“I am Andrew Ryan and I am here to ask you a question: Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?” So begins the player’s descent into the underwater dystopia of Rapture, an art deco world choking with Ayn Randian political philosophy and steam-punk scientific wizardry.
Bioshock was the breakout first-person shooter of 2007 and has become arguably the most anticipated port to come to the Mac platform this year.
First developed by 2K Games and ported to the Mac by Feral Interactive, Bioshock is one of the most engrossing gaming experiences to hit stores in the last decade.
Set in an alternate timeline where an American tycoon sought to free himself of “parasites” like government and religion by building a perfect libertarian city under the sea, Bioshock quickly becomes an analogy for extreme Randian philosophy just as George Orwell’s 1984 was an exercise in the evils of communism. Set in 1960, you play as the sole survivor of a plane crash who stumbles upon Ryan’s underwater city, Rapture.
Rapture was initially a haven for scientists and inventors who discovered staggering breakthroughs such as ADAM and plasmids-tools that enabled humans to rewrite their genetic codes.
The player discovers several of these plasmids and uses them to navigate the shattered remains of the city. Some plasmids are passive abilities that help you get stronger or smarter, but others are active weapons that allow your left hand to shoot lighting, fire, and even bees!
Though it’s a bit difficult to switch between plasmids and conventional weapons like pistols and tommy guns in the middle of a firefight, plasmids are essential to survival and provide a RPG-like level of customization uncommon in a first person shooter. If you don’t like the keyboard assignment of your hot keys, it’s really easy to modify it in the options menu.
As you progress through the city, you begin to understand what went wrong with Ryan’s vision. Widespread use of plasmids in the city drove most of its residents to insanity and also gave rise to riots and a civil war. On one side was the gene “splicers” of Ryan and the other was the owner of the plasmid business, the mysterious mobster Fontaine.