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The Making of System Shock 2

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the how-ya-doing-hacker dept.

PC Games (Games) 97

The British gaming magazine Edge, which has teamed up with the website Next Generation, offers up a piece looking back at the creation of System Shock 2 . The cult classic storytelling horror-themed FPS has survived as a popular and often-referenced game despite the eight years between now and its release. The piece covers the reasons behind that popularity, as well as the 'horror' of an inexperienced team taking on a dauntingly high-profile task: "The original System Shock was one of the games that made Levine want to move into the videogame industry in the first place. What made it so special? 'The feeling of being in a real place,' he raves. 'The feeling of a mystery, of unraveling it - not in an adventure game way, but in the context of an action game. You arrive and... what happened? That's a really good storytelling mechanism.' Austin Grossman and Doug Church's original idea from Shock was something Irrational expanded in its sequel. 'In Shock 1 you were a specific guy, you had a backstory,' Levine notes. 'With Shock 2, I started you out with the classic 'wake up with amnesia'.'"

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Bioshock and System Shock (4, Insightful)

Silverlancer (786390) | about 7 years ago | (#20960537)

When Bioshock came out, I heard the hype, and was prepared to delve into the amazing awesomeness that Bioshock apparently was. Especially considering how good System Shock 2 was. So I expected that it would be as good as SS2 or better.

I installed it and began playing.

About two hours later I was bored out of my mind at the console-ized, dumbed-down mess that was Bioshock.

I reinstalled System Shock 2.

I played the entire thing through again and loved every second of it. System Shock 2 is without a doubt one of the best games of all time, worthy of any top 10 list as the best FPS-RPG ever. Probably even better than Deus Ex, though that's a hard comparison to make for sure.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 7 years ago | (#20960617)

I agree entirely with this post. With some of the addons (SS2 Rebirth, etc...), it can even be made to look a little better than the original graphics...

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (4, Informative)

Nasarius (593729) | about 7 years ago | (#20960643)

Absolutely...spiritual successor my ass.

For those who want to play through SS2 again, check out SHTUP [att.net] and Rebirth [strangebedfellows.de] .

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Das Modell (969371) | about 7 years ago | (#20965339)

It is a spiritual successor. BioShock is essentially a steampunk version of SS2. Sure, many aspects of the game are dumbed down, but all the same elements are still there. Psionics, cameras, turrets, hacking, ammo types, weapon and character upgrades, audio logs, ghosts, somebody guiding you, the isolation and loneliness, med and psi hypos, food... it's all there.

Even if some things were dumbed down, in terms of combat BioShock is far more advanced than SS2. There are so many ways you can dispose of your enemies. I torched a few splicers with a flamethrower, and when they ran into a nearby pool of water I hit the water with the lightning plasmid and electrocuted them. The most hilarious thing I witnessed was a Houdini Splicer who commited suicide by burning himself to death. His fireball missed me and hit a nearby pool of oil, and when I started wrenching him he teleported away and right into the middle of the burning oil. Making two Big Daddies fight each other was also nice.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Flavio (12072) | about 7 years ago | (#20960681)

Have you ever played the original System Shock? That was really, really cool. Better than SS2, IMHO.

The sounds, the music, the atmosphere, the game engine, all just above and beyond everything else in the genre.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | about 7 years ago | (#20960727)

System Shock was great, and I agree, in my opinion it is better than SS2, but only just. Unfortunately, it is so old now it is painful to look at. I so wish they would remake it, sadly it is not going to happen.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (4, Funny)

urbanriot (924981) | about 7 years ago | (#20960779)

Get the hi-res textures! http://shtup.home.att.net/ [att.net] There's other links as well, and many other mods like the Rebirth mod - http://www.strangebedfellows.de/index.php/topic,8.0.html [strangebedfellows.de]

System Shock was great, and I agree, in my opinion it is better than SS2, but only just. Unfortunately, it is so old now it is painful to look at. I so wish they would remake it, sadly it is not going to happen.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20961575)

That's not informative. Both your links are for System Shock 2.
The poster was talking about System Shock 1.

However, there is a hack for SS1 that enables high screen resolutions, (800x600, 1024x768) which were programmed into the original game, but never enabled as they would be ridiculously slow on the computers of the time.

Have a look here:
http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100041 [ttlg.com]

Agree (0, Redundant)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 years ago | (#20960735)

Can't mod you up anymore, so I might as well agree...

Although I did finish Bioshock.

Overall I really liked all sorts of aspects of the story in System Shock 2 more as well, beyond just the gameplay - in System Shock 2 you really felt more in-between two larger powers than in Bioshock (hopefully not spoiling too much for people that have not played either game).

I would love to play through System Shock 2 again, but sadly I sold off my copy a few years ago.

Sometimes I wish they would just update graphics and do gameplay tweaks on older games like that one more often, but not in a Frogger 3D kind of way...

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (4, Insightful)

complexmath (449417) | about 7 years ago | (#20960835)

System Shock 2 was far better than Deus Ex, in my opinion. For one thing, System Shock 2 felt quite nonlinear, while Deus Ex railroaded the player through the game from start to finish. Also, Deus Ex contained some racist content that had me considering just uninstalling the game for a while. Not to mention System Shock 2's unbelievable use of sound, fantastic level design, etc. It's easily in my top ten FPS games of all time along with System Shock 1, Thief 1 & 2, Ultima Underworld, Half Life 2, and various others I can't think of right now. But Deus Ex may not be on that list.

