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Tips & Tricks to Survive Citadel Station in System Shock

Tips & Tricks to Survive Citadel Station in System Shock

As a retro-inspired title, System Shock tends to tell you... well, nothing. Zilch. Nada. If you enter System Shock expecting any form of guidance, you're in for a treat! Thankfully, we suffered first-hand trying to learn every mechanic so you don't have to. Here are nine tips & tricks for your adventure through Citadel Station!

#1 — Get a Sparq Beam ASAP

System Shock 1 Sparqbeam

Look, it's easy to just run around with an oversized wrench at hand finding mutants and cyborgs to destroy on your quest to defeat SHODAN, until you die... over and over again. Okay! Use your guns... and then you run out of ammo and it's back to wrench swinging again

If you're struggling with enemies, the weapon you'll need to use is a Sparq Beam, the very same ones that enemies use to shoot electricity at you and chunk your life. These handy tools use your Energy as ammo instead of an actual, quantifiable source, meaning that as long as you can go back to a recharge station, you have infinite ammo! And even better…

#2 — Customise Your Sparq Beam

System Shock 2 sparqbeam charge levels

The bad thing about wrenches? They aren't customisable. Sure, they're red — or at least, I think they are, although that could be blood — and you could, theoretically, change its colour with some paint, there must be SOME lying around Citadel Station, but it just doesn't feel the same.

Your Sparq Beam has three customisation modes you can choose from: Low, High, and Over, each one costing a different amount of weapon energy (you can only shoot so many times before it overheats) and Energy, but they also have varying levels of strength. If you know of an enemy you want to shoot hard, you can change it to its strongest setting and use all of the weapon's power!

#3 — Save Often

System Shock 3 Save quick save menu

Here’s the truth: you're going to be swinging your wrench a little too much, there is going to be a swarm of mutants trying to overwhelm you, and there will eventually be cyborgs and enemies with guns that make yours feel like NERF-brand. Just face it — you're going to die.

One of my biggest (and only) complaints about System Shock is the abysmal auto-save system. Theoretically, this can be a good thing because you don't auto-save by accident into an unfavourable position with minimal health and ammo, but in actuality, you're going to die, lose an entire hour (or more) of gameplay because you forgot to save, and then weep. I nearly made an auto command to click a button every minute because I kept forgetting to save and nearly lost progress several times.

#4 — Clear Your Inventory

System Shock 4 inventory vaporise vaporize

There are a few valuable items that you simply cannot, and should not, let go of: your trustworthy wrench, your Sparq Beam, a normal gun, some healing, and maybe drugs — lots of drugs. Everything else? Vaporise it.

By vaporising items in the world, you can get Scrap, a stackable square item that looks straight out of Wall-E that only takes one space of your inventory and can hold 100 at a time. Once you reach a recycling station — or in my case, continuously return to the one on the Medical floor — you can put your Scrap in exchange for Credits, which is basically the money you'll use to buy ammo and ever-necessary drugs. What are a few hallucinations when you get berserk strength?

#5 — Pick Up Guns from the Floor

System Shock 5 enemy dead headshot blood gun

You can find weapons in various ways, but one of the most common ones is when enemies or lootable bodies on the floor leave behind their weapon. These armaments are indispensable because although your lucky wrench is great, it'll only take you so far. More important, however, is the stored ammo in each one.

Every weapon has a chance to have ammo carried within. From 1–10 with pistol-based weapons to 1–6 with shotguns, you can take the time to pick them up from the floor and highlight them to use the "Empty" option, which stores all of the excess ammo from the gun and puts it in your inventory. This ensures that you are always stocked in ammo and can defend yourself when the wrench seems to fail you.

#6 — Use Your Map

System Shock 6 map

Citadel Station, and each floor within, is quite a large map that you're going to get lost in... a lot. The corridors look the same, the corpses keep flinging around with ragdoll physics, and overall, you're going to get lost. To fight tooth and wrench out of this world, you're going to want to be able to navigate it properly.

System Shock doesn't tell you what to do, it doesn't give you a quest log, and it sure as hell doesn't tell you your goal. So, it's up to you, your wits, and an obscene amount of luck to find your way out of the station. By checking which areas of the ship are still behind unexplored doors, you can find where to go and what to do with ease. Even more if you…

#7 — Learn What the Icons Mean

System Shock 7 learn what icons mean

The map is VERY informative... if you know how to read it. There are symbols everywhere that don't really explain what they are, and it makes it difficult to know where to go when you need to recycle items or heal or recharge your Sparq Beam... or anything, really.

So, I recommend you take the time to walk to each individual area one by one and familiarise yourself with the icons. Once you've learned what each one means, you can actually start strategically moving around the map easier without getting lost.

#8 — Aim for the Head

System Shock 8 AIM FOR THE HEAD body headless blood

System Shock pays close attention to where you're hitting people, and this can affect in various ways. Shooting enemies in the head does increased damage and wrenching mutants in their noggin stuns them, stopping them from hitting you back.

It's never a bad idea to aim for the head in hopes of getting a result, and when it comes to weird, ball-shaped enemies (you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it), no harm in just shooting rampantly until you hit something!

#9 — Have fun!

System Shock 9 have fun corridor

System Shock is a great game, and even though I'm not a fan of survival horror, I enjoyed my time with it. Choose your difficulty and decide whether you die a lot or you don't, adjust things to your likings, save as often as you can or never do so and just have fun. If you don't like getting lost, there is no shame in looking up a guide to tell you where to go next and who to swing your wrench at next. If you like getting lost, don't learn anything about anything and figure it out the old-school way — trial and error.

When it comes to games, there shouldn't be a wrong way to play them, especially when you're playing a single-player title. The most important thing is that you enjoy your journey as you reach SHODAN and hit her straight in the face... with your wrench.

That's all for our tips & tricks! I am sure there are plenty of things I missed, so as always, feel free to leave a comment below, giving even more tips and building upon the article! Good luck, Hacker!

Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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