BioShock: An Underwater Hell

BioShock: An Underwater Hell "No Gods, or kings. Only man."

Those are the first words you read after entering a strange lighthouse. Holding the red sign is a bronze statue of a man. That man's name is Andrew Ryan, and he had an idea. He wanted to build an underwater city where any man, or woman, could be as great as they wanted to be. A place where no one is restrained. he wanted a city, and he built one. However, as time grew on, more people began to live in Rapture. And new technology came up. Scientists found the raw, unstable stem cell harvested by a certain sea slug called ADAM. Scientists found out that ADAM allows for the use of what they call plasmids. Plasmids allow for strange power such as the ability to ignite things at the tips of the user's finger, or telekinesis and much more.

Since the cells are unstable, though, they cause cosmetic and mental problems. Much like drugs, the more a person uses ADAM, the more they need it. They found out that the slug could be embedded in the user's stomach, allowing for more usage of ADAM.

They realized this and started to embed the little bastards in the stomachs of girls known as Little Sisters. Little Sisters have been genetically altered and mentally conditioned to handle those slugs as if they were nothing. Little Sisters can also harvest ADAM from corpses and whatnot. That's their job. In the game, you also what ADAM and will have to get them from the Little Sisters but by removing the slug from them, it kills the Little Sister, but it also gives you a lot of ADAM. So instead of harvesting the Little Sisters, the game also allows you the more morally correct choice of rescuing them, which is nice, but you get less ADAM. The game makers thought they'd leave the choice to the player, making for a more interactive experience (which it does).

Now, with everyone wanting ADAM for those special powers known as plasmids, everyone's after these Little Sisters. So splicers (splicers are people who use ADAM, which is freaking everyone in Rapture, including you) will be after these Little Sisters as well. So what do those precious girls need? A body guard, exactly! But who can protect them? Oh, how about Big Daddies? I know the name Big Daddy sounds cute, but I just want to tell you right now that they will fuck your shit up.

They adorn this old 1950's diving suit, and are huge. You can't miss their large feet, thumping around and low growls. If you get too close to a Little Sister or attack a Big Daddy, man, I hope you have a lot of ammo or a lot of health, because you're going to need it.

The Big Daddy was created by a scientist named D. Suchong (who was ironically killed by a Big Daddy after smacking a Little Sister. I like to think he told her to make him a sandwich before he smacked her for not obeying). In the first BioShock game, there are two types of Big Daddies: the Bouncer, and the Rosie. The Bouncer is mostly known for it's spherical helmet and large freaking drill-hand. It is BioShock's main icon. Not only are these guys great at kicking ass, they're usually the ones to fix Rapture. In other words, they are Rapture's mechanics. It's a nasty job, but I suppose someone has to do it. Bouncers suck at long-range combat, but they have this engine of their back. So basically, before the bitter sweet embrace of death comes, the last thing you're gonna see is a giant piece of metal drilling the shit out of your intestines. This is what you get for messing with a Bouncer.

As for Rosies, they're known for the rivet guns they carry. Basically, they can either shoot you, or they can freaking blow you up with a proximity mine. You know, 'cause people like having a choice when it comes to their untimely demise.

But enough of this basic learning things. Let's get on with the game.

I have to say that the graphic for this game is amazing and beautiful. I mean, the scattered corpses and decaying interior is kinda of a setback, but other than that, it's awesome. The interior decoration feels just like it would be in the 1960s. It really does feel like you've stepped into a time machine.

You play the main character named Jack. His last name? Well, you'll just have to play the game. Now, when you start the game, you'll see that a plane has crashed and you're fighting to stay alive. You see fire and bits of metal but what really catches your eye is the weird lighthouse. When you enter, it becomes dark only for a moment before the lights turn on and you're introduced a large statue of Andrew Ryan, which is effectively make you look like the size of a tick.

You'll go down a couple flight of stairs and see this giant, metal ball floating on the water. It's called a bathysphere, and it allows you to travel from place to place. When you get in it and pull the level, a screen will show and Ryan's famous speech will play:

"I am Andrew Ryan, and I am here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

'No,' says the man in Washington, 'it belongs to the poor.'
'No,' says the man in the Vatican, 'it belongs to God.'
'No,' says the man in Moscow, 'it belongs to everyone.'

I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose...


A city where the artist would not fear the censor,
where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality,
where the great will not be constrained by the small.

