Saturday, October 12, 2013

Great Moments in Jump Scares: Bioshock

The original Bioshock is known to be the scariest game in the series.  Its creepy atmosphere and even creepier enemies make for some wonderful moments of pure jump-out-of-your-seat fear.  In this article, we're going to look at some of the notable jump scares in Bioshock.  Keep in mind that this is by no means an inclusive list of all jump scares in the game, just a few that I find to be the most memorable.  So sit back, turn off all the lights, and enjoy!

The Morgue

Let's start off by talking about the morgue level in Bioshock.  A place with mass storage of dead bodies?  You know the developers couldn't miss out on this golden opportunity to give you a fright. Upon entering the storage area, you'll find that it's dimly lit, with giant blood splatters on the floor, and corpses lying on tables.  Towards the back of the room, you'll notice the shadow of a Splicer projected on the wall, but you can't see him since he happens to be standing around a corner (see below pic for clarification).

I have a bad feeling about this.
As you approach the back of the room, the lights abruptly flicker off, only to come back on after a few seconds.  You'll find that the Splicer has vanished without a trace.  As you head back to exit the morgue the clever and cruel Splicer will jump out at you from one of the corpse storage containers, finally relieving you of the tension, but not after causing your heart to momentarily stop.

Not-So-Dead Bodies

Towards the end of the game, you'll find that the developers had another nasty trick up their sleeves.  Throughout Bioshock you encounter countless corpses lying here and there; half-way through the game you'll get used to them and consider them part of the scenery.  However, around the time that the major plot twist occurs, you'll start encountering corpses that aren't corpses at all: they are merely Splicers lying in wait to ambush you.

Needless to say this catches you off guard, as you can never quite tell when a body is going to jump up and scream into your face.  At this point in the game, I found myself firing bolts of electricity at every single dead body I came across, just to avoid being caught by surprise.

The Dentist

This is what I consider to be the biggest scare in the game.  It's not a flashy scare involving a door banging open or someone screaming in your face, but it's just plain creepy.  There is a small dentist's office located in Bioshock, which contains a power-up and some other goodies.  Immediately upon setting foot in here, you know something is wrong.  A thick mist begins to fall from the ceiling, obscuring your view, and when it clears you'll find a nice corpse has been placed in front of you.

Do we really have to go in there?

If you decide to soldier on into the back of the office to pick up the power-up, the mist begins to briefly fall again.  As you turn around to head back, you'll find that the dentist himself (a haggard-looking Splicer) is standing right behind you, just inches from your face.  This is where people usually experience one of the following reactions:
  • You don't immediately notice him standing there, but then you do a double-take before freaking out (my reaction).
  • You immediately scream in fear and unload a full clip of ammo into him.
I don't know what it is, but the fact that he silently creeps up behind you still makes me shudder to this day.  This is truly a brilliant scare tactic, and one that must be seen for yourself.  If you don't own Bioshock, here is a video of the complete dentist's office experience:

And that about wraps up our look at some of the great jump scares in Bioshock.  If you guys played this game, did you find these to be memorable moments?  If not, what elements of the game scared you the most?


  1. How about the altar with the guy asking for help. When you look at the altar he creeps behind you and when you turn his ugly mask is in your face.