"I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm 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... RAPTURE. 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
BioShock is a 2007 first person shooter with survival horror and RPG Elements produced by Irrational Games, then known as "2K Boston" and "2K Australia". It is a spiritual successor to the System Shock games produced by the same company, and the first game in the BioShock series, followed by BioShock 2.It is the year 1960. You play as Jack, a Featureless Protagonist whose commercial flight crash-lands in the Atlantic Ocean. Beneath the surface, there lies an underwater city, Rapture, founded in The Forties by eccentric billionaire Andrew Ryan. However, Jack immediately discovers that Rapture is overwhelmed by hordes of "splicers", i.e. the last surviving citizens of Rapture, who were driven mad from a powerful but addictive mutagen. This, coupled with Ryan's own draconian policies and laissez-faire attitude toward the product's sale and use, has reduced Rapture to an art decoasylum with seemingly no possible avenue of escape.Jack's arsenal includes both traditional (and not-so-traditional) firearms and "plasmids", special gene-modifying injections that give the user incredible powers such as telekinesis and pyrokinesis. Jack can also hack Rapture's own security cameras, robotic drones and turrets and turn them against the splicers.Irrational's creative lead, Ken Levine, based the story on the aesthetics and Objectivist writings of Ayn Rand, most notably Atlas Shrugged. The fate which befalls Rapture — intended as haven for Earth's best and brightest — can be viewed as a logical conclusion of that book. Levine refrains from taking a side in either debate; the Aesop of Rapture, if it can be said to have one, is that achieving a utopian society may be unwinnable by design.Aside from its layered story and eye-popping visuals, the player's ability to use the environment, weapons, and plasmids together made BioShock the most inventive shooter since Half-Life 2: you can light a splicer on fire, electrocute the poor soul after they leap into the nearest body of water, or use the grenade launcher to glue proximity mines onto an Exploding Barrel, then lob it at a group of enemies. Verily, if torturing mooks is an art, BioShock is a virtuoso.
You might find some audio diaries belonging to a Mrs. Lutz. Her daughter has been kidnapped and for the longest time she and her husband don’t know where she is. One day she finds her little Masha. Masha has been transformed into a little sister, harvesting the plasmid-strewn blood of a corpse. She neither recognizes nor acknowledges her parents. The Lutzes are later found in a hotel room, they committed suicide out of grief, their daughter’s picture is found near their bodies.
You can also find a family in Mercury Suites. A mother, father, and three little girls. All sitting on their couches, with cups in front of each body. And a jug of poison on the table.
Always a Bigger Fish: A couple of Splicers planning to kill an injured Jack at the start of the game leave him because they notice an approaching Big Daddy, which fortunately for Jack, doesn't take him for a threat.
Anachronism Stew: Despite Rapture's advanced biotechnology, its architecture and ads hark back to an earlier era. As for its conventional weapons:
The Pistol is a Webley Mk VI, introduced in 1915 during World War I.
The Machine Gun is a Thompson M1921, designed during World War I and introduced in 1921. Both this and the revolver are not that anachronistic-likely, Fontaine sold them en masse to Rapture as World War II surplus, as both were used in the Second World War and afterwards. The shotgun made in 1882 however, is a straight example. Given the time, and Fontaine's business practices, a Winchester 1897 Trench Gun or Model 1912 might make more sense.
Creates an even bigger stew when you realize that Infinite actually has a newer model of shotgun by nearly twenty years, despite said game taking place forty-eight years before the original. But then again, Infinite had a good reason for that.
Armored Villains, Unarmored Heroes: The Big Daddies' armored diving suits make them so unrecognizable that there are people in the BioShock universe and people in reality who don't immediately realise they're at least partly human. Then there's Jack, whose has no armor other than his sweater, and relies heavily on ADAM and first aid kits.
The Artifact: The pipe-based hacking system is a holdover to when the machines had some manner of human operator on a drip-feed of ADAM, and he'd do you a favor-ie, spot you some goodies or Mook-Face Turn-for increasing the flow to him. However, considering the various machines are now purely mechanical, this makes no sense.
Bee Afraid: In the Farmer's Market you have to collect some bee enzymes from a hive, provoking an angry swarm of stinging insects whenever you search one. Thanfully, they can be put to sleep with the smokers.
Big Bad: Frank Fontaine, as you find roughly halfway through the game.
Big Damn Heroes: Several Little Sisters do this to save you at the end of the game, repeatedly stabbing the Big Bad and killing him (after you've fought him first of course).
Blow You Away: The Sonic Boom Plasmid. Cyclone Trap uses wind to spring enemies up in the air.
This is also the ultimate fate of anyone who uses too many plasmids. Because the plasmids are basically raw stem cells injected into the body, using too many of them will result in a person getting large tumors, leading to disfiguring boils and tumors on the face and body.
Hack the health stations and they'll kill any enemies that use them. It's a useful ammo saver.
There are also webs of crossbow trap bolts, and you can lay some of them yourself.
Boom, Headshot: Headshots inflict four times normal damage with the pistol, and ten times normal damage with the crossbow.
Boring, but Practical: There are very few things that the Electro Bolt/Wrench combo will not kill eventually, especially after you get tonics and plasmids that make them stronger.
Hacking can be kind of tedious, but it's also a very good way to get rid of enemies without having to waste your ammo and plasmids.
In terms of efficiency, though, Telekinesis is king, as it has the lowest resource cost of any attack in the game save the Wrench — no ammo, and the smallest EVE cost of any plasmid, and can act as a shield and protect you from grenades to boot. And it still does good damage, of course.
