System Shock – Speedrunning Guide

A guide to beating System Shock as quickly as possible, with information on weapons, tech, and all requirements for completing the game.

Guide to Speedrun

System Shock Speedrun Strategy Guide

This is a quick guide for anyone wishing to speedrun System Shock Remake as well as a bit of a walkthrough.

  • Most info shown here is for default 2-2-2-2 difficulty.
  • Events and areas that were skippable in the original are no longer skippable, rendering the game much more difficult to get good times in.
  • There are no known movement quirks in the new engine.

Known Bugs

  • Minor: If you are not aligned with a lift when raising it, you may clip through the bottom.
  • Minor: There’s a small bug with quickloading if you pause the game before hitting F9 where the game will pause without bringing up the menu. Simply pause and unpause to escape this.

Notes for Speedrunning

  • Timer should start just after the loading screen after confirming a new game.
  • Timer should end on the first frame of the final cutscene
  • Fights with Diego are much more difficult than in the original (He’s actually a threat in the final fight with him). Even with shield v3, he can kill you in just a couple hits. Still determining the ideal strategy that will guarantee a win. (Berserk + Laser Rapier is always an option, though high risk)
  • Quick Beta Route:
  • ​An attempt full of mistakes here:
  • Another attempt, successful this time:

Basic Route Guide

Just gonna add this here as a rough guide for progression order. Always destroy cameras as you go through!

  1. Medical: Gather weapons and ammo as you go. Destroy CPU nodes and get the first part of the reactor destruct code. Optional: -Flip switch for cyborg conversion. -Unlock medical cyberlock to get an early magpulse. -Pick up MED keycard (needed for certain medical rooms)
  2. Research: Restore power, get SCI keycard, get laser override code, get isotope x-22, destroy cpu nodes and get 2nd number for reactor destruct. Optional: -Get Shield V1. -Flip switch for cyborg conversion. -Get early ENG keycard behind teleporter and SCI locked door. -Get ammo from Armory (wire puzzle)
  3. Maintenance: Get laser rapier, get detox patches. Get interface demodulator now or later.
  4. Reactor: Use X22 to enable radiation shields, override laser safety. Optional: -Use MED keycard to open medical room, flip switch for cyborg conversion, gather medical supplies.
  5. Research: Fire laser, destroying it.
  6. Storage: Arrive via central elevator in Maintenance. Destroy CPU nodes to get 4th digit of code. Gather 4x Plastique for later. Optional: -Flip switch for cyborg conversion. -Get Turbo V1. -Get Micro Pocket Dimension -Get Scorpion. -Lower security enough (20%) to get Magnum and Enviropack V1. Lower to 0% to get Turbo V2 and a decent amount of ammo.
  7. Flight: Destroy CPU nodes and get 5th digit of code. Optional: -Get Assault Rifle in secret area. -Flip switch for cyborg conversion. -Kill Cortex Reaver.
  8. Executive: Progression order for first two groves becomes optional but personally recommend Alpha Grove first if you haven’t gathered a Magpulse yet (useful for most of the game). Get Executive keycard. Get code for Beta keypad from screen in Alpha. Optional: -Flip switch for cyborg conversion.
    Alpha Grove: Destroy cameras to lower security below 20% (7 of 8). Flip switch beyond door that opens with sec level to open door to Safety Interlock. Disable Safety Interlock. Optional: -Get Magpulse rifle in area beyond switch for opening safety interlock door.
    Delta Grove: Destroy cameras to lower security below 30% to open door to enable lift leading to Safety Interlock room. Disable Safety Interlock. Optional: -Solve chess puzzle to get 2nd Micro Pocket Dimension.
  9. Executive: Progress to Beta wing, hit switch in office to unlock Beta transit. Get past keypad-locked door to destroy CPU nodes and get 6th digit of code. Fight Diego 1. Use hidden teleporter as shortcut back and forth. Optional: -Get Railgun.
  10. Beta Grove Use fast route as shown in video. Much safer with Enviropack V1, but it’s not required.
  11. Executive: Attempt to flip Master Jettison Enable to trigger Maintenance doors. Return to Maintenance via elevator closest to teleporter (goes directly between Maintenance and Executive).
  12. Maintenance: If you did not already get an interface demodulator, get one now. Find Abe Ghiran’s head in Delta maintenance. Find broken array and replace interface demodulator (location will be randomized except possibly on Mission 1?, in which it will be in its original location in Delta maintenance). Optional, but recommended: -If you’ve lowered security below 45% by now, go to Repair Bay and open door. Use Abe’s Head to unlock the door with the retinal scanner. Unlock CPU node door through cyberspace. Destroy CPU nodes and get 3rd digit for code. (You should have the entire code now)
  13. Executive Flip Master Jettison Enable, then jettison Beta Grove. Proceed to elevator near Master Jettison Enable to go up to Engineering.
  14. Engineering: Immediately run to the left and follow path to Core. From Core, go through Alpha and climb ladder in Alpha to get up to upper Core. Cross upper Core to Gamma door (wire puzzle). You can flip the switch for cyborg conversion here if you want. When facing locked door to Gamma Antenna, turn left to get to CPU core room. Destroy CPU cores if you want, but door across room has Cyberspace jack. (Note: Door may require Engineering keycard, if you didn’t get the one on Research there’s one in Alpha just a bit past where you would have turned to go toward the ladder)
    Clear Engineering Cyberspace to unlock all doors to the antennae. Destroy antennae in the following order: Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Delta. Route avoids irradiated section with Sec-2 Bots and Cyborg Warrior, but you can return here later on your way to Security deck to get Shield V3 if desired. Once antennae are destroyed, return to Reactor.
  15. Reactor: Enter reactor room, flip switch to disable force door protecting reactor core, ride up repulsor lift to keypad. Enter reactor destruct code, then flip switch on opposite side. Rush back to Engineering.
  16. Engineering: Two options here. Return to Gamma Antenna area through either irradiated CORE section (Shield V3 is here) or security locked door (no radiation, safer if you lowered security below 18% and already got Shield V3 or don’t want it). Either way, go to the Security elevator and ride up.
  17. Security: Need to get back here on a new run so I can actually write things down and theorycraft. Until Nightdive fixes the achievement hardlock bug, I will not be able to finish this part of the guide.
  18. Bridge: Flip switch in one of the rooms to purge radiation from central room. Kill Cortex Reaver to get the Isolinear Chipset. Complete all three wire puzzles to remove force doors protecting the computer room. Install Isolinear Chipset.
    In central room, defeat enemies and flip switches in order to progress the “charging” screen. Once it’s fully charged, ride up the repulsor lift to the cyberjack and prepare to fight SHODAN.
  19. Bridge Cyberspace: Pick up the Pulser Rifle then ride the lift to the first island. Proceed to either the left or right island and walk up to the circle facing SHODAN for a guide to rise up that you can shoot through to be able to damage it. (Be careful, enemies will spawn to try to stop you. Take breaks to kill them before continuing to damage SHODAN) Continue firing away until a spiky ball flies up and starts circling SHODAN. Do this on the remaining islands to defeat SHODAN.

