Author Archives: Bustréx

System shock 2

The sequel to the first game in this fantastic series is definitely one of the greatest, innovative and creative games from the nineties. While it could be called just simply an FPS, it can be extensively derived as a First person shooter horror role-playing survival game. You play as a surviving soldier on a spaceship infected & infested with an alien species. Your first task is to meet another surviving crew member who guides you through the ship, yet you quickly realise who is behind this invasion and learn of their quite remorseful intentions.


The inventory, logs menu, stats, and many other HUD items in the game

The game introduces the weapons relatively quickly, yet it does not let you use them so fast. Your statistics in this game limits your ability to use certain items. By progressing in the game, you slowly gain credits that you can spend on physical terminals to upgrade your statistics, skills, special abilities, or weapon capabilities. In terms of weapons, it is very important to manage your ammunition as it is relatively scarce. There are a large number of enemies, traps and turrets that can surprise you anytime. You have access to many different ammo types that you need to specifically use in order to have the best effectiveness of killing. There exist also various psi-abilities that enable you to manipulate the world, grab items from a distance, or magical attacks on enemies. One aspect I found irritating at times was the need of exploring absolutely everywhere so that you can obtain the key or item to progress. Many things are hidden in specific places, meaning you would have to go through lots of rooms and hallways just to get to a room and search every single body or else continuing further is not possible. I guess this is a good strategy to keep the game playing longer, it is fun nonetheless once you get a feeling of completion, yet whenever you get lost it is not so enjoyable. 


The story of this game builds upon the prequel, enhancing your endeavor in an infested spaceship. While there are very rare interactions with any other person, you do receive radio voice messages from certain characters, which usually are there to aid you with the next task. The most prominent way of developing the story was something I have not seen much before, which were voice log discs occasionally found on tables, floors, shelfs, etc, which you open and listen to. These logs represent different characters in the story, which over time develop according to what they say. The fact that these recordings are of a past experience, it adds to the dark experience as it indicates that those people have passed. For me, while it may be at times aggravating to be having to listen to an entire recording, it was something very creative that I think is used very well in this game. 

Music / Sound

A good amount of the music includes electronic beats with a scientific theme that can energize you while you run and shoot your foes. Furthermore there is lots of chilly music that reinforces the fact that you are a lone human in a spaceship. A lot of the sound design can create foreshadowing as well as adding on to the horror, including the rare voices of the dead playing in your head. 


This game has a very eerie ambience, with horror-like situations. The game implements the scariness extremely well by occasional spooky holographic visuals, dark rooms and monsters. There are many sequential instances where monsters can attack from behind or something explodes/ falls from the ceiling, which adds to this uncertain creepiness. Additionally, even though you killed monsters in one place, they can respawn indefinitely so they can surprise you if you come back to a place. 


There is not much to say for the economics side as it is an old game, yet it did seem to fail commercial sale expectations, which is surprising as it was deemed ahead of its time when it was released. 

Deus ex 1

The first installment in the Deus Ex series, released in mid 2000 is a role-playing shooter set on earth in a sci-fi future that suffers from a deadly plague. You play as J.C. Denton, with a selection of various skills, a technologically augmented human-robot. The game begins with you working for UNATCO, hunting down terrorists and retrieving the antidote for the plague. As you progress, you begin to reconsider your association with UNATCO, whether you are unknowingly fighting for the virus. 


Battery Park Metro Station

The core gameplay is probably one of my favourite elements of the game. Even though this is not an open-world game (meaning that there is a large world with few boundaries other than the world size), and that you are practically meant to follow a specific storyline, how you play that storyline is under your control. That is the fun of the game, you can play it however you may like! You can sneak around with a tranquilizer crossbow and stun your enemies to silently collapse, use a sniper and a rifle to take enemies down from distances, use shotguns, flamethrowers or heavy artillery for close quarters, simply utilise melee or throwable objects, the possibilities are countless. Your actions are also attributed to your skills, which can be upgraded as you go along. However, you have to make good choices on your traits, as you do not have unlimited points, so you would upgrade certain skills that are more important for you, such as electronics for hacking computers and systems, or pistols for, well, pistols. What’s more is that you have these augmentation canisters that you use to select a specific area, such as strength or speed, and “augment” them. This is also important considering your playstyle, as some augmentations would help you to achieve certain tasks.