As for Bioshock, I recently started playing the game and have been enjoying it quite a bit. I agree that the interface is more like a traditional FPS than System Shock 2 and thus "dumbed down" I suppose, but still more complex than Half Life and similar more pure FPS variants. What I really enjoy about Bioshock, though, is simply the realization of the concept within the game world. How often do you get to explore the shattered remains of a dystopian world inspired by an Ayn Rand novel? About my only potential issue so far are the few scripted "scare" scenarios I've encountered. I'd have preferred if they had been done in such a way that they at least didn't feel quite so scripted. Many of the scariest moments in System Shock 2, for example, were simply an artifact of situations I found myself in and the excellent sound work in the game--the ability to hear critters nearby but not know where they were, etc.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 7 years ago | (#20961037)

Also, Deus Ex contained some racist content that had me considering just uninstalling the game for a while.


Um... huh?

i concurr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20961433)

I'm playing through DX right now for the umpteenth time.

AFAIK the only time race is mentioned is the Chinese freighter.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

complexmath (449417) | about 7 years ago | (#20961453)

Mostly sound clips / audio scenarios (I'm not sure what the proper term is). One may as well have been Mickey Rooney's char from "Breakfast at Tiffany's," though there were some other notable moments I can't recall offhand. The thing is that I'm not terribly touchy about that sort of thing, but for some reason these parts of Deus Ex really struck a nerve.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20961661)

Are you a nigger?

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

fbjon (692006) | about 7 years ago | (#20962089)

Do you mean the terrible voice acting in the Wan Chai market, perhaps?

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 7 years ago | (#20963507)

The Win Chai voice acting was notoriously poor, but I wouldn't call it racist.

Maybe it is to someone who's never actually heard an Asian person who has trouble with "r" sounds. That (and other) stereotypes aren't just conjured up by someone's imagination.

I can't think of anything else. I guess maybe it's racist against Greasels. Fucking Greasels and their acid spit. They had it coming.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

complexmath (449417) | about 7 years ago | (#20963611)

Yeah just a horrible stereotype. That's why I compared it to Mickey Rooney's character in "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Jonny_eh (765306) | about 7 years ago | (#20962711)

You're still vague. What 'exactly' was racist?

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

LKM (227954) | about 7 years ago | (#20996465)

I think he told you what "exactly" was racist. Just not what *exactly* it was :-)

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (3, Interesting)

urbanriot (924981) | about 7 years ago | (#20961503)

Well, both games are in my Top 5, but Deus Ex actually rewarded you with stories, points and situations that altered based on your gameplay. Kill someone earlier in the game, and a cutscene won't contain that character. Every level, you had at least two clear options on completing it... stealth or head-on, guns blazing. While System Shock 2 might have seemed more open ended, it most certainly was not; however that's a testament to the developers for making a game that seemed open ended when it was fairly straight forward. I don't know, I can't really contrast the two games since they're both personal favorites.

System Shock 2 was far better than Deus Ex, in my opinion. For one thing, System Shock 2 felt quite nonlinear, while Deus Ex railroaded the player through the game from start to finish.

Deus Ex contained some racist content that had me considering just uninstalling the game for a while.
What content offended you? Are you of a particular race they offended?

I'm not a namby pamby liberal who doesn't go out of his way to be offended by comments or content that doesn't directly apply to me, so I might have missed it.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

complexmath (449417) | about 7 years ago | (#20961795)

Well, both games are in my Top 5, but Deus Ex actually rewarded you with stories, points and situations that altered based on your gameplay. Kill someone earlier in the game, and a cutscene won't contain that character.

Within certain boundaries, yes. I suppose I was just expecting more because of the game's reputation as being nonlinear. For example, one level begins (I believe) in an air duct above a subway station, and ends with the main character's capture after exiting the station. But certain other characters in that level aren't intended to be killed (a big muscled cyborg guy in particular, if I remember correctly), and the level has hard boundaries on the surface. I played through that particular level a number of times and "broke" it in a few different ways, but finally had to surrender just for the game to continue. This is quite understandable because the story must progress along certain pre-determined routes, but it was still frustrating.

What content offended you? Are you of a particular race they offended?

It's been too long to remember much, but I do recall one audio exchange involving a horrible parody of a Chinese NPC in Shanghai or wherever that was. I'm not of any particular race, gender, or culture involved however. I think it jumped out at me because it was the type of parody you might have heard from a child in the US maybe 30-40 years ago--I never expected to hear something like that in a game.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20962529)

I'm not a namby pamby liberal who doesn't go out of his way to be offended by comments or content that doesn't directly apply to me, so I might have missed it.

No, instead you're a stereotypical redneck idiot with no grasp of basic grammar.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Bodrius (191265) | about 7 years ago | (#20967225)

Interesting...

I see BioShock more similar to DeusEx in its intention, and perhaps that is also why I enjoyed the game quite a bit, since by nature I do not think it could be as good as System Shock 2 on doing what SS2 did... but probably better at doing what DeusEx / Bioshock attempted (I still prefer Deus Ex, though).

