BioShock 101 - the story so far

BioShock 2 is invading retailers today, and the reviews have been prettypositive to say the least. But forthose 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%26rsquo;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