- For the Multiplayer Level of Fort Frolic, see Fort Frolic (BioShock 2 Multiplayer).
- “Being the best at what you do can really take it out on you. So unwind! At Fort Frolic: gamble, shop, take in a show or meet a new friend, all at Fort Frolic. Fort Frolic: where the best and brightest celebrate success.”
- ― PA Announcements[src]
Fort Frolic is the seventh level of BioShock. Trapped by the egocentric, demented artist Sander Cohen and cut off from both Atlas and Ryan, Jack will have to track down and kill Cohen's former disciples to be allowed to leave this district and finally reach Hephaestus.
- “"CURTAINS FOR COHEN?… Fort Frolic Closed to Citizens -- Forlorn Visionary Promises Final Frolic…"”
- ― Rapture Standard[src]
Every society, even one at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, needs a place to unwind — a place where adults can indulge themselves with a couple of drinks, go on a spending spree with a day of shopping, take in a show, or try their luck in a casino. In Rapture, one such place was Fort Frolic. Decorated in neon lights, torchère columns, and checkerboard tiles, Fort Frolic was a glamorous setting that featured everything from the fine arts, such as music, film, and theater, to the more salacious distractions, such as strip clubs and gambling. It was also a shopping destination, featured many boutiques selling goods from the most luxurious clothing to the finest tobacco and liquor.
The Fort was run by Sander Cohen, an artist, director, gallery owner, and "a real lunatic, dyed-in-the-wool psychopath." As one of Rapture's most celebrated artists, he used the district as his personal platform. He presented a number of his works in Cohen's Collection, or on stage in the Fleet Hall. Every 5th of November a large celebration was held to commemorate the founding of Rapture.
In 1959, during the Rapture Civil War, Cohen closed Fort Frolic to the public, resulting in the closure of the theaters, and artists like Suresh Sheti and Mlle Blanche de Glace lost their jobs. However, Cohen promised the people of Rapture one "Final Frolic". What the unfortunate citizens didn't realize however, was that their time in the Frolic would become a permanent residence. Cohen trapped many people in the district when he closed it off to the public, using them for his twisted works of art.
- Main article: BioShock
- “The Artist Should Not Fear The Censor”
- ― Banner[src]
Just as in Rapture's prime, Sander Cohen still holds power over Fort Frolic. Scattered throughout the Fort are examples of his artwork: Fort Frolic's patrons coated in plaster and posed in various positions to form real human statues. Jack experiences his control first hand when the mad artist jams the radio, locks off the bathysphere, and sends a small wave of Splicers to test Jack's potential. Impressed with what he sees, Cohen unlocks the entrance to the Fort and invites Jack in.
Rapture Metro Station
This area served as the main entrance into the Frolic and featured two Bathysphere docks. The first one Jack arrives in appears to have been for emergency access. The entrance hall contained a Vita-Chamber, Gene Bank and U-Invent, along with an Apothecary store which is now closed.
Fort Frolic's Rapture Metro station is truly symbolic of the districts artistic style. The station is bathed in purple light, and its walls are decorated with a large mosaic and red drapery. Two of Cohen's "statues" stand in awe of the Bathysphere, while four more dance on poles hung from the ceiling.
Adjacent to the Rapture Metro, the atrium serves as the hub of Fort Frolic. Still advertising the lost pleasures of Rapture, it is now a hollow shell of its former glory. As Jack enters the room, the dim space comes alive: the lights and neon signs switch on, a dark figure dashes by one of the southeast doorways, and Cohen welcomes Jack in grand fashion. Lost and long forgotten memories of what the best of Rapture used to be like linger at every turn. Many of the entrances to the rest of Fort Frolic are either closed or destroyed. It is here that Jack must build Cohen's distorted "masterpiece": the Quadtych. The Atrium is divided into two sections: the Lower Atrium and the Upper Atrium.
The lower atrium is only a shadow of what it once was with most of the space shut-off or inaccessible to Jack. Cohen's Muse Box lies beside the stairs in its glass bell jar. The other six places in the Lower Atrium are blocked off with their signs destroyed, save for an inaccessible strip club called The Seahorse.
