Bioshock EP11: The Vita-Chamber Tour of Rapture

 By Shamus Aug 18, 2013 40 comments


Link (YouTube)

This is a killer episode. If you’re playing the drinking game, you’ll be missed. Also, for those of you who have been looking forward to our little fits of indignant nerd rage: “HI! DID YOU MISS ME?”

This is the low point of the game. The mood and atmosphere are wrecked by the relentless combat, which is getting old. The random plasmid is an amusing idea that drags on for too long. The story has spent itself and is now just dragging along out of sheer single-mindedness. The cavalcade of splicers should have been about half as long as it was. And Fontane should have kept his yap shut.


202040 comments. (Forty is the only number whose letters are in alphabetical order.)


  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    To be fair to drinking in games,you do chug a whole bottle of alcohol in a second.That would pretty much make you instantly drunk(if not instantly dead).

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hmmm…I think the only game that Ive used the crossbow in is heroes of might and magic.I dont like using them even in civilizations.

  3. Viktor says:

    The random plasmid should have been an optional tutorial area in the beginning. And not truly random, it should have been specifically placed so you have certain plasmids for certain fights.

  4. GM says:

    What you didn´t use the crossbow in this game,why it´s so much fun getting enemies stuck to a wall but what anyway did you play Dishonored if so i guess you stealthed it?

    • Adam says:

      Did you ever play Painkiller? That was an excellent fps in the old “Serious Sam/Doom” mold. All of the weapons were a joy to use, but my favorite was the stake gun. The stakes would pierce anything they hit; if it was an enemy it’d hurl them back and pin them to whatever was behind them (including other enemies!) and if it was a world object that was stuck to the ground it would punch through and could kill enemies on the other side if it was thin enough. (like most interior walls) Bloody satisfying to use.

      • GM says:

        only the newest one Painkiller HD or Hell&Damnation then yes although I liked the Saw blade much more there as it penetrated through all the enemies well except the big ones,i found the stake gun reloaded slowly.

        I mostly used the gun in Dishonored when i was discovered because i like to one shot guys with the crossbow.

    • Henson says:

      Crossbow in NOLF 2 was pretty neat. Pin a ninja on every door!

      Didn’t FEAR have a similar weapon?

    • Nick says:

      Dishonored is based around the crossbow and it reloads really fast for a crossbow – the guns are in fact obviously far inferior and there aren’t that many options for long-range shooting.

      Bioshock is much more of a standard shooter in the weapons regard, which is why they are saying the crossbow feels out of place – Josh used the crossbow a fair amount in their Dishonored season, IIRC

  5. Mumbles says:

    You could get sauced on juice boxes playing the drinking game with this episode.

  6. Flavius says:

    The conversation at 23:18 is especially amusing given how Fallout New Vegas went…Too bad we did not take it as an early warning!
    Shamus: “Oh, what’s for supper?”
    Mumbles: “People!”

  7. Phantos says:

    I think I’m the only person who doesn’t mind Pipe Dream.

    I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I LIKE Pipe Dream. And I certainly got tired of it after having to do it every time I hacked a turret or camera in Bioshock.

    But at the same time, I get that they have to throw something in there to space out the already overwhelming combat sections. Extra Credits once pointed out that the God of War series would probably be more boring if it didn’t have the occasional puzzle. Maybe that’s the same thought-process here.

    • Corpital says:

      Your’re not alone there. I happily hacked everything, and I mean everything, every single hackable thing.

      Until this part. Suddenly, unsolvable PDs started popping up now and then. Mostly safes with alarms/overclocks/whatever blocking the way. Stocking up on the hacking plasmids helped alleviate this for a while, but in the endgame, it was not possible to hack quite a lot of machines manually due to the ridiculous amount of fail-tiles.

      I guess the game difficulty affected this, but having to autohack/buy every single safe and most of the turrets was annoying.

    • Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

      I liked pipe dream, but minigames like this get excessive fast. I think I would’ve preferred frogger to simon-says in Mass Effect, but regardless, by about the 2/3 point of the game I was getting tired of it. I’ve long since demonstrated capability in this -would you just give me the stuff so we can get on with it?

      • Phantos says:

        Oh man. What if every mini-game in a new, AAA blockbuster release was an entire retro game?

        Maybe in Mass Effect 4, you have to unlock a door by playing Pac-Man. Or maybe a round of the original Donkey Kong. Warioware in the middle of a mission in Fallout 4.

        It wouldn’t just be the throwaway oldschool browser stuff, like Minesweeper or Solitaire. We could learn to hate the classics too!

  8. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

    Does it strike anyone else as funny that Fontaine activates a kill switch -and this switch cuts down on your health and makes it easier to kill you. Then he sends swarms of splicers to murder you in your weakened state.

    And yet the vita chambers are still working?

