Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Character Analysis- Mark Meltzer

There is a reason why Mark was a late addition to the game... (Bioshock 2 Spoilers)

Mark Meltzer was created for the Bioshock ARG called "There's Something in the Sea"  He was an unknown character at first, just someone filling in a map.  The map has news paper clippings, photographs, and notes talking about the disappearances of several little girls who fit a certain profile.... ages 5 to 7 with dark hair.  Late in phase one, we find out the person who filled in the map just lost his own daughter to the monster, and we find out his name is Mark Meltzer. 

Mark is revealed over the story to be smart and dedicated.  He's being threatened by a mysterious force over the story and as a result he loses his daughter, his wife, and his status.  He has friends in odd places (such as the National UFO society)  but by looking at unconventional data he managed to pull together a picture of the disappearances.  Either as a threat or encouragement, the Big Sister who threatened him may be the one who is leaving him clues. 

He receives a record, puzzle boxes, and drawings from a mysterious place underneath the sea.  Above the sea, he finds information about people who just disappeared after world war two (such as Andrew Ryan, Dr. Suchong, Dr. Tenenbaum, Sander Cohen... the citizens of Rapture)  and maybe where Rapture existed.  The information and it's sources get more and more outlandish, but there can be no denying that the information fits.  Eventually he makes his way into Rapture.

Once he arrives there, he gathers information about the Splicers and about his daughter.
We lose his audio diaries, but he fills in important pieces of the puzzle.  And then we learn his fate.

So, what do we know about Mark?
He's incredibly loving. He was worried about a series of disappearances.  He had nothing to do with the vanishings, but he looked into them anyway.  When he lost his daughter to The Big Sister, he didn't give her up as dead, he looked even harder.

He's devoted and determined.  Mark searched for months.  He lived through revolts, mental institutions, assassination attempts, puzzles, Splicers, and Big Sisters in order to get Cindy (and the other girls) back. The only reason he stopped looking is because he found her.  Which then lead to him being captured, but that is because relief dulled his senses.

He's human.  Through the letters and phone calls we find out about a very devoted man.  He has friends, family, interests... we don't see that in Rapture.  People are usually very extreme and violent due to ADAM splicing, but he has none of that.   He occasionally fights back in Self Defense. He doesn't have a madness mantra.  We see him leaving his hat around his apartment, we hear him worry about money, we read about how he was tricked or how he went down the wrong path in his search, we notice how he keeps photos of his family around.  We may not know all of his little quirks, but it is enough.  We root for him because we see that he is, entirely, human.

He's clever. First, he manages to FIND Rapture, a city in the middle of the sea who's location has been hidden for years. The clues are scattered and obtuse, but Mark puts them together and actually discovers Rapture.   Jack and Delta also found Rapture, but Jack was manipulated into finding Rapture and Delta's outside Rapture status is only hinted at in a conversation that calls him "Johnny Topside"  Both Jack and Delta found Rapture years ago.  Mark found it in 1968.  The developers stated that the enemies of Bioshock 2 would be more powerful.  Jack (the Player Character from the last game)  would probably die if he entered into Rapture now.  Jack, canonically, gets at least one splice and quite a few weapons.  Mark has... a pistol.  That's it.  He has to think and plan his way through Rapture in order to avoid Splicers and find Cindy. And in that he gets about half way through Rapture and the only reason the Big Sister surprises him is because he's in shock from seeing Cindy. 

And then we get right back to loving.  Between losing his identity to protect Cindy or simply dying, he chooses to be with Cindy. 

Not bad for a character who isn't supposed to exist.... Well, originally.   During the "There's Something in the Sea" viral campaign, Irrational Games revealed Mark's address.  People started to send him fan letters.  The campaign became more interactive because of the support and Mark was put into the game, along with Cindy.  (due to time constraints, Cindy's model doesn't have blond hair and a planned trophy for rescuing Cindy was cut)  When Mark was put in, originally he was to follow Delta but the final product had it the other way around.

Mark is one of my favorite characters.  He's loving, devoted, determined, and tragic.  There's a reason why fans were devestated to find that Big Daddy they just killed was Mark, and the Sister is Cindy.  He was something you don't see in Rapture and we loved him for it.  He was a devoted, human, father.

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