Crystal Shard
Weapon Data
First Found on Operations Deck
Recreation Deck
Requirements Exotic Weapons: 1
Researchable Yes, Research skill: 4
Research Time 4:30 (max)
Chemicals Needed Y @ 88,9%
Attack Types Normal
Overhand [with Smasher]
Damage 12 (Normal)
27 (Overhand) [with Smasher]
Summon Code crystal shard
Before you lies the crystal shard, a creation of my children, and by extension of my own...a weapon elegant, deadly, precise. Learn its may stand between you and their corruption.

The Crystal Shard is an Exotic Melee weapon found in System Shock 2.

Crystal Shard is an item created by the Many. It is composed of thousands of microscopic crystal needles, forming a sharp blade in a close branching, nearly fractal tree. As a result, the Crystal Shard is very effective at close range. Being a melee weapon, it requires no ammunition, cannot decay, and cannot be modified.


The Crystal Shard requires Exotic Weapons skill level 1 to use.

Research level 4 is also required to study this weapon, along with a container of Yttrium.

Damage Table

Mech Half-Mech Half-Annelid Annelid Final Boss
Weapon Bash x0.5 x1 x1 x1 x0


Operations Deck

  • Sector C Lounge
  • Offices, middle room on west side, near corpse


General Melee Strategies

  • Strength increases the final bonus added to the melee damage and thus should be a high priority.
  • Both Lethal Weapon and Smasher O/S Upgrades (acquired preferably in that order) substantially increase the damage output of a melee weapon, and should come in handy throughout the whole game.
  • Contrary to popular belief, OSA Agent is arguably the best class to specialize in any melee weapon, as one can unlock the following Psionic Powers at the (very) beginning:
  • Observe the attack patterns of enemies and always try to evade when they are about to strike. Agility can make the job easier for obvious reasons. This is especially important in case of Pipe Hybrids and Cyborg Midwives.
  • Shotgun Hybrids are one of the tougher opponents on early stages, as they have hitscan weapons. It is hard to defeat them without taking any damage being already in their range. However, the player can hide, attack them from behind and circle-strafe, buying enough time to finish them before they turn and start shooting.
  • Protocol Droids are very hard (close to impossible, actually) to defeat with melee weapons safely, therefore keeping a ranged weapon in one's inventory is advised.
    • The other approach is to run away to avoid the explosion at just the right moment when they go into self-destruct. Going around corners is very useful. Lots of practice and high Agility are recommended.
  • Enemies with no melee attack at all, including all types of big Robots, always prioritize getting some distance before attacking. That means as long as one stays very close to the enemy, it will keep walking back instead of attacking the player, giving enough time to defeat the foe. This strategy stops working efficiently when an enemy does not have enough space to flee.
    • This strategy also applies to all types of Assassins, but they can fall back at a very high speed, easily putting the player in a tough situation.
  • All big Robots have their only weapon mounted on their right side, the other one being harmless. Approach them preferably from their left side using the above strategy to avoid their attacks.
    • If they follow you, make sure to go clockwise. They can shoot at you even if only a part of their weapon protrudes around the corner, so going anticlockwise is discouraged.
  • Turrets are best attacked at close quarters - that is, if they can be reached. Cutting the distance and circle-strafing around them doesn't give them a chance to fire at you. Moving fast in front of their line of sight makes them unable to lock the aim and shoot.
    • With enough skill the player can jump over the Turret to stand on top of it, thus being safe from its attacks.
    • Rickenbacker Turrets cannot hit if the player standing too close to them.
  • Rumblers are essentially fast walking tanks and are to be treated as such - with extreme caution. Learning their movement helps, but not entirely, as they can surprise the player with an almost instant attack.
  • Grubs, both types of Monkeys and Infant (to some extent also both types of the bigger) Arachnids are most effectively attacked when crouching. It is best to retreat when attacking Grubs and Arachnids. On the contrary, it is recommended to charge while dealing with the Monkeys.
  • Attacking the Eggs can be tricky because of their contents. Depending on their type, a different strategy has to be chosen:
    • Black Eggs can be called sitting ducks, as they trigger no effects... yet.
    • Grub Eggs are the least harmless. After the Grub hatches, the player should fall back to attack it.
    • Swarm Eggs have a simple strategy: trigger and run. Afterwards they don't cause any problems.
    • Toxic Eggs are the toughest to deal with. While the flying spores can be easily dodged when crouching, the gas cloud will affect the player most of the time. Sometimes it can be avoided by approaching from above or from around a corner, but generally it is not possible to evade it. Melee-only players have to either stack Anti-Toxin Hypos, use Psi Toxin Shield, or be prepared for frequent visits at Resurrection Stations.
  • Standing below Security Cameras (if possible) eliminates their threat entirely.
  • Moving (ideally circle-strafing) directly below Psi Reavers makes them unable to aim and shoot at the player.
  • Swarms cannot be harmed using any melee weapon.

Crystal Shard Specific

  • As a level 1 weapon, the Shard will receive a bonus damage of 75% when one's Exotic Weapon skill level reaches 6, making it easily the most deadly melee armament in the game. Therefore, it is recommended to fully upgrade Exotic skill even if the player is not planning to use the rest of them.
    • Moreover, users of the Crystal Shard are very likely to reach the requirements of the Viral Proliferator eventually, and hence the latter could serve as a free secondary weapon.
  • A LabAssistant™ Implant can raise Research skill by one level, thus only Research level 3 is needed.
    Do not forget to equip the implant to save Cybernetic Modules.
  • The Smasher O/S Upgrade provides much more extra damage to the Crystal Shard than to other melee weapons, and hence it is advised to acquire it and focus on doing Smasher hits.
  • A melee specialist should fulfill its requirements before entering the Operations Deck, unless he is already using the Mark IV Laser Rapier. Cyborg Assassins appear on this level frequently and the Wrench may not be strong enough to handle them.
  • This weapon has the second longest melee range (the Rapier having the longest), which should be helpful to defeat creatures crawling on the ground, such as Grubs and Arachnids.
  • Its biggest advantage over the Laser Rapier is that it deals normal damage to pure Annelids (Rapier's weakness) - unfortunately in comparison it also deals ¼ of Rapier's damage to full mechs.
  • In terms of damage coefficients against different enemy types, it's strictly superior to the Wrench, and thus there is no need to keep the latter in the inventory.
  • It deals no damage to the final boss (however, it can damage its shields when using Adrenaline Overproduction). Either a ranged weapon, Laser Rapier or Psi Sword is required to win the battle in normal circumstances.


  • When performing an overhand attack, the Crystal Shard will deal both the normal damage and the overhand damage, for a total of 27 base damage points. Also, the bonus damage given by Strength is counted twice.[1]
    • This means the intended overhand damage is 15, a +3 increase compared to the base damage. This would make the damage bonus more similar to other melee weapons, such as the Wrench, which has a +3 overhand attack bonus.


  • According to the in-game description, the Crystal Shard is principally Silicon, but doped with Germanium and other unknown trace elements.
  • The Crystal Shard has a resonance frequency very close to that of neural propagation, and could be a repeater for the Psionic abilities of the Annelid creatures. However, whether the player is able to use Psionic Disciplines does not change its effectiveness.
  • The audio log Crystal Gifts on the Operations Deck mentions Dr. Wood acquiring two of these shards, and he mentions that they're fragile. Any of the shards you find on the Von Braun cannot break, just like the other melee weapons.


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