IIRC they did make it available for free. That doesn't matter either way for me. It is an old game. It had its time to sell. I don't think it is reasonable to charge $10 bucks for a 14 year old game. I think it is not about bringing old games to the public, or giving the developers more compensation for their hard work. In my opinion it is only a way to make an easy buck out of something they happened to get their hands on. It's no different than finding an old painting in the basement, and charging people to see it.
I would also appreciate (from a few certain people here) if you don't treat me like a criminal. I purchase every single game that I play. And even if I didn't, a holier than thou attitude doesn't in fact make you holy.
No, they never made it free. Abandonware sites made it available for download.
I'm not saying that you're a criminal, or that I'm holier than you. I'm just stating the facts. Can you get a 14-year old Ferrari for free? Unless you know some friends, I very highly doubt it. Can you get a 14-year old house for free? Can you get a 14-year old movie for free? Just because a game was developed for a certain computer specifications that's now obsolete don't mean that the copyright expired, or that the owners can't sell it anymore. Copyright grants the owners the right to sell the game, hence the "Copyright
Trivia, did you know that Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream" is copyrighted, and you can't listen or watch it without paying? Yet it's about 50 years old. The copyright will expire in 25 years, then it will fall into public domain. Same with System Shock 2, it will fall into public domain in like 80 years, then it'd be legal to download it for free.
Besides, $10 is a lot cheaper than what the original price was ($40 or 50 when it was first released), taking in consideration inflation and such. And they've went through efforts to fix it up for newer computers.