System Shock 2 was fundamentally a thriller FPS - its design and its intention allowed it to be quite non-linear because, besides the atmosphere, it didn't have a narrative to tell. It felt to me that SS2 was mostly about playing a mood within an action game, rather than a story.

As an FPS, it was definitively better than Deus Ex (the best I've played, actually).
But I'd be hard pressed to sustain a long narrative (e.g.: a novel) with its source material outside of an action game/movie...

Deus Ex was fundamentally an adventure game - the point was to tell a complex, rich story. Sure, it had an FPS interface, and RPG elements, but priority in the design to tell the complex story most effectively, and that typically requires constraining the player.
That means your characters are, well, characters (have lots of baggage for the story), your events are more scripted, the plots and background story get more intrincate, and for the sake of narrative you have to limit the players actions and results a lot more.

As an adventure game, it was definitely better than SS2. It told a much richer story very effectively - you could sustain a novel or two with the same material, outside of the game. But it wasn't a very good, or even balanced, FPS.

That's one reason a 'spiritual sequel' makes sense for SS2, but wouldn't have done much for Deus Ex.

Bioshock itself is pretty good, but I do feel it is far more of an adventure game as well.
It's great mostly for the story it has to tell, rather than the FPS game mechanics or its attempt to replicate something like the SS2 atmosphere, although it benefits from both.
That means I cannot even talk about most of the things I enjoyed from the game without giving a spoiler - it's all about, and part of, the story it has to tell.

All three are among the best games I've played, but I wouldn't try to compare them side-by-side on the same genre, when they are not.

Obviously, I'm partial to games with something to say.
It seems to me they're sadly absent these days - but I guess the same can be said about the rest of our popular media.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

vimh42 (981236) | about 7 years ago | (#20960899)

Well, it's hard for me to comment on the consolized feel of Bioshock since I played it on the 360. It doesn't surprise me though that the controls didn't feel quite right on the computer. That is often the case.

Take for example Oblivion. There are a lot of things that were downright annoying because of design choices for the console. Fortunately some interface mods fixed some of that. You mention Dues Ex, well the interface in the first was fairly well done but the second had some issues due to the console focus.

As for System Shock2, I honestly couldn't get into it. Which is probably a shame considering how much I liked Bioshock.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

thrash242 (697169) | about 7 years ago | (#20963545)

No, the controls on the computer felt fine. They had a team dedicated to the PC version that built the PC interface from the ground up. I played the 360 Bioshock demo and the controls are *much* better on the PC and I don't just mean aiming with the thumbstick vs mouse.

I think the "consoleized" complaint refers more to game design or gameplay. I hate traditionally PC games being consoleized, but I didn't really notice it much in Bioshock. At least nothing jumped out at me, as opposed to Oblivion.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

hidannik (1085061) | about 7 years ago | (#20960975)

Awesomeness is in the eye of the beholder.

I've played through BioShock four and a half times now. It'd be five, but first I've got to finish Halo 3 on Legendary. Which will happen right after I finish The Orange Box twice, the second time with developer commentary on. Oh what wonderful problems to be having!

Meanwhile, you go right on hating. Whatever keeps you warm at night.

Hans

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20962183)

So, what fraternity are you a member of?

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

McFadden (809368) | about 7 years ago | (#20964369)

So, what fraternity are you a member of?
They don't have fraternities at junior high.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Das Modell (969371) | about 7 years ago | (#20965181)

I'm really fucking sick of people using the word "hating" or "hater." It's so juvenile and ridiculous. I'm suprised you didn't post "LEAVE BIOSHOCK ALONE!" Is it really so difficult to comprehend that some people just don't like certain games?

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

hidannik (1085061) | about 7 years ago | (#20978245)

There's a difference between "I didn't like XYZ" and "XYZ sucks". The post I replied to stated opinions about BioShock (the former) in the tone of facts about BioShock (the latter). I'm happy to admit that some people may not like BioShock or may have overbought the pre-release hype. That doesn't make it bad, any more than my liking it makes it good.

Whether taking one's negative opinions as facts counts as hating? I'll agree that it can be argued about.

Hans

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

hidannik (1085061) | about 7 years ago | (#20978329)

P.S. If you hate the word "hating" so much, try substituting "spewing bile" for it in my post:

Meanwhile, you go right on spewing bile. Whatever keeps you warm at night.

Better?

Hans

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20960995)

Bioshock is not "dumbed down". I agree that it's way less complex than SS2 was, but it's very stylish and cool. It's less scary and has more "retro" feel to it.
That being said, I still like System Shock 2 better. But Bioshock definitely ain't a bad game.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 7 years ago | (#20961249)

Bioshock is not "dumbed down". I agree that it's way less complex than SS2 was

Forgot to use Preview, huh?

Please explain how something is simultaneously way less complex than its spiritual predecessor and not dumbed-down.

I'm not saying that it's a bad game, I'm just saying that that sentence is logically contradictory.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (2, Insightful)

thegnu (557446) | about 7 years ago | (#20961523)

I'm not saying that it's a bad game, I'm just saying that that sentence is logically contradictory.

