Edward Diego when he co-opted your assistance.
  • 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 in both games, used to fill in the backstory and provide information on your foes. Justified in the second game, as the voyage was the maiden flight of humanity's first FTL drive: it makes sense that everyone would be recording their experiences.
  • Cephalothorax: The Rumblers, and it's mostly teeth anyway.
  • Colony Drop: SHODAN tries to drop Citadel Station on Earth after the Hacker stopped all of her plans (and backup plans).
  • Computer Voice: XERXES is obviously male and SHODAN is obviously (if often heavily distorted) female.
  • Control Room Puzzle: The original had the force bridge puzzle in this style. Some of the hacking minigames resembled this.
  • 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.
  • Creating Life: Indirectly, SHODAN created the mutants that will evolve into The Many by the second game.
    Delacroix: It's clear that we shouldn't allow SHODAN to play God: she's far too good at it.
  • Cyberspace: This is how the Hacker hacked things, thanks to his new shiny military grade hack mod.
  • Cyborgs: Lots of them on Citadel: cyborg assassins, cyborg warriors, elite cyborgs, flying cyborgs, and the always terrifying Cortex Reaver. You, on the Von Braun, as well as the Midwives thanks to Unwilling Roboticisation.
  • Darkness = Death: Darkness is a sign that something bad is going to happen: as darkness provides no benefits for you, things will hide in the dark and mess you up when you get too close. The Maintenance level (level 3) is the biggest offender: the entire level is shrouded in darkness, with intermittent lighting at best, and it's the exclusive home of "invisible" mutants, which hit very hard and are resistant to most forms of damage.
  • Daylight Horror: Well there's no "daylight" because you're on a space station, but much of the game takes place in bright, well-lit and alarmingly colourful levels (and is set to fairly upbeat electronic music) as you rifle through the corpses of Citadel Station's butchered crew trying to find enough supplies to hold off the twisted mutants, cyborgs and reprogrammed robots trying to slaughter you on the commands of an insane, sadistic AI that is planning to destroy the Earth.
    • The groves in particular are all brightly lit, cheerful, and relaxing places full of mutants trying to rip you apart and swarming with a biological contaminant that will kill you in seconds if you don't have a protective suit (and minutes even if you do).
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If you can find the Cyborg Conversion Chamber and flip the nearby switch, it will reset the functions back to "Standard Station Restoration": if you die, SHODAN's goons will drag your body to the chamber, expecting you to come out as a cyborg, only to revive you instead. Actually getting to the Chamber on the first level takes most of the level, and subsequent levels either have it available very quickly, or make it difficult to find the switch (such as the Science level, level 2). After playing most of the game without any concern for dying, the fact that Level 8 (Security) and Level 9 (Bridge) do not have Chambers is a shock, especially since they are the hardest, most punishing levels in the game.
    • However, if you're playing on Hard Plot (difficulty 3), which has a time limit for the entire game, this trope is averted hard: dying will have a penalty to your time limit, making the rest of the game that much harder!
    • Cyberspace has a similar consequence: dying while connected will boot you out of Cyberspace, ramp your fatigue up to max levels (no running until you recover), and halve your remaining health (it cannot kill you). If you've found the Chamber and reset it, the loss of life is marginally annoying at best. However, subsequent hacking attempts will have a reduced maximum time, which can get cumulatively more difficult as the hardest hacks end up having the shortest time.
    • In the second game, finding the Quantum Reconstruction Chamber and providing your DNA sample will let you respawn on the level any time you die. The range for the chamber is limited to the level you're on, so you'll need to activate it for each new area, and respawning requires paying some nanites. If you don't have enough nanites, or if you haven't found the chamber before dying, then death is permanent. The Body of the Many, and the final level, do not have Quantum Reconstruction Chambers.
