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System Shock/Version Differences

From The Cutting Room Floor
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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)


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

Level differences

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-textures1.png Sshock-textures2.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-plants1.png Sshock-plants2.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, and there are no Repairbots in the maintenance area in Delta quadrant.

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

A few sound effects that normally appear in level 1 were also removed, including at least the Serv-Bot death sound, the healing station sound, and the iris door sound.

Item differences

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

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-heavyslug1.png Sshock-heavyslug2.png

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.

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

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 and a few other things.


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

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.

Weapon differences

A few energy weapons had their maximum charge levels reduced in the CD version, in order to make them consume less energy at higher settings. Specifically:

  • The DH-07 Stungun's max charge was reduced from 30 to 15
  • The ER-90 Blaster's max charge was reduced from 25 to 20
  • The RW-45 Ion Rifle's max charge was reduced from 50 to 30
  • The LG-XX Plasma Rifle's max charge was reduced from 130(!) to 50

Aside from balancing the amount of energy consumed by these weapons, the rather drastic change to the plasma rifle's maximum charge may have been to avoid a bug - internally, the game uses charge values of 128 or higher to indicate that the overload setting is enabled, even for energy projectile weapons that can't normally be overloaded. Because an overloaded energy weapon always does damage equivalent to a charge value of 100, setting the plasma rifle's charge too high may have caused it to actually do less than the intended maximum amount of damage.

Otherwise, these changes only affect energy consumption, not damage, since energy weapons' damage is calculated based on the ratio of the current and maximum charge settings.

Enemy differences

Two enemies were tweaked to be able to use their primary attacks from a longer range in the CD version:

  • The Cyborg Warrior's primary attack range was increased from 6 to 9 tiles
  • The Flier's primary attack range was increased from 6 to 15 tiles

Two other enemies were also given new, unique sound effects:

  • The Cyborg Enforcer has the same death sound as the Cyborg Warrior in the floppy version, but a new one in the CD version
  • The Cortex Reaver has the same "nearby" sound as the Cyborg Drone in the floppy version, rather than the louder and more menacing one heard in the CD version and the newer version of the death cutscene.

The Maintenance Bot and Flier had no MFD background images for the target identifier in the floppy version; these were added in the CD version.

Graphical differences

Floppy CD-ROM
Sshock-grey-grating-floppy.png Sshock-grey-grating-cdrom.png

One of the grating textures (used for the sides of the conversion chambers, among other places) was redesigned in the CD version.

Floppy CD-ROM
Sshock-freightdoor-floppy.gif Sshock-freightdoor-cdrom.gif

The last two frames of the freight elevator door opening/closing animation had the top part stay more visible, probably to make it easier to manually close.

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

The frames of the iris door in the floppy version had some noticeably miscolored pixels around the top edge of the door. This may have been caused by changes to the palette that weren't properly accounted for; a similar issue can be seen with the screen animation of Diego's face in the leaked vB3.0S build.

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

One of the "non-dent steel panelling" textures from the flight deck has a lower-quality TriOptimum logo in the floppy version which was later cleaned up.

Most or all of the lower-resolution mipmap textures were also regenerated for the CD version, possibly using a slightly higher-quality downscaling algorithm.

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

In the greenery area in Gamma, all of the grass tiles on the floor were originally oriented the same way, but the CD version flips some of them horizontally and/or vertically for variety. Also, Althea Grossman's severed head was added next to her body, replacing one of the generic severed limb sprites.

Floppy CD-ROM

Trying to open the hidden door with the Magnum without lowering the security level enough displays "blocked by SHODAN level security" as a generic info message (like normal locked doors) in the floppy version, but was fixed to display the SHODAN face in the MFD in the CD version.

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

In cyberspace, the entrance to the U-shaped bend in the tunnel between the first and second rooms had the floor and ceiling adjusted slightly more to make it easier to maneuver.

Other object placement differences:

  • A pile of bones was removed from the floor of the brown storage room in Delta (near the start of the game).
  • A generic severed head was removed from between the two corpses in the biohazard storage room near the entrance to Gamma.
  • The floppy version accidentally has two crates (one in the armory, the other in the Delta maintenance tunnel's biohazard storage room) which both reference the same objects for their contents (specifically, a beverage can and an EMP grenade). As a result, removing an item from one of the crates will actually remove it from both of them. This was fixed in the CD version by removing the extra crate from the maintenance tunnel.
  • Some security cameras (near the "451" keypad door, the lift to Beta from the central hub, and the conversion chamber) were repositioned slightly and changed from stationary to panning.
  • A few other miscellaneous objects had their positions adjusted by extremely small amounts.

Level differences: Research

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

The ceiling texture in the library was changed from the blue "soft panelling" texture to the silver/grey "titanium panelling" texture.

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

The eastern half of the robot storage room (near the elevator and CPU nodes in Gamma) was made 1 tile narrower in the CD version to make the room symmetrical.

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

Warren Anderczyk's log and the surrounding equipment (in the office near the isotope room in Gamma) were repositioned slightly.

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

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, and has been made panning instead of stationary. Several other cameras throughout the game were also altered, but this is probably the most immediately noticeable example.

