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Why Sander Cohen is one of BioShock’s most memorable elements

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I want to take the ears off, but I can’t!

In the latest installment of Game Maker’s Toolkit, Mark Brown explores why Sander Cohen and Fort Frolic are the most captivating, if not the best, parts of BioShock.

Who is Sander Cohen, exactly? He’s an artist of sorts — a sculptor, composer, poet and playwright who’s devolved into madness. As you pick up his audio diaries, you begin to piece together the levels of social prominence and unpredictable temperament that make him such an icon in Rapture. But it’s not just the audio excerpts of a tortured artist that are so hard to tear yourself away from. There’s a grace and elegance in the classical music that accompanies posed, contorted bodies and bloody rabbit masks. As Brown puts it, "this gross dude with his pancaked makeup and waxy mustache is perhaps the most unhinged of them all."

Fort Frolic is an area that’s entirely Cohen’s; he owns it in a way that’s far different from the other parts of Rapture. He hijacks your radio, as well as your missions for a short time, and you’re left to explore the area and do his twisted bidding. You’ll find that some of the rooms include plaster casts of splicers that end up preying on your deepest, darkest jump-scare fears. There’s a piece of Cohen in almost everything Fort Frolic – enemies’ attack patterns even reflect his erratic personality. He’s perhaps one of the most terrifyingly charismatic characters you’ll meet in BioShock, and certainly not one you’ll forget any time soon.