System Shock 2: Surviving the OSA – Part 3

This is going to be a really, really painful experience. I’m being out-gunned by psychic-enabled monkeys, for Christ’s sake. This isn’t a joke. I’m aboard a faster-than-light vessel millions of miles away from Earth and in the distant future, where mankind has unlocked the secrets behind harnessing his mind for the greater good, and I’m getting grief from a group of lab monkeys. I’m complaining about this just as another blue orb from the little fuckers hits me and takes off another shed load of hit points

“Fuck you Rafiki, I will cave your monkey face in with my yellow wrench of death” I scream as I charge at the monkey, swinging like a drunk with a bloody kebab in his hand.

This section of System Shock 2, combined with the first trip to engineering, is among some of the most difficult as the game lulls you into a false sense of security. You’ve killed a few bad guys, you’ve got to grips with the game, and now you should be finding your feet a little… except if you’re me and don’t have a fucking clue what to do with half of this Psi bollocks. I want a gun and they’ve just introduced these simian shits to give me more problems. I smash his little furry face in and, as he screams out for a final banana before death, I hit him again and he falls over.

I’ve been wandering around the Medical Section for at least ten minutes and I’ve found very little that is going to really aid me in the grand scheme of things. I’m still using the Psi-Amp to fire some pretty pathetic balls of death at people, and having to fall back on my trusty yellow wrench whenever I run out of Psi Points. I feel like my character is turning into a spiritual ancestor of Gordon Freeman, except he was a geek who knew how to use a gun rather than just a crowbar.

I have managed to find some more audio logs for Dr Watts but there is still no sign of Grassi, and he’s the silly shit I need to find first if I’m ever going to get off this deck. I’ve also found software for Version 1 research. Huzzah! Ah… I still have no skill points in research. Cack. Still, it’s better than more monkeys scratching my eyeballs out. Further searching of the Medical Subsection is more fruitful, chucking some cyber modules and some all important PSI-hypos my way. I dodge around a security camera, keen to not make avoidable mistakes in my vulnerable state, and give it a swift beating with my wrench. Already though, more limitations present themselves: hack level 2 is required for some of the crates I’m coming across, and shotgun hybrids are becoming more common, making charging in with a wrench nothing short of suicide. I’ve also come across two more turrets, neither of which I’m in a position to do anything about. I know that I need to buff up by the time I reach the next deck or I’m going to be a pretty sorry state.

As I’m searching around for Grassi, I recall how well designed these levels are. None of this really feels like someone has just created ‘a game’ and has, instead, thought ‘how would future humans design a spaceship’. They’ve then gone ahead and done just that. The corridors of the Von Braun may seem like a maze or a collection of rooms to some people, but they’re actually extremely well designed and thought out, adding to a real sense of loneliness as you stand aboard a ship designed to accommodate thousands rather than a handful.

The handful is reduced by one as I stumble across what I think is Grassi’s corpse. Wonderful; another dead body. He’s holding a keycard for the Crew Quarters, so with that in hand, along with some cyber modules from Polito, I head back in the direction I came. I take a slightly different route, however. I’m not doing too well for health and I don’t want to risk running into a hybrid and getting pincered between him and a turret. Fuck that noise. Instead, I jog past a highly irradiated area and naturally assume I’d rather roll the dice with a dose of radiation poisoning; the irony that lead would save me in this situation is not lost on me. A quick (and I mean very quick) jaunt inside rewards me with sweet nanties, precious cyber modules, and an anti-radiation hypo. That last part feels like something of a piss take. Some minutes later, and radiation free, I find myself at the door for the Crew Quarters Section.

I’m going to take my time here for two reasons: there is plenty of loot to pick up and there are a few hybrids patrolling the area (and, if memory serves, a couple of them are usually wielding shotguns). As I round the first corner I come across a non-shotgun hybrid who is, thankfully, walking away from me. He gets wrenched in the head. This attracts the attention of another fucking monkey who gives me a taste of blue orb death. I lose my shit a little here and let fly with a few shots from Fenton. Asshole monkey. He skirts off round the corner; hopefully he’s limping a bit, the little shit.