I'll save GP some time:
Dumbed-down is not the same as less complex. Dumbed-down is not the opposite of complex. Dumbed down means 'Made More Stupider' whereas less complex means 'not quite so intricate.' GP was indicating this point, and stating that it had plenty of artistic and stylistic merit in its own right. Doom is not Risk dumbed-down. Doom is Doom. Risk is Risk.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 7 years ago | (#20961785)

Not necessarily. For example, if the original game were too complex, the follow-up could be less complex and not be dumbed down in any way. It isn't dumbing something down to make it useable.

Regardless, saying Bioshock is a dumbed-down, consoleized mess is a load of shit. If that's a dumbed-down, consolized mess, every FPS ever made is. It's a perfectly fine FPS with some RPG elements thrown in, there's nothing consoleized or dumbed-down about it.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Urusai (865560) | about 7 years ago | (#20963013)

You must play most of your games on a console. Bioshock is just as consolized vs. its predecessors as Thief: Deadly Shadows (and Deus Ex: Invisible War). Inventory control (or the complete lack thereof) is the most obvious symptom of this malaise.

I can only imagine that you think Halo is the ne plus ultra of first person shooters.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 7 years ago | (#20963115)

No, I play most of my games on the PC. Bioshock is not consolized.

And I do happen to think that the Halo series (the PC versions, not the Xbox versions) represents the pinnacle of FPS games. And I've played all the shooters people say are better (Half-Life, for example). Any other stereotypes you've drawn about me that you'd like me to debunk?

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20964579)

Bioshock is a prime example of a game consolised.

The interface is the most obvious giveaway, its terrible, worst being the corpse search feature pointless. Story is a copy and paste, just dosn't flow as well or make much sense with little back story predictable twist taken straight from ss2. The game is simply not as deep as ss2, and not as good, its a dumbed down and prettied up for the masses ss2.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Demonix (140379) | about 7 years ago | (#20982493)

Halo, the pinnacle of FPS gaming?

You have a lot to learn. The only thing Halo did different was those sticky plasma grenades.

You want a REAL FPS? Look up Tribes or Tribes 2 and go from there.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 7 years ago | (#20984701)

Again, sir, you assume that my FPS experience is limited to Halo. You do yourself a disservice. I've played Tribes.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Demonix (140379) | about 7 years ago | (#20997345)

If that is true, then you have further proven that you have very poor taste, sir.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20961955)

The "no penalty whatsoever for death" thing was pretty dumb. The majority of the tonics were worthless and in practice everyone ends up using 3 or 4 plasmids so you really don't need that much Adam.

*SPOILER*

Storywise, I liked the "Ayn Rand gone horribly wrong" angle, but I found the Fontaine/Atlas bit to be ridiculous. The fact that he's a brilliant actor and evil mastermind didn't really jive with his origin as a mob boss. How exactly did a thug like him learn to affect an Irish accent? And why exactly did he choose to make a full grown human in 2 years and program him to do your bidding then have him hijack and crash a plane over Rapture (it would have been a hell of a disappointment if the homunculus died in the crash) and then have him go through a convoluted series of events to kill Andrew Ryan when he easily could have just injected himself with a lot of Adam and done it himself? Why would a mob boss have the patience for all of that when more direct means are easily within grasp? And why did Ryan think that he had killed Fontaine when apparently everyone in Rapture is immortal due to the vita chambers?

I didn't really feel the art style redeemed the flaws in the story either. When you first came to Rapture it was really impressive but most of the areas inside Rapture were so dark and decayed that you really couldn't appreciate the design elements. There didn't seem to be a lot to appreciate anyway since most of the areas looked the same. It was really a let down since I really like the Art Deco style.

It's not a bad game. It's a good game, but I wouldn't say that it deserved the reviews it got.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (2, Informative)

Sj0 (472011) | about 7 years ago | (#20965903)

You missed a major point. In the game, you're the illegitimate child of the person who created the vita-chambers, thus one of a small handful of people who gain effective immortality through them. This, along with your brainwashing, makes you a literally unstoppable killing machine.

Would you kindly play through the game again and pay more attention to the plot?

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

sparkhead (589134) | about 7 years ago | (#20961199)

It's amazing how many elements of SS2 and parallels to SS2 are in BioShock. I played SS2 many times and when I played BioShock the whole time I was thinking "someone who never played SS1/2 will think this is the best game ever in this genre". BioShock is a reimaged version of SS2, consolized.

Now, if someone would just RERELEASE SS2 on a new engine. Heck, the same engine BioShock uses. I think that would do very well - as long as they don't dumb it down for consoles.

Hell, rerelease DX1 as well.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 7 years ago | (#20961347)

Probably even better than Deus Ex, though that's a hard comparison to make for sure.

I love Deus Ex. (Don't talk to me about Deus Ex 2, it didn't happen).

But SS2 "probably" better?

Even now, 8 years on, from time to time I'll see something (a hallway in a building, the layout of a foyer, or just a feeling of a dark night) that sparks a little voice at the back of my mind: "Silence the discord..." Sure, I have memories of playing Deus Ex, but nothing as vivid or lasting.

I've sought out survival horror games and the like, and this is the only one that's actually creeped me out.

I'm biased. I love the genre, and the Thief games. But any list of "top X games of all time" that doesn't have either SS or SS2 in it is simply wrong.