In terms of play-speed, the Revolver/Pistol (with damage upgrade and anti-personnel rounds later on) can kill all splicers in 1 headshot. While other weapons have better overall damage (Crossbow) or better rate of fire (Machine Gun/Tommy Gun), the Revolver has just the right balance so you don't have to stop moving to fight every single enemy you meet.
Hell, you can make the Wrench so powerful on its own that using Electro Bolt beforehand is actually a waste of time. With maxed research, both Wrench Jockey tonics, and Bloodlust (also Wrench Lurker if you're a sneaky bastard), you can just bum-rush everything and only need to take out a gun and a plasmid or your Shotgun when going up against a Big Daddy or the final boss. Note that most of the people that do this are the same ones who complain about how repetitive the game is.
Fontaine shouts that Jack owes him everything — his memories, his identity, his very existence — right before the Little Sisters tackle him and drain his ADAM, causing his over-spliced body to die of malnourishment.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Some of the machine gun-wielding Splicers in Apollo Square have even more health than the game's major bosses, but are otherwise completely indistinguishable from the regular, significantly less durable machine gun-wielding Splicers.
Broken Aesop: Game developer Clint Hocking argued that the game is thematically inconsistent because its story seems to advocate selflessness (help Atlas, don't harvest Little Sisters etc.) while its gameplay seems to encourage selfishness (gather as much ADAM as possible, loot your enemies' corpses). He coined the term "ludonarrative dissonance" to general cases of disconnect between gameplay and story (a term which is loosely equivalent to Gameplay and Story Segregation).
This is played straight in one particular instance. Early on, Ryan traps you in a small room with Splicers trying to break the windows to reach you. Atlas unlocks it and urges you to run, which takes you to the next level. This is pointless. Wait long enough and the game just shunts you to the next level anyway. The Splicers aren't actually a threat.
The Cavalry: At the end of the final boss fight, the spliced-up musclehead slams you across the room, stalks over, and is about to pound you into mush, when a Little Sister jumps on Fontaine from behind and stabs him with her ADAM-collecting syringe. After he throws her off, a small horde of Little Sisters jumps him and stab him to death.
Cat Scare: Common in the first few levels (of course, sometimes the third one is real). Additionally, each level contains a dead cat. Which you can then kill people with.
Chekhov's Gun: The conspiracy theorist-style bulletin-board that has "Would you kindly..." written on it in big red letters. Bonus points for being part of the Twist Ending.
Even before that, in the package Jack is holding on the plane in the intro sequence has a small note attached. Play at a high enough graphic quality, and you can make out "Would you kindly not open until—" words.
Hacking practically requires having high-end gene tonics to reduce their difficulty, depending on the level. In the later stages, overload and alarm tiles can make them downright unwinnable without skill reduction/tile changing tonics, and heaven help you if you don't have a slow tonic to keep the water at bay.
The later levels have Splicers playing possum. Shoot them all you like; they won't take damage until they decide to get up. Thankfully, there are ways around this. Insect Swarm will get them up (and kill them), and cameras can tell the difference.
Cutscene Boss: Deconstructed, like many other But Thou Musts. Andrew Ryan is leaving this world on his own terms, not Fontaine's. Less reviled than most usages of this trope, for some reason.
Dartboard of Hate: There's one of Andrew Ryan in Atlas' HQ in Hestia Chambers. Bonus, the darts are actually crossbow bolts.
Dead Guy on Display: The main hall outside Ryan's office is lined with corpses impaled onto pillars, all unsuccessful saboteurs or assassins. There are also a number of strung-up criminals around Rapture, in particular Neptune's Bounty.
Fort Frolic is full of statues in bizarre poses and situations, dancing, playing musical instruments, watching tv, laying in bathtubs. Some sitting in chairs with their arms tied behind their backs... it isn't until you find a few with red lines dripping from their slit throats and wrists that you realize they aren't statues. They are people Cohen has encased in concrete, some still alive.
An audio diary made by Dr. Suchong has him complaining that he can't get the Big Daddies' protection bond with Little Sisters to work, while a Little Sister keeps trying to get his attention. He smacks her out of annoyance, which triggers the protection bond of the Big Daddy he's currently working on. You find this diary on his corpse, pinned to a table by a drill.
Diesel Punk: The advanced technology, 1940's Art Deco City Noir, and twist-filled mystery make it more on the lines of Diesel Noir
Difficulty Levels: Easy, Normal, and Hard, each affecting enemies' health, strength, accuracy, your plasmids' EVE cost, and how much loot you can fetch.
Harder Than Hard: Survivor mode added in v1.1 for consoles* (the Xbox 360 version requires the "Genetic Improvements from Ryan Industries" DLC as part of the patch), which makes enemies much more agile and accurate, they will have 240% health, your plasmids uses up more EVE, loot will be more scarce, and you get less EVE back from being revived from a Vita-Chamber.
The Dog Bites Back: In one area of the Little Sister daycare, you find a corpse pinned to the wall by needles. It's left unsaid if it's an unlucky splicer or one of the scientists exploiting them. Then again, it might be a grisly dummy used to test the Little Sisters.
Driven to Suicide: Mariska and Samuel Lutz swallow pills after learning that their daughter has become a Little Sister. There are also corpses around with a weapon next to their bodies or alcohol in the corpse, giving strong implications of suicide.
