The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 5 – Singing for gas
With Desert Bus For Hope over for this year, I have been able to get back into writing and find the time to play even more System Shock 2. And thus you get chapter 5!
Things are really getting serious now, and I wonder how far into the game I am? Halfway? Two thirds? I do have some serious stuff to complete yet, so who knows?
The weapons I’m finding are starting to get more serious, though I do can’t actually use them. Grenade launcher, assault rifle, EMP rifle; all these would be nice to carry with me, but I don’t have the right skills, nor the inventory space. The damage reduction I’m getting from the power-armour is quite nice though.
On a completely different note, I have been playing Theme Hospital again lately. Found it for cheap on Gog. It is remarkable how well the game holds up. The cartoony graphics means the style isn’t that bad, even today (there’s even a mod that updates the graphics to 1080p). See, this is why I think the original Syndicate aged better than Syndicate Wars. The graphics in Wars now look so bad that I can barely see what’s going on on the screen, while Syndicate‘s more cartoony and colourful style means that you can still see, and as such focus on enjoying the gameplay.
And even if you don’t care about the graphics, the gameplay is just fun, even now. It’s a shame no one has been able to make a decent modern clone of most of the Bullfrog titles. Syndicate got that average shooter, Dungeon Keeper‘s closest comparison is likely A Game of Dwarves, and Theme Hospital doesn’t have anything that springs to mind. Theme Park got a nice spiritual successor in Rollercoaster Tycoon at least, even if RT is missing the dark, dry wit that TP was infused with.
46th entry: I must have dozed off for a moment there. I was back in the flesh-scape, only it was eerily quiet. No voices. No movement. Just me, stuck in place. Looking around now; the room seems no different from before I sat down, but I can’t escape this horrible feeling that this is the dream. Or perhaps I’m just reliving a memory, and in reality I’m already caught. I can’t currently hear anything moving outside the door, and I have no idea how long I closed my eyes. My sense of time is completely gone, though I’ve never been the best at keeping track of time in space anyway. Checking my chronometre is pointless, as I don’t know what time it was when I sat down. And I don’t really want to know how long I’ve been staggering about on this ship.
47th entry: Okay, from what I’ve pieced together the artefact they brought up from Tau Ceti V was some sort of AI. It bonded with the ship AI somehow, which likely explains Xerxes’s madness. I’ve not heard from Xerxes in a while, and I’m not sure whether I should be happy or worried. What about this mystery AI that contacted Delacroix though? I have this strange feeling that it’s the ‘machine mother’ the voices were talking about. Despite my struggle against the creatures I’ve yet to hear anything from anyone who wants to help me, besides Polito. Still not convinced that Polito is actually real, or alive, but what else do I have to go on?
48th entry: The evidence of battle in this area is a lot more obvious than anywhere else I’ve been. It also seems more recent. Did they hold out longer here in Hydroponics than elsewhere? Bodies are everywhere, thrown about like ragdolls. Maybe the worms haven’t gotten into this area yet? I saw one, but it fell victim to my sword. Weapons are also everywhere. Even found a nigh-pristine assault rifle, but I had to leave it. I do not trust myself to use that thing without taking my arm off. Or shooting myself in the foot. It’d be more of a hindrance than a help, but I put it somewhere safe in case I should have need of it later. Maybe I’ll find a friend who can use it, if nothing else.
49th entry: The doctor chides me. “Why do you move so slowly? Do you think this is a game?” No, I’m merely terrified for my life, and not sure what is real and what isn’t. For all I know you’re not even real yourself, doctor. Perhaps you’re just my subconscious taunting me? Perhaps I merely find all the cyber modules you ‘send’ me myself? I could already be one of these hybrids, dreaming I am still a man!
