The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 4 – Lasers make good sticks

Chapter 3

Chapter 5

And we are back! More System Shock 2 has been played, and more log entries have been written. I do wish I wasn’t so easily distracted. I’ll know better than to make any promises for when the next chapter is to arrive in the future.

Are you in awe yet?

In the time since the last chapter I have (among many other things) been watching Jesse Cox do his Let’s Play of the first Dead Space. If you are interested you can find the first episode here.The first Dead Space actually did have some tense moments and sections where you felt a bit of terror. I won’t rate it on the same level of dread as I’m feeling in SS2, but there are sections in Dead Space that live up to the horror label. A shame Dead Space 2 couldn’t follow up on that, but c’est la vie.

The one thing I wanted to mention about Dead Space is the regenerating necromorph. Dead Space 1 actually had some build-up to this one, an explanation of why it’s there, and a crazed scientist calmly explaining how it was time for you to die. It actually created a tense sequence where you felt you were in way over your head, and when you finally manage to find a way to beat the accursed thing it really feels like an accomplishment.

Contrast this with Dead Space 2 where another one just shows up out of the blue with no warning, explanation or the slightest bit of foreshadowing. I remember I only felt incredibly annoyed that it wouldn’t stay down, especially since there was something I had to do that took time, and even if I cut off all the limbs it managed to regenerate, get on its feet and attack me before I was able to finish what I was supposed to do. It just felt incredibly cheap, and I can’t even remember how I finally got rid of the thing.

So developers: Please stop throwing in something just because it was in a previous game if you don’t have a justification and proper explanation for why it’s there. I was making this point about the Metroid series earlier this week as well; that maybe it’s time to make some proper Metroid games without any actual Metroids in there.

I am really starting to build up some power in System Shock 2. I have no idea whether my build is optimal, but it certainly feels viable. I just hope not going for psi powers won’t come back to bite me later. Two new enemies this time: the newly-hatched annelid worms, and the cyborg midwives made to safeguard them. I was completely unable to hit the worms with my wrench, so I wonder if they’re too small to melee. Bullets did the trick though. As for the cyborgs, I just get in close and wail on them with the wrench till they go down. Stun-locking ftw.


35th entry: I made my way into Fluidics Control with little fuss. It was in fact eerily quiet. Only after I made my way up did I hear one of the turrets go off. I guess something got too close. The bad news is that Xerxes has locked down the computer. The good news is that I found a log nearby that explained about a backdoor. And to access it I have to venture out into the coolant area and get a part from a storage room to install in the computer up in Command Control. Fantastic. At least Polito seems to have faith in me. Or possibly no other option.

36th entry: I found the part! And with it another chemical storage room, which is most interesting. A monkey had sought refuge in there, and attacked me on sight, so I had to dispose of it. I feel like if I could only communicate with the monkeys, perhaps they would join my side. A silly dream, I guess. I need to conserve my use of the laser pistol, as its condition deteriorates rapidly, and I am out of maintenance tools. I hate having to fight the shotgun-hybrids with just the wrench. Now to see if I can get over to Command Control without issue. I think I can hear something chittering, almost like a bird. Another sign of my lunacy? Or a creature I’ve yet to encounter? I hope it’s not spiders.

37th entry: Command Control was much the same as I left it, and I only really encountered more hybrids and protocol droids along the way. Got my equipment recharged and then headed back to Fluidics Control. I did a short stop along the way to enhance my rig further, and use the surgery unit. Got a little over-confident and got hit by two of the hybrids. I am quite frightened now though. When I finally turned Fluidics Control on, I heard this… this… groan, or grunt. Polito told me to be careful, because they’re now “mobilising their true forces” and they know “exactly where” I am. Remind me to never ask her for a pep talk.

38th entry: I got into the engine core and found the Master Power Computer. Of course I couldn’t simply turn it back on. It seems I have to turn on the nacelles first (why are they turned off to begin with?). In more unnerving news, I found a pile of something on the floor that the computer helpfully named “a pile of disgusting worms”. I am really worried that these are going to grow up to become those parasites. And I can’t say the high amount of alcohol around here has gone unnoticed. I need to stay clear-headed though, or it’ll be the end of me. Funnily enough a lot of the hybrids are carrying booze. I attempted to access the engine core directly, but I was unable to hack the keypad. I guess I’ll have to find the access code somewhere. Off to the nacelles I go, I suppose.

39th entry: The port nacelle was largely uneventful to turn on. I examined the area and didn’t really find anything of interest. The starboard nacelle was a different story. I picked up some kind of hypo I had never seen before. Had the computer start examining it. It said it’s going to need Iridium to further the research. I am intrigued. There was also a log entry there from Delacroix. She says an AI has contacted her and offered to help her take back the Von Braun. How long ago was this log made? I am not entirely sure of when ‘now’ is. Either way, the engine core is online, and the elevators and such should be working fine now. I am curious about this hypo first though.

40th entry: Okay, that was terrifying. I checked the map layout, and saw there was a shortcut through the underbelly of the area, so I went down. There were some hybrids, naturally, but also a… a… the computer called it a ‘cyborg midwife’. It looked horrible. I can hardly imagine that thing had ever been human. It was incredibly dangerous, and I needed to limp over to the surgical unit afterwards. In excellent news I found a laser rapier. Unfortunately I can’t use it without modifying my rig further, but I’m definitely keeping it. In bad news I now need sodium to finish the research on that hypo. And neither chemical storage room I’ve found so far have that. I guess it’s time to take the elevator then.