Dummied Out: There are some plasmids and tonics within the game's programing that were removed in the final product. However, the PC and Mac versions of the game can access some of the plasmids and tonics through mods or using a pseudo-developer command console. These includes Organic Pockets, a physical tonic doubles your capacity for holding recovery items and ammo, and Shutdown Expert, an engineering tonic that hints the security systems in Rapture were originally planned to work like the ones found in the System Shock series. Upgraded versions of Telekinesis and Clever Inventor can also be found this way.
Early-Bird Cameo: An audio diary from Suchong in the first game makes a passing reference to coworkers named "Sinclair and Alexander", who became fully fleshed-out characters in the sequel. (Although ironically, said sequel would also retcon Sinclair's role.)
When Fitzpatrick is playing the piano, you can hear a noise that sounds suspiciously like Songbird from BioShock Infinite. Unintentional, as the original game was finished before work began on Infinite, but neat, nonetheless.
The Big Daddy that gives Dr. Suchong his Karmic Death is apparently Subject Delta, the Player Character of the second game. This also implies that the Little Sister Suchong gives a smack to is Eleanor Lamb.
Subverted in Burial At Sea: it was Masha Lutz that was there, along with her friend Leta. Both of them had just pair-bonded to a Bouncer (with help from Elizabeth) and were going to show "Papa Suchong". Suchong, being a heartless idiot, doesn't realize what they've just accomplished until after he smacks one of them in the face, green-to-red lights included. Cue getting drilled by a big daddy two inches from his face. Masha and Leta are rescued by Jack in the Good Ending, with Sally being the third girl in the Bathysphere.
Early Installment Weirdness: The first game is the only game where Plasmids cannot be fired simultaneously with regular weapons. It's also the only game where the hero doesn't die outside natural causes.
Enemy Scan: The Research Camera allows you to take pictures of enemies, which unlock various rewards once you gain a certain number of research points (extra damage to that enemy, tonics, etc.). You get more points for action shots (enemy is attacking or being attacked) and multiple enemies in one shot, but penalties for photographing the dead or multiple shots of the same individual subject.
Escort Mission: The lead-up to the final boss battle has one. Having dressed up as a Big Daddy, you have to follow and protect a Little Sister so she can let you into the boss room.
Fontaine's first appearance is in an audio diary, where he speaks at length about his plans to use Tenenbaum to undermine Ryan's control of Rapture.
Andrew Ryan's first appearance is during the bathysphere trip down to Rapture's first level. It is quick to establish how he feels about government. Then later, his first dialogue is him asking Jack which one of the "bitches" sent him, either the KGB or the CIA, outlining his paranoia as his splicers bang at the glass, showing how far he's willing to go to keep Rapture safe from the "Parasites."
Steinman's first appearance is a Video Screen with a static image, with him ranting at length about the "Moral Obligation" to be beautiful. If you don't count the Audio Diary that outlines his admiration of Picasso and his connection to his own surgical expertise.
Peaches ECM is his insistence that if he smells Fontaine on you, he'll kill you outright, despite Atlas's assurance that Fontaine has been dead for a long time. This cement's Peaches paranoia. At least until you discover he was right.
Langford's ECM is when she Grows angry at Jack from thinking he is responsible, and then proceeds to insult Jack's intelligence when she tries to explain the Lazarus Vector to him. She also is heard in an early audio diary in the chapter growing irritated at Ryan for making people pay to visit Arcadia... then promptly shutting her mouth because he signs her paychecks.
Diane McClintock is introduced to us in the very first audio diary we encounter, lamenting to herself about how bitter she is towards Ryan jilting her. This later amplifies into her joining Atlas's army because she is sick of what he's turned Rapture into.
There was really no room for neutral parties in the uprising, as both sides were happy to recycle the dead to replenish their ADAM reserves. Ryan went the extra mile and forced the few remaining sane people to splice up and help defend Rapture.
Equipment Upgrade: "Power to the People" stations. Each station allows one upgrade to be applied to an existing weapon (e.g. larger magazine, more damage) with a corresponding change to its model.
Martin Finnegan as well. When he confronts you, he quips, "Guess the old grape finally sent someone, huh?" Then his tone shifts to something raspier and more ominous while saying, "Sonofabitch...left me to freeeeeeeeeeeeeeze".
Evil Versus Evil: It wouldn't be inaccurate to say that pretty much everyone in Rapture, bar the Little Sisters and the Big Daddies., is evil in some way or another. Turns out that populating a city with amoral businessmen and scientists, and then showering the place with guns wasn't such a hot idea.
Expository Gameplay Limitation: Certain sequences take virtually all control away from the player but still allow them to look around. Another sequence near the beginning of the game prevents the player from doing anything other than moving in order to introduce them to Little Sisters and Big Daddies.
The Big Bad also attempts to get Jack to see him this way. Fontaine tries to dissuade Jack from taking vengeance upon him by saying that he considered Jack to be the son he never had. He goes on by citing his contributions to Jack's creation and his plan to bring Jack back to Rapture being the only way Jack could've discovered the truth. Despite all that, Jack ignores him.
Fire, Ice, Lightning: Thanks to ADAM and the inventions in Rapture, you and your enemies can harness these elemental powers.
For Jack, the Incinerate!, Winter Blast, and Electro Bolt Plasmids respectively. The chemical thrower can use napalm, liquid nitrogen, and electric gel ammo in place of these plasmids. The shotgun and crossbow also have their own fire and electric-based ammunition; the wrench can freeze enemies as well if Jack splices the Frozen Field tonic.
