- “Poor things… what a life. Marchin’ around playin’ Daddy until some Splicer manages to kill off their Sister… and then if the coma doesn’t take ‘em they turn maniac… nothin’ left to do but scream.”
- ― Augustus Sinclair[src]
The Alpha Series, a type of Big Daddy, was the first functional line of protectors to be bonded to Little Sisters and was the predecessor to all other Big Daddy models. They are introduced in BioShock 2 as a new type of enemy. Other types of functional Big Daddies include the Bouncer, Rosie, Rumbler, and Lancer (introduced in Minerva's Den).
The Alpha Series were the first prototypes of a failed line of Protectors developed by Dr. Yi Suchong. The line was created by Dr. Alexander using prisoners from Persephone Penal Colony as test subjects. Each member of the Alpha Series began as a test subject for various Fontaine Futuristics Plasmids, and they retain some Plasmid abilities as a result. The bodies of the Alpha Series were less drastically modified than the later models when placed inside their suits and they, unlike later Big Daddies, did not have their skin and organs permanently grafted to their diving suits. For example, only Alpha Series can remove their helmets. Functioning Alpha Series such as Subject Delta were still heavily spliced, granting them greater strength and stature than most citizens.
The main difference between the Alpha Series and the other Big Daddies is the nature of their bond to the Little Sisters. Each Alpha Series was created with an unbreakable physiological bond to a single Little Sister. This bond created a fail-safe enforced by each Little Sister's pheromone signature—an Alpha Series that either wandered too far from his bond partner for an extended period of time, or lost his bond partner due to them dying (or if their heart stops at all), would lapse into coma or, failing that, collapse into madness.
This bond proved to be too effective, as each Big Daddy in the Alpha Series became essentially useless if their Little Sister died from having her Sea Slug harvested by Splicers or saved by Brigid Tenenbaum's antidote plasmid. Any Alpha Series model that was not rendered comatose as a result of his Sister being lost descended into emotional instability to the point of psychosis (Gilbert Alexander recalls seeing one Alpha Series crying at a Gatherer's Garden in mourning for his Little Sister in one of his audio diaries). The Plasmids and Tonics the candidates were exposed to destabilized them further, as rips in the armor of Alpha Series encountered in Fontaine Futuristics reveal their skin as lumpy and grotesque. The remaining prototypes employed by Sofia Lamb and Reed Wahl were only useful as foot soldiers, as their suicidal aggression made them unfit for anything else.
When the Alpha Series failed, the developers opted to create a more versatile, but generic, protector that could also repair the city when not engaged in combat. Originally intended to be powerfully spliced heavy construction workers to repair the city, the failure of the Alpha Series prompted the developers to re-task the Bouncer and Rosie models as protectors as well. Because these models were already in the planning stages during the Alpha Series trials, the developers were able to use the newer protectors to replace Alpha Series subjects who had lost their paired Little Sister, and subsequently gone insane. The newer protectors used a different bonding process, allowing them to pair and 'adopt' any Little Sister.
Unlike other types of Big Daddies, the Alpha Series are always hostile to the player and will attack on sight immediately, eliminating any chance to prepare. Like Subject Delta, the Alpha Series prototypes are not as heavily armored as later production-line Big Daddies. As a consequence, they cannot withstand the same level of damage, though they are still significantly tougher than standard Splicers (other than Brute Splicers, which have roughly the same level of health and strength as the Alpha Series). They are also vulnerable to bonus damage from headshots, such as the Rivet or Spear Gun, and take 50% increased damage from explosives.
Alpha Series models appear in the BioShock 2 levels Fontaine Futuristics and Inner Persephone, and in Operations and The Thinker of the Minerva's Den DLC. They have six times the health of standard Leadhead Splicers. However, their reduced durability compared to other Big Daddy types is balanced by their increased speed, better combat flexibility, greater damage output, and tactical intelligence. They also appear in greater numbers than other Big Daddies, often attacking in pairs or in concert with Rapture Family Splicers. Like Subject Delta, Alpha Series come equipped with a variety of firearms, including Shotguns, Machine Guns, or Launchers, all of which possess the same upgrades that the player has chosen for their own weapons.
