The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 7 – Playing with Sims get people killed

Chapter 6

Chapter 8

Sooner than I’m sure that anyone expected (including me) I am back with another chapter of my System Shock 2 playthrough! Things are still going to shit! I’m sure no one expected that either!

Pathetic players.

Just as I was finally starting to feel like I was getting a handle on things, the game ramps up the threat level and forces me to adjust my strategies. No longer can I simply charge in and whack everything with my melee weapon. I need to employ my ranged weapons quite regularly, pick the right ammunition and so on. How do I throw grenades though? Do I need the grenade thrower? I see the Hybrids throw them by hand, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

So I’m still watching Jesse Cox’s Dead Space playthrough, and I still think that game has borrowed quite heavily from System Shock. Something was lost in the translation though, because Dead Space is nowhere near as tense and terrifying. As I’ve said before, it has its moments, but yeah…


67th entry: Could Bronson have been right? Clearly the voices were influencing all these people, and that led to this current situation. Maybe Bronson wasn’t brutal enough! Or by the time she caught on it was already too late. I wonder if she’s still alive? Probably not. It seems like the only living beings left are me and the creatures of the Many. Even if I’m not totally sure whether any of us really count as alive… I am more machine than man, following the commands of a deranged AI. What would I be without her? It! Without it! … Where would I be? And them… they are more like machines as well, only made of flesh rather than metal. Guided by the voices… another deranged AI. Which of us are the most monstrous? The only human being I’ve seen was that woman, just after… after I woke up. Was she the last one? Were there more? Are they now dead because I wasn’t fast enough? Like the captain?

68th entry: The halls are eerily quiet as I move towards Operations D. I think I glimpsed something out of the corner of my eye, but there was nothing that approached, even upon investigation. The first area I entered there was the Fluid Ops, because the other way was barred by a laser turret. I need to find a security console. Either way, beyond Fluid Ops I found Power Ops, which should contain another Sim unit. I had to take down one of the grenade Hybrids once I got there, but they are surprisingly fragile. There was however a worrying message left near the entrance in which Malick talked about leaving a surprise for anyone trying to approach the Sim unit. He sounded well gone by this point though. I’ll have to keep my eyes open, just in case.

69th entry: Oh shit spiders! One ambushed me up top, which led me into a false sense of security after I’d dealt with it. Leaving me to the mercy of four (!) down at the bottom. Fuck those bites. I injected myself with so many painkillers, all the anti-toxin I had left, and even used one of those annelid organs, in the vain hope that it could neutralise annelid venom. I am likely delirious right now, but at least I no longer feel like I’m burning on the inside. I just… just need to sit down. A moment.

70th entry: I am worried I nodded off, but the halls are quiet again. The stench of the decaying spiders is almost overwhelming. However the Many make these, they break down crazy fast. I got the Interpolated Simulation Chip installed, and hacked the security computer. So now I have the turrets on my side as well, and the area feels largely secure. I can hear a Hybrid being zapped as I record this. Bad news is I am truly out of anti-toxin hypos. I can’t recall which replicators can produce more. I’ll just have to go down the decks and check them all until I find one. I should have enough nanites to generate a decent stock. Those fucking spiders…

71st entry: Okay, this is going to be tougher than I expected. I think I need a better way of dealing with these spiders, or I am just going to run out of hypos again. And now there’s bloody military droids in on this as well? Why can’t SHODAN ever take control of something useful? I am tired, I am doped up, and I just wish these spiders would stop existing. Is that so much to ask? They’re also destroying the turrets I worked so hard to reprogram, which is not helping my mood.

72nd entry: I found and opened the weapons locker, and what do you know! There was another military droid inside. Seriously guys, this isn’t funny any longer. I’ve loaded up the pistol with anti-personnel rounds, which works marvels against the fleshy spider bodies. I won’t let them near me again, if I can help it. I only have so many rounds though… I keep trying to turn the turrets to my side as I progress, in spite of how fast the spiders destroy them. I also just found another red ninja droid. It ran away, of course. I feel a nasty headache coming on. Alright, let’s do this.