Houdini Splicers normally fight by shooting fireballs at you although there are rare ice-elemental variants as well; there's also an electrical variant of Thuggish Splicers in the later levels of the game.
Fission Mailed: Jack is knocked out cold by a Toasty splicer, who observes that his "cherry's just been popped" (i.e., he's just injected his first plasmid). Since he doesn't have any ADAM as of yet, the Splicers do not kill him. However, in the future, Splicers still have unique dialogue whenever the player dies.
Foreshadowing: The audio logs, aside from giving background information, hint at some of the bigger plot twists. In particular, there is one log that explains how Ryan had the Bathyspheres locked so that they'd only work for himself and whoever else he wanted, but anyone in the "genetic ballpark" could use them.
A perceptive player looking around Fort Frolic might notice posters advertising a musical called "Patrick and Moira", which are the names of Atlas' son and wife respectively.
Another audio log has Ryan ruminating upon the ethical ramifications of Dr. Suchong's proposal for a plasmid that would allow someone to control another person's mind.
From Bad to Worse: Bill McDonagh's diaries summarize it nicely. Adding insult to injury, the city has started springing leaks, which McDonagh had predicted would be uncontrollable.
Related to the above, ADAM is supposed to be such a prized commodity that Splicers are desperate to harvest Little Sisters for it, and the Big Daddies and Little Sisters are in fact introduced in a near-cutscene in which a Splicer approaches a Little Sister with the intention of doing just that before being murdered by a Big Daddy. In gameplay, Splicers will never approach Little Sisters even if the player has already dispatched their Big Daddy. (This probably falls under Anti-Frustration Features, as it would be rather irritating if the player sunk hundreds of rounds and countless EVE hypos into killing a Big Daddy only for a Splicer to make off with all their hard-earned ADAM.)
Big Daddies can be damaged by any weapon, they just take a lot of damage before dying. The second time you see one, a Leadhead Splicer shoots at with a revolver and the shots harmlessly bounce of its suit, making them out to bullet proof. The Bouncers also don't use the drill to bore through targets in gameplay like that scene, likely to justify why Jack can survive their melee attacks in the first place.
Genre Savvy: You as a player figure out pretty quickly that no matter how scared or happy somebody sounds, they're going to attack you even if they're cowering on the floor. But you go along with it because if you didn't, it would be like spoiling your own surprise birthday party.
Get Back Here Boss: One of the mini-bosses in Fort Frolic sends you on a nice merry chase to kill him... all the while, he's lobbing fiery explosives behind him to hurt you.
A ghost can be overheard telling his electrician to "say hello to Fontaine" right before flipping a switch. Seems one of Atlas' spies was posing as a repairman. His overseer found out, and sent him downstairs to fix a circuit breaker.
Golf Clubbing: How Andrew Ryan goes out, at the hands of the brainwashed player character.
Ryan's opening rant talks about a world where "the scientist is no longer constrained by petty morality" and "the artist no longer fears the censor". Plus he wanted to keep it a secret from the outside world. Then you meet Sander Cohen and Dr. Suchong, and you realize what happens when people are given free reign to do whatever they want, coupled with the fact that Ryan forbade religion and never allowed anybody to leave. The city first degenerated into decadence, and scientists who were brilliant but completely amoral in their methods went without the slightest regulation even as they began merciless human experimentation, and the city turned into a prison.
In other words? Fontaine ultimately had little to do with the fall of Rapture. It was simply the perfect place for a man like him to operate. Rapture was doomed from the start.
Dr. Suchong tries to make the Big Daddies protect the Little Sisters. He succeeds.
Good Colors, Evil Colors: If a camera or security drone glows red, it's under Ryan's control. If it's been hacked, it turns green and will follow you. If it's been sent out by a hacked camera, it'll glow yellow and kill enemies, but won't follow you. The same goes for the Big Daddies, who are originally yellow when neutral, turn green if they've been successfully hypnotized and turn red if provoked.
Happy Ending: The good ending of the first game is a textbook example, with characters in the sequel even calling it a "happily ever after" moment. Actually, though, both endings are totally happy...for Jack.
Hollywood Atheist: In fitting with Ayn Rand's personal opinions on the subject (i.e. religion is a crutch used by the weak-willed), Andrew Ryan is a strident atheist, banning any sort of religion in Rapture, because it would enforce "false morality" and offer an alternative source of authority, threatening his own. Religion also encourages ideals like charity, which Ryan was firmly against, believing every man should be a self-made man.
Hoist by His Own Petard: You can invoke this by hacking healing stations. Doing so causes them to hurt enemies who try to heal themselves. Even bosses will fall for this trick.
Jack was grown in a laboratory in order to kill Fontaine's rival. However, the Little Sisters (whose creation Fontaine was also primarily responsible for), destroy Fontaine in the end.
As a corollary to this, Fontaine developed Lot 192 because he wanted a countermeasure to the mental control plasmid he had developed to control Jack. Jack retrieves the serum to cure himself.
Averted with Andrew Ryan, who knew that Jack was his son and was sent to kill him. However, knowing he will die, he forced Jack to kill him, dying on his own terms.
Dr. Suchong created the Big Daddies, and was killed by one. For added irony, he felt they weren't imprinting on the Little Sisters and slapped one that was annoying him while a Big Daddy was present.