Security Level Requirements for Each Deck

  • Reactor: No doors that require security reduction?
  • Medical: Security must be lowered below 80% to open Armory (Keypad code 705). Below 75% required to access Computer Node room. 0% required for early Magnum and 3x EMP
  • Research: No doors that require sec reduction?
  • Maintenance: Must be lowered to below 80% to access Medical room and below 45% to access Computer Node room.
  • Storage: 20% for Enviro Pack V1, 0% for Turbo V2
  • Flight: No doors that require sec reduction?
  • Executive: No doors that require sec reduction?
  • Alpha Grove: Must be below 20% to open door to switch for unlocking door to safety interlock disable.
  • Delta Grove: No doors that require sec reduction?
  • Beta Grove: Quick way does not need security reduction.
  • Engineering: Must be below x% to open shortcut to Gamma Satellite and Elevator to Security.
  • Security: Must be below x% to open Armory. 0% required to access the (useless) LG-XX Plasma Rifle.
  • Bridge: No security reduction needed except maybe to open Armory?

Cyberspace Requirements

  • Reactor Cyberspace – Not required, but does unlock Armory.
  • Medical Cyberspace 1 (Magpulse Doors) – Skippable, but means Magpulse is not available until later in the game.
  • Medical Cyberspace 2 (Force Door to Nodes) – Required for progression. Disables nearby force door.
  • Research Cyberspace 1 (Laser Override Code) – Required except on Mission 1, where the override code is 199.
  • Research Cyberspace 2 (Gamma Radiation Trench) – Skippable. Clears radiation in room leading to Isotope X-22 room.
  • Maintenance Cyberspace (Computer Node Door) – Might be skippable with a well placed grenade. Will need to test.
  • Executive Cyberspace (Beta Transit Door) – Skippable. Opens Beta Transit, which can also be opened using a switch in Diego’s Office in Beta. (Just like in the original!)
  • Engineering Cyberspace (Satellite Doors) – Required. Unlocks doors to access the satellites.
  • Security Cyberspace – Might be required, will need to double check.
  • Bridge Cyberspace – Required of course. You fight SHODAN here.


  • Laser: Required. Activate radiation shields with X-22, enter Laser Override code and flick switch, then fire lasers using button on Research.
  • Anna Parovski: Skippable, just like in the original. Leads to what’s intended to be the first encounter with a Cortex Reaver in realspace.
  • Groves: Required. Disable safety interlocks in each grove, Defeat Diego to flip master jettison enable. Replace broken interface demodulator in Relay 428 in Delta wing after jettison enable fails. Return to enable it then jettison Beta Grove. Must be done to enable elevator to Engineering.
  • Satellites: Required. Grab 4x Plastique from Storage, navigate to Engineering Cyberspace to unlock all satellite doors, then destroy all four satellites on Engineering.
  • Reactor: Required. Hopefully you’ve been writing down the number from each floor’s Computer Node room! That’s the reactor destruct code. Enter the reactor area and flip a switch in the upper portion to remove force doors protecting the grav shaft to the keypad. Type in the code then flip the switch behind you to start the reactor destruct countdown. Note: May be possible to skip Satellites if code can be entered before TriOp authorizes it. Need to test.
  • Escape Pods and Diego Fight #2: Skippable, just like in the original.