Upstairs lies the upper atrium. There are many places to see here: first, and most notable is the Fleet Hall, where the citizens of Rapture could enjoy theatrical and musical arts. Inside, it offered a chance to catch a drink of Ryan's Club Ale or a bite of a chocolate-creme cake before the show started. Since Rapture's fall, Fleet Hall has remained in relatively good shape, but now contains plaster-covered Splicer statues frozen in silent expressions of clapping and cheering. The only other accessible place in the upper level of the Atrium is Cohen's Collection. Once a place where the wealthy could view and purchase Sander Cohen's art, all that remains are empty canvases and walls that have been burned to a crisp. Inside, all Jack will find are several safes and a plaster-covered table with a plaster family sitting around it.
When open to the public, Fort Frolic was home to many different stores. However, much of the mall area has been closed off or shuttered. Only the southernmost portion of the area is easily accessible. Just off the Atrium are two bathrooms, and in the men's room one can see more of Sander Cohen's "Human art." The Cocktail Lounge once served as a place where the night-clubbers of Rapture could have a drink. Nearby sat a series of opulent, high end shops: Sophia Salon High Fashion, the Gardner Delux Modern and the Le Marquis D'Epoque. Only the first and last of these are accessible to Jack.
The Sophia Salon's last business, prior to the collapse of Rapture, held a 50% off sale. Inside the Le Marquis D'Epoque liqueur and cigar shop, many of the shelves on the upper floor are empty; the remnants of the stock are scattered about the floor. Downstairs are a couple of vending machines, boxes of cigars (most still on the shelves) and a dead man with his blood around him (possibly the corpse of Albert Milonakis.)
Poseidon Plaza remains largely intact, mainly suffering only cosmetic damage, such as leaks and holes in the walls. Behind these walls, shadowy figures dart about in the narrow recesses. Although the space is in relatively good shape, the same can't be said for most of the businesses here.
The first of many once fine establishments are Sir Prize: Games of Chance. Sir Prize was just one of the many gambling and drinking spots in Fort Frolic, but is now in disarray. It is not empty, however, as when Jack arrives a trio of Splicers are engaged in a barroom brawl. Sinclair Spirits was, at one point, amongst the best places to sample and drink bottles of the finest wines, liqueurs, and beers in Rapture. However, it is now a wreck, the walls and pillars eroding away by the seawater leaking in from every direction.
Robertson's Tobaccoria, next to Eve's Garden, once sold the finest and most luxurious tobacco products in Rapture. Although this shop is not in danger of being flooded or suddenly collapsing, tobacco has become much less popular in Rapture, replaced by addictive ADAM.
Eve's Garden was a well known gentleman's club in Rapture, featuring Jasmine Jolene – "Andrew Ryan's Favorite Gal!" Here, the men and women of Rapture could unwind with a couple of drinks in the swanky bar and find some 'company'. Now the old haunt is a ghost of its former self.
Upstairs is the most destroyed part of the plaza, with walls coming away and the glass ceiling giving way under the pressure of the sea. There are only four accessible places, two of which are hidden from the ground floor: Rapture Records and the Pharaoh's Fortune Casino. Rapture Records is the most ruined part of Poseidon Plaza. Once a place where shoppers could go to stock up their record players and jukeboxes, it is now completely razed. Walls stripped bare, fires still burning above the metal ceiling, burnt furniture and bodies chucked around, and water dripping through the sodden ceiling.
In contrast, the Pharaoh's Fortune Casino still stands tall. This gambler's haven was and still is the perfect place to get drunk (a 2 drink minimum) and put one's luck to the test. Jack can still put the many slot machines to the test and win (or lose) some cash.
Single Use Events
- There are two Power to the People vending machines. However, activating the one at Poseidon Plaza also sets a trap for the player.
New Plasmids and Tonics (Found)
- Alarm Expert - On the balcony to the left after entering the Fleet Hall Theater.
- Frozen Field - Looted from Martin Finnegan's corpse.
- Extra Nutrition 2 - In a corner in the water filled room accessible via pressing the button inside Sinclair Spirits.
- Medical Expert 2 - The gift for completing Cohen's Masterpiece.
- Electric Flesh - Sander Cohen's office, Fleet Hall (first accessible after completing his masterpiece).
New Plasmids and Tonics (Available at a Gatherer's Garden)
- Hacking Expert 2 - Price: 50 ADAM
- Incinerate! 2 - Price: 80 ADAM
- Insect Swarm 2 - Price: 80 ADAM
- Sonic Boom 2 - Price: 80 ADAM
- Winter Blast 2 - Price: 100 ADAM
- Elite Bouncer
- Plastered Splicer
- Martin Finnegan
- Silas Cobb
- Hector Rodriguez
- Sander Cohen (choice only)
- Robertson's Tobaccoria - 7774
- For Radio Messages in Fort Frolic, see Radio Messages: Fort Frolic.
