May 11

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER!!!

For this post I am going to let go of all my whinging and moaning and write a bit of a geeky post instead. Until recently I have never really been into playing games on the PC or on a console. I mean, as a child I played Rayman and Spyro, not to forget the AWESOME Tekken series. Also, I do have a bit of a soft spot for the Final Fantasy series and some sentimental feelings for Metal Gear Solid due to days spent with my brother watching him play when we were young. Other than that, since I have grown up, I haven’t really been interested in any games and the ones I have seen/played didn’t have an interesting enough story to gain my interest. That is until I came to live with my boyfriend.

Since I’ve been living with him I have played Dead Rising 2, Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil as you guys already know. We have almost finished Doom3 which scared the shit out of us and got far into Metro 2033 before getting bloody stuck. Apart from the first 2 I mentioned, I don’t actually play because I’m 1) shit and 2) too scared to play! Instead I like to sit next to my boyfriend and watch. I love it. I think it’s because when I was young, as I mentioned before, I would spend hours watching my brother play games on his PlayStation during the school holidays. Not only that, but when I was really young, my brother and I would play the original Doom on the PC or Rise Of The Triad (please, someone else tell me you know this game!!) or Blake Stone and I would sit next to him and be the official “door-opener”. I was in charge of pressing the space button and it was a very serious job indeed. Since then I have always enjoyed watching people play games, even more so if there is a great story.

My boyfriend told me he had Bioshock, the first game, but he had only done the beginning as he had got too scared to continue. I know, he’s a bit of a wimp. But anyway, as I was living with him now he thought he would be able to play the game now as he wasn’t alone. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Bioshock. I had seen my dad playing it on the xbox but I hadn’t really paid any attention, I just knew that you had strange powers and that there were big things going around with little girls that looked disturbingly creepy.

Anyway, after completing both Bioshock 1 and 2 I have to say that I FUCKING LOVE BIOSHOCK!!! In actual fact, they are pretty much my favourite games ever now! I feel like I had been missing something and that Bioshock has filled that hole. Geeky, I know but I’m not ashamed! And now my boyfriend and I are seriously suffering withdrawal symptoms and are desperately trying to find another game to replace our “Bioshock evenings”. So far we haven’t found one worthy enough!

The thing is, I couldn’t possibly explain the entire plot of both the games or this post will go on for years (and I’m aiming solely for months) so I will just talk about the bits that stood out for me.

Overall, for me, the story of Bioshock is the best I have ever known in a game. You really get to know the characters deeply through the tapes that are dotted around the maps of the game. My boyfriend and I even found ourselves excited when we found tapes and sad if we hadn’t found any for a while. It is through the tapes that you find out most of the plot. In Bioshock (1) we are helped along by Atlas who had an Irish accent that my boyfriend and I loved listening to! We are also spoken to by Andrew Ryan, the creator of Rapture, and Tenenbaum, one of the key creators of Adam. Finally, we are introduced to Frank Fontaine who has been posing as Atlas after faking his own death and has been using us for his own agenda: to kill Andrew Ryan. So there is plenty going on in just character development alone!

