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You play as a nameless hacker who hacked the Citadel Station's AI, named SHODAN, and retrieved a mutagenic virus, as part of a deal to have charges dropped against you. Six months later when waking up from surgery for a neural implant, you get quite the shock when you're up against a rogue AI (SHODAN), hostile robots and mutated and/or transformed crew. Can you survive long enough to save the Earth from SHODAN's upcoming attacks?


Best time on Normal difficulty with deaths and resets: Single-segment 0:32:47 by 'PvtCb' on 2014-12-15.

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Author's comments:

System Shock was a pleasure to route and run. Shoutouts to gammadragon for his advice that shaved off minutes from the run and ToxicFrog's insanely detailed map viewer that greatly simplified the routing process.


Most of Medical level is setup for the Laser mission. There's plenty of health items on this level that are right along the route or close enough to it that they take little extra time to pick up and are necessary for surviving some encounters as you spend much of the early game underpowered. I spend some time looking for a Berserk dermal patch from the bodies of dead mutants that would save a few seconds in a later fight. Essential early game weapons and ammo are also acquired on this level (most notably frag grenades and Teflon rounds) along with items I'll be using throughout the run such as the Turbo Motion System, which turns me into a gibbon on roller skates.
At 2:00 I skip activating a force bridge because you can easily clear the gap with a running jump; the jump at 2:13 using the repulsor lift skips having to pass through a large number of enemies at the expense of a ton of Cyborg Drones swarming you after you destroy the computer nodes.


Not much happens on Research outside of the Laser Mission objectives and grenade pickup which are used for death warps. I flip a cyborg converter to allow a death warp I use right away and after destroying the laser.
I skate in using my minimap at 4:20 to get the SCI access card from a Drone because flipping a light switch in another quadrant takes too long; I then deathwarp to the restoration bay.


The first thing that needs to be done on Reactor is flipping the converter. Without it set to revive you this floor is impossible to survive as you simply don't have enough Detox patches and getting the radiation suit takes too long. After depositing the X-22 and turning on the shields, I enter the laser safety override code and kill myself with a frag grenade. To survive this floor, it is necessary to stay out of range of the Hoppers by backing up from them and sniping them with Teflon rounds.

Research 2

SHODAN sets the area around the laser switch with energy mines that push you away and sap your energy. I take off my skates and slide on past an ambush of cyborgs to fire the laser then death warp to the restoration bay. From there I destroy the nodes but my EMP grenade was badly thrown leaving me to have to destroy the last node with my pistol.


A quick stop to pick up the Laser Rapier turns this game into a Jedi Knight knockoff. I've scavenged corpses like crazy up until this point so that I have enough Teflon ammo to take out the Sec-1 Robot guarding the Rapier, but many runs have died trying to kill him when I'm not sufficiently armed. There is a backup strat of gathering a battery and killing it with your Sparq but this takes about 10 seconds longer. After this short detour I take the freight elevator to Storage. I got stuck on an acute angle (this game traps you between the spots in your hitbox at times) which cost a few seconds and health.


The only mandatory objectives Storage are taking out the computer nodes for the 4th digit in the randomly created reactor destruct code and picking up 4 Plastique charges. You're supposed to hit a switch to trigger force bridges spawning in the main storage room but that takes too long and you can make it to the end with clever jumping and skate usage; I then backtrack along the same route to avoid having to take a repulsor lift up

Flight Deck

I get the 5th digit of the reactor destruct code on this floor and don't do much else.


This is where the meat of the run is. The main objective is to flip 3 switches inside of mutant infested areas, but before that I flip the converter and pick up the ADM access card and Flechette. The groves are all very short and you can deathwarp from inside all of them except for Beta. The Flechette tears through most enemies in the game incredibly quickly. I scavenge ammo from Exec Bots and Sec-1 Robots, hoping for Splinter rounds because their increased damage. You're supposed to get a hazard suit to survive Beta Grove but if you're fast enough you can hit the jettison enable and exit before the bio contamination kills you.
The trick at 15:59 exploits your hitbox properties and a partial out of bounds. Your body in the game is two spheres and the abdomen between them can get stuck on certain narrow objects. I grab a ledge of the wall that I'm not supposed to be able to grab which gets my head sphere out of bounds, sidle over to the hidden door, lean in and get myself wedged through the top of the door, which loads the area and switch that were inside the inky blackness, then I use the switch to open the door.
Diego is supposed to be a scary boss but you can either apply Berserk and kill him with a single Rapier swing or shoot him in the face with the Magpulse which hitstuns him.

Maintenance 2

Enter the relay number 428 into the systems analyzer so that you learn how to repair it, pick up an interface demodulator, destroy the computer node, and repair the relay. I use the Flechette as a light in dark areas to hit switches.

Executive 2

Now that the master jettison control is fixed, pull the lever and head to Beta to eject the grove. I clear out the room with splinter rounds because they do insane damage to mutants. From there it's a simple deathwarp to the restoration bay.


You have to blow up 4 antennae with the Plastique charges you picked up Storage to prevent SHODAN from downloading herself to Earth. As long as you're clear of the timed explosion there's not much on this floor that's a threat.
At 21:03 I crouch down and run past several Cyborg Enforcers. Crouching reduces your profile and greatly increases your chances of not being shot to death as you go to the second antenna.
SHODAN springs a trap on you as soon as you place a charge on the south antenna by closing a force door on you. There are a few ways to survive this. You can crouch behind the antenna opposite of the explosion with shields on, apply Reflex and solve a puzzle to open the force door, or use a logic probe to instantly solve the puzzle. I opt for the last option because it is by far the fastest.
There's a fairly large skip at 23:46 where I lower an elevator as I use it which allows me to backtrack through this area at a later time. This saves around 45 seconds.

Reactor 2

Spam Magpulse and guess the 6th digit of a 6 number long code to start the reactor destruct sequence. It took me a few tries to get the code which lost some time but there's not much I can do about that. SHODAN has a swarm of Sec-2 robots guarding the elevator that are easy to take out with Magpulse at a distance.

Engineering 2

After backtracking through the route I prepared earlier I use my skates' momentum to ledge grab and get to the elevator.


Security is intended to be a complex vertical maze but you can skip the entire floor. The jump at 27:11 used to be the most inconsistent trick in the game that thankfully had a more reliable setup recently found. Diego 3 (I skip an encounter of his at the lifepods) goes in two Berserk-fueled Rapier swings; his allies are dispatched with the Flechette and Rapier.


The only threat on this floor is the autobomb maze, both entering it and being inside. I pick up Shield V4 to make this maze possible to do quickly and without eating through more damage than I could possibly heal. Besides that the floor is simple to deal with. The SHODAN fight messes with your controls and if you take too long in the central chamber you will game over.

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