“I’m Andrew Ryan and I’m here to ask you a question: is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own 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 would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.”
- Andrew Ryan, founder of Rapture
This “genetically enhanced” first-person shooter lets you do things never before possible in the genre: turn everything into a weapon, biologically mod your body with plasmids, hack devices and systems, upgrade your weapons and craft new ammo variants, and experiment with different battle techniques in an incredibly unique underwater city.
The game focuses on a secret underwater city named Rapture, created by a rich philanthropist by the name of Andrew Ryan. Andrew has the goal of creating a utopian society where the great and powerful would not be constrained by the poor, and where the world’s elite could live without being bound by morality, government, or religion.
The game begins with a plane crash into the ocean near the city’s surface entrance. You, the lone survivor of the crash, take a submarine down to the city to search for help. As soon as you arrive, however, you realize that things have gone horribly, horribly wrong…
BioShock has a fully featured status menu, and is used to access information about the game and your location, and your current objectives. The status menu has several screens, which are cycled through by pressing RB and LB.
MAP :: the map shows a layout of the current level you are in, including points of interest like machines and quest goals. Areas you have not explored yet are greyed out, making it easy to see where you still need to look. It’s almost always a good idea to explore as much of the city as you can, as you will usually find weapons, ammo, items, and even gene tonics and plasmids, not to mention audio diaries which greatly elaborate on the backstory of BioShock. Note, however, that some areas will occasionally be closed off to you, with no way to access them. This usually means that they will open up once you progress a little further in the storyline, so don’t sweat it if you can’t figure out how to get into an area.
GOALS :: the goals tab shows what you should be doing now. Don’t be afraid to spend some time looking around and exploring the side areas, however.
MESSAGES :: this screen allows you to replay any of the radio messages you’ve received from the denizens of Rapture, as well as to replay any of the audio diaries that you’ve found.
HELP :: this screen contains help files on many of the items and game concepts in BioShock. The game has a context-sensitive help system which is very useful – position the reticle over the item you want help on and press the back key, and it will automatically take you to the appropriate help page.
Note that your health and EVE are shown in the bars in the top left hand corner of the screen. Your current money and ADAM can be seen by pressing Start. The Start menu also shows how many little sisters there are in the current level, and what their status is (alive/rescued/harvested).
Unlike most FPS games, BioShock does not end if you die. In fact, there is almost no penalty for dying at all – instead you are simply reincarnated at the nearest Vita-Chamber machine, with all of your weapons, money, and items intact. All the damage you did to your enemies stays as well, so if you’re having trouble with a boss or encounter you can just wear them down over several attempts. In my opinion, this makes the game almost a little TOO easy, but at least it saves you the aggravation of repeated reloads and retries.
There are many useful items you can find and use throughout Rapture. You can get these off the ground, from containers, and from dead bodies, by putting the reticle over the item and pressing the A button. Items which you can pick up or interact with in some way will usually be highlighted – regular items in white and quest/story items in gold.
- WEAPONS AND AMMO :: What you use to kill and maim things
- MONEY :: used for machines. See the money section for more details.
- FIRST AID KITS :: when used (by pressing the B button) these will return a large portion of your health. You can carry up to 9 of these at a time.
- EVE HYPOS :: these are like first aid kits, except for EVE. They look like blue syringes. You use them by pressing X when you are in plasmid mode. Like the first aid kits, you can only carry 9 of them.
- AUTO-HACK TOOLS :: these allow you to automatically hack an object, without having to do the pipe mini-game. You should save them for emergencies and exceptionally difficult to hack objects.
- FOOD :: there are several different types of food/drink available in Rapture. Unlike other items, these are consumed immediately as soon as you pick them up (you can’t carry them around with you). Some of them increase health/EVE, some of them decrease them, some of them increase one and decrease the other. Press the back button with the reticle over the item if you’re not sure what it does and the help screen will tell you. Usually the health/EVE bonus you gain is small compared to first aid kits/EVE hypos.
- OTHER JUNK :: after a while in Rapture you will begin picking up a lot of random items like rubber tubes, brass shell casings, batteries, etc. You can take these items to a U-invent machine to craft useful items like auto-hack tools and special ammunition.
- STORY ITEMS :: you will occasionally need to collect items as a part of the game’s storyline. The status menu shows you what you need to get and where it is.
- MONEY :: The currency of Rapture is the almighty Dollar, and you will find plenty of it as you explore the city. Most of it comes from fallen enemies (press A to search their corpses), but it can also be found in containers and lying on the ground. You need money to use many of the machines located in Rapture (with the exception of the genetics-related machines, which either cost ADAM or are free of charge, and the Power to the People machine, which is free but can only be used once).