My boyfriend intensely disliked Tenenbaum as she was involved in turning the sweet little girls into Adam-collecting, creepy-looking kids. He spent the entire game hoping that we would at some point be able to kill her. I, on the other hand, felt differently about her as she seemed to express a lot of remorse for her actions, asking us to save the girls instead of killing them to collect the Adam. I remember that my boyfriend was hesistating between killing the girls for the Adam but I told him that if he did that I wouldn’t sit with him whilst he played anymore!! Maybe that’s just because I’m a girl but I did find from asking family members that each of us chose for a seperate reason. My dad killed the girls (and my boyfriend wanted to) because they wanted as much Adam as they could to spend on different plasmids. I wanted to save the girls because I felt sorry for them for what they had become and wanted to help them and my brother saved them because he thought that you might gain more from the gifts from Tenenbaum then just taking a load of Adam. This kind of moral dilemma (if you would call it that!) was one of the best things about the game as your choice ultimates influences and changes the ending of the game. I personally think that saving the girls is the better option as Tenenbaum supplies you with Adam, plasmids and health amongst other things. And as far as Tenenbaum is concerned, I find she redeems herself a lot in the second game when she returns to Rapture after hearing that many young girls had been kidnapped from the coast who she wants to free again. I liked her as a character because I felt she was perhaps the most human. She has made mistakes but tries her best to correct them, putting her own life at risk in the meantime. I don’t know if she can be forgiven for what she has done but again, who doesn’t make mistakes…… fair enough, not ones that mutate kids but you get my point. Also, what I like about her is that for about half of the game we aren’t sure if we can really trust her as our “ally” Atlas warns us about her, telling us that she “aint what you think”, which is actually incredibly ironic as it is actually Atlas who isn’t what we think and Tenenbaum is someone we can genuinely trust.

So, leading on to Atlas, I thought the character(s) of Atlas/Fontaine was/were an interesting twist and important part of the plot. When we arrive at Rapture he immediately contacts us, helping us on the condition that we help him save his wife and child who are lost somewhere in Rapture. He introduces us to Adam, explaining to us what it is and what it does and he is also the person who explains to us the events that happened before we arrived that lead to the downfall of Rapture. When Andrew Ryan supposedly kills Atlas’ family, Atlas vows for revenge, wanting to kill Andrew Ryan. For the first part of the game we trust him, believing him to be our “ally”, however after a few times of going somewhere to meet him and just as we are about to something goes wrong and we can’t, I began to become suspicious. Then, as we progress in the game, we find many tapes from Rapture residents talking about Atlas and how he was the leader of the rebellion against Andrew Ryan. There are also numerous posters dotted around with the caption “who is Atlas?”. At this point it’s pretty clear that we have reason not to trust him! However you really have no choice in order to survive the game and also hopefully escape Rapture. The concept of the untrustworthy ally was a great part of the game as you really had no idea where you were going to end up but your best hope for survival was to put your trust in someone who clearly couldn’t be trusted. Of course, this all ends to be true when you find out that Atlas is in fact Frank Fontaine, a smuggler who had employed Tenenbaum and Yi Suchong to develop plasmids from the sea slugs that had been found which naturally produced Adam. After hearing that little girls were needed to mass produce Adam, he created the “Little Sisters Orphange” which in fact was just for a cover to get parents to give up their children so they could be turned into Little Sisters. So at this point it’s fairly obvious he is just a heartless bastard. To make him even more of a arse, Fontaine found Andrew Ryan’s illegitamate son, Jack, and made Suchong brainwash and age him and sent him to the surface as a kind of sleeper agent. He then faked his own death before becoming Atlas to carry on his rebellion against Andrew Ryan. Having once liked Atlas at the start of the game, when you realise he is in fact Fontaine and you realise what he has done it is clear that he is character with little remorse. He does not care who he hurts as long as he gets what he wants. He even goes as far as to kill Diane McClintock after she walks in on him speaking in his real accent. He is clearly ruthless and as far as he is concerned everybody else is expendable on his revenge mission. He is incredibly strong and difficult to defeat in the final battle,  being totally spliced up which according to Fontaine is his first time.  At the end of the battle there is a cutscene where the Little Sisters you have saved appear and help you by finishing Fontaine off by removing the last of his Adam. It was actually a satisfying scene to be honest!

