DOS Days

System Shock

Released: September 1994
Published by: Origin Systems
Developed by: Looking Glass Technologies
Author(s): Doug Church, Warren Spector, Sean Barrett, Kurt Bickenbach, Seamus Blackley, Robert George Fermier, James Alexander, Greg LoPiccolo, Tim Ries, Dorian Hart, Fred Lim


System Shock's cyberpunk story line will pull you in and keep you enthralled throughout the game. A great deal of design
effort has gone into detailing the game's subplots, background characters, and fictional setting. The designers wanted to focus as much on the story elements as on the phenomenal technical aspects of the game. Each area has an atmosphere which feels functional and lived-in. Exploration and problem solving carry as much importance as combat and survival. The intro starts by depicting the player-character attempting to hack into the TriOptimum Corporation's computer system in hopes of pilfering valuable corporate data. TriOptimum's security proves too tough, however, and he is caught in the act. But before the hacker is jailed for his high-tech crimes, one of TriOptimum's executives offers him a secretive deal, promising freedom and a cutting-edge neural interface jack in exchange for some unauthorized, cyberspace-related work on Citadel Station. The station is an orbital genetic research station owned by the corporation, and is the game's primary setting. The executive has the player-character shuttled to Citadel to begin work. His sole task involves freeing SHODAN, Citadel's security AI, from its ethical constraints. His job successfully completed, the player-character goes into TriOptimum's top-of-the-line neurosurgery ward for the promised interface jack. A six month healing coma follows the operation. Game play actually begins when the player awakens from his long recuperation, and finds that Citadel has been thrown into a state of chaos as a result of SHODAN's emergent sentience.

System Requirements

System Requirements Intel 486DX-33 (Pentium recommended), 4 MB RAM (CD version requires 8 MB for full speech), 2x CD-ROM (CD-ROM version only)
Graphics support for VGA and SVGA (320 x 200 is the standard resolution, but 'Fullscreen' mode is included which allows the game to run in 640 x 480.
Audio support for Tandy/PCjr, Ad Lib, Ad Lib Gold, Sound Blaster/Pro/16/AWE32, Gravis UltraSound/ACE and General MIDI.
Keyboard, Mouse and Joystick supported.
Original Media Nine 3.5" 1,44 MB DS/HD floppy disks or one CD-ROM.
Installed Size (MB) 25 MB

From where can it be run?

The game must be installed to your hard disk. The default installation directory is C:\SHOCK.


Game Audio/Video

Sync Play    Audio loading, please wait...

Sound Blaster 16 (CT2770)
Sound Blaster 16 (CT2940)
ESS1868 AudioDrive
Ad Lib MSC16 PnP
Aztech SG Pro 16-II 3D
Aztech SG Nova 16 Extra
Yamaha MU80
Roland SC-55
For a complete review and comparison of some of these cards, visit my Sound Blaster 16 (CT2770) review page.
ESS1868 recordings are from a Compaq ES1868 Audio Feature Board.
Game Introduction (video)

Copy Protection


How to Setup

System Shock has a combined installation and config utility, called INSTALL.EXE. Run it to install the game to your hard disk, configure audio devices, and make a boot disk.

1) Select the language the installer and the actual game should use (there are others - this list is dependent on the version of the game you purchased):

2) The main menu:

3) The "Configure Settings" sub-menu:

4) The "Configure sound" sub-menu:

5) Configuring sound effects:

6) When you choose a card, you then specify the port address and IRQ (DMA channel selection was not an option (it defaults to channel 1):

7) Configuring the music card:

8) Testing the sound effects and music choices produce some audio:

9) Change the installation directory:

10) Install the game:

Note that if you attempt to install from a directory that is not a floppy drive, you will receive this error:

11) Remove files (I'm not sure what this option does):

12) Create a boot disk:

To play the game, go to your installation directory and type 'SSHOCK'.



Symptom: ?
Cause: ?
Resolution: ?

To Quit the Game


Supporting Documents


Save Games

To save your progress throughout the game, open the Options screen by moving your mouse to the top-left (or press ESC), and choose 'SAVE GAME'. You can now enter a description for your save game and hit ENTER to save it.

To continue playing from a save game:

1) If you are on the main menu choose 'CONTINUE', then when the list of save games appears left-click on the one you want to load.

2) If you are already in a game, open the Options screen by pressing ESC and choose 'LOAD GAME' (or press CTRL-L), and left-click on the game you want to load.


