BioShock Wiki

Welcome to the BioShock Wiki. Log in and join the community.


BioShock Wiki
BioShock Wiki

The rate of Sister loss has become unacceptable as Big Daddies are brought down like elephants under a pack of hyenas. In response, we've begun production of a newly-designed Big Daddy model, nicknamed the "Rumbler." He launches high explosive munitions to disperse groups of Splicers, followed by miniature automated turrets to mop up the stragglers.
Gilbert Alexander[src]

The Rumbler is one of the five functional Big Daddy types, introduced in BioShock 2, specializing in defensive and long-range combat. It possesses superior firepower compared to its earlier brethren, at the cost of some of their bulk. Other types of functional Big Daddies include the Alpha Series, Bouncer, Rosie, and Lancer.


The Rumbler was developed by Gilbert Alexander after the events of the original BioShock. Due to Splicers getting stronger, and mastering the ability to take down the traditional Big Daddies (usually by swarming over them in large numbers), a new Big Daddy model was required to protect a new line of Little Sisters. This required it had to be more powerful than regular Big Daddies, capable of dealing with several enemies at once. The end result of this was the Rumbler.[1]


A hostile Rumbler in battle with the player.

The Rumbler is noted to be somewhat thinner in appearance than the Bouncer, and it resembles the Rosie, having less external armor and a more humanoid appearance. The helmet of the Rumbler has six portholes, two in front (one slightly larger than the other) and four on the sides. It wears an armored diving suit with multiple buckles latching the shoulder-mounted Grenade Launcher in place. The Rumbler's shoulder-mounted RPG cannon looks like a Grenade Launcher with the back end sawed off. It appears to fire it by pulling a hinge held in its right hand, occasionally letting go to throw Turrets. It uses its left hand to punch the player at melee range. Rumblers appear in Siren Alley and Fontaine Futuristics. Before then, a Rumbler is seen inside a building when walking on the seabed outside of the Adonis Luxury Resort, defending its Little Sister from a group of Splicers.

The Rumbler appears to be almost cobbled together, such as using ropes to hold on the bracer-like plates on its arm or its cannon, which appears to be a modified wooden barrel.

Rumbler "Moods"[]

The Rumbler, like the Bouncer and the Rosie, has three "moods" that may occur when the player encounters them. These moods appear as the color of the portholes on the Rumbler's helmet.

  • Green light: A Big Daddy under the effects of Hypnotize will produce a green light from their portholes. These Big Daddies are friendly to the player, and will protect them as if they were a Little Sister.
  • Yellow Light: A Big Daddy with yellow lights emanating from its portholes is neutral to the player, and will not attack them (if the player is in a neutral Big Daddy's path, though, he will knock the player away). By default, unscripted Big Daddies always start out in this mood. Some scripted Big Daddies spawn in other moods, but this is purely for the purpose of effect.
  • Red Light: A Big Daddy attacked by the player will produce a red light, and will immediately start attacking them.


A Miniature Turret.

The Rumbler has four types of attack:

  • Rocket: The Rumbler's main attack, where it fires a heat-seeking rocket at its target.
  • Miniature Turret: Occasionally, the Rumbler will deploy a Miniature Turret, which will attack any enemy in its field of vision.
  • Punch: When at melee range, the Rumbler will hit the target with his left arm in a sweeping gesture, dealing moderate damage and minor knockback.
  • Launcher Shake: Occasionally, the Rumbler will slam his rocket launcher on the ground, resulting in a small tremor identical to that of the Bouncer's.


The Rumbler behaves like other Big Daddies, but has a completely different arsenal. It fires Mini-Turrets that lay down suppressing fire, enabling it to take down multiple enemies at once. While the Rumbler's turrets attack enemies, it will get behind them and fire heat-seeking rockets at its target. Both rockets and turrets are susceptible to Telekinesis, and the Rumbler can be taken down with this Plasmid alone, as it will not charge the player.

While many strategies may apply equally well to all Big Daddies, each type has their own particular characteristics worth noting, which may lead to specialized tactics.


  • Always ensure one has full Health, as well as a reliable supply of First Aid Kits, EVE and ammunition before fighting a Big Daddy, as these are one of the toughest enemies in the game.
  • It is recommended to study a Big Daddy's path and stalk them, so as to attack them where the player has the biggest advantage. Study the environment as well, so as to be able to formulate a winning strategy.
  • Always ensure one has complete control over the fighting area (i.e. the place is clear of Splicers and all Security Devices have been hacked). Loss of control might signify defeat in the later stages of a fight.
  • Never take on another enemy while dealing with a Big Daddy, except in some unique cases (see below). If the player is forced to fight another enemy, take it down first and come back to the Big Daddy.
  • Little Sisters always stop to drain ADAM from any nearby corpse they find. Corpses can also be moved by the player, enabling them to choose where they want the Big Daddy they're targeting to halt.
  • Piling up several explosives onto a Big Daddy's path (preferably on top of an oil slick) and blowing it up at the right moment is a cheap and effective way of killing, or at least severely injuring, a Big Daddy. If the enemy survives, they will be on fire, which will drain their health continuously.