Atlas/Frank Fontaine

Another main character is Andrew Ryan, the creator of Rapture; a place to escape from a world where the “parasites” would do anything to claim land, places, services e.t.c that they had not earned. (maybe a bit “cuckoo”??) He brought the best and the brightest with him, from scientists to sugeons, from psychiatrists to musicians. This, however, in fact lead to the downfall of Rapture as Fontaine explains to us in the game that none of the “best and the brightest” wanted to scrub the toilets or do mundane jobs like this when someone’s got to do it to keep the place decent!  Ryan’s refusal to compromise with the “parasites” lead to the loss of many lives. Many of his supporters turned on him and those that tried to kill him were killed themselves with their corpses being hung along the walls leading to his office, which was an incredibly creepy moment in the game! Ryan talks to us throughout the game, creating numerous obstacles on our mission to find him and putting our lives in danger in the process. He is portrayed throughout the first half/two thirds of the game as the main “bad guy”, and it is clear throughout the many tapes dotted around by both the people that had supported him and those that hadn’t that he was someone ruthless and not to be trusted. He even murders Jasmine Jolene after finding out that she sold Ryan’s illegitimate son to Fontaine, something she didn’t seem to genuinely realise.  When we finally come face to face with Ryan he explains that we are in fact his son who Fontaine took to be brainwashed and sent to the surface as a sleeper agent and he tells us that he cannot hurt us as we are his child. It is then that he tells us how Atlas has been controlling us to do what he wants through the use of the sentence “Would you kindly?” At this moment we have the most incredible flashback of a montage of everytime Atlas has said the sentence in the game so far. This was definitely the best moment in the entire game. We realise that we have been used by Atlas after being brainwashed and that we really cannot trust him. From this moment on the entire dynamic of the game is changed, with the rest of the game being our struggle to escape from the brainwashing as Fontaine repeatedly dishes out sentences to slowly stop our heart beating to eventually kill us. It is Tenenbaum who helps us to come out of the conditioning, leaving us to go after and face the real “bad guy” of the game. After the flashback of Atlas’ brainwashing you find yourself feeling differently to Andrew Ryan. He is by no means perfect and has been the reason that many people have lost their lives, however he had the means to brainwash us too as he knew the key phrase and yet he never used it once until we are face to face, before giving us his golf club and asking us to “kindly” hit him with it until he dies. Despite all he has done you actually find that you don’t want to kill him as he is the person that didn’t betray us, but there is nothing you can do as it is out of your control. The whole scene is very calm once we enter his room. You expect to have to fight him when you arrive, but instead he just talks to you before demanding that you kill him. He is clearly unhappy with life in Rapture now, his plans for paradise not having worked out and he just wants to die. Once he was dead, my boyfriend and I were actually quite sad at what had happened. It was strange as we had spent most of the game wanting to meet him and kill him and in the space of a few minutes we wanted him to be alive again. It was actually quite a moving scene in the game. In my opinion I think that he had wanted to die for a while but not by Atlas’ hand and instead chose it to be by ours. By the time this scene ended, I actually found I had pity for him. Although to be honest it was probably fitting that he died in Rapture, the place he created for what he thought would be a better life.

Andrew Ryan

Of course, it is also important to mention the main protagonist of the game, Jack, who we play as. He is the illegitimate child of Andrew Ryan and Jasmine Jolene. This explains why, when we arrive, we are able to use the bathyspheres while Atlas cannot, as only Ryan or his family members can use it after Ryan shuts them all down. We start the game after being in a plane crash which crashes into the sea where we have to swim to safety. We arrive at a lighthouse where inside is a bathysphere which takes us into Rapture where we are greeted by Atlas over short wave radio, who decides to help guide us to safety and out of Rapture. It was a shock in the game when we found out we were the son of Ryan and had in fact been born in Rapture and artificially aged for the purpose of being used by Fontaine in his plans against Ryan. We were also the reason the plane crashed in the first place. I guess we were probably asked “kindly” to do that too!

