I am a little confused on the System Shock 1 (disc)'s difficulty options. Can someone go in-depth to what each option means? I couldn't find much online.

2 Answers 2


Since System Shock was just re-released as an Enhanced Edition, and since I've been Googling around for a similar answer (which question I won't ask here, don't worry! :) ), I feel I should fill this in.

The GOG Enhanced Edition comes with a PDF-format manual, and from that I will paraphrase.

Each category of difficulty is pretty absolute - the lowest option pretty much eliminates that category from play, while the highest option amps it up to its full value as you might expect.

For example, Combat's values simply determine how many enemies you face and how aware they are. To limit the enemies to absolute minimums, cause them to never aggro (engage aggressively) against you, and die in one hit, choose 0. Stay away from 3 unless you want to die pretty much constantly, because the controls in EE still have a lot to be desired. I play on 2, and I was TERRIFIED until

I'd flipped the surgery unit switch, as to die without it flipped meant that I'd become a cyborg! Game over!

Mission determines story elements. I left this one alone in all my game setups, but I imagine that 0 takes out even the emails and logs, while 3 institutes the 7-hour time limit we heard/read about for

the charging of the Mining Laser. Don't deactivate that in time? Say bye bye, major Earth cities! :)

Puzzles go along the same lines. At 0, they're solved when you click on their panels. I just leave it on 2, the default; they're fairly challenging then, though I probably could have stood to lower it to 1; I believe that clicking on a rotating part on 1 will not influence others in the puzzle, but I could be wrong. 3 is okay if you don't mind delaying your otherwise exciting game session for a massive brain teaser. :)

And Cyberspace: I lowered this to 1 because I actually knew the controls would leave a lot to be desired in this game, but still wanted a bit of challenge. Like it says, how long you can stay in cyberspace, how easy it is to move, I imagine the distribution of help programs you find etc. are influenced by the difficulty values here.

And that's it. Hope this helps and doesn't come too late. Enjoy getting your cybernetic pants scared off you on board Citadel Station!

  • Thank you! :) I'll look around for more questions I can answer.
    – EazyCheeze
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 11:36

It is supplied with a sentence for each option in-game.

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