From Before I Play
- The beginning choice of character is pretty much magic user vs. st samurai. A street samurai can do everything a decker can do and is also badass in combat. You just need to buy a data jack. For a first play through, you should probably play a samurai anyway. The shaman can be very powerful but it's a lot tougher to make money and money is the name of the game.
- When you get enough money, hire the runner in the first bar, take all his stuff, and sell it. You'll make more than your money back.
- People will randomly attack you. These are gang members and if you can kill them, it's worth it, but if you can't, there is almost no penalty for death. You should be able to survive these attacks in the first area after you get just a little bit of money and a little better gun. If not, keep hammering away until you can increase your combat skills.
- The trick to the game is to get money for the best possible equipment and to get karma for the best possible character. The way you get the first one is to get a datajack and do simple matrix runs. On matrix runs, you can find datastores and d/l random files. These can be sold to a fence in the lowerleft corner of downtown. As you get more money, upgrade your deck or buy new ones.
- The fastest way to get karma (experience) is in the first area, just doing escort and delivery missions. You can earn a lot of karma in a couple hours. The way you have to look at this game is like an old school RPG. Instead of grinding endlessly against slimes, you do this and matrix runs.
- In the matrix the only two useful programs are attack and deception. Don't waste memory or money on anything else.
- In order to get some money for your datajack, once you've got a good pistol and decent armor, do the ghoul bounties. If you can negotiate up to 50/ghoul, you can make good money.
- There is a debug mode. Once the logo starts scrolling but before the "Press Start" prompt comes up, press ABBACAB. Then go to the invisible selection below the last selection on your pocket secretary. Most of these options are VERY cheaty and spoil the game, but the "RUN FASTER" thing isn't so bad. It helps a lot with the aforementioned karma grinding.
- The Predator heavy pistol available in the first gun shop will be the best gun you get until you can afford a super ballin' SMG.
- When you get your character going pretty well, go dick around the Salish-Shidhe until you find a hut in the middle of nowhere, this will get you on a quest to save a guy that survived your brother's botched run, who happens to be a huge badass and will work for you for free.
- Find and join the Ork gang in Puyallup Barrens when you can, it costs ~2000 nuyen, but it makes all cab rides free, and you'll be taking tons of cab rides throughout the game.
- SMGs stink, they spray too many bullets and don't do much damage. The Predator pistol is actually the best gun in the game (well if you like the Alliance shotgun you can use that but it's ammo is really limited and it can't be silenced). Honestly your best bet is to hire the troll samurai and ork mage and give them both hand spurs and let them melee everyone to death in one hit.
- The trick to the ghoul hunt missions is to inch your way around so that when the ghouls appear, you have as much space between yourself and the ghouls as possible. Blast the nearest one with your best spell (set so it doesn't drain) or your gun, whichever does the most damage, and run away every few shots. You should be able to drop them eventually.
- The other thing with ghoul hunts is to make sure you get a good per ghoul rate of pay. Since you can kill up to 20 of them, a difference of only 5 nuyen per ghoul can equal 100 nuyen total. Try to do them for 40 to 60. If Gunderson gives you a bad offer, just decline and try again until you hear something you like.
- For shamans, it's best to up your Body and Int with a few chump runs until you can go on ghoul runs. Then it's all about scrolling the screen back and forth until the ghouls pop up, and keeping to the open spaces and not getting caught in corridors. Moving diagonally helps too. Remember, only the ghoul-looking dudes count for kills, not the gargoyles or vampires (trenchcoats). After that, for a shaman, you'll want to grab some high mana/fire spells and a spell lock or two for the ones you like the most, to keep drain low. Stone skin and Heal are decent enough as well. And make sure you use the magic-using contacts you find!