Written by  :  xroox (3970)
Written on  :  Mar 16, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars

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Words cannot begin to describe how great this game really is!

The Good

IMO, System Shock is the best game ever made (Well, apart from UFO: Enemy Unknown, perhaps, but it's a really close thing). Where do I start? Shock has it all: A stunningly detailed and believable environment with awesome graphics, lovingly crafted and dripping with atmosphere ... An amazing story that unfolds with plenty of neat twists and interesting characters ... Memorable, evocative, driving music ... Horrifically scary moments lurking round any corner, helped by really frightening sound effects ... Two distinct game worlds - The real-world of a dark, terror-filled space station and the virtual world of cyberspace, with its colourful, abstract rooms and tunnels ... A vast array of weaponary and equipment to find and use ... Huge, varied levels, each with its own particular atmosphere and goals.Basically, you're alone. You've got a vast gameworld to sneak, climb and crawl through. Equipment is scattered around, if you can find it; Search through dead bodies, desks and cupboards and break into storerooms. There are hideous mutants and twistedly reprogrammed robots lurking in the shadows, waiting to chew your face off or pulverise you or blast you. There's the whole realm of cyberspace to explore, when you can find a cyberjack and a danger-free moment to plug in. In there, you can grab information and software (including the collection of entertainment softs, each one a miniature Xmas :) and take an all-too brief respite from the hell outside. You have to stay alive, conserve ammo, upgrade your weaponary and keep a supply of medical and bio-enhancement patches handy. You'll travel through many different levels of the station, including medical, executive and leisure decks. And all the way you'll be taunted and frightened by Shodan, your nemesis and delighted tormentor.

To play System Shock is to envelop yourself in another world, another life. Terrifying, yes, but awe-inspiring and addictive, too. This is a place so detailed, so well designed, that you can almost touch it.

On another note, this game is so much better than the very overrated Half-Life. After hearing so much about HL I had to play it. At the same time, by coincidence, I was playing System Shock through, for the second time (the first time was in 1994, when I bought it). I enjoyed HL at first, but as time went on, I found that there was a lot that annoyed me, and bored me, about it and I couldn't help thinking, "System Shock is so much better than this, and so much more fun." Basically, when I played HL, I wished I was playing System Shock, and when I played System Shock, I had a genuinely amazing time, and realised how dull HL was in comparison. If you loved Half-Life, then my apologies, but this is how I feel. System Shock is 7 years old now, but still totally kicks the rear-end of so many games that have been released since.

The Bad

There's hardly anything I can criticise about this game. I don't love the door-lock puzzles, but there's nothing wrong with them, either. Hmm, can I think of anything wrong with this game? Um...No. It's damn near perfect.

The Bottom Line

System Shock is an all-time classic, a game in a million. Yeah, plenty of 1st person shooters and 1st person RPG/adventure/shooters have come out since it was released, but System Shock is just in a class of its own. Maybe better games will arrive (I've just bought Deus Ex and it's the next game I'm going to be playing) - I'm sure they will sometime - but System Shock is an individual character and a really unique, stylish game. It has so many elements and they all fit together so well that it will always stand out from the crowd. Congratulations and infinite thanks to the team who worked at Looking Glass - This game is beautiful.