Villain Spotlight: Andrew Ryan
No Gods or Kings…Only Villains. Welcome back everyone to another edition of your favorite thing to see on Fridays….The Villain Spotlight! It’s been a pretty strange week in the house of Harkness. Between seeing Rob Zombie amongst a cavalcade of heat and metal, late night talks about Frank Drebin and finally killing the troll that resides in my basement, I have been nothing less than tuckered out. However, that will not stop me from bringing you what you love, and what you love are Villains, and boys and girls, I have a double dose for you today. A double dose in the sense of a total mindfuck of a revelation, and the cost of acquiring such knowledge. Ready? Set? Murder under the sea!
Now this week we are going to have a pretty big spoiler, so if you have not gotten a chance to play the first Bioshock, I recommend you either stop reading, or just keep reading and tell me to go eff myself. Either way it’s up to you. However, if you have played it, then good on you as it is amazing, and spawned two amazing sequels which you should also play as well. This is your last chance though, and if you are opposed to reading a huge revelation, then turn away now, lest yee be disappointed ( C-Mart, you know you read that in the Kevin Sorbo voice haha). Ok, now that you have all had your chance, let’s get on with this thing.
Andrew Ryan is the main man and architect behind the underwater city of Rapture. I literally cannot get enough of Rapture, and would move there in a heartbeat. I don’t care about the consequences or lack of sunlight. As most of you know, I hate the freaking sun so much. Regardless. Ryan dreamed of a place where man would not be hindered by the concept of gods and morality, but by the sweat of his brow and the hard work that people put into their crafts. Why should a doctor be tied down by lawsuits and not being able to fully experiment on things that he feels could generally help the human race? Why should we not subject a few people to horrendous torture in order to test the limits of the human psyche and what we are capable of tolerating? Why should people not be able to mess around with their genes in order to make us more powerful and solidify our place as the dominant species? Andrew Ryan asked all of these questions, and more, and in the process, came up with the concept for Rapture; a safe haven for those willing to do anything and everything to achieve their goals and further themselves in the human race. However, as we pretty much know, without some sort of order, things are going to go awry rather quickly, and Rapture bypassed awry and went straight to holy fuck; people killing each other, mothers going crazy and smothering their babies, hideous experiments on the general populace, and just all around horrifying situations being born along the streets of Rapture. Andrew Ryan, being the creator, assumes little to no responsibility for the happenings as he does not feel it was his fault. Technically this is true, but not at the same time.
Ryan invited the elite of the surface, and as we all know, most of the elite in human society can barely even wipe their own asses….no offense. So when asses need to be wiped, and no one steps up to do it, what happens then? People became so engrossed in their own doings that most things went by the wayside. Plumbing, cleaning, garbage disposal and things of that nature are left to nobody in particular, and high society does not approve. Through all of the goings on in Rapture, a lowly man name Atlas rose up as a man of the people, and became a staunch rival to Ryan. Ryan however, is not an idiot, and essentially criminalizes Atlas and marks him for death. A giant riot takes place in Rapture, and everything goes to horrifying shit real quick. Nearly the entire populace is killed, and the only ones left are Ryan, Altas and the crazy inhabitants of Rapture who have gone insane from gene splicing. When you think about it, it’s not all that surprising as fucking with your core material is going to cause some shit to go wrong. Queue the Hero.
You start the game after a plane crash right next to the lighthouse that serves as the gateway to Rapture, and enter the city without previous knowledge of what it is. You meet Ryan through a video at first, and Atlas through a radio that you pick up. You are rather aware that Ryan is the main antagonist here, as he tries to stop you at every turn whereas Atlas continues to help you out. Atlas sends you on missions throughout Rapture in an attempt to help each other escape this underwater prison. Ryan taunts and chastises you throughout the game as he seems to be aware of something we are not, or at least has a slight idea of something we are not pricy to just yet. You continue to trudge through Rapture at Atlas’s request, and are subject to the horrors that have befallen Rapture. A woman cradling a gun like a lost baby, a man named Sandor Cohen (my favorite) who poses people in life like poses for his art, even though they are still alive and bound, and splicers crawling along walls with hooks for hands. Imagine that. No…don’t actually….you may not be able to handle it. Plowing through the streets and a multitude of nightmares, you finally reach Ryan, and are ready to put him out of his own and your misery. But why can’t you? He has gone so far out of his way to make your life a living hell, learning things about you that you didn’t even know, and telling you things that you don’t want to hear. Barred behind bulletproof glass in his office, Ryan begins to preach to you, but something isn’t right. Why is he not trying to kill you? It’s because he is trying to prove a point. You are not who you thought you were, and are just a puppet of Atlas, or shall we say Fontaine, the man who was opposed to Ryan during the beginning stages of Rapture, and entered the city through smuggling. He took over a large amount of real estate in Rapture, and caused so many riots and such destruction that Ryan doesn’t seem like so much of a bad guy anymore. Ryan also lets you know that you have been mind controlled the whole time, but I won’t tell you how, as this would be too much of a spoiler (it’s so awesome!!!!!) Now….which side are you on? It doesn’t matter, they both need to get fucked at this point. And you are just the guy to do it.
The revelation is a huge mind fuck in terms of plot, because you go the whole game without knowing. Most games will hint or be written in a way that you can tell, but I never even noticed until the end. All these little things throughout the game that I thought we insignificant turned out to be so important that I had to play it again right after finishing just to see them. Ryan is such a good character villain too because he plays the part so well, and has accepted his fate as the one who brought down Rapture so his dream wouldn’t be ruined by some asshole from the surface…whether it be you or Fontaine. It just goes to show how far some people will go for their dreams and wants. Shit if I had spent my life creating an underwater city in secret, which is so goddamn hard (trust me, I’ve tried) that I wouldn’t want anyone else to have it either. That shit is mine. I know it may seem like Ryan isn’t all that bad sometimes, but you really need to play the game to get the full scope of it. The paranoia, the mistrust, the sheer need to end you before you end him, is just so well written and done that you almost don’t want to finish the game because it would be totally over at that point. But trust me, you need to, and you need to right now. Even I the sequel, Ryan’s presence is felt throughout the city and you can just feel your skin crawling thinking about all he has done and said throughout the game and in the process of building Rapture. You see all of the little rooms, signs, and people and you think..Ryan made all of this…and what have I done with myself? Now would you kindly go and pick up this game, play it all the way through, and tell me what you think. Rapture? Or The city you live in? I would choose….Rapture!
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