Hypocrite: Andrew Ryan is the biggest hypocrite you ever saw. In the book, he's even worse. He claimed to allow freedom of enterprise but then took over Fontaine Futuristics by force. Indeed, he's the one responsible for all those vending machines on the streets. He did this with the claim that if everybody had access to them, then they wouldn't dare to use them - ironically the idea behind the Cold War, when everybody was building nukes but not daring to use them.
Ryan despised the idea of taxes, but then created a surcharge for oxygen on the rationale that they were his trees. He then proved immensely difficult about maintaining plumbing in the poorer parts of the city, despite how it is also his, and despite the advice of his engineers.
He claimed to allow freedom of speech, but unions were banned and you can hear public announcements informing you that in Rapture, gatherings of more than four people in a public place is an offence.
In the book, he claims to be a self-made man, but it is also added that he made his initial fortune because he unexpectedly struck oil.
He refuses to kill Jack face to face, but doesn't have a problem with sending out Splicers by the dozen.
Nobody was ever allowed to leave Rapture. Despite everything Ryan ever says about freedom, he is clearly a control freak, and he turned Rapture into a prison.
Improvised Weapon: Your first weapon is a monkey-wrench, while Thuggish Splicers carry pipes and garden tools. Some later weapons are also improvised: the grenade launcher has some sort of food can as its breech and fires tin cans packed with high-explosives, and the bowspring part of the Crossbow is a metal ruler. Look closely at the turrets, and you'll see that they're all basically diesel motors bolted to swivel chairs.
Industrialized Evil: Researchers tried various attempts at mass production of ADAM; trouble is, the sea slugs did not produce ADAM in large enough quantities. Dr. Tenenbaum figured out how to harvest more by implanting a sea slug in someone's stomach. Underage girls, euphemistically called "Little Sisters", were found to be the only viable hosts. Frank Fontaine used his Little Sister's Orphanage in Apollo Square as a front for Tenenbaum; when the supply of orphans ran dry, Andrew Ryan's men began snatching little girls from their parents (omitting the details about what would happen to them). There was even talk of gathering more subjects from the surface...
ADAM is renewable, meaning that Ryan and Fontaine aren't about to let such a valuable product just sit in the mortuary. Instead, the bodies of their causalities are left rotting in the streets so that the Little Sisters can harvest their blood. And the more corpses there are, the more money Ryan and Fontaine make. Not exactly an incentive for making peace.
Ironic Nursery Tune: Some splicers sing "Jesus Loves Me", a popular children's hymn, over and over. Not exactly a nursery rhyme, but it fits. The first Little Sister you see sings a song to the tune of "Frère Jacques".
Irony: Strange that for a city run by a militant atheist, the source of their wondrous genetic alteration is called ADAM, and the plasmids are recharged by EVE.
Just Add Water: Potentially justified, in that since you're putting components into a machine, which then dispenses a finished item, it presumably adds the stuff you didn't. But when you're turning distilled water and brass tubing into heat-seeking rockets... that's some machine.
Karma Meter: There are two endings, both narrated by Dr. Tenenbaum, depending on how you interact with the Little Sisters. See Multiple Endings below.
Killing Fontaine in the good ending. His very own Little Sisters turn their ADAM-draining needles on him. Many times.
King Mook: Other than the final boss and the Big Daddies, all of the game's bosses are simply normal Splicers with much more health and better resistance to elemental Plasmids.
Kill the Poor: There is a flaw in Fontaine's and Ryan's harvesting of the less fortunate, like vagrants, prisoners, and orphans: eventually, you run out of hobos and need to broaden your scope. This ended up radicalizing the likes of Anya Andersdotter, a ladies' shoe designer. (Her daughter was abducted and turned into a Little Sister.)
Last Chance Hit Point: Only on Easy and Normal mode, the fatal injury that would normally kill you leave you with 1 health instead until you take damage again.
Let's You and Him Fight: It's possible to engineer a one-on-one Big Daddy battle to the death by taking advantage of three facts: 1: Enemies are not immune to damage from other enemies. 2: A Big Daddy that has been attacked will not stop pursuing the unfortunate soul that attacked it until one of them is dead. 3: Hypnotize Big Daddy applies the same logic to anything that attacks you, no matter who started it. And it's surprisingly easy too. Just hypnotise a Big Daddy, and find another Big Daddy and aggravate him. Stand back and watch the two of them go at it, with your camera in hand and a Little Sister in the background shouting "Hit him, Mr. B!".
Indeed, Big Daddies are perfectly happy to kill Splicers - not just the one in their introductory scene, or when under a Hypnotise plasmid, but ANY Splicer that goes for a Little Sister. Just another reason to want to play as them.
Let The Past Burn: Possibly a villainous example that is more in the spirit of If I Can't Have It: When the government threatened to nationalize a forest he owned, Andrew Ryan burned it down. This marked the beginnings of his plan to secede from the world.
Even worse, since the US Constitution doesn't allow the government to simply take private property; they would've paid him fair market value for it, and he could've bought another forest if he wanted to.
Limited Loadout: Jack has a Hyperspace Arsenal as far as guns go, but his plasmids are restricted to slots that have to be unlocked by spending precious ADAM. Gene Tonics are also limited to a set number of slots and by type.
Literally Shattered Lives: After freezing an enemy, you can shatter than by depleting the "freeze" meter with your attacks. Killing enemies this way, however, will not drop any loot.
MacGyvering: Thanks to the U-Invent machines, you can turn three bottles of distilled water, two cans of kerosene, and a single brass tube into a pair of heat-seeking rocket-propelled grenades.
Mad Artist: Sander Cohen, Dr. Steinman. The former was so effective that just seeing his name on a billboard in the sequel was enough to spook some players.
