Much has been said over the years about the wonders of BioShock. The world it offers is fascinating and wondrous. The storyline is grippingly dark and sinister. One thing that’s often easy to overlook, because it blends in so perfectly, is the soundtrack.
While the original soundtrack for BioShock is delightfully foreboding at regular points, it’s often the subtle introduction of familiar tracks from days gone by that really makes you tense.
The most iconic of the bunch is Bobby Darin’s ‘Beyond the Sea.’ Full of lyrics like “Somewhere beyond the sea, she’s there watching for me” and “My heart will lead me there soon”, out of context, it sounds romantic and sweet. Walking down the corridors of Rapture and hearing it in the distance, you’re pretty afraid as to what’s about to get you. Liked the song beforehand? Don’t expect to hear it in the same light ever again.
It’s a similar tale for kids’ favorite, ‘(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?.’ As a child, it’s cute and fun. As an adult playing BioShock for the first time, it’ll unnerve you to your core. Why is that music playing on repeat in an empty nursery? What the heck is going on? BioShock builds that tension to delicious levels.
‘Danny Boy’ is another one. So iconic, so familiar. It’s always had a sense of melancholy to it but there’s threat within those words when tied into the world of Rapture. Context has rarely been so important in a game until now.
Soon enough, even seemingly innocuous delights such as ‘Papa Loves Mambo’ and ‘It Had to Be You’ start having an edge to them. The beauty to BioShock is that it makes you question everything, even seemingly pleasant music. The sheer fact that you know this music and probably equate it with happier memories just makes it all the more unnerving.
BioShock isn’t just a game that gets inside your head because of its storyline. It gets there by subverting just how you feel about such musical hits. Even years after first playing it, I can hear Bobby Darin’s ‘Beyond the Sea’ when in a restaurant or just out and about, and I’ll go straight back to those opening moments of BioShock.
When BioShock arrives on iOS, make sure you stick those headphones in – it’s going to be an essential part of the experience. In the meantime, why not get yourself acquainted with it via a Spotify playlist?