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System Shock/Version Differences

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This is a sub-page of System Shock.

This page details things that were changed in the playable demo and the enhanced CD-ROM version of System Shock. The following three versions are covered:

Version Number
Demo F1.8D
Floppy F1.5S
CD-ROM F1.6C (8MB)

F1.6S (4MB)

Hmmm...
To do:
Night Dive's "Enhanced Edition" has internal changes; it may warrant further investigation. (I don't know if it has a dedicated version number.)

Demo

The playable demo version of System Shock was released in late September 1994. In order to keep the file size down, several graphic assets were removed from the first level of the game, resulting in some noticeable cosmetic (and in one case, structural) differences.

Level differences

Demo Final
Sshock-textures1.png Sshock-textures2.png

Many variations of the first level's standard textures were removed. This included the "damaged" versions seen at various points, giving some parts of the level a much "cleaner" appearance, particularly the ruined area connecting Gamma and Beta.

Demo Final
Sshock-plants1.png Sshock-plants2.png

The "organic" graphics (grass, plants) were also removed, and as a result, the "mini-grove" in Gamma quadrant has been completely removed in the demo.

Demo Final
Sshock-hopper.png Sshock-warrior.png

Non-essential enemy sprites were also removed. In the demo, the cyborg warrior guarding the computer room has been replaced with a less threatening Hopper.

Item differences

Some minor item-related changes were made between the demo and the release as well.

Demo Final
Sshock-heavyslug1.png Sshock-heavyslug2.png

For whatever reason, the displayed name of the Magnum's heavy slug ammo was changed. This is a somewhat obscure change, since the Magnum on the first level is relatively well hidden, and you don't get very much ammo for it anyway (until later in the game.)

Demo Final
Sshock-warecase.png Extinguisher Sshock-warecase.png Warecasing
Sshock-extinguisher.png Equipment Sshock-extinguisher.png Fire extinguisher

The fire extinguisher and (still unused) "warecasing" items switched names, and had their names slightly adjusted in the process. This results in fire extinguishers showing the somewhat ambiguous name of "equipment" when picked up in the demo.

CD-ROM version

The original floppy disk release of the game contains a few things that were improved or reworked in the enhanced CD-ROM release, some more noticeably than others. Apart from the minor engine tweaks, higher resolution support, and voice acting, the cutscenes were also upgraded and some minor tweaks were made to the levels.

Cutscenes

Hmmm...
To do:
Do some still scene comparisons for the other two, there are a few noticeable but minor differences

The files START1.RES, DEATH.RES, and WIN1.RES contain the original versions of the intro, ending, and death cutscenes. They are in a different format than the CD-ROM version's cutscenes, being animated bitmaps (like the Trioptimum V-mail sequences) rather than actual video files. DEATH.RES contains the most noticeable changes: the initial shot of the hacker's body being pulled into the Cortex Reaver looks completely different; the rest is more or less the same visually, but with fewer frames. The entire animation contains only about a third as many frames as the "enhanced" version.

Floppy CD-ROM
Sshock-death.gif

WIN1.RES is the same as the final ending, but the animation ends at the shot of the TetraCorp battle armor and is missing the final zooming-out shot with the "System Shock" logo at the end. START1.RES is almost identical to the final opening cutscene, but lacks the first two seconds or so of the door being blown open by Triop security. Both of these cutscenes also have lower framerates compared to the CD-ROM versions.

All three of the files are still referenced by name in the CD-ROM version's executable, and are still present on the disc, though they are no longer used in any way.

Hmmm...
To do:
  • Write about the added cyberspace stuff
  • Take more pictures of these changes, and investigate the remaining changes.

Doing a binary compare of the individual level chunks reveals that almost every level (except Beta grove and the final cyberspace area) has received some minor tweaks between versions. Most levels seem to have some tile map differences; there aren't noticeable layout changes in most levels so for the most part this may be something like lighting adjustments. There are also a handful of item table differences between levels and so on.

The notes page has a breakdown of what's different between both versions of the level archive. Most of these changes are going to be extremely minor (or borderline unnoticeable) so this will probably take forever to investigate fully, assuming I or anyone else can muster the effort

Level differences: Medical

Near the beginning of the medical level, there is a room with two hospital beds and a Serv-Bot. The CD-ROM version added a small illuminated compartment near the ceiling with Mira Stackhouse's severed head inside.

Floppy CD-ROM
Sshock-hospital-floppy.png Sshock-hospital-cdrom.png

Level differences: Research

The piece of paper with the "engineer's report" about the alpha quadrant circuit breakers was added in the CD-ROM version.

Level differences: Reactor

The camera immediately across from the elevator has been slightly repositioned. In the floppy version, it's slightly higher up and pointing downward at the corpse on the ground, while in the CD version it's close to the ground and angled upwards.

Level differences: Flight

Floppy CD-ROM
Travers-OCT.11.72 Travers-11.OCT.72

The title of the "we have a serious emergency..." log was tweaked to fix the date stamp.

Level differences: Executive

Floppy CD-ROM
Perry-01.OCT.72
Sender: Kiner Perry
Koufax-01.OCT.72
Sender: Gerard Koufax

The log about Beta Grove being closed off was recorded by a different person in the CD version. It's possible that Looking Glass wanted this one to be voiced by someone else, and so they changed the speaker from one minor character to another.

Level differences: Security

The detention cells near the end of the Security level are impossible to open in the floppy version, because they're under a cyberspace lock that can never be opened. In the CD version, a switch was added in cyberspace to unlock the cells.

Strings

Some more minor tweaks were made to CYBSTRNG.RES.

Floppy CD-ROM
use climbing interface move into ladder while jumping

The message you get when you double-click on a climbable surface has been changed to something a bit more comprehensible (although the actual climbing mechanics are the same.)

OMEGA

This was added in the CD version, near the strings used for text on walls. It doesn't seem to be used anywhere.