Various skills that can be upgraded over time

Nevertheless, there are multiple ways to approach your adventure. Most areas feature many pathways to get to the same area, each with their own obstacles, experiences, and items to collect. Most fascinating of all, these might also change how the story continues. The general story remains the same but some aspects may be different according to what and how you did things. For example, if you went along and killed all enemies in sight, afterwards characters will react differently about what you did, some not liking what you did or some supporting you, and same if you did not kill anyone. Dialogue does not only change, but certain main characters or some areas of the story could be affected too. Without spoiling too much, some actions can affect main characters to die or stay alive, and the ending of the game has three different outcomes which all depend on what you decide to do. That is what I like about this game, you can do what you want.  Along with the main story there could be a few side-tasks here and there that are not huge but could give you more points or items but specifically more knowledge. That is what you get for exploring, you can get clues to get certain passcodes right or find a secret pathway. However, there are two sets of goals, a primary and a secondary set of goals to complete in an area. The primary goal, of course, is what you have to complete in order to progress, but the secondary goals are there to help you out with the primary goal, but also to generally to let the story get more detailed and to increase the gameplay.

Example of different outcome: a reaction later in the story after murdering one of the main characters

The stealth mechanics in this game is also a very key feature, which is of course dependent on your playstyle. If you run through levels like crazy and obliterate your enemies there is no point of trying to stay sneaky. However, in order to stop from getting ambushed by enemies, you would need to avoid getting spotted by cameras, robots, or other people. This is very important to keep in mind when you have weak weaponry as you would not want to be seen by someone, who would then trigger the alarm. By staying sneaky you can gain better positions for attack or simply avoid getting destroyed by multiple enemies. 

Astoundingly, this game was published in mid 2000, so to see this sort of complex gameplay this early on is amazing, especially in a FPS, as most other games at that time with open choices like this are rpgs, such as the elder scrolls games. Like I said, this game can be approached in numerous ways, it can be for anyone. If you are a speedrunner and want to fly through levels at high speeds and work for ages to save milliseconds of time, go ahead! You can play the game at hardest difficulty, or take it easy and relax. You can explore all the levels, pathways, and secrets of the world, read literally everything that you find (newspapers and bulletins are everywhere) and talk to every character. Or, you can just play the game and let it flow out in front of you as you go along. 

The gameplay of this game is really astonishing, as it’s detail and extent lets you play the game many times, because you can play the game in a completely different way, approach levels differently, and even learn new things you never knew about before, because there’s so much that this game offers.


Out of all of the games that I have played, the first Deus ex’s OST (original soundtrack) stuck with me the most. It was able to fully capture the situation you were in, as well as your location, and the quality of the pieces were outstanding. Now, yes, you can argue that the soundtracks in many other games around that time period also were amazing in terms of their catchy, thrilling, and memorable songs, I personally agree that Deus ex stands out in this case.

The majority of the titles have a subtle, calm and ambient beginning until it suddenly blasts off and becomes energetic, exciting, and tense. The reason that it is tense is not because it sounds frightening or stressful, but rather because this sudden energy was used as a feature in the games stealth mechanics. So if you were spotted by any enemy or detected by a camera, the calm part of the song would instantly change to the dynamic part, tensing up the situation. 

I still sometimes listen to the soundtrack, and even after not playing it for almost a year, many of the OST’s titles still remind me of where I was while that song played. In my opinion it is probably my favourite soundtrack out of many old games, it sets the atmosphere and action really well compared to other games that just have a few songs playing here and there. 

Why Half-Life?

My record of the year of 2017 was definitely a wild ride considering all I have done among ancient video games. My particular curiosity of the immense world in which I would thrive from the start of vacation along my two week stay in Split, Croatia, was immediately overcome by the phrase ‘old but gold’, while suddenly I had an instant bond with the imperfect glimmers of the Goldsrc engine and beyond. At this point I am not at a certainty to recall even the first time I had encountered the historic corridors of Black Mesa, but still the quotes and rooms still graciously haunt my memories of all times that I had examined the stunningly clean, yet mosaic environment of Valve’s 1998 release.