Bad news about Bioshock by the way; I am severely tempted to get it, but the comparisons to SS2 have held me back, for fear that it simply won't measure up. From the sounds of it I may be right. (And yeah, I've played the demo, all 20 minutes or so of it; hardly enough to really judge)

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

tcolberg (998885) | about 7 years ago | (#20961863)

They're ALL great games! They all belong in the pantheon of Greatest Games for different reasons. Just because you prefer one over the other doesn't mean that everything else is crap in comparison. Deus Ex: A great political thriller with a plot that actually changed in response to your actions. Half-Life: Extremely well polished conventional shooter that aimed for immersion and realistic goals (activate generator rather than finding keycards). System Shock 2: Immersive and harrowing. Complex and realistic. Fantastic. Bioshock: System Shock 2's successor, NOT sequel. The classic "shock" elements streamlined and blended with political and economic philosophy. I love every one of those games. It's not necessary to bash Bioshock because you can no longer carry food around with you or to bash Deus Ex because your progression through a linear game (SS2 was linear too) was controlled more because they were telling a story. How about we discuss why System Shock was great rather than why other things sucked (when they didn't).

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

billmarrs (97555) | about 7 years ago | (#20962533)

I did something similar. I liked Bioshock, though I agree it was dumbed-down. But, it gave me the urge to play System Shock 2. So, I played it with Rebirth and some other patches. It was probably my 4th time through. It was great! I played it all the way through on hard and I was engrossed (played for hours at a time, put all my other games on hold). After I finished SS2, Bioshock really didn't seem to great. It was over-hyped. Still, it's a decent game. But, it still can't touch System Shock 2.

Re:Bioshock and System Shock (1)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | about 7 years ago | (#20963379)

Funny, because when I picked up Bioshock, I thought, "Wow, they captured the cool character customization, hacking, and plot of SS2, but actually got all the gameplay elements done right this time." To me, the world just felt more alive in Bioshock, and I didn't miss playing around with the inventory and the other elements they "streamlined" away.

I'd accuse you of nostalgic bias, but that might force me to contemplate Chrono Trigger not being the best game of all time, so never mind.

This game looks like a total rip-off of Bioshock (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20960539)

How unoriginal. I hope they sue.

What a great game. (2)

headkase (533448) | about 7 years ago | (#20960553)

I still have the disc and I'd play it again in a heartbeat if it would just run on a modern system - I've tried everything. With patience, my media will hopefully be useful again someday once the Open Dark Engine [sourceforge.net] reaches maturity.

Re:What a great game. (1)

hidannik (1085061) | about 7 years ago | (#20961269)

I have SS2 working on Windows XP. Run it in Windows 2000 compatibility mode. Also, it's been a while since I tweaked it, but IIRC it also involved setting the processor affinity on the executable.

I won't have an opportunity this weekend, but come Monday evening I'll be happy to check it out and post my findings here, if they're wanted.

Hans

Re:What a great game. (1)

headkase (533448) | about 7 years ago | (#20961917)

Thanks for the offer, however I *really* have tried everything - check out the link in my other reply in this thread: it covers pretty much everything. :(

Re:What a great game. (1)

hidannik (1085061) | about 7 years ago | (#20978881)

I'm sorry to hear that. I've had pretty good fortune getting old games to run on XP. Wish it could be so for everyone.

Hans

Re:What a great game. (1)

Omicron32 (646469) | about 7 years ago | (#20961627)

Do you have a dual-core machine? I've had SS2 running on my single-core P4, WinXP before, but having played Thief on my dual core machine I have an idea.

With Thief 2 (which also uses the Dark Engine) you have to change the processor affinity so it just runs on one processor rather than both of them, otherwise the game will crash when you load the engine itself. To do this in Thief I Alt-Tabbed out of the main menu, opened task manager and adjusted the affinity (right-click on the process) and that solved my crash issues. Try it!

Re:What a great game. (1)

WeblionX (675030) | about 7 years ago | (#20961665)

You can use something like StartAffinity [adsciengineering.com] to get it to automatically launch with an affinity set.

Re:What a great game. (1)

headkase (533448) | about 7 years ago | (#20961883)

I have a dual-core and I have tried setting processor affinity. I've also used imagecfg.exe to make the affinity permanent but still to no avail. I've used an unwrapper for the copy protection. I've downloaded the "xp-fixed" exe's but they just have the affinity set in them. Thank you for the tip I really wish it would work on my machine but I guess I can't expect miracles from a game thats almost a decade old.

Through the Looking Glass [ttlg.com] has a comprehensive forum of things to try to get SS2 working but unfortunately none of it has worked for me.

Re:What a great game. (1)

phlinn (819946) | about 7 years ago | (#20983871)

Something you might try out of desperation that wasn't on that thread. Open display propterties, settings tab, advanced button, troubleshooting tab. Move the hardware acceleration slider down. I had to move it down halfway to run Soul Reaver, although it wasn't necessary for system shock for me. For system shock, I needed to eliminate safe disc, set affinity, and increase priority to high. I ended up writing a batch file to start it with the affinity and priority I wanted.

I just noticed that the thread you linked did not indicate the priority issue. Try it to see if it helps.

Re:What a great game. (1)

johannesg (664142) | about 7 years ago | (#20963867)

My system qualifies as fairly modern (XP, core 2 duo, 3GB, 7900GT), and I managed to get it to work reliably. How:

- You need to set compatibility mode for Windows 2000 on the executable (from the properties window).

- You need to ensure that it only uses one CPU core. One way to do this is to start the game and before doing anything use the task manager to set CPU affinity to one core only. Alternatively, I've made a small .exe that does this automatically.

Re:What a great game. (1)

Das Modell (969371) | about 7 years ago | (#20965229)

The version you can download from Underdogs works perfectly for me (XP SP2). The game's copy protection is one of the things that causes problems with modern systems. The Underdogs release has the protection removed, though you can also unwrap the executable yourself.

System shock 2.... SYSTEM SHOCK 2?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20960591)

system shock 2 is a completely overrated game loved only by fat basement dwellers

Re:System shock 2.... SYSTEM SHOCK 2?! (2, Funny)

Eudial (590661) | about 7 years ago | (#20960759)

system shock 2 is a completely overrated game loved only by fat basement dwellers


Hey! I'm a fat SS2 loving attic dweller, you insensitive clod!

Re:System shock 2.... SYSTEM SHOCK 2?! (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | about 7 years ago | (#20977717)

No shit idiot, why do you think Shodan addresses us as "panting and sweating as you run through my corridors". It's isn't because we're fucking marathon runners.

Actually, "Panting and sweating as you stand still in my corridors" would have been just as accurate.

Fun System Shock Fact : Shodan deliberately disabled as many elevators as she could, because she figured instead of hunting down the access codes in radioactive areas filled with Cyborg Death Nannies* and the zombies from Thief BUT FROM THE FUTURE, the fat basement dweller that was the only survivor of the digital apocalypse wrought upon Citadel Station would simply attempt to use the stairs instead and die of exhaustion before reaching the second floor.

Unfortunately her downfall was that her programming didn't take into account the sheer determination of the human nerd to avoid all exercise.


*("The same killer instinct as human nannies, but now with robotic parts!")

I played SS2 once.. (2, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 7 years ago | (#20960607)

Got to the point where you're avoiding cameras and every time you go around the corner a camera sees you. I tried various things to get past but it was just stupid, there was nothing to do. Tried various game guides, none of them had anything to say about it. So I'm not particularly fond of SS2 and I burn inside every time someone praises it.. I have a special hatred for video games that have a f'(x)=infinity learning curve and stump you after 9 seconds of playing. It's just not fun..

Re:I played SS2 once.. (4, Informative)

Silverlancer (786390) | about 7 years ago | (#20960667)

You can shoot the camera. It takes one shot with your pistol. ;)

Re:I played SS2 once.. (4, Funny)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | about 7 years ago | (#20961191)

Somewhere in the distance, I hear the sound of someone slapping his head and screaming "D'Oh!"

Re:I played SS2 once.. (1)

scott_karana (841914) | about 7 years ago | (#20962661)

The funniest part is that I'm almost certain cameras were covered in the in-game tutorials. Hah! Of course it's a high learning curve if you skip them!

Re:I played SS2 once.. (1)

retrogameguy (1096733) | about 7 years ago | (#20969575)

Yes, when a camera sees you, there is a few seconds of delay before it reports back and raises the alarm. This is the window you have to shoot the camera and prevent the alarm from being raised. SS2 is in my opinion the best game of it's type ever to be made. I have played a huge number and many I never bother finishing, but System Shock 2 was able to keep me rivited throughout the game and I actually completed it, which for me is a rare occurance. The sound is definately one of the biggest highlights as metioned earlier, you can hear the monsters somewhere close, muttering and don't quite know where they will appear from. Also the distinct lack of resources means that every bullet is precious, (especailly armour piercing ones to kill the turrets) and you need to make the decision early on to use basic weapons e.g. crowbar/bar whereever instead of wasting bullets.

Re:I played SS2 once.. (3, Funny)

sammyF70 (1154563) | about 7 years ago | (#20960669)

if you mean the first one you meet, on the first level you are on : just run to the camera and hit it with the wrench, if you have nothing else you can use against it. works fine ;)

Re:I played SS2 once.. (1)

HexRei (515117) | about 7 years ago | (#20960879)

...seriously, you had a tough time with cameras? you hear the alert, just duck back until the initial alert is over. then shoot it, run past it, hack it, or ignore it, as you wish. perhaps you should have given the game more time, the cameras are not that hard to deal with. or maybe it just wasn't for you.

Re:I played SS2 once.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20960977)

Uh... did you try... _shooting_ the cameras before they detect you?

Re:I played SS2 once.. (1)

thegnu (557446) | about 7 years ago | (#20961349)

I have a special hatred for video games that have a f'(x)=infinity learning curve and stump you after 9 seconds of playing. It's just not fun..

Dude, that intro sequence is like 30 minutes the first time through. And anyway, SS2 is definitely one of the best games of all time. I'm sorry it frustrated you so much.

Given the choice between friends and System Shock 2, I would probably go with friends. Probably.

Re:I played SS2 once.. (4, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | about 7 years ago | (#20961767)

Got to the point where you're avoiding cameras and every time you go around the corner a camera sees you.

Back in, oh, 2001, I was playing through Shock 2 for the first time. I was at university at the time, and I got a summer job in a book warehouse, picking out textbooks to ship out to various schools around the place. The job involved trotting around this big building grabbing books out of various aisles and throwing them onto a conveyor.