Madness Mantra: Splicers tend to mutter to themselves as they wander the halls of Rapture.
"They make me hate everything I see, they make me hate everything I see, they make me hate everything I see..." "We thought we could hide from the light down here... we were wrong... we thought we could hide from the light down here..." "We serve His commandments. W-we serve His commandments. (sobbing) We serve all His commandments!" "Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so; little ones to Him belong; they are weak but He is strong." "I'm just lonely, an-and I'm just lonely..." "I traded you, O Lord, for Mammon, and what did it bring me?" "Mr. Ryan's gonna notice me, and I'm gonna be a star! It's not too late, not too late!" "Ugly... ugly... UGLY!" "Mom? Dad? Could you come and get me? (notices Jack) I AM GOOD ENOUGH!!!" "I hear 'em when I'm asleep, when I'm awake, when I'm asleep, when I'm awake, when I'm asleep, when I'm awake, when I'm asleep, when I'm awake, when I'm asleep, when I'm awake, when I'm asleep, when I'm awake! AHHH!" "YOU'RE FIRED!!!"
You can sometimes hear these from Little Sisters, as well. "Chocolate is better than pain, chocolate is better than pain..."
Masquerade Ball: Many splicers still wear Masquerade Ball masks from the New Year's Eve party; perhaps, as Atlas suggested, out of shame at how ADAM has deformed their bodies. In BioShock 2, their faces are contorted to fit their clothes, including the masks they used to wear.
Multiple Endings: There are two endings, based on how you interact with the Little Sisters.
If you save all the Little Sisters (or kill only one), it shows them returning to the surface with Jack, living full lives under his care, and ends heartwarmingly with all five with him at his deathbed.
If you harvested more than one Little Sister for ADAM, Jack will turn on the remaining Sisters and attack and take over a submarine with Splicers (which is revealed to be carrying nuclear missiles), planing on using them to take over the surface. If only some Sisters were harvested, Tenenbaum's voice-over sounds disappointed; but if they were all harvested, she sounds pissed.
Murderous Mannequin: In the Fort Frolic level you see what appear to be mannequins all around the place, though it becomes pretty obvious that they're actually Splicers who have been killed, coated in plaster and posed around the place by Sander Cohen. Even worse, some of them aren't dead.
New Game+: This feature gets added through the Challenge Rooms DLC. Originally the DLC was exclusive only to PlayStation 3, but as of the BioShock: Ultimate Rapture Edition re-release of the game and its sequel, it became available for the Xbox 360 version specifically through the Ultimate Rapture Edition.
Actually, considering one of the major themes established by BioShock Infinite, it's possible that different endings are canon in different versions of Rapture.
Nothing Is Scarier: Surprisingly, there are moments like this in the game, particularly near the beginning. After surviving the plane crash and swimming up to the dark and gloomy lighthouse, new players might find it a bit daunting to move forward.
Offscreen Teleportation: A few Splicers somehow manage to do this in scripted events. One is revealed to have actual teleportation powers; the others... well, it wouldn't be a surprise if you expected them to be able to do it, would it?
One-Man Army: You essentially are one, mowing down legions of Splicers and even taking out lots of Big Daddies.
Our Ghosts Are Different: Shortly after injecting himself for the first time, Jack starts seeing shades of Rapture's citizens speaking as if they're in the past. By this point, ADAM has been filtered through so many cadavers, it's "sampling" the memories of its old hosts and passing them on.
People's Republic of Tyranny/He Who Fights Monsters: Even this would-be utopia has laws. In Rapture's hyper-capitalistic society, everything within the city was privately owned and came with a price — including its oxygen supply. All religious beliefs and contact with the outside world are banned, lest the U.S. or USSR attempt to lay claim to Rapture and its radical technology. This final point is referred to as "that one law", as it allowed Fontaine's mob to make a fortune selling contraband from above.
The final straw was Ryan nationalizing Fontaine Futuristics, scuttling his entire philosophy in the process. Ryan Industries was the only beneficiary of this move, as Ryan could not complete with Fontaine's business on even terms. McDonagh knew (though Ryan did not) that people would interpret this to mean the City Council could seize any business deemed too profitable. In the end, Ryan established a One Nation Under CopyrightNot So Different from the collectivist surface he despised.
First, Ryan's Secret Police came for the smugglers. Then, they came for the political activists. Then, lounge singers who wrote a mildly derisive song about Ryan. Then...
As the Civil War picked up speed, Ryan shut down submarine service out of the city. Citizens protested at the bathysphere station and demanded to be let out. Obviously, their demands were not met.
There are protest signs, demanding to be allowed to leave the city, that "Rapture is Dead" and "Ryan doesn't own us". Then, a single official sign: "ALL BATHYSPHERE TRAVEL IS DENIED". Ryan won't let anybody leave, and won't acknowledge that he rules over a failed sociopolitical system. Now recall that this game takes place in 1960. Meanwhile, in Germany...
Also, upon entrance to Fort Frolic, the player discovers a number of "statues" that when hit, start bleeding. As creepy as this is, the player gets used to it rather quickly. When Sander Cohen sends you out on your sidequests you start to see more... and then you might notice that some of them are in different places each time, and wasn't that hallway empty just a minu—OH SHIT! Cue meat hook-wielding splicers. Of course this too loses effectiveness once you take to loading your pistol with anti-personnel rounds and head-shooting every statue you come across. Special mention goes to the statues that look like little girls and don't bleed, just like the Little Sisters (which are de facto invulnerable because the ADAM slug inside them and probably are still alive because of it).