    • Tom says:

      It’s not clear if Fontaine even knows about the vita chambers, or that you can use them. It’s never exactly spelled out just how he, or Ryan, are observing your progress – there’s the short-wave radio, but Fontaine and Ryan both react, via the radio, to things you do or see that don’t make any noise. There are the security cameras, but it’s not made clear whether they’re closed circuit TV, film, or just people-detectors – Rapture has TV, sure, and Ryan shows up over an apparent video link at the end of the first level (a shame they apparently couldn’t actually animate it), but smash up a security camera and it spits out a roll of film, and hack it and it somehow turns friendly, which surely can’t include anybody watching at the other end. Splicers sometimes say things like “Can I go now?” to thin air after killing you, showing that they’re actually aware that Ryan is controlling them and sending them to attack you via pheromones and stuff in the air that Suchong came up with (something everyone apparently forgets, which explains why the splicers all attack you on sight but means they may not actually be quite so homicidally psychotic when you’re not around), and presumably at least think he can see them (doesn’t necessarily mean he can, though). Atlas apparently sees your first splicer in the game via a security camera that locks onto her, but there are other times when Ryan, Atlas and Fontaine seem to react to visual things in areas where there are no cameras at all (I can’t remember, is there a camera in Langford’s office, or in the theatre where Atlas tells you to lower the weapon?). That whole aspect of the game’s design/writing feels a little messy, and somewhat unexplored.

      Oh, regarding the insta-drunk mechanics: I believe the first game to ever do this may have been Deus Ex, which everybody subsequently copied. Thing is, Deus Ex explicitly handwaved this by explaining that it’s not a game-time-compression thing, like a half-hour day-night cycle or something like that; it’s really happening to you that fast, as a result of your character’s bio-engineered, not-entirely-human metabolism. As far as I know, none of the imitators ever bothered with such a hand-wave – not even Bioshock, where they could so easily have used the exact same get-out clause because plasmids.

      • Corpital says:

        Fontaine had enough knowledge about the security systems to use your Ryan-DNA to bypass some of it, like the lockdown of the bathyspheres for everyone with the wrong DNA and the Vita Chambers have been around for some time before the civil war started. He also apparently has access to exactly the same means of observing you as Ryan. So…yeah, I doubt he didn’t know about your ability to use them. At least he can’t do anything about it, because he lost the ability to reason after Ryan died.

        How about they use sonar to observe you? It would fit the underwater setting and Atlas saying “Sounds like you are the proud papa of a brand new Lazarus Vector” would make more sense(no, it wouldn’t) because he really heard it. Astounding!

      • Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

        Regarding DX – I always figured it was both the hyper-metabolism (which is what made the fast heal work too) and also the reduction in meat-to-metal ratio with all the augments. Makes more sense for the mechs, I guess, though.

        • McNutcase says:

          Doesn’t explain why JC just chugged the lot, though. Or why he would insist on smoking the entire pack at once whenever he used cigarettes (I’ve killed him that way many times…)

          • Corpital says:

            Just look at JC, that man wears sunglasses at night and is clearly too cool for his own trenchcoat. And what else was cool during the 90s? Yes, smoking. More smoking seemed to equal more cool back then, so he just smoked the whole package in one go. Very reasonable.

            As for the alcohol, I can only assume, he didn’t want to waste precious inventory space with a bottle.

      • StashAugustine says:

        Oh man, beer in Deus Ex. The best thing to do was to get massively drunk then run through a loading screen, become sober, and then run back and be drunk again. The second best was to turn up the brightness on your monitor, get as drunk as possible, be really lucky, and use the drunkenness as an impromptu sniper scope.

  9. Bryan says:

    Hmm. I don’t think it’s too arguable that this wouldn’t have been quite so insane had Josh died just a few times less. And had there been fewer splicers.

    So what I must be saying is that he died just barely too often, and there were just barely too many. Especially in Fontaine’s apartment…

  10. Chamomile says:

    I just figured out a second twist that would’ve made Bioshock that much cooler. You know how Fontaine’s actions at the end here don’t make any sense? And you know how he mentions about how it’s basically the same as having to put down a dog you raised, which is something the main character also had to do as part of the mind control conditioning? What if Fontaine was hinting that he was also under mind control? The person really in control now is Tenebaum, who plans to take control of Rapture and make a “loyal, happy citizen” plasmid and turn it into Alpha Complex.

    • Astor says:

      I’m ambivalent for something like that. On the one hand, you’re trying to fix the plot and you are even using foreshadowing, on the other hand, these twists can feel trite very easily…

      Personally, I would have preferred a binary choice at this point. The gist of this game is a binary choice: Are you evil (harvesting ‘lil girls)? Are you good (saving aforementioned ‘lil girls)?. Fun fact: both good and evil equal murdering people by the thousands! Anyway, with the core of the game in mind, the logical step to ultimate binary choicing now would be: do you accept to join Fontaine in his quest for evil power, or do you choose to help Tenenbaum in her righteous quest for saving ‘lil kids?

      Letting the gamer choose, solves two thirds of gamer annoyances.

  11. Spammy says:

    If you’re not constantly out of money and health packs during this section it’s annoying but it’s not that bad. I mean this section dragged on because the only really fun part of Bioshock 1 was the bit with Sander Cohen, but still. It dragged on but I endured.

    Also, by about Hephaestus I realized that you really needed the security tonics that decrease the number of overload and alarm tiles to keep hacking in the endgame. And even then sometimes you got a complete BS unwinnable setup. But the tonic that gives you health and EVE when you hack was great, you could freeze a camera/turret/bot and hack them and get your EVE back.

    Rewatching these episodes is starting to drive home how much more I liked Bioshock 2.

  12. anaphysik says:

    No satisfying weapons? That’s because you didn’t use the wrench.

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