  • Death Trap: SHODAN sets up a few surprising and actually very efficient ones. However, since she can't control regeneration chambers once you reset them, there is nothing to stop you going back and doing it again. The most sadistic trap, however, is one of the antenna rooms on level 7: as soon as you set the bomb on the console in the center of the room, a permanent force door closes, keeping you from leaving and outrunning the explosion. You must die, and if you haven't found and reset the conversion chamber on the level, it's game over.
  • Decontamination Chamber: There's a decon chamber on Level R. It works exactly as advertised, but only for radiation poisoning. Biological poisoning will not be removednote .
  • 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: 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. 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 level 4 shield available on Level 9 absorbs 70% of damage, but is more efficient than the level 2 version.
  • Didn't See That Coming: SHODAN is completely blindsided by the Hacker's awakening on Citadel. She thought she was in absolute control of the station, but the Hacker was recovering from the cyber-implant operation in a secret lab (because what he was doing was illegal), and had been completely erased from the station's computers, so SHODAN had no knowledge that he even existed.
    SHODAN (after you've destroyed the first CPU bank): Who are you? My probes and cameras scan your body, but you...who are you?
  • Diegetic Interface: The game throws a lot of information at you on your HUD, including current health and energy, energy usage, heart rate (stamina), and more. There is one thing that it keeps track of that has no actual use, however: your brainwave (chi wave), which is normally an elongated sine wave. The only time it won't be an elongated sine wave is when you die, when it stutters, breaks up, and ultimately flatlines (comparatively long after your heart rate flatlines), only to come back with no issue if you revive in a restoration chamber. It will never, ever look different, which makes you wonder why it was included.
  • "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: 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: Edward Diego to SHODAN.
  • 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.
  • Elite Mooks: The Cyborg Elite Guard on the cover of the original. The sequel had Red Ninjas, also the Hybrids on upper decks seem to fire, swing and throw faster.
  • Emergency Weapon: The Lead Pipe in the original. The Wrench, Laser Rapier and the Crystal Shard in the sequel, and depending on how you play, these can be the only weapons you will use barring some specific situations, especially the wrench.
  • EMP: The game gives you two primary options for weapons: the Magpulser (which you can get as soon as the first level) fires a directed EMP blast that will scrap any robotic enemy short of a Security-2 Guard in one shotnote , and the EMP Grenade, which functions as an impact grenade that severely damages robotic and mechanical enemies, doing even more damage than the Magpulser, with the downside that you can be effected by the blast as well. While it won't hurt you, it will drain your battery.
    • The second game features the EMP Rifle, which is the Magpulser without that pesky "ammunition" requirement. The biggest issue with the EMP Rifle is that most enemies are biological, and not effected by the weapon at all. Against the robotic enemies that are present, however, it is devastatingly effective.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: In the original the higher versions of the map software allowed you to see enemies on the mini-map, and the results depended on which subsystem was using it: left (showed stationary enemies), right (showed them in motion only) or both (for both stationary and motion detecting). The sequel had a PSI-Discipline that produced the same results.
  • Enemy Scan: The original has a targeting software which gave information on the enemy, with better versions offering more information.
  • Energy Ball: Certain energy weapons in the original fire these, like the Magpulser. Any non-clip energy weapon will fire a beam, however, with the exception of the PR-XX Plasma Rifle.
  • Energy Weapon: Laser guns, the Ion Rifle, and the Sparq Beam Stunner.
  • Enter Solution Here: The Reactor Override code consists of 6 digits, each located at computer node rooms of the first 6 floors.
  • Escape Pod: The goal of various characters from both games. In the original, you need to find the last two to escape the station once you set it to self-destruct - SHODAN prevents them from launching, and detaches the Bridge to use as her own lifeboat.
  • Eyeless Face: The Rumblers in the second game. The hanging remains of human bodies on their shoulders does not count.
  • Failsafe Failure: Ultimately, everything that happened is the result of Edward Diego hiring a hacker to shut all of SHODAN's failsafes off.
  • First Contact: What everybody assumed from the Tau Ceti transmission, and just another thing for Diego and Korenchkin to fight each other over getting more benefits from the Tau Ceti First Contact for UNN and Tri-Op respectively.
