Here's a fun Easter Egg for System Shock 2:

When you first begin the game and exit the subway station, you'll be facing the UNN recruitment center. Go to the right and around the platform into the dark. Do a Thief-style "mantle" against the pipe-like thing there (i.e. jumping up and holding jump to pull yourself up to the platform above you.) Atop the pipe you'll find a basketball, which you can pick up (by centering it on the screen and right-clicking- you won't have the interface or targeting cursor to guide you, but it works anyway.) This is the only item you can take with you through training and to your eventual assignment on board the Von Braun. Hang on to that basketball for a while.

Later, on Deck 4, you'll be charged with the task of activating a transmitter, which happens to be inside a basketball court. Once you make your way there, get the ball through the hoop on the court for a secret message.

Here's another easter egg for this amazing game.
While in training, before going to mission postings at year 3, look left to the window.
There you'll see a MP robot and a protocol droid.
Stare the droid for a while and it will start to dance macarena.

There's a saying that has been passed along in my family for generations: If a game contains malevolent monkeys that attack with psionic shockwaves, the game is good. This rule of thumb holds true for Irrational Games' RPG/FPS-hybrid game, System Shock 2. SS2 overcomes many negative expectations. First, with such a plethora of FPS games available, gamers don't always know how to tell the good from the bad. The situation was the same when the Original System Shock was released in 1994: the game was commonly dismissed as another Doom clone, which led to it not getting the praise and respect that it deserved. However, both SS games are very unique, as they are the only games I've seen that successfully merge a role-playing game with a first-person shooter, with the possible exception of the more recent Deus Ex.

Motivated into action by the barely averted destruction of Earth at the hands of the malevolent and sentient Artificial Intelligence SHODAN (as took place in System Shock), all governments on Earth came together to form the UNN, or Unified National Nominate. This new Government was primarily formed to regulate ultra-powerful conglomerates. One of the most powerful of these conglomerates, TriOptimum Corporation (coincidentally, the creator of SHODAN), has just developed a working faster-than-light system of travel, and has entered into a cooperative venture with UNN to explore unknown space. Naturally, something goes wrong, and aliens somehow get aboard and wreak havoc. Your character awakens with amnesia, and you must slowly piece together the situation while attempting to save your hide. The one benefit, as it turns out, is that you quickly discover your body has become cybernetically augmented, rendering you ultra-powerful.

For every good First Person Shooter that comes out, there are 99 clones made that are almost exactly the same, and usually more buggy and boring. Game developers, in an attempt to break out of this pattern, brainstormed to create new and innovative ways to bring life back to shooters. One idea was to combine a first-person shooter with a role-playing game. Almost always, this hybridization fails. The game becomes a standard FPS with superficial stats and skills that make little or no difference in actual gameplay. However, System Shock 2 is the perfect example of what a good RPG/FPS crossbreed should be. Like any good RPG, you can't fight your way through mindlessly in a straight line and then go to the next level. The entire game is nonlinear, sometimes almost annoyingly so. More often than not, when you receive a message asking you to do some simple task, like go to the fifth floor, then you'll have to restore the power, which first requires that the maintenance tunnels be free from radiation, but to flood the tunnels, you need to rewire the main computer, but the part is in a storeroom on the other side of the ship, and to get into that room you need to… and so on, and so on. However, although these tasks can sometimes be repetitive, they're usually laid out well enough to make them not too tedious or boring. Besides, this system is better than a standard linear first-person shooter when you blast straight forward until you reach the end of a level.

At its core, SS2 is actually a FPS. However, the RPG elements go almost as deep. For once, stats do actually matter. A character with a high agility will be noticeably better at stealthily jogging up behind an enemy and clocking him one on the noggin with a pipe wrench undetected. A character who has focused on technical skills will be able to fight his battles with well-maintained, highly modified weapons, while a character who has focused on Psionics will be able to sedate or incinerate his enemies with his mind (and Black Operations Psionic Amplifier) alone. One disappointing element, however, is the professions. You can (and will have to) choose to join the Marines, Navy, or OSI. The three professions each focus on one prime area of skills - Weapons, Technical, or Psionics. Becoming a member of the navy yields technical skills with some weaponry, which it is near-impossible to get through the first parts of the game without, especially on higher difficulty levels. A Marine is essentially the same, without the technical skills. An OSI member has neither, and is disgustingly weak throughout much of the game, due to the impracticability of many of the psionic skills, and the rarity of psionic upgrades and refills. Additionally, all professions have the choice throughout the game to upgrade any skill area, making the profession choice inconsequential.

Regardless, the game is still classic. Besides being the paradigm for all future RPG/FPS games and the only game as of current that can legitimately claim that genre, it is an all-around enjoyable game.
System Shock 2 is probably the best PC game ever made, living up to the reputation of the origin System Shock. It is so incredibly good that I feel motivated to discuss my feelings as to why.

System Shock 2 is portrayed in a very similar manner to the original. You are a hacker/person with cyber interface who wakes up from a healing coma to find their surroundings amiss. The original System Shock has Shodan retooling Citadel Station and performing mutagenic experiments on the station's inhabitants, and you must fight the station's security systems, the mutants and Shodan. System Shock 2 picks up with your ship responding to the signal from Beta Grove where it crash landed many light years from earth after being ejected by you in the original. Only now, Shodan's creations have evolved in her absence into a diabolical biological entity called the Many. Shodan is present in a piece of wrecked hardware of Beta Grove that your shipmates of course bring back on board with the mutants .. and you can imagine what happens then ..