On our trips around Rapture we came across many different variations of Splicer, all of them scary. Some just had melee weapons, others had guns, some had bombs. The scariest thing about the Splicers is that some of them would even play dead and would jump up as soon as you came close to them which would scare my boyfriend and I to death. One of the worst things about them is also their appearance. They are all incredibly deformed; their faces looking hideous as if they have slightly melted. Often they are still wearing masquerade ball masks, possibly to hide their deformed faces. It is clear that this is because of their excessive use of Adam, which has not only deformed their faces but has also turned them crazy. They have killed a lot of people for Adam, even attacking Little Sisters to steal the Adam. Of course, most attempts are futile against the huge and powerful Big Daddies. Still, as a group the Splicers can be very difficult to beat. Sometimes they even appear from water or from the dark which can be extremely frightening. I think the Spider Splicers were definitely one of the worst kinds, as they would crawl on the walls and ceilings and often you couldn’t see them until they jumped in front of you. Another creepy moment with the Splicers is when they are caked in plaster thanks to the freak, Sander Cohen. Often when you would enter certain rooms there would be what looked like plaster statues, however when you would turn around they would often be in a different positions having moved or would have disappeared before suddenly appearing behind you to attack. This made us incredibly tense when we went into any rooms like that!

Sander Cohen is one of the great villains from the game, not to mention the fact that he completely creeped out my boyfriend! An artist, he moved to rapture and became an important part of the artistic community. He produced many albums and and appears to have been some kind of friend of Andrew Ryan’s. He seemed to have had many run-ins with the singer Anna Culpepper who expressed her dislike of Cohen’s music and then suddenly she was murdered, so it is fairly obvious who the cause of that was! He has clearly gone crazy over time from over-use of plasmids and when we meet him he is constantly complaining about his lack of recognition as a serious and talented artist and is clearly paranoid of anyone, thinking that they do not appreciate his work.  His “art” has become murdered splicers caked in plaster which shows just how crazy he has become. He wears a creepy looking rabbit mask and his face underneath is even more frightening, which looks like he has put make-up on to try and cover his deformed face. The way he speaks is just as creepy as the way he behaves. We didn’t kill him when we first encountered him but when we saw him again in his apartment we killed both the splicers dancing in there and Sander Cohen as he came to attack us. Not that we minded much, we were pleased to just get rid of him!

Sander Cohen

J.S. Steinman is also a creepy character that you have to beat in the game. He is the plastic surgeon of Rapture who, clearly having gone crazy from too much Adam and from his obsession with perfection, has ended up mutilating his patients if not killing them. Things most likely got worse when people began to become deformed from overuse of Adam and would visit him in the hopes he would fix them and make them beautiful again when he clearly just made things worse. One of the scariest scenes was when we see him mutilating someone in front of him who was obviously a patient with 3 other women hanging above him already dead having been severly mutilated whilst he screams how they were either too fat or too symmetrical and asking Aphrodite to help him. Out of all of the main characters in the game, Steinman is the one for me who really portrays insanity the best in the game as he seems to continue as if everything is the same even though Rapture has fallen into disarray.

J.S. Steinman

Aside from the characters, there were many other things great things about the game. First of all, the setting is one of the most sinister aspects of the game. I already don’t like the sea to the point where I can’t ever go on a boat so living thousands of feet under the sea is my idea of hell. If I was there I would spend the entire time in a state of fear, imagining that the glass could shatter and flood in and we would all drown to death! Not only that but there is no natural light which I think would turn me crazy after just a month and might also be part of the reason why everyone has gone crazy down in Rapture. The constant gloom and inability to go out somewhere and feel the air outside would also drive me mad . The seperation from the rest of the world is also something that makes Rapture sinister, as even if you were able to escape it would difficult to reach anywhere as you would come to the surface in the middle of the sea, far from land. You are pretty much trapped with a bunch of Splicers and psychotic surgeons and musicians.

Rapture

The use of plasmids in the game is something magical in a very creepy way. Once you have bought a new one, such as the “Incinerate” plasmid, there is always a short video of someone using the plasmid against someone else who has pissed them off whilst a woman speaks about the benefit of using it on someone in a voice that wouldn’t be out of place in a 1950′s advert for washing-up liquid. It is scary to imagine living somewhere where it is normal to buy plasmids and set fire to someone who irritates you! Of course, it does come in handy when you need to attack Splicers. The “Electro Bolt” really came in handy, as there is often a lot of water around as Rapture is starting to leak as it is no longer taken care of anymore and when Splicers step in some water you can use the electro bolt on it to kill them.

