Hello Mr. Bubbles...

Honestly though, we found that the most effective weapon at our disposal was the environment and how we chose to take advantage of it. An early boss fight for example saw us fighting a plastic surgeon driven crazy by plasmid technology, who gruesomely chose to display his dissected nurses to us before battle, crucified and hanging from the ceiling. Bioshock doesn’t pull any punches with the level of gore and horror featured in the game.

The first time I faced this crazy surgeon was on the Xbox version of the game and I’d equipped myself with the electro-shock plasmid, which is useful for shocking robotic enemies and slaying enemies standing in water, and the telekinesis plasmid. The battle started and I was quickly slain, being instantly bought back to life at a nearby medical station down the corridor, which helps prevent constant quick loading and allows players to continue the fight.

It took me more than a few lives to finally put the demented doctor down, mostly because the A.I. allowed the enemies to seek out healing stations themselves and our sporadic machine gun fire was thus inadequate.

Later, I got a whirl on the PC version of the game and was more prepared for battle. I remembered that there had been some oil slicks dotted around the surgery, so I outfitted myself with the incinerate and electro-shock plasmids instead, intending to make use of the environment. A quick blast of incinerate, followed up with some anti-personnel rounds promptly lay the doctor down.

Bioshock hands-on preview No punches pulled Bioshock hands-on preview No punches pulled
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Environment plays a big role in Bioshock and the PRs for the game shared their own tactics with us, pointing out that it was possible to lead the doctor through a puddle of water and electrocute him instead. Another tactic was to hack the healing stations he used so that he was poisoned instead of healed, or to pelt him with flaming gas canisters using telekinesis. Or lead him towards some hacked turrets which had been turned to the player’s side. Or you can do as one of the game's producers suggested and use incinerate to set fire to some nearby furniture, then fling it at the doctor from a distance using telekinesis.

In short, there are a lot of options.

This isn’t true of all the game however and one of the most important parts of the game is the way the Little Sisters and Big Daddies are used to pose a simple right/wrong dilemma to the player. Little Sisters are the previously mentioned girls who ‘process’ the ADAM which they extract from corpses and each Sister is protected by a massive, hulking Big Daddy soldier which the girls all affectionately call ‘Mr Bubbles’ because of their domed heads.

Bioshock hands-on preview No punches pulled
The Little Sisters are protected by the Big Daddies, who must be defeated in order to progress

The Sisters and Daddies which dot the levels must be tackled somehow in order to power-up throughout the game, though players looking for a hardcore experience can ignore them completely if they want to. While normally neutral, Big Daddies will get aggressive if they or the Little Sisters are provoked and players must find a way to get the Big Daddy out of the way before they approach the Little Sister. As you’d expect, there are a wide selection of ways to do this.

Once the Daddy is disposed of, the Sister is vulnerable and players must make a choice. In all honesty, it’s put to players rather awkwardly and involves a single, arbitrary key press labelled ‘Harvest’ or ‘Rescue’, but it’s a necessary evil as for players who want to tackle the wee girlies. Factions throughout the game will try to push the player either way, but it’s ultimately the player's choice.

You see, harvesting the Little Sisters is a process which yields massive amounts of ADAM to the player, which is handy for all sorts of things, but kills the girl in the process (though no on-screen death is seen at all thanks to clouds of green smoke). Rescuing the girl by using dedicated plasmids will net you lesser rewards, but leaves the girl alive and thankful. It’s a moral choice for the player to make and it’s at the heart of the gameplay, both practically affecting how players act and illustrating the level of thought and design which has been forced into Bioshock.
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October 14 2021 | 15:04