  • Miniature Turrets thrown by the Rumbler are potentially serious threats, and left alone can deny the player cover and drain their health. As such, always try to destroy or, even better, hack the device. The latter strategy, although it will leave the player temporarily vulnerable, will turn the Turret into a valuable ally, and will turn the tables on the Rumbler. Alternatively, using the Security Command Plasmid on the Rumbler will cause his Turrets to attack him.
  • By placing the Rumbler between oneself and a Miniature Turret, the latter will end up shooting through the Big Daddy, dealing damage to him instead of Delta.
  • Always stay on the move. Fail to do so and one may end up backed into a corner, with Miniature Turrets blocking any possible exit and heat-seeking rockets rendering cover useless. Also, try to stay away from walls as one can still get hit by a rocket's splash damage.
  • Rumblers have less health than other Big Daddy types, so the fight isn't so much as trying to outlast the Rumbler than trying to kill the Rumbler as fast as possible. Ambushing the Rumbler correctly will severely damage him before he even has a chance to react.
  • Another good strategy is to get into melee range, then circle-strafe the Rumbler while shooting (or drilling) him. If done correctly, the Rumbler won't get a good enough shot on the player to be able to lodge an accurate rocket hit and, if he does, he'll get hit by the splash damage.
    • Another strategy involving melee range is to use the insect swarm plasmid, that way the plasmid will keep stunning the Rumbler, and thus greatly reducing the melee attacks (he won´t shoot rockets because at melee range because the splash will damage him, and usually not deploy the miniturrets unless the enemy is gaining some distance from the Rumbler (as a way to prevent it from taking cover). This strategy will save a lot of medkits (in most cases you might ended up using one on hard difficulty), however it may consume a lot of gas and ammo (unless you spam electro bolt to maximize the damage per hit, reducing the ammo cost but increasing the eve cost (for this strategy is recommended to upgrade the drill, since its the weapon that can kill him the quickiest).
  • An easy way to hack the Rumbler's Turrets is to stop the hacking needle as soon as the hacking process starts. Since the needle starts over a green area, the player will finish one level of hacking right away. Using an Auto-Hack dart is the fastest way to hack a Turret.

Recommended Plasmids[]


  • Hypnotize is, obviously, a prime choice when faced with a Big Daddy, as it turns the hulking creature into the player's bodyguard. It can also be used to pit two Big Daddies against each other, which is both an entertaining and effective way of killing them.
  • Incinerate! is recommended against Big Daddies, as a single cast will drain a significant portion of their health over time.
  • Telekinesis may come in handy if there are explosives lying around. It can also help the player formulate various different strategies (see above and below).
  • Electro Bolt will temporarily stun the Big Daddy, as well as deal increased damage (especially in water).
  • Insect Swarm will distract the Big Daddy as well as deal continuous damage, allowing the player to take potshots at it.
  • Winter Blast can help the player quickly dispatch a Big Daddy, as it stuns them and reduces the amount of damage needed to destroy them. However, their corpse will shatter, leaving no loot.
  • Security Command can single-handedly take down a Big Daddy if the player performs the following strategy:
    • First of all, hack a nearby Security Camera and stop the needle on a red zone.
    • Paint the target Big Daddy with Security Command (Note: as this deals no direct damage, this won't cause the Big Daddy to attack the player in any way).
    • By the end of the alarm, the Big Daddy will be either severely weakened or dead, without the player risking themselves at any point. Note: This strategy is more effective on Bouncers as they cannot destroy Security Bots unless they stray too low.


  • Telekinesis is the prime Plasmid to use when tackling a Rumbler: all of its attacks are projectile-based, so skilled use of this tool will completely deprive it of any means of harming the player. Not only that, but launching its rockets and Miniature Turrets back at him will quickly kill it, to a minimal cost in EVE.
  • Security Command is also immensely useful when battling Rumblers, as it'll cause the Miniature Turrets to attack the Rumbler, effectively causing it to kill or at least severely injure itself.
  • Winter Blast is a useful complement to the above two Plasmids in a Rumbler fight: by freezing a Rumbler just after it fires a rocket and reflecting the shot back at it one can kill it in a matter of seconds and with next to no cost in resources. However, the Rumbler will shatter, leaving no loot unless one has Winter Blast 2 or higher. It can also be used to temporarily disable the Big Daddy's Mini-Turrets, allowing the player to either attempt to hack them, destroy them, or escape to better ground.
  • Electro Bolt has an additional use in a Rumbler fight in that it can temporarily disable Miniature Turrets. This is only marginally effective if trying to hack the device, but it can be used to grant the player a temporary reprieve while one searches for better cover.