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

In cyberspace, the ICE shield protecting the armory access switch halfway through the area had its hit points reduced from 1,200 to 230. The "Wing 0" game software was also added to the last tunnel area, and the Shield software at the very end had its version raised from 0 to 6 (previously it was not actually possible to use).

Level differences: Maintenance

Once more, a few security cameras (two facing the northern elevator, one in the center of the Delta maintenance corridor, and one in the northwest corner of the Beta maintenance corridor) were slightly repositioned and made panning instead of stationary. The lighting on the floor underneath the one in Beta was also bumped up slightly in the CD version.

Level differences: Storage

One of the catwalk objects in the southwest corner of storage room 1 was very slightly unaligned with the neighboring one in the floppy version; this was fixed in the CD version. In the same room, the button hidden under a crate that turns on the force bridges can be pressed repeatedly in the floppy version but only once in the CD version.

Two more cameras (one at the far north of the map overlooking the big red ramp, and the other near storage room 4, one tile north and west of the freight elevator) had their positions and animation tweaked as well.

Level differences: Flight

Originally, the sequence with Anna Parovski's emails from the flight deck involved either:

  • getting her first email on level 2 after destroying the laser, then getting the second one when entering level 5, or
  • getting her first email when entering level 5, then getting the second one when leaving and entering level 5 again

However, this meant that if you encountered the Cortex Reaver before destroying the laser, it would be possible to receive the second email from Parovski even after she's already died. The CD version fixes this by also making you receive the second email once you enter the corridor leading to the Cortex Reaver, if you hadn't received it already.

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

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

Finally, the door to the northern elevator had its Z position lowered by a single unit.

Level differences: Executive

The texturing in the long southernmost tunnel (leading to the area with the jettison enable lever and the encounter with Diego) was changed to have the walls look less damaged in the CD version, though it's hard to notice the difference due to the low lighting. The dummy space behind the grove elevators' second doors was also changed to use the starfield instead of the level's default texture, but it's not normally possible to see this in game, since they can't be opened until you get warped to the other maps. Some of the elevator doors also had their Z positions adjusted by one unit.

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

A copy of the "15" puzzle game software was added to the movie theater at the northwest corner of the map.

In cyberspace, the "Eel Zapper" game software near the exit is protected by ICE with a whopping 1,000 hit points in the floppy version, but is unprotected in the CD version. (For comparison, other cyberspace objects in the same area have between 60 and 250 HP.)

In the CD version, entering the elevator to/from level 5 causes you to receive Anna Parovski's first email if you haven't already, as another way of ensuring that you receive both of her emails while she's actually still alive (see the above section on flight level differences).

Five more security cameras (three in the corners of the room near Gamma grove with the Serv-bots and Cyborg Enforcer, and two facing the elevator to/from level 3) were given the usual adjustments.

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.

Floppy CD-ROM
Sender: Kiner Perry
Sender: Gerard Koufax

Level differences: Alpha Grove

The area to the east with the bridges and the nearby entryway had some minor texturing/height adjustments on the ceiling in the CD version.

Floppy CD-ROM

The northwest room with the repulsor lift had a texturing issue where one of the animated textures on the wall would display two frames of the actual animation, then one frame of a different texture, and one frame of garbage. This was fixed in the CD version.

Level differences: Engineering

Some texturing in the radioactive room immediately inside the lower entrance to Beta quadrant was adjusted slightly - specifically, the "Warning: radiation suits required" texture was mistakenly flipped horizontally in some places near one of the doors.

Floppy CD-ROM

Five cameras were also changed to pan back and forth, though only one (in the square hub portion of Beta, slightly to the east of the center of the map) had its position/angle changed.

The Cyborg Enforcer near the entrance to the westernmost antenna room had its primary state changed from "docile" to "cautious" in the CD version, making it more readily attack the player.

Level differences: Security

The room to the west marked "Experimental" containing the rail gun and plasma rifle had its layout changed slightly in the CD version. The protective suit in this room was also upgraded from version 2 to version 3.

Floppy CD-ROM

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. The "TriopToe" game software was also added near the entrance of the last room before the area with the switch, and most of the enemies in cyberspace had their primary state changed from "docile" to "cautious".

In the large leftmost detention cell, a humanoid mutant was added to the group of three virus mutants. Originally, there were intended to be three gorilla-tiger mutants in this area instead, but there is a trigger that replaces all gorilla-tiger mutants with virus mutants as soon as the map is entered.

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

In the detention cell with a Cyborg Enforcer inside, there are two first aid kits in the floppy version but only one in the CD version.

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

The chair in front of the cyberspace terminal in the southernmost office room was moved around a bit. This may have been to avoid rendering issues; in the floppy version it's possible to see Z-ordering issues between the chair and the nearby desk depending on where you're standing.

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

In the floppy version, the video mail showing the bridge separation is triggered by killing Diego - however, if you're playing on Mission difficulty 1, you don't actually need to kill Diego in order to access the elevator, so it's possible to exit without receiving the video. In the CD version, it's instead shown when you step into the elevator, so you're guaranteed to see it.

Level differences: Bridge

The protective suit in the southern room with the Cortex Reaver was upgraded from version 2 to version 3 in the CD version.


Some more minor tweaks were made to CYBSTRNG.RES.

Floppy use climbing interface
CD-ROM 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.)


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