System Shock

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the original version. For the enhanced version, see System Shock: Enhanced Edition. For the remake, see System Shock (2021).

System Shock
System Shock cover
Looking Glass Technologies
Origin Systems
Current Night Dive Studios
System Shock engine[1]
Release dates
DOS September 22, 1994
Mac OS (Classic) September 22, 1994
Windows (DOSBox) September 22, 2015[2]
Modes Singleplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control, Point and select
Genres Immersive sim, Shooter
Art styles Realistic
Themes Cyberpunk, Horror, Sci-fi, Space
Series System Shock
System Shock guide on StrategyWiki
System Shock on MobyGames
System Shock on Wikipedia
System Shock
System Shock 1994
System Shock 2 1999
System Shock: Enhanced Edition 2015
System Shock (2021) 2021
System Shock 2 Enhanced Edition TBA
System Shock 3 TBA

General information Community Discussions for game series Support Page
Steam Community Discussions, the biggest forum about the game.
SHODANPEDIA - A wiki for the System Shock series


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
3.5" floppy version or Enhanced CD Version
Mac OS
Bundled with System Shock: Enhanced Edition. Includes both the floppy and CD versions.[3]
DRM-free after installation through Steam client (notes may include more details)
Bundled with System Shock: Enhanced Edition as Classic Edition.
A demo is available for the floppy version.

Version differences[edit]

Bonus tracks.
Bonus tracks.
The classic Mac OS version was substantially improved during the porting process. It features high-res (640x480 vs DOS's 320x200) menus, fonts & UI elements. It also had 3 studio quality bonus tracks.[4] It was used as the basis for the Source Port Update of the Enhanced Edition.

Essential improvements[edit]

Run in DOSBox[edit]

To improve DOSBox performance make the following changes to the DOSBox configuration file:

  • Change output=surface to output=opengl
  • Change memsize=16 to memsize=32
  • Change core=normal to core=dynamic
  • Change aspect=false to aspect=true
  • Change fullresolution=original to fullresolution=desktop

Gigaquad's Enhanced log texts mod[edit]

Gigaquad's Enhanced log texts mod matches the audio and text dialogue.


DOS32A is a more advanced extender and open source replacement to DOS4GW. It can improve both performance and stability of System Shock.

System Shock has DOS4GW bound to each of its executables. Use the command sb /r sshock.exe or cdshock.exe to replace it.

System Shock Portable/SSPTool[edit]

A useful tool for those who don't own Enhanced Edition. Was formerly a community made abandonware package of the full game, though this was later changed to require the user to provide the game data after the game was released on GOG.

Easy to use configuration utility.
Provides all the above mods already in the package.
Has an installer that can easily find cd data.
Requires Windows, does not work on Mac nor Linux. Config files and mod components can still be used.
Still not native, unlike the Enhanced Edition. Also included DOSBox components may be out of date.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
DOS <path-to-game>\CYB.CFG
Mac OS (Classic)
Windows <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/410700/pfx/[Note 2]
Some data is stored within the save files.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
DOS <path-to-game>\DATA
Mac OS (Classic)
Windows <path-to-game> (mounted in DOSBox)[Note 1]
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/410700/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Steam Cloud


Video settings.
Video settings.

Graphics feature State Notes
Widescreen resolution
4:3 resolutions only.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Toggle with Alt+ Enter (when using DOSBox).
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
For DOSBox use an unofficial build (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
60 FPS
120+ FPS
Color blind mode
Alternate HUD colors avalible by right-clicking on fullscreen button.



Audio settings.
Audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Music, Digital FX, Audio Message Volume.
Surround sound
Toggle Messages setting under Audio Options. Words are not exact representations of audio. Fix available in the from of Gigaquad's Enhanced log texts mod.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Can be enabled through DOSBox's priority settings (use the pause emulation option).


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Voiceovers only available on the Enhanced CD version
Voiceovers only available on the Enhanced CD version
Voiceovers only available on the Enhanced CD version
Fan translation by «Dark Fate Team»

VR support[edit]

The CD version includes support for the VFX-1 headset.[5]

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
DOS video modes VGA, SVGA Allows MCGA but for low-res cutscenes only. 256 Colors only.
Utilizes DOS4GW for extended memory & 32-bit support.


Middleware Notes
Physics Emetic Dynamics Modeling System Developed by Looking Glass's Seamus Blackley.[6]
Audio Miles Audio Interface Library Original/floppy uses 2.0, Enhanced CD version uses 3.0.
Support for the Gravis Ultrasound was removed in the transition to the CD version due to the inclusion of the Miles AIL3 audio library. A patch to re-enable it can be found here.
Enable custom patches with AIL3[citation needed]
To enable the custom gus patches included with System Shock (located in the \Gravis directory), edit the "CUSTOM.GUS" file included with the drivers above and add the following lines:

[Melodic Patches]

[Drum Patches]

Source Ports[edit]

The source code for the Mac OS version is publicly available.
Name Description
Shockolate Source port focused on delivering a near-vanilla experience with some quality-of-life improvements.
macOS (OS X)
System Shock: Enhanced Edition Commercial source port using Kex.

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) MS-DOS 5.0 or compatible
Processor (CPU) 486DX/33 MHz
System memory (RAM) 4 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 20 MB
Video card (GPU) 256-color VGA
Mac OS
Operating system (OS) System 7.1
Processor (CPU) PowerPC 601 80 MHz
System memory (RAM) 8 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 22 MB
Video card (GPU) 256 Colors
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 7, 8, 10 (runs in DOSBox)
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i3 1.5 GHz
System memory (RAM) 128 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD)


  1. 1.0 1.1 File/folder structure within the installation folder reflects the path(s) listed for DOS game data.
  2. 2.0 2.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/410700/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (410700) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.


  1. [1] - last accessed on 2019-12-21
    "We wrote the engine from scratch for System Shock, but we knew we had time pressure, and I was thinking "Gee, this is too bad, I wish we had another six months" so that the engine would support completely arbitrary surfaces instead of being tile based."
  2. Release: System Shock -
  3. SystemShock Enhanced DOS?, GOG Community Discussions for the System Shock series
  4. System Shock 1 unique MAC OS OST
  5. System Shock on the VFX-1 | Pix's Origin Adventures
  6. System Shock Kickstarter - April Update - last accessed on April 7, 2018
    "The game is mostly written in C, except for the physics library written by Seamus Blackley (EDMS, the Emetic Dynamics Modeling System)"