BioShock 101 - the story so far

BioShock 2 is invading retailers today, and the reviews have been pretty positive to say the least. But for those wanting to pick up the game but are hesitant because they never played the first one, don't worry. If you somehow missed out on the original masterpiece, we give you this primer on what you missed.

What is Rapture?

It’s a city built at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean by billionaire Andrew Ryan to escape the social anxiety of a post-war America. It opened on November 5, 1946 and construction finished in 1951. Rapture is a haven for the world’s greatest artists, scientists and thinkers to work freely, unrestrained by government and religion; a place where any citizen can achieve for their own gain, rather than for altruistic fulfillment and wants of others – an ‘objectivist’ paradise.

Who is Andrew Ryan?

Born Andrei Rianofski in Minsk in 1892, Ryan saw his entire family killed by the Bolsheviks. He escaped to America in the 1930s and rose in the steel industry to become the country’s youngest billionaire. After Hiroshima, he was appalled that science and endeavor had been used for destruction and to serve the needs of others. He responded by building Rapture, to escape a country whose ideals he could no longer stand.

What went wrong?

On December 31, 1958, a huge-scale working class riot broke out, led by Atlas, a charismatic leader in opposition to Ryan. This sparked a civil war between Ryan’s and Atlas’ followers, destroying the very fabric of society in Rapture. The city never recovered and fell into disrepair. The political unrest was only accelerated by the damaging influence of ADAM.

So what’s ADAM?

Discovered by accident in a sea slug found on the ocean floor around Rapture, ADAM enables a person to rewrite their genetic code completely. This allows the person under its influence to wield incredible powers, such as firing electricity from their hands or rapid healing. But, as Rapture’s citizens soon learned after coming to depend on the miracle substance, it has some terrible side-effects such as violent dementia and mutation.

The story of BioShock 1

The illegitimate son of Andrew Ryan and his mistress, Jack is the hero of the first BioShock. He’s smuggled out of Rapture in 1956, but returns in 1960 as a young adult thanks to ADAM’s ability to accelerate aging. It transpires that he’s been mentally conditioned by a man called Frank Fontaine to kill his father (responding to the phrase “Would you kindly?”). Jack kills Ryan under Fontaine’s influence, but the spell is broken by sympathizer Bridgette Tenenbaum. Jack, now acting on his own free will, hunts down and kills Fontaine – now completely transformed by ADAM – and escapes from Rapture.

Who is Frank Fontaine?

He’s a criminal mastermind and the arch-nemesis of Andrew Ryan. He faked his own death in 1958, returning as the enigmatic Atlas and leading the resistance against Ryan. The power struggle between the two led to the city’s collapse. His reason for wanting to take control of Rapture is to use the power of ADAM to become an industry tycoon on the surface, but his own addiction to it finally gets the better of him.

Feb 9, 2010

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  • crossed23 - February 16, 2010 12:59 a.m.

    @xboxrulez.... lolz funny stuff man. Your honestly one of the funnier fanboys Ive seen on the net.
  • dannage805 - February 10, 2010 7:57 p.m.

    @ matt588: i think that Ryan simply had 2 much of an ego an wanted 2 die by his own hand. also he was about 2 take the whole of Rapture dwn wiv him bu jack stopped it in time... genocide fail
  • matt588 - February 10, 2010 7:47 p.m.

    sorry about the double post, GR, why no comments on the 3 endings?
  • matt588 - February 10, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    @ zeipher: I was also confused as to why Ryan died like that. Some people say that he was trying to help you break the mind control, but that doesn't make much sense seeing as how his last word before you "club" him (get it) is OBEY. didn't know ryan changed his name. recaptcha: "have tooth" who does it belong to?
  • IIIIIACEIIIII - February 10, 2010 6:06 p.m.

    Eh, think xboxrulez is a pretty cool guy. He shots blueray and doesn't afraid of anything.
  • Zeipher - February 10, 2010 4:54 p.m.

    Uhhh...actually, no, that's not how Ryan died. Ryan commands you to kill him. While Fontaine does earlier as well, Ryan has complete control of you in the "OMG" scene, and commands that you kill him using "would you kindly." It really doesn't make any sense, and is the weakest part of Bioshock (even though so many people believe it is the strongest), so I understand you wanting to skip over it. O_o recaptcha: things spurted
  • Yeager1122 - February 10, 2010 4:28 p.m.

    Bioshock was such a great game.
  • kkokko - February 10, 2010 10:47 a.m.

    I am such a gaming sinner.XD Never played bioshock, but i'm sort of addicted to it(in a way) and I read this. hahaha
  • Cyberninja - February 10, 2010 2:15 a.m.

    well that clears somethings up for when i start playing BioShock tommorrow
  • Hobojedi - February 10, 2010 1:46 a.m.

    Oh that's where they got the ADAM from.. huh.
  • nik41507 - February 10, 2010 1:15 a.m.

    xboxrulex: u liar ps3 is always better but PC trumps all
  • mcoll_17 - February 9, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    Nice recap. I was a little confused since I tried paying attention to the first. Thanks for clearing somethings out.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - February 9, 2010 11:11 p.m.

    picking B2 up in an hour cant wait but how do yall know alot of that stuff about the first game in my 3 playthroughs i never heard them mention when andrew ryan was born re captcha: that arousing
  • RebornKusabi - February 9, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    Good recap, should help boost sales (hopefully) for the sequel if people honestly can't be bothered to play the fantastic first installment.
  • eee - February 9, 2010 7:56 p.m.

    Damn Frank is ass ugly thanks for clearing this all up though