System Shock series
Group DescriptionSystem Shock games were notable for incorporating elements of first-person shooter, puzzle-solving, and role-playing. Related by plot (including a common antagonist, the malevolent artificial intelligence known as SHODAN), the games share similar science fiction horror scenarios, in which the protagonist is trapped in an abandoned, enclosed environment (space station, space ship, etc.), trying to fend off enemies (cyborgs, mutated creatures, and others), find clues that would reveal past events, survive, and escape.
Released in 1994, System Shock was based on the engine implemented in Ultima Underworld. Similarly to that game, System Shock strived to represent realistic physical interaction in a 3D world. Though similar to other first-person shooters in terms of basic gameplay mechanics, the game's pace was nevertheless quite different, requiring the player to carefully explore the environment, collecting clues and crucial items in process. Objectives, character customization, and interaction with the game world exceeded by far the customary requirements of contemporary shooters, infusing the game with role-playing elements.
System Shock 2 (1999) further emphasized the role-playing angle, effectively becoming a FPS/RPG hybrid. The player could customize and enhance the player's parameters, affecting gameplay style and offering diverse solutions to the tasks. Both games implemented an unusual storytelling technique, gradually uncovering past events by encouraging the player to look for messages and logs left by people before the disasters occurred.
Front cover for Telstar Double Value Games (System Shock and Space Hulk)
Front cover for System Shock
Front cover for System Shock 2
Screenshot from System Shock
Screenshot from System Shock 2