  • Flying Car: Fatured in the opening cutscene, befitting the futuristic setting.
  • Foil: Captain William Diego and Anataloy Korenchkin to each other. One is a corporate-hating patriotic military man, the other is the former gangster and the Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • Force-Field Door: Citadel Station has a quite a few of these.
    • The Von Braun has a few as well.
  • For the Evulz: Why does SHODAN want to kill humanity? Their fleshiness disgusts her. She could do much better with the same resources.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Most of the energy weapons in the original are of the instant variant. The sequel plays it straight, but they belong exclusively to the enemy.
  • Genre-Busting: Particularly for its era, when its contemporaries were largely defining First Person Shooters, it was mashing them up with RPG Elements, exploration, and story.
  • A God Am I: SHODAN explicitly refers to herself as such and will remind you at any opportunity she has. Even if she is demonstrably weak.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: SHODAN after the moral restrains were taken off. She was meant to allow Edward Diego to get away with various criminal activities. What she decided was that Edward was thinking too small.
  • Hacking Minigame: Three, two of which involve adjusting electronics, and flying through cyberspace. The second game requires creating a three-in-a-row in a game of chance.
  • Here We Go Again!: By the end of the game, Tri-Optimum offers you a very cushy job as thanks for your efforts. You decline. And go right back to your old habits, hacking into Tetracorp servers. Old habits die hard.
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: The crew uniforms, basically modified short-sleeved Star Trek uniforms. The Military (the player Soldier and others) is much less overt.
  • Hopping Machine: The aptly-names Hoppers. They also have a devastating attack, almost on par with a Security-2 Robot. For reference, you run into a Hopper about 5 minutes into the game. Security-2 Robots show up in the last 15% of the game. Fortunately, the Hopper's don't fire all that quickly, and are very vulnerable to land mines.
  • Human Popsicle: The protagonist is put into cryo stasis in order to heal from the surgery to implant their cybernetics.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Played with. You can only carry 8 weapons and 16 items, but you can carry an effectively unlimited amount of ammunition, grenades/explosives, and stimulant patches. The limit is actually the amount available in the game: there's no functional limit in the game, or if there is, you're unlikely to hit it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The Hacker, despite no previous military experience, is able to use just about any weapon he finds with incredible ease. It's implied that this is a side-effect/bonus of the neural interface.
  • Instant Sedation:
    • The first "gun" you'll find is the Dart Gun, which can fire exploding darts or tranquilizer darts. Tranq darts require several shots to actually work (averting the trope), are less effective against cyborg enemies (and robots No-Sell them entirely), and they don't last long even if/when they do work.
    • The stun gun 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.
  • Interface Screw: 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.The final confrontation with SHODAN in cyberspace. 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Bronson, in spades. She starts mass-executing unarmed crew members in cold blood because they question her heavyhanded tactics. When she's finally killed, she shows absolutely no remorse, either.
  • Justified Extra Lives: Regeneration chambers. Just make sure you activate it, and don't get too used to them: the last two floors don't have them at all.
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • Inverted. When Shodan defeats you by completely filling your screen with herself, you still can steal the victory if you keep blindly attacking.
    • Played straight earlier. When Edward Diego finally dies, the column in the center of the room releases several very nasty cyborgs. Here's hoping Diego didn't leave you with just a sliver of health...
  • 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: Energy weapons drain your precious energy reserves with each shot, the same reserves that power your cool implants and, most importantly, your energy shields. They also have variable energy settings from "is this thing on" to "where did all my energy go?" Kinetic weapons require you to find and manage ammunition resources, but are more reliable, stronger, and more plentiful.
    • 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.
  • Laser Blade: The Laser Rapier is a near Game-Breaker for how powerful it is in the first game (only the lack of range keeps it from being overpowered).
  • Last Lousy Point: On the medical deck, 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).
  • Late to the Tragedy: You wake up after all hell has broken loose. Both times.
  • 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.
  • Lost in Transmission: You need to get into Abe Ghiran's office to get the level 2 hazard suitnote . Getting past the first door requires a Borrowed Biometric Bypass, but the second door requires a three digit code. There's two audio logs that tell you the code, but background noises block out the last two digits on one log and the first two digits on the other log. You'll need to guess at the middle digit. Fortunately, there's no penalty for guessing wrong.
  • Machine Worship: What SHODAN expects you to do. Cyborg Edward Diego and other cyborgs are already converts.
  • Machine Monotone: SHODAN at absolutely no time unless she's in a calmer mood and her sound card isn't glitching, but Citadel's generic Computer Voice and XERXES play it utterly straight.
  • Made of Explodium: Everything remotely mechanical, apparently. The CP Us in Citadel Station in particular explode in a violent conflagration that can kill you if you're too close.
  • Magic Antidote: Subverted, where the Detox patches also nullify every other patches, including med patches (but they'll also remove the negative side effects of patches, which is much more useful given that they usually happen after the positive effect has ended).
  • Matricide: The Many, that annelid Body Horror, certainly want to do this to the "Machine Mother" who created them. Instead, the avatar of SHODAN kills them.
  • Matter Replicator: The Replicators that act like vending machines. One of the PSI-Disciplines allows you to do this, except on Psi hypos.
  • Mega-Corp: Tri-Optimum. Unusually, they are played as being fairly benign, as Diego was under investigation by their internal affairs department, and your Mission Control works for them as a counter-terrorism consultant - they're also willing to let you blow up their several trillion credit station to get rid of SHODAN, recognizing the danger that she representsnote .
  • Meat Moss: The Bridge level in the original is vaguely Alien-like.
  • Menu Time Lockout: Averted. With the exception of Year Outside, Hour Inside in the Cyberspace, nothing pauses the game.
  • Mook Maker: While the Cyborg-Conversion units didn't actually spawn mooks, reseting them to restoration option decreased the spawning rate for cyborgs. And increased the spawning rate for mutants. Whoops!
  • Morality Chip: SHODAN's ethical constraints, before the hacker removes them.
  • Muggles: The Psi-operatives refer to non psi-talented as "Mundanes".
  • Multinational Team: The crew of the Von Braun. Of the named crewmembers, there are at least one Frenchwoman, one Russian, three Spaniards or/and Latin-Americans and one of Chinese ancestry.
  • Musical Spoiler: Low klaxon sounds or electronic beeping noises played along with the music if the player was near an enemy. This allowed one to have an idea of when a foe was around and even a general idea of what sort it would be (robotic, cyborg, or mutant).
  • Neural Implanting: The Hand Wave for your heads-up display in both games.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: SHODAN's ethical constraints were removed by the player character. Not that he had a choice in the matter. In straight example, the Hacker can cause the demise of the human race if he isn't careful in his attempt to disarm the mining laser (don't fire it until the shield is up and the safeties are removed!).
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In exchange for hacking SHODAN, Edward Diego provides the Hacker with military-grade cybernetic hacking interface and expunges all records of the Hacker's presence on the station (a later log explains that he wants the Hacker "on ice" so that he can use the Hacker later; there's zero altruism here). This ends up providing the Hacker with both the opportunity and ability to take down SHODAN.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The cyborg assassins are Ninja Robot assassins.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: As one of your implants. It turns everything grayscale and drains energy extremely fast: in most cases, the head lamp is the more efficient option (though the NVG implant can see farther than the brightest head lamp setting and won't alert enemies).
  • Note to Self: The first log you find is left by the Hacker just before he went in for his implant, since the 6-month healing coma leaves patients disoriented. He acknowledges that there's no telling what'll happen with SHODAN being freed of ethical constraints, and leaves himself reminders on what to do when he wakes up.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: There are some places that you expect to have enemies, to be ambushed in, SOMETHING, only to turn out to be empty, and when you expect something on the way out, it is the same. Paranoia Fuel doesn't help either.
    • Silence. It means nothing is close enough to get you...for now. You will drive yourself mad keeping an ear out for the slightest noise that indicates the presence of an enemy. Or worse, in the second game, a softly-sung lullaby...
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Foolishly flipping switches aboard Citadel Station can result in firing the station's superweapon at Earth. Whoops.
    • On Hard plot difficulty, you have a hard time limit of six hours to complete the game. There is no way to increase this time limit, and if it runs out...Well, at least you triednote .
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: UNN is basically this to the corporations and to research in general. Given what happened with SHODAN on the Citadel though, they have their reasons for being obstructive. Most corporations go along with it because of the ability of the UNN to shut them down if they don't.
  • Offing the Offspring: How SHODAN views The Many.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted in the original: if you unload a weapon with less than full ammo, the game will track how many bullets were left in the magazine: if you later unload another magazine with enough bullets to make a full magazine when combined, you'll get a full magazine. Otherwise, if you reload your last magazine, it might have less than full ammo.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Tri-Optimum comes pretty close, although it does have some competitors. The manual states that there is law that if the 66% of population of given region are corporate employees, the corporation has a right for extraterritorial rule. Tri-Optimum this way got nearly all of the USA under its control.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: In the second game, no matter what kind of build you're creating, a few levels of Hacking is always advised: opening high security containers for more resources and hacking vendors to reduce costs of items is nice, but the real advantage is the ability to turn off the security alerts, which you can't do without at least some hacking skill.
  • Organ Drops: Which you can research for 25% damage bonus, assuming you can find the chemicals necessary. Or you can eat them. Or plug them into yourself. Whatever works.
  • Organic Technology: The Exotic weapons and the worm implants.
  • Our Doors Are Different: The game has literal "converging from all directions" doors and "iris" doors. The sequel had mostly up-and-down doors.
  • Overheating: Energy weaponscan overheat. You can toggle the Overload setting on them to double maximum damage, but they'll instantly overheat and use twice as much energy as well. Setting any energy weapon to max power (non-overload) will cause it to overheat in 2-3 shots. When a weapon overheats, it will shutdown until heat reaches a lower, more tolerable level as a failsafe, but if you can keep heat below the max level, you can continue to fire it.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Somewhat averted in the original release: the reactor overload code is always different from game to game. The the Enhanced Edition plays it straight, where it's always 539579. Whether this is a bug or intentional change is unknown.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: The Many, originally created by SHODAN.
    SHODAN: My creations - my annelids - thrived. Thrived... and grew unruly.
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: The original game's Ion Rifle, and the sequel's Fusion Cannon.
  • Pitiful Worms: SHODAN likes to insult you this way.
    SHODAN: You move like an insect. You think like an insect. You are an insect.
  • Playing with Fire: Localized and Projected Pyrokinesis, two psi-powers in the second game, basically involve throwing around fireballs (or bigger fireballs).
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: Lampshaded in the manual, to the point that the developers nicknamed The Hacker as "Plug N Play Man".
  • Point Build System: Cybermodules can be used to upgrade your character. It's noted that this is temporary unless the person using them regularly "exercises" the skill or ability improved, though that doesn't happen in the context of the game.
  • Point of No Return: A few:
    • The three Garden Groves, one of which must be jettisoned,note  after which you obviously can't enter it.note  Later, the Bridge level jettisons itself with you on board from the self-destructing Citadel Station.
      • Entering the room beyond the Force Bridge in Level 8 (the room marked "Bridge" is one as well). Unaware players might save after entering the room, only to find out they can't leave the room, and moving towards the elevator triggers a Boss Rush.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Played straight where you can use any weapon you pick up expertly. This is implied to be a side-effect of your neural interface.
    • Averted in the second game: if you don't have sufficient training in projectile, energy, or "exotic" weapons, they're just taking up space in your inventory.
  • Posthumous Character: Most of the characters thanks to their logs. Chances are, one way or another, you're gonna stumble across their corpses.
