E3 06: BioShock surfaces

With this underwater creepfest, you'll hold your breath for more reasons than one

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It's not easy to get access to the BioShock theater deep in the 2K Games booth, but if you can get in, you'll see one of the best games of the show. The creators of the seminal spooky shooter System Shock 2 are calling BioShock the %26ldquo;spiritual successor%26rdquo; to the 1999 award-winner, but other than the pedigree and approach, the games are totally different. And BioShock is almost certainly unlike any first-person shooter you've seen.

BioShock takes place underwater, in an abandoned, failed utopia called Rapture. The ocean-floor colony was built in the 1930s as a virtual paradise, but it's since gone south, ready to self-destruct under the crushing pressure of the ocean at any time - and the residents aren't so friendly to outsiders. The developer says that monsters are not as scary asdemented people, so most of your enemies are (or were) human beings. The men in the diving helmets arecalled Big Brothers; theyhelpsmall girls known as Little Sisters throughout the course of the game, andthey go about their business - much of which involves syringes being used on corpses - whether you are there or not. Of course, if you interfere with their often disgusting dealings, there will be blood.

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