There are plenty of things that’s allowed Bioshock to win so many of our hearts; the creepy underwater city of Rapture takes your breath away when it’s first revealed; the engrossing story line and fascinating characters; having to hack everything in sight . . . haha only joking! However, there’s something special that rips the gameplay out of your typical first person shooter formula; plasmids!
The wonderful little genetic mutations attract players, like a moth to a flame, as they sit waiting to be released from their glowing red containers or a Gatherers Garden, and once you add them to your DNA you’ll start to build up super powers faster than a Marvel Comic’s character who’s stumbled into an unfortunate accident involving radiation.
I think the best place to start is with my favourite plasmid, electro bolt. It’s by far the most useful plasmid in the game, allowing you to; zap enemies before bashing their heads in with your sturdy red wrench or drill, which in my opinion is the best tactic in the series and it’s such a shame you couldn’t wield the wrench again in Bioshock 2; open doors by blasting broken keypads; eliminate whole groups of splicers who are carelessly hanging around in pools of water; and momentarily stop Big Daddies in their tracks when you’re desperately trying to get out of their kill zone!
Need a splicer to run away screaming in agony cursing your name? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll get if you unleash the power of incinerate on them! Setting the twisted freaks on fire has the added bonus of making them head for the nearest source of water, and you know what that means . . . electro bolt time! Unbelievably, pools of water aren’t the only liquids that splicers’ll hang around in, they’ll also stare into space whilst their feet are firmly planted in oil, allowing you to get rid of them with a quick, satisfying snap of your fingers. Another obstacle standing in your way is ice, but you’ll make quick work of the solid H2O by raising the temperature a few hundred degrees or so.
Can’t reach a far away object? Need to put a barrier between you and your enemies? Want to blast grenades back at the splicer or Big Daddy who’s hurling them at you, or turn everyday objects into deadly projectiles? If the answer to any of the previous questions is yes, then what you need my friend is the telekinesis plasmid!
A little experiment involving bees resulted in the creation of the insect swarm plasmid, which’ll let you control the little buzzing insects, so you can launch them at your enemies and watch them get stung over and over again. Insect swarm’s just an irritant to your enemies when you first get hold of it, but once you start to level up you can clear rooms of crazed killers and turn their corpses into traps that’ll release a horde of bees when they’re discovered by their friends.
I have a love / hate relationship with the winter blast plasmid. On the one hand it’s good for instantly freezing an enemy in place allowing you to make a quick getaway, or deal with them without having to worry about taking on any damage. Unfortunately, killing a frozen enemy causes them to shatter and as a result any loot that they were carrying is also destroyed. This is less of problem in Bioshock 2 seeing as you’ll receive a lockbox containing the items the splicers were carrying if you freeze them into a block of ice first. It’s also useful for slowing down Big Sisters and that definitely works in the icy plasmid’s favour.
In the original game, Cyclone Trap’s one of those plasmids you can happily make it through the single player without using once, but it can yield some hilarious results as splicers are hurled around the environment or smashed into ceilings. In Bioshock 2, it’s an incredibly useful tool for protecting your Little Sister when she’s collecting ADAM from a corpse, especially when you combine it with electro bolt or incinerate, after all there’s nothing quite like seeing a splicer burst into a screaming fireball whilst being simultaneously tossed several feet into the air.
Now we move onto the special plasmids that you either get as DLC or at the end of Bioshock 2. Being able to summon Eleanor Lamb to your side in a hectic battle is a life saver as she’ll make quick work of any enemies that are slowing you down. Sonic Boom is a bit of DLC for the first game that costs a measly 1 Adam and’ll blast back any splicers who are furiously attacking you head-on. Last but not least is the gravity well plasmid that you pick up in Minerva’s Den, which sucks mad mutants into a singularity that deals them a tremendous amount of damage, hmmm sounds a bit like The Darkness to me.
The remaining plasmids in your box of tricks, let you use a little bit of misdirection against your enemies. Enrage does just what it says on the tin and throws the target into a murderous rage causing them to attack anything and everything within reach. Security Bullseye and Security Command bring Rapture’s cameras and bots to your aid when you’re low on ammo and find yourself stuck in a jam. Target Dummy’s probably my least favourite plasmid seeing as you just waste eve creating decoys to distract splicers. Scout’s another semi useful plasmid that allows you to safely work out what’s in front of you by creating a ghost that you can take control of. In the original game hypnotise allowed you to befriend Big Daddies into fighting by your side, but in the sequel it received an upgrade which allowed you to convert any enemy into an instant ally.
Houdini splicers are a pain in the arse to deal with, mainly due to the fact that they can disappear into thin air and teleport to safety. The teleport plasmid was merely suggested in the first game, but if you dig around in Bioshock 2 you’ll eventually stumble across the unstable teleport plasmid. Touching its container will cause it to shift position around the environment several times and just when you think it’s an annoying gimmick, it’ll cause you to briefly teleport to set locations before finally wearing off. It’s a real shame that teleport isn’t a plasmid that you can equip, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will be in Bioshock Infinite.
First published on Dealspwn (27 March 2011)