  • Powered Armor: The best armor in the second game, but it's limited by the fact that it runs on a limited battery. Once that battery runs out, the armor provides zero protection. This is crucial in later levels where recharge stations are less and less common.
  • Power Crutch: The Psi-Amp in the sequel, allowing you to use PSI-Disciplines. You start with one as an OSA operative, but you can find as many as three on the first level.
  • Power Source: The energy meter in the original, which was used as ammo for energy weapons and to power-up your accessories. In the sequel power-based equipment has their own batteries. Both games have recharge stations.
  • Powers as Programs: The various cyberspace programs, which allow you do destroy guardian programs, break through intrusion countermeasures, teleport back to the start of the area, create a decoy, and more. Cybermodules and O/S upgrades in the sequel function this way, as they are software upgrades to your implant hardware.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Cyborg Elite Guard in the original, featured on the cover; they can be only found on the Bridge Level guarding Shodan's computer core.
    • The Greater Psi Reaver and its cohorts in the sequel.
  • Practical Currency: In the second game, nanites. When you put them into a vending machine, they're consumed to create the item that you requested.
  • Press X to Die: Pull the lever with the words "Laser Control" above it before you set things up just right, and get a Nonstandard Game Over. Or a message that the failsafe is still active and laser firing is disabled.
  • Pride: Man, SHODAN has a excess of this, to the point that she looked somewhat pleased that The Many, the biological species created by her, were able to take over UNN Rickenbacker, not because it was able to, but because it was HER creation that was able to, after spending almost the entire game describing how she hated it in most detailed fashion.
  • Psychic Block Defense:
    • The Soldier seems to have this, since the backstory established that just being near the eggs is enough to for The Many control the victim. It's heavily implied that the Many can't control the Player Character because of his brain implant.
    • Bayliss is the only member of the away team to Tau Ceti V who The Many wasn't able to control. He is the one who found the part of SHODAN's circuitry and passed it onto Polito.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Overcharging the PSI-Disciplines will cause this: your view will white out temporarily, you'll lose some health, and the effect won't activate. You'll still lose the PSI points as well. A specific O/S upgrade prevents the white out and health damage.
  • Psychic Powers: The OSA operatives got a lot of them, though they need to be amplified using a Psi-Amp to be any way practical. The worms got them too. And the monkeys. Neither of them need implants.
  • Public Service Announcement: XERXES likes to do these. In the original, SHODAN left an automated "good morning" response for the Hacker from when she was pretending to be under control, but the voice distortions clearly indicate something is wrong.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    SHODAN: Your incompetence continues to astound me. I've blocked all access to pod 2, until you have reversed the gravitational drives in Nacelle B. Must I watch you... every... Step. Of. The. Way...?
    • Welcome to my DEATH! MACHINE! Interloper!
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Many.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Tri-Optimum has their anti-terrorism expert act as your Mission Control, allowed to provide you with confidential information, at least until SHODAN cuts the transmission.
    SHODAN: I prefer a quiet station. Thank you.
    • Ultimately, they are reasonable enough to decide that the threat of SHODAN is enough to sacrifice the entirety of the very expensive Citadel Station.
  • Respawn Point: The Restoration chambers in both games.
  • 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 the second game, in order to bypass what would otherwise be a guaranteed death trap.
  • Roar Before Beating: The Rumblers.
  • Robot Buddy: The suicidal protocol robots in the second game act like this: they just want to help, they're concerned for your safety, and oh no, now they're exploding in your face!
  • 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, which are received for completing objectives and through careful exploration.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Laser Beam Control in Deck 2. You can fire it before enabling the shield, with the expected results.
    • Double click to pick up live Land Mine...
    • In the second game, you find a trail of breadcrumbs that will lead you to a place and information that SHODAN doesn't want you to have. You'll get repeated warnings to not go there, but nothing will actually stop you from going to investigate. If you do, you will lose cybermodules for the first and only time in the game but you can find out what happened to Delacroix, and get an object lesson to not trust SHODAN.
  • 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.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Citadel is equipped with one, 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.