Irrational Games and Looking Glass collaborated in modifying the Thief engine for use in this game (which is later used in Thief 2: The Metal Age. The implementation, on a whole, succeeds here not because it's singly superb in a certain area, but because it does almost everything very well.

The engine's rendering capabilities, lighting, coloring, and effects are good enough to create a sufficient level of immersion. The engine does not possess Quake 3 quality geometry and lighting, but what it has is sufficient in instilling the necessary fear. The sound capability of the Thief engine is masterfully implemented. The AI can "hear" the sound of your movement, gunfire, and so on, and will follow the noises to find you. This differs greatly from many FPS games' AI that follow predetermined "paths". Every object in System Shock 2 is modeled with very realistic sounds: gunfire, weapons reloading, heads up displays, alarms, computer consoles, creatures, and so on. Irrational Games obviously devoted a large amount of time in this area. Dropping a certain object on the ground has its own distinct sound. Even depending on what kind of surface you drop it on! The incredible attention to the sounds of the game continue to surprise me after four years of play. The EAX support of the game is, in this way, extremely well employed. The soundtrack in this game is an absolute tour de force. It spans the range from industrial-techno, to surreal-ambient, to downright scare the hell out of you creepy.

The log tapes, are acted out extremely well, often with stunningly gruesome and frightening detail. They are definitely a high point of the gameplay. They act masterfully in fleshing out the story, considering that you do not come in direct contact with other people throughout the course of the game.

The level design in this game is another of its high points. While the Thief engine does not lend itself to high levels of detail, the engine is used to its utmost potential in SS2. Nothing has the look of being thrown together in a hurry. Everything has its place. Objects are placed very meticulously, and with a lot of thought, by the designers. Things are logically organized, which acts to amplify the suspension of disbelief. The use of lighting in this game is one reason that it is so scary. Most of the locations are darkened, making it hard to see what you're walking into. The ship feels like an actual ship, the environments vary appropriately from deck to deck.

Another user mentioned its highly nonlinear gameplay, and that is one reason that System Shock 2 is fun to play over and over again. While the main plot points of the game remain the same, the methods you use to approach them are up to you. In what order you approach them is also up to you. To further that end, every item in this game has a use. Some are much more useful then others, however they exist for a reason. While some people may scoff and claim that System Shock 2 is too difficult (and it is hard, don't be fooled), creative use of the items in your inventory will allow you to survive. Ammunition in this game is so incredibly scarce (and weapons degrade so fast) that you are constantly challenged with creative ways of killing creatures. Coupled with the fact that the enemies are regenerated and most ammunition is NOT (though some weapons are rechargeable), brainpower over brawn rules the day. The ammunition supply is much different than that of System Shock 1, where most killed creatures and bots had much spare ammunition and you did not have to hoard it so closely. Creature regeneration is one major fear factor, since you do not know if rooms you just cleared will have new monsters inside later. You constantly turn around to check behind you. Scarcity of ammo also adds much to the frightening aspect of this game, as you are constantly afraid of not having enough to stay alive. This is offset however by the many different weapons and items. In fact, there are so many different items and weapons in the game that it is impossible to use them all over the course of a single game. The user must focus their upgrade points in specific areas to be successful with a certain type of offense (hacking, heavy weapons), as there are not enough upgrade opportunities to become good with them all. Some weapons and skills I have still not used (exotics, many psionics for example). While some cite this is a drawback, it leads to a large replay value.

Finally, it's just a very very very very scary game. All of these elements combine to create an experience that no other PC game has ever produced. Try and play it with all the lights off, I dare you.

I think it only fair to cover the downsides of this game, as every game has some. Fortunately, there aren't that many.

The character classes in this game are useless, as a previous noder has observed. I feel that the designers may have had something else in mind with those at the outset and then ran out of time. As you can upgrade in any way you see fit during the game, and you need some basic weapons skills in the beginning to avoid dying, going with Navy every time is the only choice that makes sense.

The weapons degrade far too fast out of the box, forcing you to spend cyber modules on the repair skill so that you don't use up your repair tools so fast. Ken Levine says this is one of the things he wishes wasn't in the game.

The upgrade paths are somewhat confusing in this game, and may turn off a lot of people. Some people play through a game only once, and may have expected that they would max out their skills before the game ended. Since this is far from the case, many players may have spread their points too thin in places and not been able to use many of the advanced weapons and skills needed later in the game.

The models for the creatures in the game are very under-detailed. This is not a limitation of the Dark Engine, but was done by Irrational to take into consideration the power of graphics cards at the time. One avid fan has created a set of extremely high-resolution models for the game which you can drop right in, get them at

The environments on the Von Braun are excellent, however after repeated plays you get the feeling that the Rickenbacker levels were rushed to meet a deadline. They are not as expansive as those on the Von Braun, and do not possess as much detail. The psionic "ghosts" that you see at the outset also stop suddenly halfway through the game; Irrational Games admitted that these simply took so long to do that they didn't have the time to finish them all.

There are far too few items that require "researching" in this game, leading me to wonder if this is an idea that was also meant to be much more but was harmed by insufficient development time.

Finally, what the @!#$ is up with the fusion rifle? For the effort spent acquiring the skills to use it, it's remarkably ineffective. Your time is better spent with the grenade launcher, which is one of the most useful weapons in the game (apart from the laser pistol, which I believe is the best of them all).

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