Crystal Shard
Weapon Stats
First Found on Operations Deck or
Recreation Deck
Requirements Exotic Weapons: 1
Researchable Yes, Research skill: 4
Research Time 0:27 (max)
Chemicals Needed Y @ 88,9%
Attack Type Standard Attack
Power Attack (w/ Smasher)
Damage 12 (Standard Attack)
27 (Power Attack)
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 a weapon in System Shock 2, and the first Exotic Weapon encountered.

It is a shard of Annelid crystal and is composed of thousands of close-together crystal needles, attached together in a close branching, nearly fractal tree. Its structure provides an amazing sharpness, and makes this weapon very dangerous in hand-to-hand battles.

Like every melee weapon, the Crystal Shard does not require ammunition to use and does not have any firing mode. Moreover, it cannot decay and cannot be modified.


The Crystal Shard requires Exotic Weapons skill level 1 to use. Research level 4 is also required to research this weapon and Yttrium is needed in the process.

Damage Table

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


General Melee Strategies

  • Strength greatly increases the damage of a melee weapon, and thus should be on a high priority.
  • Both the Lethal Weapon and the Smasher O/S Upgrades can greatly increase the damage output of a melee weapon, and should come in handy throughout the whole game.
  • Observe the attack patterns of enemies and always try to evade when they are about to strike. Agility can make the job easier for an obvious reason.
  • Shotgun Hybrids are one of the tougher opponents on early stages, as they have hitscan weapons, and it is hard to defeat them without taking any damages if one approaches them. However, the player can exploit their AI behaviors, hide behind a corner and lure them into close range.
  • Enemies with no melee attack at all, including most droids, always prioritize getting some distance before attacking. That means as long as one stay very close to the enemy, it will keep walking back instead of attacking the player, and gives the player enough time to defeat it. This strategy stops working when an enemy does not have enough space to flee.
    • This also applies to Cyborg Assassins, however they can fall back at a very high speed, and may put the player in a worse situation.
  • Protocol Droids are very hard, if not impossible, to defeat with melee weapons safely, therefore keeping a ranged weapon in one's inventory is advised.
  • Contrary to popular belief, O.S.A. Agent is arguably the best class to specialize in any melee weapon, as one can unlock the following psionic disciplines at the beginning:
    • Psychogenic Agility which can be used to catch up the speed with Cyborg Assassins on early levels.
    • Adrenaline Overproduction which can increase melee damage by 13%-830% once being activated, according to one's Psionic level, and the player can literally smash any foe in one hit;
    • Localized Pyrokinesis which makes the player immune to the explosion of Protocol Droids or any droids, and eliminates the greatest threat of any melee weapon user.

Crystal Shard Specific

  • As a level 1 weapon, this weapon will receive a bonus damage of 75% when one's Exotic Weapon skill level reaches 6, easily making it the most deadly melee weapon in the game. Therefore, it is recommended to fully upgrade it even if the player is not planning to use any other Exotic Weapon.
    • 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 one’s Research skill by one level, thus only level 3 of Research skill is needed.
    Do not forget to equip the implant as it can spare 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 perform Smasher hits a lot.
  • A melee specialist should fulfill its requirements before entering the Operations Deck, unless he is already using the Mark VI Laser Rapier. Cyborg Assassins appear on this level frequently and the Wrench may not be strong enough to handle the combats.
  • This weapon has the longest hitting range among all melee weapon, which should be ideal to defeat creatures crawling on the ground, such as Grubs and Arachnids.
  • Its biggest advantage over the Wrench and the Laser Rapier is that it deals full damage to annelids (the Rapier's weakness) and relatively high damage to mechs (the Wrench's weakness).
  • 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. Normally, either a ranged weapon or the Laser Rapier is required to finish the battle.


  • When performing a Smasher hit, the Crystal Shard will deal both the normal damage and the Smasher damage, for a total of 27 base damage points. Also, the bonus damage given by Strength will be counted twice.[1]


  • According to the in-game description, the Crystal Shard is principally silicon, but doped with germanium and other unknown trace elements.
  • It has a resonant 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, like the other melee weapons.