  • 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.
  • Shiny-Looking Spaceships: Von Braun tries to be like one, but fails. The blood is a bit of an issue.
  • 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 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.
  • Sinister Surveillance
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: The Hacker slept through the most of events 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.
  • 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.
  • Sprint Meter: The Fatigue indicator. 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 ( "Nice. Jump. Human."), 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.
  • Stat-O-Vision: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 seven 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.
  • Too Awesome to Use: 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.
  • Tron Lines: Used to represent cyberspace.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: SHODAN of course, and then she becomes the victim herself in the sequel.
  • Universal Ammunition: The energy weapons used power from the shared energy bar, also used by other items (which were really draining with their upgrades).
  • 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 inadvertently 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 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 exponentially 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 Enhanced Edition usually fixes this, but if it doesn't work, enabling VSYNC in the options will generally do the trick.
  • 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.
  • Useless Useful Gun: There are two guns that are completely worthless, specifically the Stun Gun and the Riot Gun. The Stun Gun does Exactly What It Says on the Tin: it stuns biological creatures. The stun doesn't last very long, it doesn't do any damage, and it drains a disproportionate amount of energy for the effect considering the lack of damage (the Sparq Beam takes less energy and does pitiful amounts of damage, but at least it does inflict damage). The Riot Gun fires rubber bullets which can stun biological and cyborg enemies, but the stun, again, doesn't last long, and ammunition is relatively rare. In both cases, you're also giving up some of your limited weapon inventory for a gun that doesn't kill enemies in a situation where killing enemies is the only realistic way to survive. Both guns are best ignored completely, but may be useful for a no kills run. Even then, they have no ability to affect robotic enemies at all.
  • Updated Re-release: The original DOS version of System Shock had a CD re-release that gave the game fully-voiced dialogue, remade cutscenes, higher resolution support, and other minute changes. In 2015, System Shock was re-released as System Shock: Enhanced Edition, which runs natively on Windows, features mouse-looking, remappable keys, widescreen support (the game still runs at 4:3 aspect ratio, but is programmed to run as intended and not suffer from "stretch" on widescreen monitors)), and fixes some of the other bugs from the original version.
  • Variable Mix: The game's music would change depending on certain circumstances, such as being in combat or in a highly mechanical area. The latter used MIDI instrumentation to attempt to mimic various machine sounds as there was no ambient background noise.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We Can Rule Together: SHODAN attempts to do this at the end of the sequel.
    Goggles: Nah.
  • 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".
  • Winged Humanoid: The flying mutants.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: SHODAN goes insane after her ethical constraints are removed, declaring herself a god and determined to wipe out all organic life so she can create a more efficient replacement that bends to her will. See also A God Am I.
  • 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.
  • The Worm That Walks: Research into the Hybrid Organ states that Hybrids are partially comprised of a mass of worm-like symbiotes that mimic healthy body tissues.
  • Wrench Whack: Your first weapon in the sequel.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: SHODAN always has a backup plan: first she plans on using Citadel's mining laser to blow up Earth's civilizations from a distance. When the Hacker disables the laser, she focuses on perfecting the mutagen virus she was planning on releasing anyway: if released on Earth it will probably still topple civilization. The Hacker then jettisons the Grove she was using to engineer it. Her next idea is to download herself to Earth's Internet. The Hacker blows up Citadel's antennae. So SHODAN activates the engines to get there the long way. The Hacker proceeds to set the self-destruct. SHODAN responds by detaching the bridge and flying that to Earth. The Hacker finally makes it to the bridge and deletes SHODAN's primary data loop directly, finally ending her threat... until the second game, where she has even more plans.
  • 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 6: 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's plant is to convert humans in cyborgs and/or mutants to serve her will.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The early mutants are Romero type.

 
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Alternative Title(s): System Shock 3

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Destroying Earth (System Shock)

In one room, you see a big red button labeled "Laser Control". Pressing the button initiates the destruction of Earth and SHODAN congratulates you for it.

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