Welcome to Halloween Month at Game Loot! Three articles, all geared to celebrate the best holiday of the year. The leaves have turned and the jack-o-lanterns have been lit…
Rapture is terrifying.
When Bioshock opens, we are witness to a plane crash. Then it’s fire on the water, and what appears to be a safe place ahead. Through one of the most famous introductions in gaming history, we are shown a city that has fallen into darkness. Madness roams the halls, and violence is the only thing that matters. The splicers, Big Daddies, and Andrew Ryan’s mania eat up every corner of this soggy dystopia. The villains of Bioshock only seek to consolidate and protect their power at any cost.
Would you kindly?
For several years, I played Bioshock every October. This started when I was in high school and carried on as I moved away from home and then across the United States. Because I was young and bad with money, my game collection was still pretty modest. I tended to play games that I was familar with (Skyrim, Pokemon, Fallout) and then pick up new releases when I could afford to.
Bioshock — as one of my favorite games of all time — was a constant presence in my house. As a horror fan, the world that Irritional Games and Ken Levine constructed was so effecting to me. It was beautiful and terrifying, filled with jump scares and ambient world-building. Some of the moments and locales within Bioshock will stick with me forever. Arcadia, with its hungry greenery. Olympus Heights, with its endless apartments. Bathrooms, laboratories, and medical facilities. All so well-designed and blood-covered. Recordings strewn about, revealing how each area fell apart following Rapture’s New Year party.
Then there are the characters. We so rarely interact with the NPCs face to face. Atlas and others speak to us during gameplay of course, but it doesn’t happen very often otherwise. Instead, you see them through barriers of glass or from a distance. These introductions are still brilliant, but it’s a reminder of how Jack (the player character) doesn’t quite belong in Rapture. His escape from the city becomes the whole point by the end.
Shotgun in a Spotlight
I mentioned jump-scares right? A doctor in a flooded medical area. Even the moment that you gain the shotgun (an all-powerful weapon) is heralded by a chaotic moment of terror.
But unlike other survival horror titles, Bioshock is closer to a power fantasy. Plasmids play a big part of that, but they don’t remove the fear completely. Rapture’s combat encounters are challenging from the word ‘go’. You are outgunned and outnumbered from the start. You start with a wrench. By the end you battle a smuggler turned science monster. The in-between fights are constantly challenging as well. Juggling health and bullets is what makes Bioshock both fun and brilliant.
I probably won’t get a chance to Bioshock this year (probably). I’ve just finished Deathloop and moved into Alan Wake Remastered. It’s fun and old-fashioned. It came from a similar time as Bioshock, which makes it feel special.
Until next time, friends.