50th entry: The eggs sing. I hear them as I get close. But I don’t get too close, oh no. I can’t let them detect me. I use a remote extractor for the healing glands, and then end them with a couple of bullets. I can’t let the worms get out. I can’t let them spew their poison. I still don’t understand who thought it was a good idea to fit the maintenance droids with energy weapons. It’s like we were asking for them to turn on us. Luckily they’re about as accurate as I would be with an assault rifle, so some quick moves let me end them first. At least they have useful parts on them. I wonder, with how cybernetic my rig makes me, could I use repair tools to fix myself?
51st entry: Careless careless careless. I walked right into that one. I found one of the midwives and tried to rush her, but the room was monitored. The alarm was triggered, and while I rushed to turn it off, I got beset upon by three hybrids and another maintenance droid. I managed to take them out just barely, but I ended up bleeding quite heavily. I used a medical hypo to numb the pain and start regenerating, but there was so much blood. I was forced to use one of those of annelid glands out of desperation. I dragged myself into the observation room and looked out at the stars as I could literally feel my flesh knitting itself back together, while the rig performed self-repair on my cybernetic parts. It felt so good, and that kinda scares me. I… I do not remember when last I just looked at the stars.
52nd entry: The third toxin canister is installed. I can’t help but admire how much cleaner everything looks as I make my way back through Hydroponics A. There’s still some fleshy growth clinging on, but hopefully that’s dying too. I notice I keep checking to see if all the bodies I saw on the way in are still there. Hopefully we’ll see an end to this nightmare yet. And I found Turnbull. Or what was left of her. One of the hybrids had a log on it, in which she was explaining the sensation of being turned. She theorised the worms need living hosts to complete the transformation, but I am not so sure. Do they simply take the bodies and eat them, if they can’t turn them?
53rd entry: Holy shit spiders! The spiders are here! They’re going to take me away! Okay, calm down, calm down. I found three spiders and an inordinate amount of eggs in Hydroponics D. They noises they make. And the voices spoke again. Perhaps they finally noticed what I was doing, even though it didn’t feel like they were addressing me directly. Just talking about life, and growing, and-and womb and the surface of the Earth. They sound as deranged as Xerxes. Or me. In more curious news, I found a destroyed camera that I hadn’t destroyed. Who else is still running around and taking these things out? Was it already busted long before the eggs, midwives and spiders moved in here? Or maybe it was this person that I helped out of her power-armour who did it with this malfunctioning EMP rifle?
54th entry: With the last canister of toxin installed I can finally move on to level 4 of the ship. Research on the spider reveals that it has a lot of organ and system redundancy, so it could theoretically survive in extremely dangerous environments. While being resistant to energy weapons, they can still be cut quite easily with the sword. I’ve been thinking though… if the spiders are real, then that means that flesh giant I saw likely is as well. How do I combat something like that? Do I simply run? I have been stocking up on anti-personnel rounds for the pistol, but I wonder if it’ll be enough. Maybe I should have taken that assault rifle anyway.
55th entry: I am on the operations deck, and… and… Polito is dead. Suicide. For how long, I do not know. You see… it… it… it’s SHODAN. I thought that psychopathic AI long gone, but no, apparently it has merely slumbered. On Tau Ceti V. Along with a fragment that has been less inactive. Which gave rise to the Many. And now… now they’re at war, using this ship as a battlefield. As I look at my hands I can see them trembling. I have been… been doing SHODAN’s will all along. My mind screams at me. I have no… no choice but to do as it says, or the voices and Xerxes will rend me asunder. It’s an uneasy alliance at best. I have no doubt that SHODAN will kill or convert me as soon as I’ve done what it wants. This is too much. I… I think I’ll just hide here in the corner and consider… consider how, or if, I should survive this. If I’m lucky, this is all just a horrible nightmare, and I am about to wake up.
And there we go. Quite the twist. And I appreciated the little synopsis I got with the reveal. This should prove quite interesting moving forward.
Posted on November 26, 2012, in Games, Retrospective, Thoughts and tagged blind, Chapter 5, FPS, impressions, log, PC, RPG, serial, System Shock 2, The Von Braun Incident, videogames. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.