1 – System Shock (1994)
Hey, remember BioShock? The 2007 shooter that was heralded as a unique, groundbreaking, revolutionary one-of-a-kind masterpiece, with a story, setting and design formula the magnificent likes of which had never, ever been seen in our medium before? This is the game that did all that first. And, by many accounts, better.
Above: But uh, it doesn’t look so hot anymore
Imagine the creepy, abandoned, “something has gone horribly wrong” atmosphere of Rapture… only in space. Take the hideously mutated Splicers, then replace them with cyborg crew members and murderous robots. Instead of genetic upgrades, give the hero neural implants; instead of vending machines, enable him to hack directly into cyberspace. Oh, and Andrew Ryan? He’s interesting, but not nearly as cool as SHODAN, System Shock’s evil, all-knowing A.I. and probably the greatest female (or female-voiced) villain in the history of gaming. GLaDOS, meet your grandma.
Above: So cool
No other ‘90s title has been more influential than System Shock, arguably the original thinking man’s shooter. Half-Life, Doom III, Metroid Prime, Resident Evil 4, Chronicles of Riddick and countless others seem inspired by its innovations. The game’s producer, Warren Spector, went on to make Thief and Deus Ex. The designer of System Shock 2, Ken Levine, rebottled the magic for BioShock, which has since sparked the likes of Dead Space and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Sadly, despite a brilliance that has been copied over and over for 15 years now, System Shock sold terribly upon release and was – no joke – the Okami of its era. That injustice could be remedied, however, with a simple facelift. Put the game on Steam, or Xbox Live Arcade, or PlayStation Network, or packaged as a bonus in BioShock 3. Whatever the delivery, we’ll play. And pay.
Jan 4, 2010
Ugly polygon “babes” of yesteryear
39 terrifying monsters we used to think were sexy
Top 7… best Dreamcast games of all time
A posthumous salute to the greatest titles for Sega’s doomed console
10 most shocking game moments of the decade
A mighty list of grisly taboo-breakers dredged together into one filthy list