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31 Days of 2Spooky4U - Day 1 (System Shock 2)

Hey duders! It's that most spooktacular time of the year, once again!

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What I care about most in this world are videogames, horror, and horror videogames. So in the spirit of the season I'll be spending every day this month reminding y'all of some of the creepiest, spine chilling, scream inducing, horrifying moments in gaming history. In the words of the esteemed Mr. Arnold, hold onto your butts - cause it's about to get spooky up in here.

Day 1) System Shock 2

The Game: In System Shock you play an anonymous, mute hacker who must stop an insane AI called SHODAN from destroying the world. In a daring and dramatic turn from form, System Shock 2 has you play an anonymous, nearly mute soldier who must stop an alien hive mind that’s taken over the space ship Von Braun from destroying, well, everything.

What System Shock 2 is remembered for these days is a masterful use of tone and atmosphere. The design of the game is haunting, from fleshy growth intersecting with creaking the metal of the ship to zombified crewmembers that beg for you to kill them. Lighting is well used to keep you on your toes. The sound design could go head-to-head with even most modern games, through its use of ambient noise and disturbing audio logs.

Also, there are giant invisible spiders. So that’s, like, you know. That kinda sucks too.

·The Spooks: The most frightening moment of System Shock 2 is unlike many to come in this list – it isn’t a sudden scare, a grotesque image, or a horrific concept. It is a slow build up of hope that is obliterated in only six words:

“The Polito form is dead, insect.”

Throughout the first third of System Shock 2 you are trapped and alone in a hostile environment. You don’t understand where you are, why there are monsters after your flesh, or how everything aboard the ship went so wrong. Your only source of comfort is a fellow survivor of the Von Braun disaster, a Dr. Janice Polito, who guides you through hell. Her presence is an anchor that keeps you grounded and fills you with the hope that even just one other person could make it then not all hope is lost.

So when it turns out that hope was in vain your spirit is crushed all the more.

Having fought through hell and high-water to get to her players are immediately stunned to find their guiding light slumped over in her chair and motionless. Then that voice begins to speak. That stuttering, mechanical voice. The room begins to go dark as a woman’s face fills the screen. She asks questions about what you, such a trivial creature fears.

It is SHODAN. In the first System Shock this rogue AI was your greatest foe – she has now been revealed to be your closest ally. The genocidal robot is your savior. But for how long?