The science behind the world of BioShock is truly marvelous and dangerous, and it’s heavily focused on human genetic modification. In the games, this takes place through the use of various Plasmids (present in BioShock and BioShock 2) and Vigors (present in BioShock Infinite), allowing players to access superhuman abilities throughout their journey.

While Plasmids and Vigors differ in application (one is injected, the other is consumed), they both share the same origin. Each requires ADAM to function, which is a substance produced by a certain sea slug deep within the Atlantic Ocean. Once processed, it can be genetically manipulated to produce tissue and functions that are not normally present within a human body.

That said, here’s some of our favorite genetically augmented abilities from the entire franchise:


Undertow is the seventh Vigor players get access to in BioShock Infinite’s narrative. This Vigor allows you to control tendrils of water to manipulate the battlefield for a very low resource cost. While it may seem useless to some, if combined with the proper placement, Undertow could deal with large groups of enemies by simply pushing them off the edge of the city limits into the sky. It’s secondary ability allowed players to pull groups of enemies in close, which left them vulnerable to attack with weapons like the shotgun or rocket launcher.

Insect Swarm

While it may not be best for users with allergies or asthma, Insect Swarm is one of the most reliable tools present in both BioShock and BioShock 2. This Plasmid essentially turns your hands and forearms into a mobile beehive filled with killer bees that you can throw at your enemies to kill or distract them as you move about. Once released, these bees become a single swarm that cover an entire area and target anything alive within it, stinging them until they lay dead on the floor.


Originally introduced in BioShock 2, Scout is one of the more unique Plasmids present in the franchise. With Scout, players could turn into a ghost-like figure at will, leaving their body behind in order to investigate areas for danger or get a drop on enemies. While in ghost form, weapons become inaccessible, but both hacking and Plasmid use is allowed for you to wreak havoc on enemies before putting yourself in danger. It may have only had an effective range of a few hundred feet in-game, but that didn’t stop it from giving you the upper hand in many engagements.

Murder of Crows

Designed in a way similar to Insect Swarm from the first two games, Murder of Crows is a Vigor from BioShock Infinite that allows players to control groups of murderous crows to stun enemies in their way. Instead of dealing heavy damage, however, Murder of Crows focuses more on crowd control and combos — which work with devastating effect. When combined with Vigors like Devils Kiss or Shock Jockey, you can charge your crow swarms with elemental energy that causes them to light targets on fire or stun enemies in their path for longer periods of time. Oh, and did I mention it gives you raven feathers on your skin and talons for finger nails?

Electro Bolt

Despite the fact Electro Bolt is the very first Plasmid you’ll encounter in the BioShock franchise, it remains one of the strongest and most useful abilities throughout the first two games. This Plasmid gives you control of electricity that runs through your hands and can be used to stun enemies of any type for a short duration. While it doesn’t do a decent amount of damage on its own, Electro Bolt can also be used to shoot electric current through bodies of water in order to deal an absurd amount of damage to anyone standing within. Combine this with the fact that you can stun any security device in order to hack it, and Electro Bolt easily becomes one of the most important abilities you can have in Rapture.

Photos via, Nicholas Bashore

Nicholas is a writer and content creator in Knoxville. He frequently covers video games and other consumer electronics. When he's not writing for Inverse, you can usually find him tweeting about Star Wars or streaming on Twitch.