- Diane McClintock - Stood Up Again
- Sander Cohen - Musical Insult
- Sander Cohen - The Wild Bunny
- Sullivan - Artist's Feud
- Martin Finnegan - The Iceman Cometh
- Bill McDonagh - Fontaine's Army
- Sander Cohen - The Doubters
- Silas Cobb - Come to the Record Store
- Albert Milonakis - Fancy Cigarettes
- Jasmine Jolene - Pregnancy
- Sullivan - Bump Culpepper?
- Anna Culpepper - Ryan's Stableboy
- Bill McDonagh - Guns Blazing
- Hector Rodriguez - It's All Grift
- Sander Cohen - Requiem for Andrew Ryan
Lower Shopping Area
Up Atrium Stairs
Atrium: First Photo
Big Daddy Battle
Atrium: Second Photo
Poseidon, Lower Level
Poseidon Upper Level
Atrium: Third Photo, Battle
Poseidon: Back to Eve's Garden
Atrium: Last Picture
- Main article: BioShock 2
Although Fort Frolic is never visited in BioShock 2, the Fort's marquee can be seen on a destroyed building when Subject Delta gets his first panoramic view of the city. A number of signs for businesses within Fort Frolic can also be seen advertised on adjoining buildings.
Burial at Sea
- Main article: Burial at Sea
Fort Frolic is referenced in both episodes of the BioShock Infinite downloadable content Burial at Sea. An advertisement for Fort Frolic can be heard through the Public Address Announcement in Episode One. It is also learned that a business called the Defense Pavilion operated in Fort Frolic.
In Episode Two, it's learned that Felix Molloy was given an order by Atlas to choose a location to attack when/if they escaped their prison in Fontaine's Department Store. He believed that Fort Frolic would be a prime target if they managed to escape by the 5th of November as the Fort played host to an event celebrating the founding of Rapture and would be packed with revelers. Pharaoh's Fortune Casino would have been one of the main targets.
At the end of the episode, Fort Frolic's "courier" marquee can be seen from the window in the hall where Elizabeth rendezvouses with Atlas.
Concept Art and Pre-Launch Images
Remastered In-Game Images
- It is actually possible to get trapped in Rapture Records. When trying to kill Silas Cobb, if the player hypnotizes a Big Daddy and approaches the booby-trapped corpse, the Big Daddy will stay on the upper platform. Normally, Cobb is supposed to throw a Molotov Cocktail into an air vent, allowing the player to go back up; however, in this case the Big Daddy will kill him before he can do so, leaving the player stranded on the lower deck. In such a case, the player can return to the main map by killing him/herself, most efficiently by use of the Incinerate! Plasmid at their feet.
- A variance of this occurrence can happen even after Cobb throws the Molotov: the path to the upper platform through the vent will open, but the door will remain shut up there and the spotlight can be seen shining through the door.
- Above the Atrium there are two schools of fish swimming in a loop. One of the schools swims so close to the roof, that two of the fish actually swim through the wall and into the Atrium.
- If the player chooses to kill Sander Cohen, return to Fort Frolic and hit the Quadtych, Cohen will appear and fight the player despite being already dead. This also happens if a Splicer hits the Quadtych.
- The projector in the projector booth in the Fleet Hall is unsolid and the player can move through it.
Behind the Scenes
- In Cohen's projection booth, the film reel is wound with tape that has the Irrational Games logo repeated on it. Irrational Games was the main game studio that created BioShock.
- The original concept for Fort Frolic was designed to have a Ferris Wheel. It was removed before BioShock was completed, but the Ferris Wheel was later included in the Challenge Rooms downloadable content.
- There was a Rapture Zoo that was intended to be included in BioShock as a part of Fort Frolic. Multiple interviews with developers of the game mention that this was a level that was ultimately cut fairly far along in the design process due to time constraints, and they indicate that it was one of the things they most regretted having to cut. To date, only one known art asset from the Zoo level has surfaced, so virtually nothing is known about it. The only concrete information comes from an interview that mentions that it would have included an elephant.
- As mentioned above, when Jack first enters the Atrium, a shadowy figure dashes by the southeast doorways in the room. With all the lights switching on, the figure is easy to miss. It's meant to look like a Splicer when in actuality the model is a blacked out female corpse using a Spider Splicer running animation. Similar figures are present in Poseidon Plaza, but the model is a blacked out Toasty using a Thuggish Splicer's animation. The Poseidon Plaza ones have the sparks present when the Thuggish Splicers drag their melee weapon even though they carry nothing.