73rd entry: That was… surprising. The droid ran down a corridor with a camera, I shot the camera, and suddenly mister ninja turned around and wanted to fight. I did not expect that. At all. It went down pretty quickly to my over-charged laser pistol, and I now have the Linear Simulation Chip. If only I could find the final Sim unit. It was not in Operations B or C as far as I could see, so I can only imagine it’s even further into Operations D. If not I’ll have to search B and C again. I also picked up another curious implant, clearly annelid-inspired. I wonder what it does…

74th entry: I found the final Sim unit as I expected. Inside a security room. Along with half a dozen dead security guards. Including Bronson. There was a recording. A lot of dead noise at the end. I listened to her die. To them all die. At least… at least they went down fighting, I guess. With the final chip installed, SHODAN is very pleased. It seems like she is finally able to wrest some control from Xerxes. If she could hack those blasted droids it would make me very happy. She now told me to go up to the final deck: Recreation. I don’t know what I’ll find, but I have my suspicions. First though, I need to go to chemical storage…

75th entry: I saw an alive person! Cortez! Cortez is alive! He was expecting Delacroix, and ran when he saw me instead. I tried to call out to him to wait, but he wouldn’t listen. He did say they are locked in there before he ran. I do not have the passkey. I need to find it. Okay, we have a clear and tangible goal here. I like this. SHODAN may not approve (though she hasn’t said anything against it either), but screw her! Speaking of Delacroix though… it seems she was on the same errand as me, led by SHODAN. I can only assume she’s one of the corpses I found, or she was turned by a worm. Or maybe I’ll meet her alive yet.

76th entry: I’ve been trying to work out who is left alive. The names of people holed up here so far are Cortez, Murdoch and Yang, though I just found a log which indicates that Yang has met his end. So two people then, that are hopefully still alive. They’ve set up a transmitter to send a warning to Earth, and SHODAN wants me to activate it, because it will take power away from Xerxes. Well, so long as that’s also helping the living, I do not object. I need a code to activate it though, and I have just found one part of it so far, cleverly hidden in the art displays. On a side-note, this Recycler I found on deck 4 is damned handy. I doubt there’s anyone left who would object to me turning all the potted plants into nanites.

77th entry: The voices speak again. Trying to manipulate me. I look pretty awful, so I don’t blame Cortez for running away, honest. Considering all the creatures the Many have at their disposal, I could well be another. I just have to prove myself! The corpse of the one I think was Yang had a depleted power cell on him, and I have just recharged it. I assume the power cell is needed for the transmitter, but we’ll see. I am currently investigating a maintenance tunnel, and found a stash of goodies. I will take whatever is useful, but I think I’ll leave the food in case someone still alive is using this place regularly. On another side-note: What the hell has happened to the monkeys? They’re now firing explosive psi balls at me! I desperately need a rest.


Next time we’ll hopefully manage to turn on the transmitter and rescue Cortez and whoever he has left with him. I also have this sneaking suspicion that at least one of the people we’ve found logs of that have been under the influence of the Many will turn up as some sort of boss characters, but this is hardly a typical game in any respect.

Chapter 6

Chapter 8



Posted on January 12, 2013, in Games, Retrospective, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. 76th Entry: should be “potted plants” in the last sentence, I think.

  2. You seem to have a subject change issue. Your 73rd entry starts talking about a camera and then talks about being attacked and getting a Sim card. I assume that you talking about a Red ninja robot at that point, but it’s not clear.

    You’ve now reached my favorite segment of the game for narration and things to do. I felt that the designers did a particularly good job selling the the true horror of what happened to the Von Braun in both words, pictures and cut-scenes. There are some particularly clever incidents of terror served up through misdirection, surprise and even anticipation where you expect certain things to turn out to be a trap, and you find that you’re wrong..perhaps. These things are always sprung on you when you least expect it. I’ll probably talk about these in detail once you’ve passed them.