One day I was heading down an aisle in which the lights had packed in for some reason. It was dark. Not a problem, I have no fear of this. I walk down the aisle looking for the book that's on my order sheet.

At this point I spot a red light on the ceiling.

SHIT! I immediately duck to the floor and take cover behind my cart-o'-books, and reach for my gun to shoot out the camera...

At this point I realise that (a) I don't have a gun, (b) that isn't a camera but an LED indicating that a lamp is live, (c) I'm a bit of a pillock.

But for just a second or two, it was bloody terrifying. Thanks to the game designers for getting me so involved in their world. Salt the fries :-)

Re:I played SS2 once.. (1)

GrumpySimon (707671) | about 7 years ago | (#20964285)

My SS2-overflow-into-real-life story: I'd spent a hard day/night slogging away at System Shock 2, and had just been doing the level with all the metal mothers on it. You know that noise when they die - the metallic BABIES-NEED-THEIR-MOTHERS-WHIRRR-GARGLE sound...?

It was about 2 am, and I was a little *too edgy* to continue playing, and far too wired to sleep, so I turned on the TV and stuck in some video to calm down to. I must have dozed off, and when the player hit the end of tape, and kicked into auto-rewind.... and made a sound just like WHIRRR-GARGLE. Before I knew what I was doing, I was *under* the couch with my heart pounding.

I soon realised what had happened, and felt really damn stupid, but I have to admit that slept (or tried to..) with the lights on that night :)

Great game.

Re:I played SS2 once.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20970461)

im with you, i played ss2 for about a minute and hated it.

The original was the best (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 7 years ago | (#20960725)

The reason it was so good was that for the first time in a game, you weren't in a game. Doom shared that a bit, was one of the first games you could just play without reading the manual. Doom was "real". What I mean by that is that a door looked like a door, worked like a door. Med packs were clearly visible and so on. Compare this to say a driving sim, where you do not have working mirrors, you can only see straight ahead, you have to drive by jerking the wheel hard left or hard right. Doom was "natural".

System shock was not, but it is the first game I remember where you really felt part of the world. Since then I learned that EVERY fps that you are alone. Think about this, even in Alien VS Predator, as either the alien or the marine, you are alone. Not so in System Shock. At one point you are reading mails from someone trying to find a safe spot, as you progress you are getting closer and closer and hope to find them alive. You don't offcourse, solo FPS is solo, but still, for a moment you felt like others were in the space station with you. A magic moment in a PC game. Perhaps even better then actually having an AI with you, this woman never got in my way, didn't commit suicide, didn't get stuck, yet I felt she was another human in this alien world.

But this is about System Shock 2 right? Can I be honest? Didn't like it as much as the original, it was too much. I would have preffered they spend more time on the bugs and less time on the three different main classes and all the various options. Nice and all but endless choice is too often an excuse for not enough flesh in the story. Shodan is back? Yeah, okay, she was nice and crazy and all but we knew her already. There was no shock. Also, the first time you were a hacker, so no wonder you were a bit crap in the beginning with combat, this time you are a soldier, so why do you still suck?

Re:The original was the best (1)

meringuoid (568297) | about 7 years ago | (#20961929)

Also, the first time you were a hacker, so no wonder you were a bit crap in the beginning with combat, this time you are a soldier, so why do you still suck?

You don't suck. You just don't rock as much as you're used to from Quake. You can't run at 60mph, your punches aren't as hard as a sledgehammer... But if you're a soldier you do massive damage with weapons, if a sailor you can rewire all the turrets in the game to do your bidding, if a psion then you can fling cryo blasts around the place at will.

Think seriously here for a moment. Drop Andy McNab, badass SAS motherfucker, onto the von Braun at the beginning of SS2. What's his life expectancy? How does that compare to yours?

Re:The original was the best (1)

hemebond (842131) | about 7 years ago | (#20963361)

There are no classes in System Shock 2. But yes, I too wish they'd had more time to fix bugs.

Re:The original was the best (1)

Maexxus (970160) | about 7 years ago | (#20963623)

I think he meant Marine, Navy, and Psy-Ops :)

Re:The original was the best (1)

hemebond (842131) | about 7 years ago | (#20963731)

Yeah I know, but they're not classes. It's one of the biggest misperceptions of SS2. There are a ridiculous number of forum posts asking which class is the best, blah blah blah. Few people realise it just saves you having to spend some cyber-modules once you get into the game proper.

Re:The original was the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20966893)

Doom was "real". What I mean by that is that a door looked like a door, worked like a door
I'm willing to lay down real money that you have never once, in your entire life, used a door that either looked like or worked like the doors in Doom.

I'm trying hard to think when the first realistic door did actually appear in an FPS. Quake didn't have them, but IIRC they were commonplace by the time Half-Life appeared. Anyone care to hazard a guess?

Ultima Underworld? (1)

Aexia (517457) | about 7 years ago | (#20967795)

That's the earliest I could guess.

Re:Ultima Underworld? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20978371)

Duke Nukem 3D had some real looking doors.

The guns broke down to fast in SS2 (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 7 years ago | (#20960925)

The guns broke down to fast in SS2 and when you add low ammo and respawning monsters that takes fun out of the game and makes it harder.

Re:The guns broke down to fast in SS2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20961145)

Guns?? Hurrow?!? You know there was a lightsaber...

