The former. And it's only that specific area; if you go past any bulkheads it's fine until you return to that area. I'll certainly look up the brightness glitch thing, too.
You said the former but described the latter.
The problem I referred to is basically that if you have changed the brightness or gamma in the driver settings, loading certain games causes them to revert back to their defaults. The simplest solution is to use ATI Tray Tools to bind a hotkey to changing the gamma back, and hit that key whenever you start a game. This works nicely for me in all but one game.
If this is your problem though, it will affect the entire game, including menus and stuff like that.
SS2 is by far my favorite game of all time. I made the mistake once of playing through Hydroponics and Ops in the dark. Never again. That game is terrifying with headphones on in the pitch black. *shudder*
I play all my games just like that, and this was no exception. Didn't seem "terrifying" to me at all.
That deck is dangerous too, unless you know the trick to dealing with suicidal robots.
Is that the one where you run up to them and repeatedly smash them with a melee weapon, causing them to walk backwards without returning fire?