System Shock was, for me, the greatest of the early first-person shooters. Known as the “Thinking Man’s Doom” it was slower paced than most of its peers, with more emphasis on atmosphere, story and exploration. Some of my fondest 90s gaming memories are of prowling around Citadel Station’s executive deck and hangar bays, ion rifle at the ready, listening out for the sinister babblings of murderous cyborgs.

Via Rock Paper Shotgun I recently learned of Citadel, a remake using the Darkplaces engine. Of the various new features on offer, one that immediately stood out to me was an improved set of controls. Shock had several great features but, to be frank, its control setup wasn’t amongst them. It used a mouse pointer to interact with the world, but not to change the direction in which you were looking, which was rather clunky. It also didn’t let you remap the keys. So bringing it closer to something like modern Mouselook would be very welcome, and would make the game rather more accessible to those who might have found it frustrating before.

Looking on the graphics side, in some ways the creator is keeping it pretty retro, sticking to the original textures. He mentions improving the lighting, but the biggest change is going to be swapping the old sprites for 3D models. I’m slightly concerned this won’t fit aesthetically, somehow, but that could be nostalgia talking. Maybe proper 3D enemies will be more dynamic and convincing?

So I’m uncertain on some counts, but also keen just to see what Shock is like when turning a corner and looking up at the ceiling doesn’t feel like working the controls of some sort of clumsy robot. It’s definitely worth giving a chance, anyway. The target release date is 23rd December, which sounds rather optimistic to me, but best of luck to the guy. Hopefully I’ll be able to report back here with some comments.

(Oh, also he plans on adding multiplayer. Which is something we tend to overlook here, sorry. No idea how that would work out).