And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city, as well."

The screen will pull up and you'll see the underwater miracle known as Rapture. You'll find fish swimming about, a whale, and if you look closely, you can see a Big Daddy fixing one of the tunnels. You'll eventually heard two men talking. One of those guys, named Johnny, says he'll go down and meet the visitor (you) at the bathysphere dock. When you get to the dock, you door won't open quite yet. You'll see Johnny begging to a splicer to let him go and not hurt him. I suppose she was deaf or something because the next thing you know, Johnny is being torn apart by the splicer.

She'll then notice you and try to get into your little dome, but she can't and will run off. You'll find a little radio next to you and a man named Atlas telling you to pick it up. You do so, and will help you in the game. However, he says he needs your help to rescue his family and to do so, you'll have to get yourself a weapon. Your first weapon is a pipe wrench. Enjoy smacking a couple of splicer with that. Not too long after that, you'll get your first plasmid, Electrobolt, allowing you to zap and machine, and paralyze your enemies. Throughout the game, you'll find other plasmids and you notice you have two bars at the top.

The red one is your health. You gain health by using health kits and eating snacks and whatnot. The blue bar is EVE. EVE comes in the form of needles and allows you to use plasmids. The maximum number of health kits and EVE needles you can carry is nine.

I also should take the time to explain splicers, seeing as they are your main enemies in the game. Splicers are citizens of Rapture who started to use ADAM, and ended up going fucknuts insane. Unlike the calmer Big Daddies, who will only attack you during certain circumstances, splicers will attack you because, well, they're batshit nuts. They're extremely aggressive, but they're nothing a couple of bullets won't handle. There are different types of splicers, sorted and categorized by their abilities and weapons. They can sorted out by their models, or appearances: Baby Jane, Ducky, Breadwinner, Wader, Lady Smith, Dr. Grossman, Toasty, Pigskin, Rosebud, and White Splicer, but are sorted by weapon in the game. Different combinations of the models and weapons make for a large variety of enemies in the game, which is really pleasant.

Besides the splicer you see that killed poor 'ol Johnny there, the first splicer you actually get to fight is called the Thuggish splicer. Their main weapons are things that you would normally find around Rapture, such as wrenches and pipes. They're easy to take out. Simply zap them with Electobolt and whack them with your wrench, which Atlas calls the "One-Two Punch."

The Leadhead splicer is a huge pain in the ass, since they're more tolerant bullets. At first, they'll use pistols, but halfway into the game, they pack a freaking machine gun. Like I said, they can take a bullet, so using plasmids are a good way to go. Dr. Steinman, a boss in the game, is also a Leadhead splicer, and the first splicer you encounter to use a machine gun (Warning: Dr. Steinman is nuts so zap with caution).

Nitro splicers are pretty nasty as well, as their main weapons are grenades, and Molotovs. Once you have telekinesis, however, you'll be able to throw those bombs right back at them, sending their asses back to Hell. Peach Wilkins, Silas Cobb, and Hector, Rodriguez are important leadheads.

Remember that splicer that killed Johnny in the beginning? That was a Spider splicer. It's weapons are its hook, which they can throw at you while they hang from the ceiling. Unlike other splicer, spiders can crawl on ceiling and do acrobatic flips and whatnot, making them a more formidable opponent and a bitch to kill.

Houdini Splicer are named very appropriately since their powers allow them to disappear, or teleport, which isn't a big deal, but it does get fucking annoying. They're the only splicer that can use plasmids, so that'll give you something new. Now, the only thing about these guys is that, since they teleport, and can appear right in fucking front of you, which will make you shit yourself out of surprise, especially if you're that paranoid player type that likes to huddle in corners and walk against the walls (Me). There are a group of Houdini splicer known as the Saturnine, who go around, setting crap on fire, and whatnot. They have lairs and that where you'll find most of them. The most important Houdini splicers are Martin Finnegan, and my personal favorite, Sander Cohen.

Now, you must wonder that with all these splicer, who controls them? There must be someone, some mind behind this all. There is, and his name is none other than Andrew Ryan. Throughout the first half of the game, Atlas and Ryan will be bickering via radio. I have to say, Ryan has a pretty mouth. He must be a skill speaker, what with the ideas and speech method he has. In fact, Ryan coins most of the memorable quotes in the game, such as his speech in the beginning, "A man chooses, a slave obeys!", and "It was not impossible to build Rapture at the bottom of the ocean...It was impossible to build it anywhere else."