Unlike all other Big Daddies, Alpha Series models are always hostile unless under the effects of the Hypnotize 3 Plasmid.
- Melee - Alpha Series have two different melee attacks:
- Quick-Melee - The Alpha Series' standard melee attack, in which they use their weapon to hit Delta. This attack is identical to the one used by the latter when performing a quick-melee attack with the same weapon.
- Headbutt - A more powerful melee attack in which the Alpha Series will grab Subject Delta's shoulders and headbutt him, stunning him momentarily. The damage from this attack can be minimized if Delta hits the Alpha at the right time, or dodges.
- Shoot - The Alpha Series' standard ranged attack, during which they fire their Launcher, Machine Gun or Shotgun. The weapons used by the Alpha Series have exactly the same upgrades as the players', and so their shots possess the same properties.
- Frag Throw - The Alpha Series throws a Frag Grenade, which explodes upon impact.
- Elemental Burst - The Alpha Series releases fire, ice, or lightning at random from its suit. This attack occurs randomly, even outside combat, and will temporarily stun the Alpha Series while it discharges its elemental burst.
Alpha Series are drastically different from production line Big Daddies in both behavior and combat style and as such, most, if not all, standard Big Daddy tactics do not apply when combating them. The following section is specific to Alpha Series, and does not cover other Big Daddies:
- The first Alpha Series Big Daddy crashes through the wall of a large room near the beginning of the Fontaine Futuristics level. While waiting for him, simply move to the edge of the upper platform and he will stop below to fire grenades at Delta. Catch them with Telekinesis and release the trigger to fire them back at him. This eventually kills him without Subject Delta ever taking a hit. Additionally, setting traps on the large globe he first appears on will inflict damage on him as soon as he appears.
- Unlike regular Big Daddies, Alpha Series are vulnerable to headshot damage. Additionally, their heads are very large, making it very easy to score headshots on them. The Spear Gun and Rivet Gun greatly benefit from this fact.
- Alpha Series, despite being different from their later mass-production counterparts, are still vulnerable to Armor-Piercing ammunition.
- Keep your distance from an Alpha, as their elemental storm ability inflicts significant damage.
- Alpha Series are among the fastest enemies in the game, and can easily cross a room or navigate through a level and attack Delta, using lightning-fast melee strikes to juggle the player.
- Alpha Series can do a large amount of damage in a short time depending on what weapon they are using. As such, they should almost always be prioritized over other enemies.
- While most other gun-wielding enemies will keep their distance, Alpha Series will always close in on the player, mixing their long range firepower with close-range blows and elemental discharges.
- The only exception to this rule are Alpha Series armed with the Launcher which will keep their distance when attacking the player.
- Alpha Series models are able to charge the player even without seeing them, and can perform the attack from behind scenery, around corners or a different section of the area.
Recommended Weapons and Ammunition
- The Drill, if upgraded, will be able to kill an Alpha Series very quickly. They can also be killed with a maximum of four Drill Dashes.
- The Rivet Gun's ability to headshot makes it a cheap and effective means of killing an Alpha Series. Heavy Rivets are the most recommended form of ammunition, as they will kill an Alpha Series in five headshots, or as little as two depending on upgrades, Gene Tonics, and difficulty level.
- Spears from the Spear Gun will deal a huge amount of damage with every headshot. A single headshot with an upgraded Spear will almost completely drain an Alpha Series' health, allowing the player to finish them off quickly.
- The Launcher's high damage output will allow the player to fell an Alpha Series in four shots (three with a fully-upgraded Launcher). Heat-Seeking RPGs work best, as they deal the most damage.
- Electro Bolt will disrupt an Alpha Series' charge attack and also stun them briefly, allowing the player to score headshots during the stun time. It is also very useful if the Alpha Series happens to be standing in water, as electrifying the water will inflict high damage to both them and anything else caught in it.