Re:The guns broke down to fast in SS2 (1)

urbanriot (924981) | about 7 years ago | (#20961525)

I agree. It bothered me enough to disable the weapon breakdown and monster respawning, and after doing so I had a considerably better experience.

The guns broke down to fast in SS2 and when you add low ammo and respawning monsters that takes fun out of the game and makes it harder.

Re:The guns broke down to fast in SS2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20962373)

Gah! You evil top-poster!

Just finished it...no, really (1)

Dahlgil (631022) | about 7 years ago | (#20961043)

Man, how ironic. I just finished this game yesterday, no kidding! I purchased this one back in 1999 when it came out. I started it but then got distracted by some other game. I think it was called Half-Life. Anyway, I ended up moving on to other things like getting married and upgrading to Windows XP, playing Morrowind for five years, then recently upgrading to Windows Vista. When BioShock came out, I almost bit, but when I found out that its DRM bit back, I figured that maybe it was worth going back and playing the next best thing, the now legendary System Shock 2. That was about a month or month and a half ago. Of course getting it to run on Vista turned out to be a challenge, but once I did it ran excellent--albeit with an occasional hang--but still extremely playable. And it certainly looked better on my latest PC than it did back in '99. Anyway, its been a ball playing. It's still every bit as creepy as people say, but its far more the sound that creeped me out than the visuals, which are admittedly a bit dated. Anyway, its still a great game, and one that requires that you think before you act. But the really creepy thing is that the day after I finish it--and about eight years after I bought it--I see this posting on Slashdot. Is that you SHODAN? Dave

Re:Just finished it...no, really (1)

keithjr (1091829) | about 7 years ago | (#20961421)

That's just freaky, SO DID I. I grabbed it from underdogs a couple weeks ago and played it via Cedega in 'nix, so my OS problems were a little less challenging. I have always been told it's a great game but never got around to playing it during its prime (Half-Life, guilty as charged). Now I can see what all the fuss is about. The game was creepy, atmospheric, and difficult (which I appreciate immensely, more than the dumbed-down console ports that saturate the market today).
I'd still say Deus Ex is better, if anything else but because of the writing and character development that SS2 very much lacked. But this ranks in my top 5 of all time, I'd say. Apparently I'm not alone with this sentiment.

Re:Just finished it...no, really (1)

Dahlgil (631022) | about 7 years ago | (#20962665)

I did find myself comparing it with Deus Ex as I played. Similar feel in some respects. I couldn't say which was necessarily better. Deus Ex had more variety and a deeper plot, but SS2 had a more compelling atmosphere. I'd probably rank them with equal scores myself, but for different reasons. Neither, however, knocks my favorite off the top--Ultima Underworld, The Stygian Abyss.

Re:Just finished it...no, really (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20961493)

"Is that you SHODAN?"

N-n-n-n-no, h-hacker.

Didn't like System Shock (1)

StoatBringer (552938) | about 7 years ago | (#20961919)

When I started playing System Shock, I was really impressed. The graphics were good, the story was good, the atmosphere was scary and oppressive, but I just started to find it frustrating after a while. For example, the "zombies" not only seemed able to use any weapon they could lay their hands on, they were also crack shots, whereas I could only use certain weapons when I'd acquired the skills to use them and even then seemed to be unable to shoot straight or with any power. Maybe it gets better if you struggle through the plain annoying bits, but when a game stops being fun I can't be bothered with it much longer.

Re:Didn't like System Shock (1)

Dahlgil (631022) | about 7 years ago | (#20962781)

The zombies are really limited to just a pipe or a shotgun, they can't pick up anything else. By the way, I was also frustrated back when I originally played it and ended up putting it aside for a long time (as my other post testifies); however, this time I played it more thoughtfully. First, you can't just go around shooting at everything. Compared to the average FPS, your resources/ammo are very limited and you must make it go a long way. Early on I discovered that the easiest way to do this is (possible spoiler warning) to use the wrench a lot. Once you get the hang of it, and beef up your strength and melee skills you can take on just about anything with these. In fact, I completed the game without *ever* firing a single shot from a gun or energy weapon. My primary weapons for the entire game were the wrench and then the crystal shard. For easy ranged shots (like cameras, etc.) I used the psionic projected weapons, and for difficult ones later in the game I used the grenade launcher (which only requires a weapons skill of 1). Beefing up one's psionic capabilities will aide in this a lot. I played at the normal skill level.

Re:Didn't like System Shock (1)

complexmath (449417) | about 7 years ago | (#20963641)

I had the most fun with the psionic powers, but the psi hypos (if I remember correctly) were few and far between. However, I believe there are cheat codes to spawn additional hypos and ammo and such if you really want to. Think I used the gun mostly for taking out the occasional camera. The crystal sword was a great weapon.

Re:Didn't like System Shock (1)

Dahlgil (631022) | about 7 years ago | (#20965165)

I specialized in psi. To get hypos I would just hack a vending machine that had them to reduce the price, then buy ten to twenty of them.

Re:Didn't like System Shock (1)

GrumpySimon (707671) | about 7 years ago | (#20964297)

Yep, that's the way I do it - only use the guns for cameras or the egg pods. I ramp up strength and agility and use the wrench, followed by the laser rapier. Once you get in close enough, a couple of hits will take out most monsters.
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