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One of the hooks of the original Bioshock in terms of game mechanics was the idea of Plasmids. These were essentially super powers which would allow you to set enemies on fire or electrocute them with the wave of your hand. The back story unfolded a tale of genetic engineering gone wrong and created the perfect excuse to give the player some interesting abilities. That story continues in Bioshock 2.
In this article we’ll focus on the Plasmids and run through the options on offer. Each Plasmid can be upgraded and you can cycle through them in game with the Q key. To emerge victorious at the end of Bioshock 2 you really need to find the right balance between using Plasmids and using weapons. You can check out our Bioshock 2 Weapons Guide for more on the hardware.
You have a maximum of eight active Plasmid slots but you’ll need to buy them at Gatherer’s Gardens as you progress. You’ll also buy the Plasmids or find them as the story unfolds. In addition to the Plasmids you can equip Gene Tonics. Once you have all the available slots unlocked you’ll be able to equip 18 Gene Tonics. The Plasmids and the Gene Tonics you have equipped can always be switched around at Gene Bank machines.
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This is possibly the most useful Plasmid you’ll get. It allows you to fire a bolt of electricity which can serve multiple purposes. Use it to stun enemies so you can smash them with melee attacks. It will also do more damage to enemies standing in water. When it comes to security Electrobolt gives you time to hack by disabling bots, turrets and cameras. You’ll also find the odd switch or door throughout the game which needs a little jolt to activate.
Upgrades - The first upgrade allows you to charge it up and fire chain lightning which can be unleashed on multiple enemies. If you get the top upgrade the chain lightning becomes the default fire and if you charge it up you’ll unleash a lightning storm which damages and stuns everything in your path.
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This Plasmid is a lot of fun. It allows you to levitate objects and fire them at high speed to take out enemies. It can also be very useful for grabbing pick ups which are out of reach. Firing exploding barrels and tanks is the most effective way to use this but there is always a risk the projectile will get shot before you fling it, damaging you. Another good tactic is to use an object as a shield so you can charge enemies and get in close.
Upgrades - The first upgrade lets you pick up slightly heavier objects and hurl things with greater force so you deal more damage. The final upgrade allows you to pick up live Splicers and all manner of objects. Fully upgraded Telekinesis is an awesome power.
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Become a twisted firestarter with this excellent Plasmid. You can shroud people in flames with a wave of your hand when Incinerate is equipped and they’ll continue to take damage until the flames gradually flicker out. This Plasmid is also useful for melting ice and getting at frozen pick ups. It is less effective when there is a lot of water around.
Upgrades - The first upgrade allows you to charge up a fireball attack which does considerably more damage than the normal attack. The final upgrade allows you to throw fireballs by default and charging up unleashes a torrent of flame which will char anyone caught in its path.
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This can be a real help because it allows you to turn the security onto your enemies without having to hack everything. You simply paint a target by firing the Plasmid at them and any security in the area (hacked or not) will attack them.
Upgrades - The first upgrade allows you to charge this Plasmid and summon up to 2 security bots to help you. The final upgrade improves the security bots you can summon.
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You have to be careful how you use the Hypnotize Plasmid. If you find a group of enemies then you can use it on one of them and they will attack their allies. The thing is they’ll attack the closest target so make sure you aren’t too close. This is best used on Big Daddies when you want to clear a room and it is handy for weakening them before you attack them.
Upgrades - The first upgrade allows you to recruit Splicers and they’ll actually become friendly to you and fight by your side for a limited period. The final upgrade extends this ally ability to Big Daddies and Brute Splicers and they make powerful friends. Just remember it only works for a limited period so be careful when and where you use it.
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This Plasmid allows you to freeze enemies. It will do a certain amount of damage and give you a short period to follow up your attack before the enemy thaws out. It basically works as a much better stun attack than Electro Bolt.
Upgrades - The first upgrade lets you charge up the attack to encase enemies in a block of ice which can be fired with Telekinesis or shattered. If the frozen enemies are shattered they’ll leave behind a lockbox with loot and the ice shards have the ability to freeze other enemies. The final upgrade allows you to charge up and fire a stream of ice shards which damage and freeze enemies.
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This handy Plasmid is perfect for creating a distraction as it allows you to spawn an image of yourself which dim-witted enemies will attack. It can be useful when you face a huge number of enemies or need a distraction so you can perform a quick hack.
Upgrades - The first upgrade reflects any damage an attacker does to your dummy back at them. The final upgrade does the reflected damage to your enemies but also heals you the same amount.
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This Plasmid allows you to set up traps on the floor which send enemies whirling into the air when triggered. These are especially handy when you are protecting a Little Sister gathering ADAM.
Upgrades - The first upgrade lets you mix in other Plasmid effects and so you can combine any of your other Plasmids with the basic trap to unleash extra carnage. The final upgrade lets you set traps on the walls and ceilings. You can set up to ten and if you place them carefully you can set off a devastating chain reaction.
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You can use this Plasmid to set a swarm of angry hornets onto an enemy. They work great as a distraction and they continue to deal out damage over time. They’ll also pursue enemies who try to run away.
Upgrades - The first upgrade lets you target multiple enemies instead of just one person. The final upgrade leaves corpses impregnated with another swarm so any enemy who passes one will get attacked in the same way.
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This Plasmid lets you project yourself in ghost form. Your body is left behind and you can explore the rooms ahead. In fact you can even equip and use other Plasmids in your ghostly form and your enemies can’t fight back unless they find your body.
Upgrades - The single upgrade for this allows you perform hacks in ghost form which is very useful indeed. Used correctly the Scout Plasmid greatly reduces the risk to you and allows you to clear or at least weaken the enemies ahead. Just remember your body is very vulnerable so choose your hiding place well and consider using traps to guard against an enemy discovering you.
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There is one final secret Plasmid but you can’t miss it because it is part of the progression. Best not to reveal it here since it would be a major spoiler. If you want to know more about how to defeat the various enemies you’ll face making best use of Plasmids and weapons then check out our Bioshock 2 Enemies Guide.