- Winter Blast at levels 2 or 3 will allow the player to easily destroy these enemies—a single Drill Dash on a frozen Alpha Series will destroy it wholesale—and the player can still collect loot from them. Alpha Series shatter under the effects of Winter Blast 1, so avoid using the Plasmid without upgrading it.
- Hypnotize will cause the Alpha to become hostile against all nearby enemies. If the Plasmid is at level 3, the player will also be able to befriend the Alpha, gaining a powerful ally for six minutes. The plasmid can even be used to trick two Alpha Series into fighting each other.
- Incinerate! 3 will create a stream a fire that quickly eats into the the Alpha Series' health pool. The player can then finish them off with any other weapon.
- Decoy will distract the Alpha Series, granting the player an opportunity to headshot them more easily.
- Insect Swarm causes continuous damage against Alpha Series and will also temporarily distract them. Insect Swarm 3 turns dead enemies killed by the Plasmid into traps, which are useful as Alpha Series often attack with other enemies.
- The Armored Shell line of tonics decreases any physical damage taken. This helps against the Alpha Series' high damage attacks.
- Elemental Sponge will actually allow the player to partially turn the Alpha's elemental burst against them by gaining EVE while suffering from its effects, compensating somewhat for the health lost in the process.
- Walking Inferno decreases any fire damage taken and increases fire damage dealt. This helps when an Alpha Series releases a burst of fire.
- Electric Flesh makes the user immune to electricity-based damage, and boosts the effects of any electrical attacks inflicted upon an enemy. This effect will completely protect the player from an Alpha Series' electrical bursts, as well as their Tesla Upgrade to the Shotgun if the player has purchased it and works well in tandem with Electro Bolt.
- Damage Research increases the effect of any damage bonuses against the Alpha Series earned from research. This is entirely dependent on how much research the player has done.
- Headhunter will increase the effectiveness of headshots against this enemy. The Spear Gun in particular can benefit greatly from this.
It took some time to get the Big Daddy formula right. The Alpha Series is evidence of years of false starts. Former test subjects for experimental Plasmids, these poor "volunteers" were then brainwashed and sealed into metal armor. Attempts to pair bond them with Little Sisters failed, leaving them as feral, barely-human wrecks.
Significant Alpha Series Members
- Subject Delta: The protagonist of BioShock 2.
- The first Alpha Series encountered in a one-on-one "boss battle" in the lobby of Fontaine Futuristics has roughly 50% more health than a normal Alpha Series.
- Unnamed Alpha Series: The protagonist of The Protector Trials for BioShock 2.
- Subject Omega (Augustus Sinclair): He has 2.5 times as much health as a standard Alpha Series, as well as a clean, undamaged suit similar to that of Subject Delta.
- Subject Sigma (Charles Milton Porter): The protagonist of Minerva's Den, the narrative downloadable content of BioShock 2.
Concept Art and Models
- The Alpha Series encountered in Inner Persephone have the "Δ" symbol on their hand. This might suggest that the skin and model used for these particular Alpha Series may have originally been intended for Subject Delta before being replaced and relegated to the Alpha Series in Inner Persephone. In this case, the symbol's presence is most likely an oversight by the developers.
- A glitch can be activated while heading to the pediatric ward in the infirmary of Inner Persephone that will create an invincible Alpha Series. Use the Summon Eleanor Plasmid to send Eleanor through the door heading to the ward. Do not enter the door, or the Alpha Series at the end of the hall leading to the ward will disappear like it is scripted to. If done correctly, the glitch will create an unstoppable Alpha Series that displays no health bar, cannot be researched, and is immune to all Plasmid effects.[confirmation needed]
- When the player encounters the first Alpha Series in the game, they can freeze it with Winter Blast 2, then use Telekinesis to launch it back into the hole in the wall it came from. Doing so will force the player to go back to the last saved spot, as it is impossible for the player to progress through the game after throwing the Alpha Series through the wall.[confirmation needed]
Behind the Scenes
- Alpha Series that the player encounters have a suit color which differs from that of Subject Delta, indicating either later creation or more advanced decay. Delta's suit is blue and brown with a copper colored helmet, while most of the Alpha Series wear a faded blue and brown suit with a bronze colored helmet. In addition, their armor differs slightly compared to that of Subject Delta: there is only one pipe connected to the helmet, and the eve/health containers do not appear to be connected to the suit. The oxygen tanks also seem to be smaller.