For a challenge aside from the bosses in the game, you also need to kill Big Daddies in order to harvest or save the Little Sisters. They are often difficult to beat and take some time and this can be even more difficult when Splicers arrive to try and get their share of the Adam! As you get better weapons in the game through the use of vending machines throughout Rapture (scary, huh!) it does become easier to kill Big Daddies, especially if you use plasmids as well. Once you have killed the Big Daddies you have the choice to save or harvest the Little Sisters, to which we chose to save so that they can become little girls again :)

The graphics in the game are good, even now 4 years later! And the game is incredibly long! There were many moments where my boyfriend and I felt like the end was coming and instead we were just leaving to another area of Rapture! This was great as with a story as good as Bioshock we really didn’t want the game to end and when it did we felt really sad and disappointed!

The thing about Bioshock is that, for me, it has the best story I have ever seen in a game. The characters are well-developed, especially Tenenbaum, Andrew Ryan and Fontaine/Atlas, and even the more flat characters like Steinman or Cohen still add an element of creepiness and are probably the most dark elements of the game. Even small characters that we only hear about through the use of tapes become integral parts of the story and a lot of them we often feel sorry for. Also, the great things is that our feelings often change towards characters as the game progresses, as we start off liking Atlas until we find out he is really Fontaine and has betrayed us, whereas we start off disliking Andrew Ryan and then feel sorry for his death at our own hands which we couldn’t control.

The plot is so in-depth it is like a movie. Each character has their own in-depth story that forms part of a greater, serious and compelling plot and everyone plays their part in contributing to the main plot by explaining their actions either by radio, in person or by the tapes around the maps of the game. Without hearing the stories of Diane McClintock or Bill McDonagh we wouldn’t understand so much about what happened at the New Years Eve Riots, the robberies that were taking place as part of Atlas’ rebellion against Ryan, or how the unrest of Atlas’ people was going unheard and how the people closest to Ryan began to turn against him. All the people we hear from become intricate parts of the plot and one of the best parts of the game is hearing tapes that people have left behind who are probably dead now but took part or tried to help in stopping Rapture becoming run by Ryan alone. It brings life and realism in the game to have a huge amount of characters as there was surely a huge amount of people  living in Rapture.

Finally, I believe that Bioshock is the best game ever to be created. The plot and the characters alone make it stand out amongst the rest, let alone the concept being something I have never seen before. I loved every minute that we played the game and I was so disappointed when it was over. I loved the ending, which was the happy one as we had saved all of the Little Sisters, but if you harvest them instead there is a dark and more evil ending. I thought the idea of having different endings depending on the actions you take was a great part of the game as really, whatever we do in our lives now affects what happens to our lives in the future. Also, not to be forgotten, is the music throughout Bioshock. It really is like being taken back in time which is wonderful, but the music is often used in a frightening way as often in the game you can hear music emanating from a room and when you enter it there are two Splicers dancing together who attack you if disturbed. Aside from that, the music which varies from the 30′s, 40′s or 50′s not only fits because of the story being set in 1960, but it strangely seems to fit with the surroundings and can even be theraputic hearing it whilst wandering killing Splicers. Yup, the music is just another element of the game which makes Bioshock pure heaven for me! Here is a song used in Bioshock 2 which fits really well seeing as you are a Big Daddy in the game! It’s called “Daddy won’t you please come home” by Annette Hanshaw.

Everything considered, I personally think Bioshock is the best game I have ever played and I loved everything about it! Now I just have to hold in my anticipation for Bioshock Infinite which, as far as I’m concerned, could NOT come soon enough! Although saying that, I must admit that I am going to miss Rapture and the weirdo’s that now occupy it!