Key Items

  • Isotope X-22: Required to activate radiation shields.
  • Interface Demodulator: Required to repair relay. Can be picked up as soon as Maintenance is accessible. (Takes up 4 inventory slots in a square pattern)
  • Plastique: Four are required to destroy the satellites. Stackable and only take up 1 slot.
  • Isolinear Chipset: Required to open door to SHODAN’s chamber. Found on Cortex Reaver on the Bridge instead of in jail cells, making the fight required.
  • Enviro Pack V1: Might be skippable if Fast Beta Grove route is used, though is much more risky than in original.
  • Enviro Pack V2: Skippable, but found along required route. Just bring detox for Reactor Destruct. Radiation in Bridge core can be purged.
  • Abe Ghiran’s Head: Required to get past the retina scanner that opens the door leading to Maintenance Cyberspace and the Enviro Pack V2.
  • Micro Pocket Dimensions: Skippable, but helps with inventory space. There’s two of them (One in Storage, other in ?)
  • Energy/Projectile Shield V1: Skippable, but invaluable early on. There’s one in Research in the irradiated room near the Cyborg Conversion switch.

Combat Notes

  • The Lead Pipe will be your weapon of choice until you collect a working Sparqbeam or Minipistol. There is a hidden Wrench in a corridor in Medical that does slightly more damage but has a slightly shorter range.
  • The Magnum 2100 can be found early on Medical if security is lowered to 0%. Otherwise, the earliest you’ll be able to find one is on the Storage deck where the Enviro Pack V1 is.
  • The First Aid Kit animation is slow and you WILL DIE if it does not complete before you take more damage. Use while behind cover or outside combat. Medipatches are faster in combat but may not heal you fast enough.
  • The Laser Rapier (found in a corridor on Maintenance guarded by a Security-1 Bot) is the best melee weapon in the game, but it suffers from short range and slow attack speed. It will also drain your energy with every successful hit. Use alongside Berserk patches and the Shield to kill Diego 1 or the Cortex Reaver(s) quickly.
  • The Grenade Launcher found on the Storage deck is extremely useful as it makes grenades explode on impact. However, it takes up 8 inventory slots (2×4) like most rifles.
  • The Shotgun (found as early as Research) is incredibly useful early on. Flechette rounds are effective against all targets while Dragon’s Breath rounds are extra effective on mutants (The burning damage is done over time, though)
  • The Scorpion Machine Gun can replace the Minipistol once found (Storage 5 on the Storage deck, past the grav shaft puzzle). While it is full-auto, single rounds can be fired with a quick tap.
  • The Mark III Assault Rifle (Can be found behind a secret door on Flight, otherwise in Diego’s Office on Executive) is invaluable
  • The Railgun (found on Executive) can kill almost all enemies with a single shot to the head and can penetrate through them. Its ammo only stacks up to 10 and recharge takes a long time, use wisely.
  • The LG-XX Plasma Rifle (found on Security) is largely useless despite its potentially high damage output. Plasma Core shots bounce off enemies and walls and will kill you if you get hit by them.
  • All modkits can be skipped. Some may be very useful but are not necessary at all. If you do have credits, consider spending them on Medipatches from the patch vending machines throughout the station.
  • Frag grenades are effective against all targets. Gas grenades are best against mutants but do limited damage to cyborgs and do not affect robots. EMP grenades do no damage to mutants or the Hacker (though it does affect your aim temporarily) and will temporarily disable cyborgs and robots in addition to damaging them.
  • Explosive, Magnetic, and EMP damage can bypass shields, including yours. Loader-bots throw explosive canisters while Striker-bots and Diego 3 have rockets.

Other Notes

  • Staminup patches are invaluable for running through levels you’ve already cleared, especially while escaping to Security. Use them wisely.
  • Detox patches will clear Biological and Radiation poisoning as well as any other patches you’ve taken!
  • Code for the keypad leading to Executive Computer Node room and Diego Fight #1 is always on the inner left monitor near Alpha and the elevator to Maintenance. Code is randomized every run except on Mission 1, where it’s the same as the original (711).
  • Save a logic probe for the panel where the Gamma Satellite is to avoid death. Reflex patches are also useful here.
  • First-time item pickup animations are slow and slow down your movement. Additionally, duplicate keycards will play animations again. Try to avoid picking up keycards you already have a copy of and avoid picking up keycards you don’t need at all. (D’Arcy’s personal keycard is not necessary, for example)
  • If you know the map well enough you can skip picking up the mapping tech as the animation is slow. Also it may be worth picking up the data reader despite the slow animation as it allows emails to come through, I’ll need to test if skipping it makes the reactor destruct code fail to work.
  • The animation for using a keycard to unlock a door for the first time can cancel other animations! This can affect the start of the run!
Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 7097 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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