Enhanced System Shock Lets You Play in Near High-Definition

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘System Shock’ Has Been Updated And Enhanced, Finally Available On Modern PCs.

Before BioShock, before DOS gaming latecomers got hip to Irrational’s oeuvre and spilled tubs of ink over System Shock 2, there was simply System Shock. ‘System Shock’ is one of those fantastic games that’s almost impossible to play because of newer operating systems — thankfully, that won’t be the case any longer, as an updated version just launched earlier today! While it was possible to get the game running with a little bit of work, System Shock was originally built to run on DOS — basically, any computer from the last several years was just too new to run the game properly.

A collaboration between the studio and members of the mod community, the Enhanced Edition adds quite a few quality-of-life improvements: “System Shock: Enhanced Edition now comes with official support for resolutions up to 1024×768 (compared to the original 640×480), and a native 854×480 widescreen mode. As an added bonus, the game comes with a number of updates and enhancements — sure, it’s not a full HD remaster, but at least the game will finally play in widescreen! The most noticeable update will be the game’s resolution: the original version was only able to run in 640 by 480, or the same size as a low-res YouTube video. You can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark before Casablanca and get yourself into a strange but kind of cool archetypal feedback loop when you finally circle back to the inspirational material. I remember crawling through its Citadel space station’s involuted galleries—graffiti on sapphire floor-to-ceiling tile, busy Borg-like textures on sloped three-dimensional surfaces (the simple miracle of not-faked 3D in a first-person game!)—passing through hexagonal doorways and trapezoidal crawlways.

There’s no denying that System Shock (and its sequel, for that matter) could be a little obtuse, but these changes should go a long way toward making the game a bit more streamlined. You could look up, and not just kinda-sorta, like in Doom, but fully vertical, admiring the way, say, that a multilevel ceiling might converge in a cluster of orthogonal turns and recessed alcoves. Glowing wall panels were stippled with crisscross patterns that shimmered parabolically as your perspective changed (an aesthetic unto itself that I miss sometimes). Its lack of realtime light sourcing gave it a perpetually dim, 1970s sci-fi flick ambience that ironically complemented its simple but grim 256-color palette. You had all that self-augmentation bizarreness, like the implants that let you do indoor barrel rolls, a flight-sim-inspired premise based on actual rules of inertia (indoor physics!).

You had its inspired, completely unexpected take cyberspace: convoluted digital chutes you zipped along like surfing wireframe waterslides, trying to solve quirky geometric puzzles. What mutant two-dimensional sprites lack in creepy kinetic fluidity, they more than make up for in jerking, twitching freakishness—like the stop-motion surreality of a Quay Brothers film, and just as indelible.

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