Bioshock: Undersea Anarchy



You can see that this player was wise enough to attack the enemy with angry bees before unloading shotgun rounds into his face.

Samuel Pappas, Reporter

Want to shoot lightning or fire from your hands? Want to move objects with your mind? Want to somehow convince security systems to attack people you point at despite machines having no concept of allegiance? Want to shoot bees from your hands?

“Bioshock” lets you do all of these things. And the game is pretty dope. If you needed me to tell you that, then you probably are not the type of person to pick up a newspaper in the first place.

You play as a person in 1960 who gets caught in a plane crash over the Atlantic ocean, but swims away from the wreckage to a nearby lighthouse and ends up in a bathysphere bound for the underwater city of Rapture.

Back in the 1950s, Rapture was a glowing capitalist utopia led by the charismatic Andrew Ryan. Industry and scientific research were allowed to prosper without being constrained by government regulations or ethics, but after the discovery of a substance that allows people to change their genetic code called “Adam,” Rapture spiraled into chaos. Companies began selling evolutionary drugs called “Plasmids” that gave normal people frightening powers.

Plasmids sold like hotcakes to the populace. Unfortunately, this also has the side effect of turning people who use too many Plasmids into “Splicers,” deformed and deranged lunatics who desire to gather Adam and attack random passersby more than I desire the dining halls to be open past 7:30.

You are a fish out of water, which is ironic for a game entirely at the bottom of the ocean. Your only guidance comes from a man over the radio who calls himself Atlas and tries to keep you alive, so long as you help him save his family and maybe kill Andrew Ryan while you’re at it.

The stage is set for one of the most intense and fun action-adventure games of all time, but that statement comes with a big qualifier.

Firstly, this game is only worth playing if you turn the Vita Chambers off. Vita Chambers are basically respawn points that charge you every time you use them, but they break the game balance entirely. And second, I hope you like taking pictures, because this game has a camera feature. You’re going to be taking more photos than your one Snapchat friend keeping 200 streaks going at once. 

Taking photos of enemies damages them, but if you avoid using the camera on your first play-through like I did, then you’re going to have a rough time. Enemies soak up damage like sponges and react to bullets like I react to emails from the CCSU Bookstore: ignoring them completely.

“Bioshock” also has a moral choice dilemma. For some reason, Adam is produced more effectively if the parasitic slug that carries it has a suitable host body. And the ideal hosts just happen to be little girls. And those little girls just happen to be protected by giant dudes in metal diving suits with gigantic drill hands called “Big Daddies.” You need the Adam if you want to keep those Bee Hands upgraded, so make sure to battle the Big Daddies whenever you can. The moral choice comes in the form of choosing whether to “harvest” the little girl, a process that kills her but gives you a large amount of Adam, or to “save” them, letting the girl escape, giving the player a small amount of Adam, money, upgrades and other Plasmids to supplement your Bee Hands.

There’s only two endings to “Bioshock.” In one of them you are a paragon of virtue and kindness. In the other one, you are a horrible monster who likes kicking puppies and putting food waste into the trash bins at the dining halls.

The only thing influencing each ending is whether or not you harvested all the girls, or none of them, so pick one and stick with it. All that matters in Rapture is your willingness to survive and the lengths you’ll go to for fully upgraded Bee Hands.

There are also guns in “Bioshock.” They are okay I guess. 

At the end of the day, “Bioshock” is still a stellar experience despite some fiddly gameplay quirks. The atmosphere, story and themes of the whole adventure really tie it all together and leave a lasting impression. One of the best games of the last 20 years, Bee Hands down.