Naturally I give chase, (because monkeys have to die) running past upgrade stations, audio logs, replicators, the lot. I manage to kill the simian prick but not before I find that aforementioned shotgun hybrid. He’s got an itchy trigger finger and I take two rounds and lose almost half my health, which was not how I’d envisaged the next five minutes going, as a whole. I let Fenton take a breather (I’m out of PSI) and go at the hybrid with my trusty wrench, which is getting more use than it would in the average plumber’s tool box. I narrowly avoid another slug and beat him to death amid cries of despair (his, not mine).

With everything dead (including a sneaky security camera) I finally make it to Dr Watts’ office to discover… the fucker isn’t here. Oh for goodness sake, I’m never getting off this fucking deck. Polito chips in and suggests that he’s probably in his other office. Oh well of course he is, probably doing some filing while the ship turns to liquid shit. She throws some cyber modules my way as I start the walk towards his other office.

I trudge back through the corridors of the Crew Quarters, noting things I can’t yet research, and arrive back at a weapons locker I cannot yet unlock – it’s hack level 7. Not a fucking chance, Pa. I’ll have to find the code somewhere. I pick up various bits and bobs along the way, including some armour (thank God), and stop at an upgrade station and begin to ponder what I should be doing with these cyber modules. The urge to throw them all at a weapon other than my extremely well-worn wrench and Fenton is strong. I could, at the very least, give myself a pistol to play with. No. Just no. Next it will be an assault rifle and then the grenade launcher. Before I know it Fenton will be an expensive paperweight and my wrench will just be used to fix the dripping taps. I also find the upgrade stations I so hastily ran past, and decide to purchase a PSI power that lets me heal some health points, which seems like a smart investment in the grand scheme of things. I’ve got more modules to spend but figure I’ll hang on to them for now – I’m not really sure what the hell to spend them on and I don’t want to waste them.

With the access card I pilfered from Watts’ office I crack open the door to the R&D Sector and begin searching for the good doctor. I am given another four cyber modules, do the dance of death with a couple of hybrids, and note the absence of any fucking monkeys. I bob and weave around some cameras and, after picking various bits, end up with the doctor. Except he’s dead. Oh fucking hell. I’ve been all over the ship (fine, just this deck) looking for you, I’ve faced horrific dangers (the monkeys make a very authentic ‘chatter’ when they want to) and nearly dropped a load in my pants (stupid ghosts), only to find your ass lying on a medical bed, struggling to hang on to this mortal coil. I’d rant more at Watts but he punches out as that bitch on the comm system pipes up and tells me it’s time to get off this deck and head to engineering to restore power with my new access card.

Like a 1990’s housewife giddy with excitement at being told by Richard O’Brien that it was time to enter a new zone, I move to leave Watts’ warm corpse only to find a trio of shotgun hybrids blocking the doorway. Typical hybrid dick move, blocking stuff. Fenton soon saw them off, although he wasn’t much help when we got back to the elevator. I forgot about the fucking robot.

I’d had a fairly decent memory up until that point, but that massive banana-coloured douchebag was strutting around like he owned the fucking place, wagging his metallic arms back and forth without a care in the world, the pretentious metal asshole. With no anti-armour weapons to hand, I figured Fenton would have to do, except against a robot he possessed all the threatening nature of a fresh turd. The robot beat me black and blue until I cleverly (accidentally) cornered myself in a room with a dead monkey. The simian prick looked like he was grinning at me, so as a final ‘fuck you’ to him and the rest of his dead brethren, I charged the robot head-on with my yellow wrench – I figured the robot might get confused and think I was trying to give him a penis extension.

It fucking worked. I couldn’t quite believe it when it happened and I thought I’d broken the game. Instead of death I was greeted with complete hilarity – Johnny 5 only went and wedged himself into a doorway too small to get through and, in the process, I entered some kind of blind spot where his laser deathrays couldn’t hit me. I beat that prick to death with a wrench smaller than his arm and then opened up the access shaft to engineering. I was laughing myself hoarse long after the loading screen hit and I realised I’d finished an entire deck. On to the next challenge.

Make sure to come back for the next diary piece, where we get lost in engineering, get some radiation poisoning as a result, and decide to have a cyber module splurge, with mixed results.

Last five articles by Chris


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