Playing Tennis with the Boss: Peach Wilkins, since you're down to your plasmids and Telekinesis is quite effective (unless you smuggled some guns in). For more generic foes, Nitro Splicers, Houdini Splicers and RPG turrets can have their bombs/fireballs/missiles tossed back at them with Telekinesis. This can be done with the Final Boss, too, but it's fairly pointless.
Please Wake Up: When you kill a Big Daddy to get the Little Sister, her reaction is to rush over to him and start crying, asking him to get up. You Bastard, indeed.
Politically Correct History: Rapture is racially integrated and openly accepts homosexuality, transexualism, and pornography in 1958 (although that's not to say certain period appropriate prejudices don't exist). Justified in that Rapture is an individualist utopia that was created in part to escape from the social mores of the mid-20th century.
Poison Mushroom: The damned vending machine in Hephaestus. It's rigged with explosives.
Pretty in Mink: Many of the women in rapture (although most turned into splicers) have a fur-trimmed shoulder cape as an accessory.
Properly Paranoid: Peach Wilkins, though you don't find out that he was right until much later. Also, Ryan correctly accuses you of being an assassin at the end of Smuggler's Hideout and asks who "sent you". A lesser example from the first game: while the Splicer model Ducky is mostly just a paranoid, unhinged maniac, he does get one thing right: "Fontaine's dead? No, he's not, he's living it up and he's laughing at me!"
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Both Andrew Ryan and Frank Fontaine give you one, and in fact, the entire last third is one prolonged sequence where the voice on the radio taunts you with just how much you suck.
The Medical Pavilion, the walls of which are covered with patchwork plastic surgery plans, graffiti like "beauty is a moral imperative" and "above all else do no harm," or warnings such as "Steinman kills" and "stay away." Steinman himself appears on the infomercials that play as you enter; presumably, these were intended as a genial welcome, but Steinman recorded over them with his crazed ramblings about the morality of beauty and how plainfolk are infecting the übermenschen. Naturally, all the writing is done in blood. (Calligraphic, no less!)
Played straight with an actual room in Hephaestus, the room that reveals the details of your mental restraints. There's the typical conspiracy layout pinned to the wall with clippings, scribblings, the dealings of the ones involved layed out as photos, linked to each other by colored yarn — with its main feature the code phrase to your mental leash, "Would You Kindly" scrawled across the whole of it.
Scenic Tour Level: Seeing Rapture for the first time as you travel down to it in the bathysphere.
Schmuck Bait: The shotgun lying on the floor under a spotlight, in an otherwise dark room, just waiting for some idiot (i.e., you) to pick it up.
Oh look, there are some med-kits behind that shop window. I'll just use my wrench and... fight security bots.
Science Is Bad: Rapture is decades ahead of the rest of the world in machinery. On the other hand, ADAM would never have been discovered without Rapture's vast resources...
Sequence Breaking: If you're very fast and lucky, it is possible to hit a flaming trashcan downstairs and use it to melt the ice in the basement of the Medical Pavilion, thus letting you play through the entire game without the Incinerate! plasmid. (The ice in Fountain Fisheries can be solved by telekinesising along a corpse with exploding buck, and then looting it after your weapons are confiscated).
The reason the Teleportation Plasmid was removed was due to this.
Extra Little Sisters can be spawned in certain levels through abuse of scripted sequences and Big Daddy behavior. Specifically, in certain instances a Little Sister must be spawned for a scripted sequence. However, if there's a Big Daddy before this point, it will keep respawning when killed (if you move far enough away) and keep summoning Little Sisters until you reach the cap. The scripted Little Sister will spawn anyway, giving you an extra.
Shiny New Australia: Ryan can't comprehend why Jack is assisting Atlas, and assumes you were promised "a piece of [his] plundered city".
Shotguns Are Just Better: The shotgun, for a long time, is arguably the game's best weapon apart from your trusty wrench. Four-round clip, high damage, and specialized rounds that tear through Big Baddies in the earlier levels. Until you get the chemical thrower or the crossbow, it is your very best friend.
Shout-Out: A number of them, in particular to Atlas Shrugged. Firstly, and most obviously, there is a character named Atlas. Secondly, the antagonist is named Andrew Ryan, essentially an anglicized, gender-swapped analog of "Ayn Rand". Like Rand, Ryan was originally from Russia but fled to America during the Bolshevik Revolution.
Thirdly, there are a number of posters throughout the game saying "Who is Atlas?", referencing the Driving Question of Atlas Shrugged, "Who is John Galt?".
Fontaine's juiced-up form, the one fought as the Final Boss, resembles a bronze Atlas statue. The piece is associated with the art deco movement and commonly found on covers of Atlas Shrugged.
Skyscraper City: Rapture appears to consist entirely of tall buildings from the outside. Which makes sense when there's nothing but open ocean between then; having more places accessible by elevator beats having to commute to a building on the other side of town.
Stopped Clock: New Year's Eve coincided with a series of bombings in the heart of town, with the Kashmir Restaurant being hit hardest. Atlas led a large segment of lower-class citizens in a series of attacks on Rapture's upper-crust establishments. The riots basically never stopped; the party decorations are still up, and many Splicers are wearing their costumes from the ball.
Take That: The Circus of Values machine in Fleet Hall theater sells nothing but snack items at absurdly high cost, a tongue-in-cheek jab at the extreme price gouging that happens in any given entertainment venue.