Now, you've got your moving enemies, but what about security? Rapture is a large city and police officers can't all be there at once so they developed different machines to protect the city. In the game, there are three mechanical enemies, all of which you can hack.

Security cameras are placed all over Rapture. When a security camera spots you, you have a couple of seconds to get out of its view, take it out with your gun, or zap it and hack it. You'll know when a camera is around when you hear that whizzing and clicking sound the camera makes when it moves and it's red light illuminating on the floor. When you hack it, it's light turns green and it's now friendly to you and when and enemy walks by, it will sound the alarm to kill them, but not you. Now, if you don't get out if its view or fail to take it out on time, it'll sound off a loud alarm, and send security bots at you.

Security bots are flying machines that will find you and shoot at you. You can either take them all out, hack them, wait for the alarm to go away, or locate a Bot Shutdown Panel. A Bot Shutdown Panel will effectively get rid of all the security bots chasing you. When you hack a security bot, it will follow you around and shoot any enemy that attacks you until it is destroyed. If you hear a loud buzzing bee sound, don't worry, it's just your bot following you. Also note that your enemy splicer can also hack these bots and are marked with a red circle around their head. If you attack them, the bot will attack you, but will shut down as soon as you kill its owner.

Other than those two, the other mechanical mayhem machine you should look out for is a turret. A turret is a machine, mounted on a swiveling chair, that will attack anyone that comes within it's sight. There are three types of turrets: machine gun, grenade launcher, and flamethrower. Machine gun turrets are the most common, and flamethrower is the rarest. If you hack one of these bad boys, they'll work for you and will attack all your enemies.

Now that you know your enemies, let's move on.

As you can plainly see, the game makers did not cut corners when designing the setting and characters of them game. All their research has certainly paid off but what really gets the player is the plot.

Of course, you're going around, trying to get the hell out of Rapture and back on land, but not only do you learn about Rapture through the audio diaries, but you also learn more about Jack and how he's involved. I'm not going to spoil what happens about Jack, but you can learn more about what happened to Rapture through the audio diaries that citizens left lying about.

There are tons of diaries lying on all levels throughout the game. They were recorded by citizens of Rapture. Some diaries have important information you don't want to miss, some contain secret codes to unlock doors, and some just tell you how they felt in Rapture. Diaries will explain Cohen's disdain for Anna Culpepper, Ryan's rivalry with Frank Fontaine, or the researching of ADAM and whatnot. Although some aren't important, they are fun to listen to and what with some containing secret codes, you might want to listen to all of them. When you listen to them, they'll also show you a picture of who recorded it, which lets you have an idea of what the face of Rapture really looks like.

Let's get down to business, shall we?

Visual: 5/5
The scenery is fantastic. It really feels like you've stepped into the 1960s, what with it's art-deco style and somewhat steampunk look. The creators really took their time on the backgrounds.

Sound: 5/5
You can really hear the gunshot, the machines whirring. You can even hear splicers talking to themselves (which is a dead give-away that they're there). Everything is here and you can hear everything.

Plot: 5/5
Everything is so intricate, everything is related. Not only that, but there’s a great plot twist toward the middle. It’s truly a great story that’ll suck you in completely.

Interaction: 5/5
You get to choose whatever you do, how you want to go about killing your foes, what you want to hack, and what not to hack, whether or not you harvest or rescue the Little Sisters, the game leaves a lot of choices up to you. Even so, they made three different endings depending on your choice when it comes to the Little Sisters. There's the happy, sad, and bad ending.

Value: 4/5
Although BioShock is a great game, there's not many reasons to play it again, other than to get different endings, find things you didn't find before or to unlock more achievements/ trophies. Sometimes, it can be a bit tiring to play again, but I can really say that I would play again because there will always be a couple of things you missed.

Overall Score: 4.9/5
BioShock is a terrific game that I recommend to anybody who loves first person shooters and a little shock here and there. It's truly a great game.

For more information on BioShock/Sources:
The BioShock Wikipedia Page
Cult of Rapture
BioShock Website
BioShock 2 Website
There's Something In The Sea

You can buy BioShock for your computer, PlayStation 3, or Xbox 360. Remember that it's rated M for Mature.

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