Recommended Weapons and Ammunition[]


  • Armor-piercing ammo also deals increased damage against Big Daddies, although not as much as electric ammunition.
  • Upgrading the Drill so that it deals extra damage against foes makes this weapon a very palatable choice in a Big Daddy fight. Drill Dashes are capable of tearing large chunks of a Big Daddy's health at a time, especially combined with Electro Bolt. The only downside to this is that is both fuel-costly and brings the player to the Big Daddy's personal space, rendering one vulnerable. A good combination to kill them quickly with a drill is by using the Winter Blast Plasmid and Freezing Drill Tonic together, so melee is usable with ease whilst they are pinned down. The finishing blow must be when the Rumbler isn't frozen in order to still gain loot or with Winter Blast 2 or higher, and the EVE cost isn't too high either. But it's still a good idea to keep some EVE hypos with you just in case you run out.
  • Heavy Rivets, due to the fact that they deal more damage than standard Rivets, can be considered to be armor-piercing ammunition in this case.
  • Solid Slugs deal a very high amount of damage, and in this case count as armor-piercing ammunition. The size of Big Daddies compensates for the relative difficulty to aim with this ammo type, and also allows the player to fire from a longer distance than if they used any other ammo type for the Shotgun.
  • Phosphorus Buck deals a high amount of damage and sets the target on fire. This makes it an effective weapon against Big Daddies, especially if used at the beginning of a fight.
  • Standard Spears, due to their high damage output, can help in a Big Daddy battle, even though location-based bonuses do not apply.
  • Rocket Spears are extremely potent ordnance when it comes to disposing of a Big Daddy: the combined effects of the Spear hit, the fire, and the explosion will leave the enemy severely wounded, even if it was fired at him while he was at full health.


  • The Hack Tool, although resource-costly, will aid the player in hacking the Rumbler's Miniature Turrets, turning them against him. This should only be used in last-resort situations, however, since Hack Darts are both rare and costly and because the Mini-Turrets only last a few seconds.
  • Upgrading the Drill so that it reflects bullets and projectiles back at enemies will make it the best weapon versus Rumblers. Not only will the Big Daddy be rendered completely powerless, but it will deal severe amounts of damage to itself through reflected rockets and Miniature Turrets.

Recommended Tonics[]


  • The Armored Shell line of Tonics will significantly reduce damage received by a Big Daddy's attacks, making this a very useful Gene Tonic to have during combat.
  • The EVE Saver line of Tonics will reduce the cost in EVE when casting Plasmids.
  • Damage Research will significantly increase damage dealt against enemies researched using the Research Camera. The effectiveness of this Gene Tonic is entirely dependent on how much research the player has done.
  • Medical Expert will increase the First Aid Kit carry capacity by one, thus allowing the player to endure longer battles.
  • EVE Expert will increase the EVE Hypo carry capacity by one, thus allowing the player to endure longer battles.


  • Machine Buster increases damage against machines, which reduces the threat posed by the Rumbler's Miniature Turrets.

Significant Rumblers[]

Mark Meltzer, a man who journeyed to Rapture in search of his daughter Cindy, was turned into a Rumbler after being captured by Sofia Lamb, and he is encountered by the player in the ADAM laboratories of Fontaine Futuristics. His corpse contains the Audio Diary Meltzer's Choice.


Behind the Scenes[]

Rumbler is a BioShock model with a new color treatment. The one from the first game we felt was a little too colorful and saturated and didn't quite fit the more realistic earthy subdued tones of the other Big Daddies.
― PJ Leffelman; Lead Animator, 2K Marin[src]
  • The Rumbler is based on a Big Daddy model, the Slow-Pro, that was cut from the original BioShock (the main resemblance being the fact that their helmet design is identical). Originally, it would have still fired rockets, but instead of deploying Mini-Turrets, it would have had a powerful melee attack using its large hook.
  • It was explained by Kent Hudson that the reason for the removal for the Rumbler's hook was because after looking back at the original character, they felt that the enemy was already powerful with long range attacks, that they didn't feel keen on a short range attack, especially since melee was better suited for the Bouncer. As a substitution, the Miniature Turrets were created.[4]
  • According to an article in Game Informer #204, 2K Games discussed rejected names for the Rumbler, which include Howie, Bomber, and Professor Shootbombs.[5]
  • The Rumbler's model file is named ProtectorSPF.psk. SPF is an abbreviation of "Slow Pro Fum," which was the nickname given to the original version of the Rumbler back during the production of BioShock. The nickname stood for "Slow-moving, projectile-shooting, f'ed-up-melee".


  1. Gilbert Alexander's Audio Diary: The Rumbler
  2. Robb Waters' Portfolio
  3. January From the Vault on
  4. Introducing the Rumbler on The Cult of Rapture
  5. The article in Game informer #204 by 2K Games