- The woman seen on the Fort Frolic mall directory is a slightly altered "Lady With Hotcakes" clip art.
- Every time Sander Cohen talks to the player the lights in Fort Frolic's Atrium will go darker and have a purple hue, before returning to normal when he is finished. When faced with Cohen's rage, the lights go bright red, and then they will go completely dark once he is defeated.
- As stated in the Deco Devolution Artbook by Eric Sterner, Level Architect, 2K Marin: "Originally the way you got into the Dionysus Park was through the Atrium of Fort Frolic from BioShock — the big octagonal room that players who played BioShock would remember — only it was completely submerged under water in this game. You'd be going through this totally sunken version of a level that you might remembered if you played the first game." This reveals that Dionysus Park was originally meant to be an extension of Fort Frolic and that the player would have passed through it in BioShock 2.
- Fort Frolic is the only area of BioShock that contains more than one Rapture Metro station.
- Developer Jordan Thomas was responsible for the level design of Fort Frolic. He was able to include a number of Easter eggs revealed in subsequent interviews.
- When Sander Cohen appears to see his finished Quadtych and when Cohen is killed, a recording of a cheering audience will be heard. This is a reference to Rupert Pupkin's imaginary audience in Martin Scorsese's film The King of Comedy.
- When responding to a question about game atmosphere and audio, he mentioned it was possible to kill the health-adjusted Spider Splicers at Cohen's Quadtych in time to "Waltz of the Flowers" with the Wrench. "I wanted the player to dance. To pin them with a spotlight, and show that FPS movements, regarded from above, are balletic. So I went to Emily Ridgway, who was in sound there at the time, and said - I needed something that would evoke that. She gave me Waltz of the Flowers, which was perfect - and I’d never have known to pick that exact song. But then we down-tuned the health of all the Splicers in the scene, so you’d mainly see them leap...and then fall, stay moving, fall into a balletic flow. A player online got the joke completely and made a video of him using just the wrench in time with the music swells."
- In the BioShock 2 Signature Series Guide, the description for the Fort Frolic multiplayer map incorrectly refers to Fort Frolic as a red-light district: "A two-floor affair, Fort Frolic is the red light district of Rapture. Now it serves as a battleground for the forces of Ryan and Atlas." Fort Frolic is Rapture's recreational center, with art, entertainment, shopping, and gambling venues, which contradicts the red-light district label, which purely focuses on sex-oriented companies. The only businesses that fall under that description are Eve's Garden and The Seahorse, which are only a fraction of what Fort Frolic has to offer. The actual red-light district of Rapture is post-1959 Siren Alley.
- Radio Message in Fort Frolic
- Felix Molloy's Audio Diary: For All Occasions
- Rapture Standard headline: "CURTAINS FOR COHEN?… Fort Frolic Closed to Citizens -- Forlorn Visionary Promises Final Frolic…"
- Suresh Sheti's Audio Diary: A New Medium
- Mlle Blanche de Glace's Audio Diary: Like the Others
- BioShock: Breaking the Mold, forward by Ken Levine
- I Am Ken Levine, Creative Director of BioShock and BioShock Infinite AMA on Reddit
- Bonus Round, Episode 10: Part 1 - BioShock: A Look Inside, GameTrailers.com
- The making of Fort Frolic, BioShock's most twisted and memorable level on PC Gamer
- Kotaku Asks: A Game Designer Who's Worked On BioShock And South Park
- An example video showing the "Wrench Waltz"
- BioShock 2 Signature Series Guide, page 242.
|Locations and Businesses in Fort Frolic|
|Atrium||Rapture Metro · Apothecary · Bella Mia's High Fashion · Cohen's Collection · Cohen's Quadtych · Fleet Hall · The Seahorse|
|Southern Mall||Sophia Salon High Fashion · Cocktail Lounge · Gardner Delux Modern · Le Marquis D'Epoque|
|Poseidon Plaza||Frozen Tunnel · Sir Prize · Sinclair Spirits · Robertson's Tobaccoria · Eve's Garden · Rapture Records · Pharaoh's Fortune Casino|
|Other Businesses||Defense Pavilion|
|BioShock 2 Multiplayer||Fort Frolic (BioShock 2 Multiplayer)|