"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 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.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 millionaire Andrew Ryan. The town appears normal at first glance, albeit still stuck on New Year's Rockin' Eve circa 1958. However, Jack soon finds his only way out is through 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 Deco hellhole for the player to 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 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. Little Sister and Big Daddy (pictured) unitedly serve as a study on Walking Transplants, with "plasmids" a catchall term for stem cells (albeit, say, a trillion times more potent and turning people into X-Men). 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, there is No Kill Like Overkill.
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 One.
The Machine Gun is a Thompson M1921, designed during World War One and introduced in 1921. Both this and the revolver are not that anachronistic-likely, Fontaine sold them en masse to Rapture as World War 2 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 trenchgun or Model 1912 might make more sense.
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 favour-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.
Blow You Away: Literally with the Sonic Boom Plasmid. Cyclone Trap uses wind to spring enemies up in the air.
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.
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 original 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.
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.
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.
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 their daughter has became a Little Sister.
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.
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 exact same enemy.
Escort Mission: The leadup to the 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.
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.
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, 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.
The Incinerate!, Winter Blast, and Electro Bolt Plasmids respectively.
Also the napalm, liquid nitrogen, and electric gel ammo for the Chemical Thrower.
Fission Mailed: Jack is knocked out cold by a Toasty splicer, who observes that his "cherry's just been popped", i.e. he's not spliced. 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.
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.
Genre Savvy: You as a player get smart pretty quickly to how 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.
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. The same goes for the Big Daddies, who turn green if they've been successfully hypnotized.
Gosh Hornet: 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.
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.
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.
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 casualities 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".
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.
Karmic Death: Dr. Suchong, in what has to be the most satisfyingly appropriate recording ever. He really ought to have known better.
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.)
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; 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, 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 one or more of the Little Sisters 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). Dr. Tenenbaum's voice is more severe if only some Sisters were harvested than if all were harvested for some reason.
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 Plus: 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.
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?
Our Ghosts Are Different: Shortly after injecting himself for the first time, Jack starts seeing shades of Rapture's citizens speaking as if in 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.
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 scythe wielding splicers. Of course this too loses effectiveness once you take to loading your pistol with anti-personnel rounds and headshooting 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 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, both Nitro Splicers and Houdini Splicers can have their bombs/fireballs tossed back at them with Telekinesis. This can be done with the Final Boss, too, but it's fairly pointless.
Poison Mushroom: The damned vending machine in Hephaestus. It's rigged with explosives.
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." 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 a extra.
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. Unless you get the chemical thrower, 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, in one audiolog, Andrew Ryan refers to himself as And Ryan, the letters of which can be rearranged to form Ayn Rand. His full name can be rearranged to spell We R Ayn Rand.
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.
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.
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: The first one has a triple twist; 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. Tendenbaum stumbled on the discovery after witnessing a fisherman who was bitten by a slug, healing his crippled hand.
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.
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 usage 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.
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 Line: "A man chooses... A slave obeys... OBEY!!"
And the more memetically popular: "Would you kindly... powerful phrase. Familiar phrase?"
"It's time to end this little masquerade. There ain't no Atlas, kid. Never was."
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.