- The Alpha Series encountered in Persephone have silver helmets and gray diving suits, much like Subject Omega.
- In the original concept arts for the Alpha Series in the Deco Devolution Artbook, they showed extreme degradation. This appearance included large holes in their suits oozing flesh, green decayed helmets, and eyes and mouths extending from tumorous growths in the broken helmet. This grotesque design was dropped; however, Alpha Series do have their left arm partially exposed, a holdover from the concept art.
- In most of the original concept art, the Greek symbol for Gamma ( Γ ) is branded on the back of the hands of the Alpha Series. Although Colin Fix calls one of these concepts "Subject Gamma," the symbol is more likely used as an example of a labeled Alpha Series, as it also appears on more than one Alpha Series concept. The finalized in-game model doesn't have this or any symbol, which is replaced with layered barnacles.
- Alpha Series have animated shadows, unlike Delta, whose shadow only changes when he rotates.
- In BioShock 2's game files, the Alpha Series model is classified as "Mad Daddy," likely due to their hostile nature.
- The Alpha Series' call is a guttural roar, unlike the low groans of the other Big Daddies.
- Due to the Alpha Series' lesser modifications (they are not fused to their suits, as Delta and Sigma are able to remove their helmets), they still have the ability to cry, as mentioned by Gilbert Alexander in Outlived Usefulness.
- Delta (and other Alpha Series Big Daddies) have 'Mark V Diving Knives' on their hips, but they are not seen used in the game. However, Delta's diving knife will disappear at random when his body is shown.
- Alpha Series, with the exception of Subject Delta, Sigma, and Omega, are the only type of Big Daddy which do not produce light from their portholes. Additionally, if one inspects the porthole after defeating an Alpha Series, cracks can be seen throughout the glass.
- Alpha Series, such as the unnamed Alpha Series, Sigma, and Delta, appear to carry Little Sisters on their backs. This behavior varies from that of other Big Daddies, who let their Little Sisters walk on the ground to guide them to corpses.
- When playing on any difficulty setting, at least one Alpha Series will play dead in the laboratories of Fontaine Futuristics.
- Although Alpha Series have been seen wielding Machine Guns, Shotguns and Launchers, they have never been encountered wielding the Drill or the Rivet Gun (with the exception of Subjects Delta and Sigma, as well as the protagonist in the Protector Trials).
- In the novel BioShock: Rapture, Dr. Suchong refers to the Alpha Series as the "Alpha creatures".
- The Alpha Series hold the barrel of the Machine Gun when they fire it, which would prevent it from spinning and firing properly in reality.
- Despite their suicidal aggression, Alpha Series only attack Subject Delta and Subject Sigma. Outside of scripted events, they ignore other enemies completely unless prompted to attack them with Hypnotize. Furthermore, their elemental outbursts only damage Delta and Sigma unless befriended.
|Enemies in BioShock||Thuggish Splicer · Leadhead Splicer · Nitro Splicer · Houdini Splicer · Spider Splicer||Bouncer · Rosie||Security Bot · Security Camera · Turret|
|Enemies in BioShock 2||Thuggish Splicer · Leadhead Splicer · Brute Splicer · Houdini Splicer · Spider Splicer||Big Sister · Bouncer · Rosie · Rumbler · Alpha Series · Lancer (Minerva's Den)||Security Bot · Security Camera · Turret · Mini-Turret|
- Audio Diary: Outlived Usefulness