    The one thing that I do like about this game is that there are no set-piece boss fights. All the single tough enemies you can encounter, you can encounter anywhere, so they’re not entirely Boss fights in the traditional sense. And it’s not the case of pumping some leviathan full of lead repeatedly. Well, perhaps I’m not being entirely accurate there. But there are ways that if you’ve been clever, you can bypass the one obvious one, and the second isn’t really the “locked in a room with something very hard to kill” phenomena that most Boss fights that are. It’s certainly something that most game designers could learn something from. Also, playing co-op on this game adds a new dimension to boss fights, as it add new avenues in strategy and game play. So perhaps I’ll talk about that later on as well.

    • Okay, did an edit to try to make it clearer. 🙂

      Yeah, the game is a master of keeping up the suspense. You suspect something bad is gonna happen, and nothing does. You think you’re safe, and suddenly a trap is sprung. Like I got to the brig, saw one of the cells were open, the one where you get the WormBlood implant, and I went in, because the corpse was just out of range to loot from the door. Door locks, worms crawl out of his body, monkey with explosive psi blast spawns behind me. I shot the monkey and worms dead, but couldn’t get the door open. I suppose I had to die and go back to the respawn room or something? In the end I reloaded and managed to just barely lean inside far enough to loot without triggering the trap.

      Also, there’s co-op in this game? o_O

      • The way out of the brig is above you. There’s a glass panel above your head you can get into, destroy the junction box and open the door again. Took me three goes to work that one out myself 🙂

      • There is indeed co-op. I’ve played SS2 co-op across a LAN at least six times with friends and it certainly makes the game quite more fast paced as you can watch each other’s back. The only issue is that (realistically) you still have the same amount of stuff between you, which means that you have to make a lot more use of the psi powers, the recycler and the laser pistol/melee weapons to ensure that you have plenty of ammo to last you through the game.

  3. What happens to Malick is a microcosm of what happened to most of the people who were compromised by annelids on the Von Braun. Malick is a logical if twitchy individual whose computer skills were highly prized to get him a position on the Von Braun. He was then infected by the Many and the parasite..rather than turning him into a hybrid – it used it’s powers of mind control to force him to compromise the computer systems (like Xerxes) and take down the SIM units. Due to his lack of trust in any authority, he created a backdoor and protected the backdoor through a mixture of secrecy and force in the three ninjas protectors.

    I think that he was a bullied or disliked character on-ship as Yount has at least one log where his dislike for Malick is evident. That is the catalyst for his death at the hands of Bronson. Yount himself is killed by Bronson when she kills anyone who might have been compromised by contact with The Many (he’s the one talking about the scapegoat when they execute people in the Mess Hall). Then she herself is killed by the Many controlled military force commanded by Diego (who from logs on the cargo bay show that he’s under their direct control).

    Basically it’s a tale about how everyday people are compromised by a situation and react according to their character flaws and abilities. The really terrifying thing about all the *Shock games is not some alien mooks turning up and turning things’s how the people themselves go bad. They become seduced or intimidated into a certain course of action..or acting out their fears, anger and paranoia in a dystopian world that has become very uncertain through lack of order, violence and mistrust. All the normal social safety barriers that stop us killing and eating each other fall away.

    Only after this world has fallen and cannot be saved by your actions do you turn up. It’s a question of base survival, doing what is required and escape – leaving it behind to fall into decay as a memorial to what was. Just imagine what might happen if this happened in real-life and our comfy existence of supermarkets, electricity, water on tap, cars, hospitals and police suddenly went away. I can see pretty much how humanity would tear itself apart as a result.

  1. Pingback: The Von Braun Incident: Chapter 6 « Wulf Space

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