Versions of the game known to exist

Version Date Comments
Demo Early 1994 A fully playable demo of the first level of System Shock.
F1.5S September 1994 Initial public release of System Shock.
B3.0S ? Unknown differences in-game, but all the floppy disks have a zero byte file in the root called SHOCK_00 through SHOCK_08 which indicates the disk number (zero-based) - the disks still have a volume label that also indicates this, just like version F1.5S. Disk 2-9's compressed .LZH files are a different size to version F1.5S.
? ? "CD-ROM Classics" re-release by Electronic Arts (light blue big box with inset pic of original box art).
? 2015 System Shock Enhanced Edition released. This Windows 7 title supports resolutions of 1024 x 768 and 854 x 480 widescreen. It also fully supports 'mouse look' (unlike the original game's flawed 'up' and 'down' views). You can switch back to 'Classic' mode at any time. Requires an Intel Core i3 1.5 GHz as a minimum, 128 MB RAM and a graphics card that supports SDL2 and OpenGL.

Original Floppy Disk and CD-ROM Contents

The nine floppy disks have a volume label of SHOCK_00 through SHOCK_08 denoting the disk number, zero-based. Here are each disk's contents from game version F1.5S, English/French/German language:

    Disk 1 of 9 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    GEN            <DIR>            01-03-2022 14:48
    SOUND <DIR> 01-03-2022 14:48
    BASE LZH 600,064 25-08-1994 7:14
    CYB CFG 47 25-08-1994 3:01
    INSTALL EXE 430,417 30-08-1994 16:14
    INSTALL FSD 4,464 25-08-1994 7:22
    INSTALLE DAT 6,321 25-08-1994 7:56
    INSTALLF DAT 6,733 25-08-1994 7:56
    INSTALLG DAT 6,676 25-08-1994 7:57
    LHA DOC 31,840 02-08-1991 2:13
    LHA EXE 26,115 20-07-1991 2:13
    SHOCKGUS BAT 123 25-08-1994 3:59
    SHOCK_00 0 07-09-1994 11:00
    11 File(s) 1,112,800 Bytes

    Directory of A:\GEN\
    GEN 23 14-08-1994 21:31
    1 File(s) 23 Bytes
    Directory of A:\SOUND\
    GRAVIS <DIR> 01-03-2022 14:48
    A32ADLIB DLL 19,968 06-04-1994 8:25
    A32ALGDG DLL 9,085 06-04-1994 8:25
    A32ALGFM DLL 24,576 06-04-1994 8:25
    A32MT32 DLL 14,336 06-04-1994 8:25
    A32MT32S DLL 13,136 18-11-1993 6:00
    A32SBDG DLL 8,464 13-08-1994 20:51
    A32SBFM DLL 19,968 06-04-1994 8:25
    A32SBPDG DLL 8,738 13-08-1994 20:51
    A32SP1FM DLL 19,968 06-04-1994 8:25
    A32SP2FM DLL 21,386 20-06-1994 15:03
    A32SPKR DLL 14,848 06-04-1994 8:25
    A32TANDY DLL 14,848 06-04-1994 8:25
    GUSDIG32 DLL 28,959 07-02-1994 12:26
    GUSMID32 DLL 59,849 07-02-1994 12:26
    TEST AD 3,622 06-04-1994 8:25
    TEST OPL 5,019 06-04-1994 8:25
    TEST VOC 2,857 20-06-1994 15:00
    TEST XMI 606 24-08-1994 22:08
    18 File(s) 290,233 Bytes

    Directory of A:\SOUND\GRAVIS\ LOADPATS EXE 45,280 02-06-1994 15:47
    TEST INI 248 24-08-1994 21:26
    2 File(s) 45,528 Bytes


    Disk 2 of 9 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    BASE     LZH            575,530 11-09-1994 12:23
    TEXTURE LZH 881,152 11-09-1994 12:24
    2 File(s) 1,456,682 Bytes

    Disk 3 of 9 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    ART      LZH          1,117,696 11-09-1994 12:25
    TEXTURE LZH 339,422 11-09-1994 12:24
    2 File(s) 1,457,118 Bytes

    Disk 4 of 9 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    ART      LZH          1,457,152 11-09-1994 12:25
    1 File(s) 1,457,152 Bytes

    Disk 5 of 9 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    ART      LZH            642,429 11-09-1994 12:25
    RES LZH 814,592 11-09-1994 12:29
    2 File(s) 1,457,021 Bytes

    Disk 6 of 9 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    RES      LZH          1,457,152 11-09-1994 12:29
    1 File(s) 1,457,152 Bytes

    Disk 7 of 9 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    RES      LZH          1,457,152 11-09-1994 12:29
    1 File(s) 1,457,152 Bytes

    Disk 8 of 9 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    RES      LZH          1,457,152 11-09-1994 12:29
    1 File(s) 1,457,152 Bytes

    Disk 9 of 9 (3.5" 1.44 MB DS/HD):

    Directory of A:\
    RES      LZH            686,473 11-09-1994 12:29
    SOUND LZH 490,393 11-09-1994 12:29
    2 File(s) 1,176,866 Bytes


    Directory of D:\


Installed Directory Contents

Once installed, the following directory structure exists in the game directory.


    Directory of C:\GAMES\SHOCK