- ADAM/LITTLE SISTERS/BIG DADDIES :: You can purchase genetic upgrades from a Gatherer’s Garden, but this requires ADAM (a form of genetic material which is harvested from corpses by Little Sisters). Each Little Sister has a Big Daddy which follows her around and protects her. Before you can approach the little sister, you have to kill her protecting big daddy. Once you do, walk up to her – the game will give you the option to either Rescue or Harvest her. Harvesting kills the little sister, but you receive 160 ADAM. Rescuing her only gets you 80 ADAM, but as compensation, Tenenbaum will occasionally send along care packages for you which include ADAM and some other useful items. Choose however you like, but the gameplay (and subsequent ending) depends on your choices.Each level has a set number of Little Sisters (from 0 to 3) that you can kill. The Big Daddies can summon Little Listers until you have harvested the number allotted for that level.
There are several different types of machines that you will encounter in Rapture, each with a different function. Most of them require money to use.
- AMMO BANDITOS :: Ammunition vending machines.
- BOT SHUTDOWN PANELS :: Use these panels to shut down the flying drones chasing you. Costs $20, and cannot be hacked. HEALTH STATIONS :: Replenish your health for a small fee. Enemies can use them, but they can be hacked to poison your enemies, and heal you at a discount.
- GENE BANKS :: Used to switch out the plasmids and tonic you have equipped. They cannot be hacked.
- GATHERER’S GARDEN :: Rather rate. Used to purchase plasmids and gene tonics, as well as extra slots and other upgrades (like increasing your maximum health/EVE). They are unique because they only accept ADAM for payment. After you encounter a Little Sister you can usually find one of these nearby.
- VENDING MACHINES :: Vending machines “Circus of Values” sell all kinds of useful items (first aid kits, film, ammunition, EVE hypos, etc). They can be hacked to lower their prices or unlock hidden items).
- VITA-CHAMBERS :: You never die in Rapture, you are simply resurrected at the nearest Vita-Chamber. This isn’t a checkpoint-type reload… everything you did before you died is in the same state and place you lef it (including damage to enemies). any way.
- POWER TO THE PEOPLE MACHINES :: These are rare, and will upgrade one of your weapons for free. They can only be used once, so choose your upgrade wisely.
- U-INVENT MACHINES :: This machine lets you convert all the “useless junk” you collect into useful items. Bring all your items to a U-invent machine to create auto-hack devices, special ammunition, and even invent items to complete goals in the game. Machines can be hacked to lower the number of items required.
- AUDIO DIARIES :: Throughout your adventures in Rapture you will stumble across audio diaries left by the former inhabitants of the city. They are often hidden in out-of-the-way locations, so explore all the nooks and crannies you can. Press the A button to listen (or T on the PC). These diaries help fill in the storyline of Rapture.
There are several different types of enemies you encounter as you explore through Rapture. Each type of enemy requires a diffeent strategy, and they can be nasty when they team up on you. You will generally encounter more difficult enemies as the game progresses.
- THUG SPLICERS :: Humanoids with melee weapons. Take them out with guns. They can be stunned with electricity and then clubbed to death.
- LEADHEAD SPLICERS :: Regular humanoids with firearms. They are jittery, so you can usually surprise them. Headshots take them out quickly. You can stun or freeze them and then deal some damage. They stop shooting at you if you set them on fire.
- NITRO SPLICERS :: Splicers are armed with explosives. They throw grenandes or proximity mines. Use your telekinesis plasmid to throw their own explosives back at them. Or just stay out of range and kill them with firearms. If you get too close they may throw a smoke bomb and escape.
- SPIDER SPLICERS :: These splicers move quickly and can jump high and climb on the walls and ceiling. They use a melee attack with a sickle and jump at you from a distance. Shock them and they are stunned for a moment and then switch to another weapon and deal some damage. Vulernable to anti-personnel ammo and fire attacks.
- HOUDINI SPLICERS :: Use plasmids to become invisible and teleport. They use a fire-based plasmid. Try to find a covered position and wait for them to appear, then shoot them with firearms. Hacked bots and turrets are very useful, as they find them before you can locate them. They are resistant to fire attacks. Vulnerable to anti-peronnel ammo.
- BOSS SPLICERS :: you will occasionally come across a boss splicer, which is a regular splicer which is tougher and deals more damage. These are usually characters involved in the storyline.
- BIG DADDIES :: Also called Rosies, Bouncers, or Big Daddies. This is the guy in the underwater suit that is featured on the cover of the game. They are usually escorting a Little Sister, and are not hostile unless you attack them or start messing with thier escort. They are armed with gigantic drills. Rosies have rivet guns that shoot at you from a distance and can also use proximity mines. They are very tough and require some preparation. Use your surroundings, security systems, water, oil slicks and explosives to maximize the damage to them. Since you usually initiate combat, then you can catch them in the back and deal out the most damage you can before they turn around.
- ELITE BIG DADDIES :: Show up later in the game. They are just bigger versions of Rosies and don’t require any special tactics other than what you already know.
- LITTLE SISTERS :: Little Sisters cannot be damaged until their Big Daddy is defeated. USDA Daily requirement of ADAM.
- SECURITY BOTS :: These annoying little critters show up if a security camera catches you and sounds the alarm. These machines carry machine guns and follow you around until they are destroyed, hacked or deactivated. Armor-piercing and explosive ammo works best against them. They can be stunned with electical ammo and then hacked.