Taking You with Me: Ryan rigs Rapture to self-destruct when he realizes he can't prevent you from reaching him.
Nitro Splicers may also light their grenade case and blow themselves up if you damage them enough. They also drop a grenade on death out of spite.
Talkative Loon: The one trait that all Splicers share regardless of type; once they spot you, they will not shut up. Gets even worse when you are in a room full of them.
Teleporting Keycard Squad: You never know when picking up that item or searching that safe might spawn a splicer (or two, or four) right behind you.
Twenty Bear Asses: Some of your goals in the game will ask you to get X amount of a certain item. This is especially used in Arcadia and Hephaestus.
Twist Ending: A triple whammy; the first two happen simultaneously (Atlas is Fontaine, who's manipulating you with a prompting phrase) and the third happens soon after that (you are Andrew Ryan's son).
Unobtainium: Plasmids are a refined form of ADAM, stem cells harvested from sea slugs on the ocean floor. Tenenbaum stumbled on the discovery after witnessing a fisherman who was bitten by a slug, healing his crippled hand.
Useless Item: There's some crafting materials that are only used for a few gene tonics, and can't be used again. By far the most infamous is the empty Hypo, where there's beyond plenty of them hanging around Rapture, but only three of them are required for crafting those three tonics.
Unusable Enemy Equipment: Played straight and justified in one part where you have to disguise yourself as a Big Daddy, which requires trekking all over the level to find the necessary parts. An audiolog reveals that Big Daddies have their suits grafted to their skin and bound to their bodily systems, so you've can't just kill one for its suit.
Vice City: Rapture is basically a deconstruction of the Objectivist Gulch, which without regulation would be populated by Corrupt Corporate Executives resulting in the Gulch's descent into a Wretched Hive. ADAM has long since replaced other goods as the prime economic force in Rapture, and is now (in Atlas' words), "the wheel which keeps Rapture turning." Big wheel keep on turning, sinking city keep on burning.
Video Games And Fate: As part of the game's deconstruction of linearity in video game narrative. After a certain point in the story, it is revealed that Jack is a Laser-Guided Tykebomb who has been mentally conditioned into following any order that involves the phrase "Would You Kindly...", and Atlas has been using the phrase since the beginning to force you to help him. The point is driven home by Andrew Ryan deciding to commit Suicide by Cop and using the phrase to force Jack to beat him to death with a golf club, while repeating the phrase "A man chooses, a slave obeys".
Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: The chemical thrower is a mixed case; while it is quick on the ammo and long on the reload, it is very, very damaging. With full electric gel and the reduced ammo consumption upgrade, it can even kill a Big Daddy with no effort. It also has quite a realistic range, especially after the pressure hose upgrade.
The closer you get to penetrating Ryan's defenses, the more foaming-at-the-mouth delusional his rants become. Once you actually make it into his office, he seems to settle into a sort of Tranquil Fury, however.
It also happens with Fontaine. He is fairly calm at first, though he does start gloating after The Reveal. However, once he realizes that Jack is out of his control, he begins raving on about how he sees Jack as family and starts Splicing. A lot.
Wacky Wayside Tribe: The entire Fort Frolic/Sander Cohen section of the game, which has the player forced into acting as a hitman of sorts for a loony artist, is a positive example. Sure, it could be neatly excised from the plot without changing anything, but it's one of the most memorable and disturbing parts of the game.
War On Terror: There are a few parallels to the current conflict, most noticeable in the PSA's that pop up every now and again. One dismisses the draconian security measures seen in Apollo Square as a temporary measure reserved only for "the worst of the worst", while another sounds very close to a particular speech by George W. Bush shortly after the 9/11 attacks, saying that by staying home Atlas (i.e. the terrorists) win, and encouraging people to go shopping in Fort Frolic, saying "it's the Rapture (American) way."
Waving Signs Around: The first area of Rapture you visit, the Bathysphere Station, has piles of abandoned luggage, and picket signs that say "Rapture is dead!" "Ryan doesn't own us!" "We're not your property!" and "Let it end! Let Us Ascend!" scattered all over. Finally, you come to an official looking notice pinned to the wall that reads "Attention! All Bathysphere travel is now denied."
Wham Episode: Rapture Central Control is possibly the most famous example in Video Game history. Jack learns that he was bio-engineered to come to Rapture and assassinate Andrew Ryan, and that the past he believed in was fabricated. Before Andrew Ryan dies on his own terms, he tells Jack that he was a Laser-Guided Tykebomb that Atlas was controlling. Once Jack stops Rapture from self-destructing, Atlas reveals himself to be Frank Fontaine in disguise and that he isn't needed anymore.
Wham Line: Particularly memorable ones that occur around the same time in the game.
"'Would you kindly?' Powerful phrase. Familiar phrase?"
"It's time to end this little masquerade. There ain't no Atlas, kid. Never was." Followed by The Reveal: "The name's Frank Fontaine."
Would Hurt a Child: Fontaine hid his Little Sisters under the veneer of an orphanage. Andrew Ryan said, heck, let's make them into official spokemodels!
You Have Failed Me: Judging from the surplus of corpses and ghost sequences, it seems that during the final phases of Rapture's descent into madness both feuding factions took a heavy-handed approach to discipline. Andrew Ryan even has a collection of cadavers impaled on columns in his office foyer, all of whom were suspected (rightly or not) of being traitors or assassins. Fontaine would just splice your ass to next Sunday, or worse.