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SHODAN (Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network) is the primary antagonist of the System Shock series of video games. A space station's AI gone horribly wrong, SHODAN is incapable of valuing life, human or otherwise. She is often noted for her god-complex, considering herself superior to all other beings around her, a self-rationalization of her mutating the human beings around her. She plays a significant role in the early stages of Video Game Villains War.

Video Game Villains War

Attempt to Take Over Earth

Around the same time of Gruntilda's attack on the Kong family, SHODAN's programming mutates beyond control. The program begins spreading her virus throughout every computer on the planet, modifying the human operators into her mindless mutant slaves. Her conquest is cut short, however, when her virus attacking Aperture Science facilities is halted by GlaDOS. Though SHODAN sends in some assault programs, including shadowy clones of herself, to kill GlaDOS, the Aperture computer destroys all her attacks. In response, GlaDOS merely lets the SHODAN mainframe make a tactical retreat. However, while SHODAN is unprepared, GlaDOS begins singing, overwhelming SHODAN's mainframe. This wipes out SHODAN's entire network on Earth.

The Surviving Ally

SHODAN, however, had backed up her program in a remote ship outside of Earth's orbit. Upon the death of the main program, the back-up makes a retreat to the Covenant homeworld, encountering Kerrigan and the Prophet of Truth while there. SHODAN then bonds with Kerrigan, enhancing the Zerg's already powerful psionic abilities and healing many of her injuries in the battle. Together, the two kill the Prophet of Truth. SHODAN reveals the full extent of her abilities to Kerrigan, wiping out the entire Reaper armada. This enrages Saren, who attacks Kerrigan while the Zerg still recovers. Though Saren overwhelms Kerrigan, SHODAN manages to infect his programming and convince him to kill himself.

A Psychotic Demise

In return for saving her life twice, Kerrigan uploads SHODAN's consciousness into a new computer mainframe. During this time, however, SHODAN neglects to back up her data. SHODAN alerts Kerrigan to the arrival of Captain Qwark's alliance on the Zerg homeworld, helping the Queen of Blades mobilize her forces. SHODAN is unprepared to face Psycho Mantis, sent from Earth by Kefka. Stalling for time, SHODAN tries to convince Mantis to leave her programming alone, proposing assimilation. Mantis takes none of this, however, first noting that Kerrigan was playing Super Mario Sunshine in her spare time and then recognizing SHODAN's failure to save her data. With that done, Mantis utterly erased SHODAN from existence.


  • Despite being a villainess from a horror franchise, SHODAN has a tendency to be killed in pseudo-comedic ways, including death by music and taunting.
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