N00b Diaries: Bioshock Chapter Two – Splicers Beware

Day Four:

I have ammo. Lots of ammo. I am having a great time finding all the little crawl spaces, hacking every safe I can find and robbing every corpse rotting up my path. I already have the three photographs of the Spidey Splicers, have had them for quite some time. Got a really cool action shot of one, on a hunch; just turned a corner and clicked. Yeah, I’m a regular Mama Weegee over here. But despite the urgings of my rather vocal spectator to “follow the damn arrow, that’s what it’s there for”, I decide to go on a treasure hunt and take in the scenery.

I am still dumbfounded by the simultaneous beauty and sheer creepiness of this world. I have to pause to look at the ceiling of the bathroom and stop by the windows every once in a while to gaze through the aquatic distortion at the city scape beyond. I hear a Big Daddy coming and I crouch in a good hiding place. I hear him like he is in the room with me, but I don’t see the door open. I turn around, and almost fall off the couch. It’s outside, like outside the windows outside, meandering along the briny deep like ’twere on it’s way to Sunday school!

He doesn’t seem to see me, and I am reluctant to fire on it and allow the suffocating beauty of Rapture’s backdrop to fill the room. I just watch it go past, my jaw dropping a little lower than usual. I spend a moment wondering why all games can’t be like Bioshock, then I plunder a corpse holed up in safe room, it’s desperation obviously having found no safety from the doom outside. Was this one spared the insanity? What happened here? I love this game.

I have to come clean on something: I haven’t really been using my plasmids. I am so much more familiar with the gun mechanic that it is the weapon, not the super-power, that I keep on hand as I walk the halls, as well as the venue I choose when shit goes to hell. I know my way around a shot gun and grenade launcher better than I do a leaking red ball or pyrotechnical wizardry. I know that this will probably prove troublesome in the future, because plasmids are the game mechanic. The guns seem primarily supportive. I am just hoping that it will be later rather than sooner that I am forced to master these powers for use in a quick-thinking all-out plasmids bonanza.

My boyfriend lets me in on a few other tidbits today. When people sparkle, they have ADAM. You don’t say? I thought that was a bit odd. And Big Daddies run circuitous routes, knocking on those weird holes that I was trying to figure out. They knock on the wall and summon Little Sisters from them. Well, I’ll be damned. Crouch in the shadows and watch. Or better yet, walk right up behind it and open fire with the wrong kind of ammo and run like hell. Yes yes, y’all, and you don’t stop. Bioshock one, and you don’t quit, biatch! I am really starting to look forward to the sequel.

Day Five:

Oh shit. I am fucked. You talked, didn’t you? You sang like a birdie and altered the game play just to mess with me! Don’t give me that innocent blinking-cursor look, you lousy word processor!

Remember when I said “I am just hoping that it will be later rather than sooner that I am forced to master these powers for use in a quick-thinking all-out plasmids bonanza”? Well, as I progressed to Fontaine’s Fishery, I was rather nonplussed to find that I was forced to relinquish the arms and ammo that I had spent the past day acquiring, and was to set forth from here on with only my plasmids to keep me covered. Arrrrgh. And what lay beyond the first door, mind you? Only a milita! Yes, only that. Did I say that I wasn’t going to quit? Fuck that. Fuck that right up it’s ass.

Day Six:

Like an ADAM addict I am stalking my apartment and babbling incoherently, so I know it’s time to go back for more. With the trepidation of a field mouse, I edge into the fishery and am not immediately ambushed. Good sign. I remember that my first mistake was walking straight forward, so I strafe the corners amidst the shadows. Still nothing. Was I really so brazen last time? I was being mauled from six angles in seconds upon my first entrance; I know that I had set off an alarm, but I am looking at every possible angle of where I must have set off some trap and I see no evidence of a camera. Princess Peach or whoever finally shows up ready to gun me down, but it’s no contest with my back to the wall and a one to one ratio, and plenty of warning. After a hearty self-patting on the back, I make my rounds melting the ice, and boosh, I suddenly have my full arsenal at my fingertips again. That wasn’t so bad.

I still need to work on my telekinesis. I spotted and mind-lassoed a whole box of armor piercing rounds in the ramp to the sub, but let the button go before I changed angles thereby sending it flying god knows where. I must have spent 20 minutes looking for that damn ammunition. Of course when the same thing happens to candy bars and chips, I can find them no problem. I get some sort of flashback where everything goes grainy and I see ghost figures in black and white talking about fucking Fontaine. Seriously. I think this happened in a earlier part of the game, but I was still pretty unsure of myself and wasn’t sure what was happening. Also a flash of a photograph, a nuclear family that I assume was my own, as I make my way through the tunnels.

Hints of my identity? I get the sense that my character has been here before, and the beginning sequence in the plane (in which I remember being told that I was destined for greatness or some crap) has to do with my origins in this mad experiment of Ryan’s. After all, my plane crashing at just this spot couldn’t be a coincidence. This isn’t Lost… thank goodness.

Day Seven, but more like Fourteen:

Pro tip: it’s key not to step away from a game for about a week right before a big battle.

I knew it was coming, after all. I went on a little bit of a bender, and made it to some sort of garden paradise. I was collecting seven of this, seven of that, and seven of the other thing to make a what’s-it-mabob for some indiscernible reason (I think it had something to do with oxygen). All I am sure about re: plot specifics at this point is that the scene where the scientist chick gets gassed and writes the code on the window made me trill in delight.

This three part task is thrust upon me, only lacking a pop-up screen to tell me that “there will be something big following this, stupid”, and after collecting about 14 of the 21 needed items, I put down my handy pink controller and stumble headlong into the mundane world of what I had put off doing over the week so that I could plow through this legend of a game (plow relative to my abilities, I should say. I wouldn’t doubt that a non-n00b would have no problem beating this in a weekend).

When check marks had been applied to to-do list enough to assuage my stunted sense of guilt, and I felt that I had accomplished enough in a week to warrant a full-time re-immersion into the game, I sought refuge once more in the ashen atmosphere or Rapture. But all of a sudden I couldn’t remember how to load my gun or switch gracefully between plasmids and weapons. I was hitting my health button by mistake and wasting first aid kits, and generally acting like an idiot. My first hacking attempt was thwarted in a sad display of panic; that’s what drove the point home, what made me realize the error in my ways.

What would I have been like in two weeks, or a month? I can see a caricature of myself, grunting as I hunch over my controller and beating it with a stick. That’s what I felt like for about the first ten minutes, and by the time the gang of fools descend on me after the what’s-it-mabob was employed, I was only a little more confident. All that ammo I painstakingly sought out in every corner, trashcan, and corpse pocket was unloaded in a frenzy of poorly aimed and often misjudged shots. Flipping frantically through weapons as the splicers came at me, I was sending heat-seeking missiles into the weakest of opponents, and wasting clips of machine gun ammo at houdinis that would only take about a fifth of the potential damage I was dealing out. By the end, I was ammo-less and a little wiser.

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15 years ago

Critical Distance and Touche, Bitches! both have some really interesting stuff on BioShock at the moment. Do check them out!

15 years ago

I agree these are worth a read, if only for a larf in some cases.

Critical Distance article:

Touche, Bitches article: