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Wednesday 26 April 2006
Rapture, a fallen underwater utopia, is the fading remnant of civilisation's peak. Created by Soviet Andrew Ryan in 1946, it was once the perfect playground for society's elite. Just how did the discovery of a new species of sea slug send it into chaos?

The creature was found to secrete a substance known by Rapture's residents as 'Adam', possessing powerful healing abilities and physical and mental benefits. But it worked too well, and their society split into two factions in the struggle for control over Adam. War followed. In the year 1960, this is the shattered world you find.

Above: Rapture's 1940s origins give Bioshock's technology a pleasingly old-world, bolts-and-rivets look

Many games are touted as offering "truly non-linear experiences" or freeform worlds, but eventually deliver a standard on-rails shooter with godforsaken 'RPG elements'. We're almost numb to the claim. But when the people making such promises are the ones who gave us System Shock 2 and Thief, we sit up and take notice. In the case of BioShock, we're bolt upright.