System shock is a really cool dos game. Its not like most typical FPS games of its time. It inspired games like Deus Ex and Bioshock and Dead Space. It was derived from a first person fantasy action RPG called Ultima underworld.
The story is awesome. Apparently you are the bad guy who has hacked a computer on a space station causing the Security System S.H.O.D.A.N. who starts turning people into cyborgs and mutants. Now you are a prisoner of the ship sent to kill things on there and destroy S.H.O.D.A.N. The game has a not only a interesting story but creepy audio logs put out throught the ship. It maybe a mediocre "yeah right" way of story telling but its worth it and it is spooky especially for its time. You get emails and text messages. It also has a really cool atmosphere. It was like alien meets 2001:A Space Odyssey or like a first person metroid. .
The gameplay is great and innovative also like I mentioned in the title.You can pick which difficulty on everything from puzzles to AI to story. There is nothing like it. It maybe very frustrating and boring at first but it is still awesome. Takes along time to get adjusted to it. Patients. Apparently you have to click the right button to fire the weapon or use the weapon. The combat is strange because its usually a point and click. But you will realize that the point and click comes in handy. Unlike Doom you can crouch, jump,climb, and even lean. That's right people lean. You can lean to see the bad guy so you won't get your ass kicked. Oh and the AI is very deadly and dangerous. They take off many life points. But not entirely realistic because you can't sneak past them. But never the less intelligent. You can solve puzzles which are hard so you have to be the most seasoned gamer to solve them. The levels are HUMONGOUS and super duper complex. Almost sandbox like. Very open . It's like walking around a corn maze.You will get lost and it isn't easy to remember where you are going. Sometimes the game gets so hard that it will be boring and confusing. But no matter. You can look up guides on the internet to find out. You can also hack into cyberspace ports which I would personally say is the selling point of the game because you can go to a physical version of the internet inside a game. You can shoot viruses and open up doors with nodes and get information. Its like Tron. You beat up security cams to finish the levels. The overall gameplay is amazing. Survival horror elements are also implemented like picking up health packs and low health and inventory system and combat which makes a terrifying realistic experience. You can pick up awesome weapons like laser guns and shot guns. You start out with really crappy weapons like a tranquilizer gun and a lead pipe. There are also some minor RPG elements. You pick up ware and upgrade the ware on your heads up display while exploring the world around you and taking quests whilst being able to check your stats. What I never understood about the physics is that when I fall from high places I don't seem to have any damage at all and never die. Its weird. So much for physics. At least you can move 3D boxes. You can respawn after you die but that is ONLY if you have found the vita-cha.. I mean the cyborg conversion units and turned them on. It is a very fun game.
A E S T H E T I C
For its time the graphics were impressive but today they will hurt your eyes. The graphics remind if someone made pop art in Kid Pix Deluxe of the trip to Chucky cheeses with a flight simulator hud and Pajama Sam lighting and 3D models pasted on a 70's Time magazine with some kind of bad 90's prisma color art from Deviant Art.com. It looks like something for the Sega Saturn or Virtual boy. The graphics look so random and trippy can barely tell what I am looking at.Its like I was dropping acid. Its so pixilated. But its real good for its time with its prerendered sprites (donkey kong country anyone?), real photographs, real time lighting and actual 3D environments and bright colors making it pleasing on the eyes for a DOS game. Doom had better textures. The atmosphere is kinda creepy too because there is blood on the walls. Its a very cyberpunk video game. Like the Crysis of its time.
The music and sound effects were great. I like the music. It's so upbeat and cool. The mac version has more convincing music than the bleeps and boops of the DOS version. The Mac version also has actual audio logs and better sound effects since its on a CD-Rom and not a floppy disk. The sound effects are okay and convincing. The funniest part of the video game is that when you walk in the elevators after the upbeat stressful music is the Girl from Ipanema music blasting off the speakers. Its so funny. Its hilarious. I died. The voice of SHODAN is very creepy. She has a voyeuristic attitude to what you are doing.
Overall, System Shock is a very cool and fun revolutionary action adventure title that you should download along with its sequel today for the DOS Box. Especially if you like Bioshock and Deus Ex. TODAY!