I’m an unabashed pillow hider and proud of it, so gratuitously scary games are something I choose not to indulge in. Enter stage left, Bioshock. 12 year old me thought this was simply a brand new action-adventure, but underwater! I have an affliction for all things nautical, so why not, right?
Little did I expect the horror of Dr Steinman’s dystopian cosmetic surgery, Being frozen in ice at the mercy of the gruesome claw-fisted Spider Splicers, and of course, the madness of Sander Cohen’s theater in Fort Frolic.
Running back through the remastered version in 2016, I still feel specific nostalgic chills at his wax puppets, designed to make you think they’re just set dressing, yet becoming sentient at your most vulnerable moment. It’s like they mashed up the angels from Doctor Who with an even more gruesome body-horror twist.
Ken Levine and the team at Irrational are also seasoned professionals at crafting atmosphere. There is no safe place in Bioshock, no hub for you to return to when the fear sets in too deep. All you have left is your moral conscience, and a lack of control over your surroundings.
Each locale has a distinct art style with new horrors hiding around every corner, and the characters, although limited by technology and locked behind screen doors, serve an almost unbeatable story that will chill you to your core. That sinking feeling when you hear the warped cries of the splicers may be fleeting, but the images will haunt me forever…
Now, seeing as it’s Halloween and all, Would You Kindly go play it again for an old pal like me? I’ll meet you at the bathysphere in Neptune’s Bounty.
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