There’s only one place to go on Level 4 for now and that leads me straight to the dead body of the woman who has been helping me out over email.
The walls slide away and I’m suddenly face to face with Shodan. This scene is incredibly atmospheric and I’m surrounded by her creepy multiple voices. I’d go as far as to say this moment would potentially be one of the best in gaming if I hadn’t already guessed it was coming. I’ve been expecting a twist somewhere along the way and it wouldn’t have been a System Shock without Shodan in it.
Shodan has been masquerading as the dead woman in order to build my trust. She elaborates on the backstory and tells me how the “aliens” from the world below are actually her creations that were jettisoned off Citadel station in SS1. They have turned on her and she wants me to help her take revenge and kill them all off. I have to get her access to more of the ships systems the Xerxes is currently controlling.
I find a new weapon which has been created by Shodan’s “children”. It’s another melee weapon but presumably more powerful than any of the usual ones. I need some skill in exotics before I can use it.
To override Xerxes control I need to track down 3 red cyborgs which have a computer chip each which can override one system. I’m given these details in a log I find. I don’t realise it at the time but this room has one of the red assassin cyborgs in it. The room also has a load of exploding crates which keep crashing down. I hide round the corner and the crates kill the cyborg off for me.
Aside from the assassin cyborgs I’m also running into these guys who throw grenades at me. Provided I can get close up quickly they aren’t a big threat.
I find the first of the computers I need to override but can’t do anything with it yet as I need one of the other two chips.
I keep exploring and find another chip and also run into giant spiders. These are extremely tough and best taken down at a distance. They have a toxin attack which is extremely nasty. As far as I can tell toxin never wears off in this game without the use of an anti-toxin hypo so I take them down with a shotgun while contstantly backing off.
I start overriding the computers and also upgrade my exotic skill so I can use the crystal shard. It possibly does a small amount more damage than the light sword but nothing major.
After a lot of walking around I finally find the final red cyborg and although it runs away I manage to get enough hits in to take it down relatively easily.
The final computer I have to override is very nearby. This opens up the next level to me.
Level 5 is the recreation deck. Shodan wants me to get access to a transmitter that has been set up here.
When I get here there is actually someone still alive but he is behind a glass screen and I can’t reach him yet. He breaks off from talking to me.
The reason why is presumably the biggest robot I’ve had to fight. This one fires huge and fairly slow energy balls which do splash damage even if they don’t hit me directly. I use my usual tactics and it doesn’t prove to be much stronger than the earlier yellow robots. I look around the area afterwards but if anyone is still alive I don’t find them.
I’m told in a log I find that someone has hidden a code in the artwork on this deck. I can use the art to flick between pictures and sure enough I find part of a code.
The recreation deck includes a garden area (which given the limitations of the engine doesn’t look much like a garden but its a change from metal panels.
I’m really building up my stats and upgrade my energy enough to be able to use this energy weapon. This fires the same giant blue spheres that the robot was using on me earlier and these take out nearly anything electrical in only a few shots.
Level 5 is very large and consists of some quite varied areas. I find a large square room with another elevator – the elevator I’ve been using only went up to floor 5 but it looks like there is at least one more to go. For now I can’t use this elevator though.
I find a hybrid alien/human weapon but I’ll need to research this before I can use it. For now I have no idea exactly what it does.
The recreation area is complete with a cinema….
… and a shopping mall. I get to pick another permanent upgrade here and go for increased range weapon damage.
I also find another piece of artwork with a bit more code. I must still be missing one or two fragments of the code so I’ll try to find where these are next. I’ve spent a lot of time wandering around looking for something new to do in this session. I think I’ve seen most of the deck I’m on but there is an athletics area which I haven’t been able to enter due to not having the keycard. I don’t think I’ve missed any artwork (although it’s not altogether unlikely) but I must have missed this keycard somehow. I might search through my logs and see if there are any hints.
Since finding out her true identity, all my emails with instructions/congratulations have been coming from Shodan herself. I can’t help but feel that this can’t work out well in the long run but I don’t have a choice for now. She is certainly less than complementary about my species. I’m still a bit unclear exactly what Shodan is doing here in the first place. I suppose she must have escaped to the planet along with her children some how but I’m unclear on this. Maybe I will find out more later. I have seen logs talking about Diego carrying on the families work.
SS2 has for the moment settled down into a pattern of me exploring each area looking for for access cards, codes, cyborgs, etc… There isn’t a huge amount of story and I’m possibly having to do more searching around for items than I would like. The tasks on each level are all slightly different but the method is ultimately the same. I kind of miss the cyberspace sections from SS1 also which added a bit of variety to the mix. I think I’m ultimately going to prefer SS1 over SS2 although there won’t be a big distance between them.