41st entry: The elevator shaft is blocked, so I had to get off at the Hydroponics level. Polito says the xenomorphs are using it as a breeding ground. Well, I found some eggs already, in the security room. I have a feeling the worms that came out of them are the same kind that created the hybrids. I destroyed them all. With the security room thus secure, and more upgrades installed, I have to find a way to clear the elevator shaft of the ‘bio-material’ that Polito talked about. The walls in certain areas are getting a fleshy growth on them. Is there where the spiders will find me?

42nd entry: The screeching; it’s horrible. These cyborg midwives seem to be guardians of the eggs, so what one was doing in the bowels of engineering, I’m not sure. Perhaps it had come to look for me? I extracted an object from one of them which should give me some answers as to what they are, but first I need to find some sodium for that hypo. Surely this level must have a chemical storage room as well. I just hope my heart doesn’t stop before then. The voices are talking again, telling me to leave their children alone. Let us hope this toxin I found can be of use.

43rd entry: Going by the logs I’m finding here, I will say that Korenchkin and Miller do not seem to be on my side. They started listening to the voices long ago. Miller even created these… these… cyborg women. I can’t help but wonder if they were forced, or if… if the voices compelled to do it… ‘willingly’. I thought I wouldn’t get sick any longer. Even the worm poison didn’t. But this? Anyway, I am making progress, even if it is slow. Still no chemical storage, nor key-cards to access these various doors. The search continues. Maybe I’ll even find Delacroix alive. She at least seems to be still sane. Oh, and Xerxes is still talking. It almost seems like it’s… like it’s trying to reason with me. Yet again I wonder which of us has the frailest grip on our sanity.

44th entry: I found the chemical storage room on the hydroponics deck. There was no sodium. Regretfully I had to suspend the research into the curious hypos (I actually found a second one on one of the cyborgs) and instead turned my research onto other objects I had found. The object I extracted from the cyborg confirmed that it had indeed been a human woman that had been forcefully altered. I believe I even saw a ghost sequence of it happening. The curious organic material I took from the remains of one of the eggs I smashed turned out to be the digestive tract of one of those worms. The computer now rates my chances of extracting more of those healing organs from the eggs before I destroy them as quite high. The research on the toxin said it was highly effective at clearing out the worms and those growths I’ve been seeing on the walls and floors. I just need to find the environmental control units and deposit the toxin canisters.

45th entry: Voila! I have installed the necessary rig upgrades to wield the laser rapier. Compared to the wrench it feels awfully light. I also managed to extract a new curious organ from one of the annelid eggs. Turns out it can be used to regain psi power, though the computer didn’t recommend using it except in emergencies. Well, I do not have any psi powers anyway, so unless I develop them this thing is basically pointless. I have now deposited two of the canisters of toxin, and the effect has been immediate. This level looks a lot cleaner now. I have only been able to find key-cards for sections A and B, so I fear I need to venture through this bulkhead door to find the rest. The room right on the other side is now cleared out. I think I need to sit down for a minute.


And thus we conclude chapter 4. What will happen next time? I haven’t the foggiest. Maybe a flesh golem will hunt me down once I deposit the final canister.

Chapter 3

Chapter 5



Posted on November 9, 2012, in Games, Retrospective, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. The worms on the floor can be hit with the wrench if you crouch. It’s a more effective use of ammunition if you use a melee weapon for worms and monkeys as they are little threat at short range.

    PSI powers are akin to being a wizard. At low levels you’re usually at a considerable disadvantage, but once you power up then you can do pretty cool things. I think that at a low level, the psi-grab and healing functions prove really useful, as well as cryo-pulse when you’re out of ammo. There are some duff psi-skills in the game but some of the higher level ones are pretty good.

    I usually play as a Navy character as they have hacking and technical skills, but there’s nothing stopping you getting a psi-amp and picking up a couple of levels to cherry pick some of the most useful abilities. There’s only a finite number of skill modules, so you’ll lose some of your potential as another class, but you have to balance that against being to heal in certain places where health might be lacking. I think the hybrid character development system is a novel part of System Shock as you can put points into abilities as you need them in the game. Need to hack doors? Fire heavy weapons? Put up psi-barriers? You just need to spend some of your modules..

    Anyway, this is a very interesting keep up the good work 🙂

    • Thank you. 🙂

      While PSI powers were fun in the tutorial, I think that now that I have the laser rapier and two laser pistols, I’m gonna keep doing hacking/energy as my main build, with some strength and maintenance on the side. I try to conserve ammunition as much as possible, to avoid weapon degradation as well. A laser pistol on over-charge is quite handy though.

      • Laser pistols are very good for the first four or so levels, but you may notice their effectiveness against later things you encounter being reduced.

        Things in this game evolve in ways that you couldn’t possibly imagine. It’s like taking on bacteria with antibiotics. Eventually the bacteria will win.

  1. Pingback: The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 3 « Wulf Space

  2. Pingback: The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 5 « Wulf Space

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