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Seaslug concept

One of the sea slugs responsible for ADAM's existence.

ADAM is a substance harvested and processed from a type of Sea Slug. It is believed to cause the formation of potent stem cells that have the ability to differentiate into any cell type. As revealed in the audio diary Hatred, ADAM is a viscous, green liquid in its raw form.

ADAM can be genetically manipulated to produce tissue and functions that would not normally be present in the human body. It acts[1] like a seemingly benign form of cancer, destroying native cells and replacing them with unstable stem versions. While it is this instability that gives it its amazing properties, it is also what causes the cosmetic and mental damage to people who use it habitually. In the end, the instability of the stem cells requires the user to take in more ADAM to remain sane and healthy, becoming unstable if they fail to do so.


The problems caused by ADAM abuse among the population of Rapture were exacerbated by Andrew Ryan's Free Market societal beliefs. His hands-off approach to running the city meant that there was no regulation of ADAM, and no prevention of its side effects, as with other drugs. By the time the Rapture Civil War brought massive addiction to ADAM, and the terrible side-effects were made more plain to the majority, it was too late.

ADAM was discovered by Brigid Tenenbaum in a Sea Slug that had bitten one of Rapture's dock workers and healed his long-crippled hand. The Sea Slugs alone could not provide enough ADAM for marketing consumer products. When a Slug is embedded in a host's stomach, it generated twenty to thirty times the yield of usable ADAM. This was the original purpose of the Little Sisters and Fontaine's orphanage, as young girls were the only viable hosts.

The exact date of ADAM's discovery remains unclear. A concept Teleportation advertisement seen in Fontaine Futuristics, is dated 06/16/1948. Discovery may have been before 1952, as Tenenbaum, Yi Suchong and Gilbert Alexander are all seen in a "Rapture's Best and Brightest" 1952 poster. All were key figures in Rapture's scientific community after the discovery of ADAM. It is unlikely that Tenenbaum would have been so honored prior to ADAM's discovery.



The ADAM bar in the pause menu.

ADAM is used for character ability development. The player can spend ADAM at a Gatherer's Garden to gain Plasmids and Gene Tonics to give their character new abilities or improve the ones already owned.


ADAM is retrieved by the player from Little Sisters. There is a choice regarding whether to rescue the Little Sisters by using a special Plasmid given to the player by Tenenbaum, or to harvest them. Rescuing the girls destroys the slugs within them, leaving them alive, curing them but gaining only 80 ADAM in the process. Harvesting involves forcibly extracting the slug, receiving the full 160 ADAM at the cost of killing the Little Sister (rationalized in an audio diary, to being like removing life support from a terminally ill patient).

While choosing to rescue the Little Sisters provides less ADAM in the short term, after each third saved girl, a gift will be placed in a teddy bear at a Gatherer's Garden which contains 200 ADAM as well as the addition of some unique Gene Tonics and supplies. The total ADAM received from rescuing three Little Sisters is therefore 3×80 + 200 = 440 ADAM, which is only 40 less than the total of 160×3 = 480 ADAM received from harvesting three Little Sisters. The choice therefore has little difference in cost.

This choice affects the way Tenenbaum interacts with the player and the ending of the game.

Draining Fontaine of ADAM in the final boss fight grants 250 ADAM per drain (for a total of 750 ADAM), but as there is no Gatherer's Garden nor a way to exit the fight without killing him and ending the game, the ADAM gained is only for show.

BioShock 2Edit

ADAM Meter

The ADAM Counter as it appears in BioShock 2.

In BioShock 2, new ways of gaining ADAM appear in the game. To get the maximum amount of ADAM in BioShock 2, it is necessary to perform all possible gather sessions, to save the first four Little Sisters and obtain the Proud Parent Tonic, then harvest the rest of the Sisters. The player's maximum ADAM obtained is well over 3000. The methods of obtaining ADAM are listed below.

  • Adoption: Subject Delta can adopt a Little Sister and have her extract the ADAM from a corpse. Each harvest yields 40 ADAM, and each Little Sister can harvest up to two corpses. In total, this yields 80 ADAM per Little Sister and per adoption. The harvest bonus can be increased to 60 ADAM through the use of the Proud Parent Tonic. This Tonic is in the first gift received after saving four Little Sisters. The player can obtain a total of 12×2×40 = 960 ADAM through adoption alone (or 4×2×40 + 8×2×60 = 1280 ADAM if using the Proud Parent Tonic).
  • Save/Harvest: After adopting a Little Sister, Delta has the option to either save or harvest her. The player obtains 80 ADAM for saving and 160 ADAM for harvesting. Rescuers receive three gifts, each after rescuing four Little Sisters, containing a total of 450 ADAM and two Gene Tonics and some resources. This means that a typical Rescuer will earn 12×80 + 80 + 120 + 250 = 1410 ADAM while a typical Harvester will receive 12×160 = 1920 ADAM through the harvest/rescue operation.
  • Kill a Big Sister: Each Big Sister corpse yields 40 ADAM, which constitutes the main reward after fighting her. There are a total of seven Big Sisters the player will have to kill in the game, earning the player 7×40 = 280 ADAM.
  • Harvest a Sea Slug: Sea Slugs can be picked off the ocean floor, and yield 10 ADAM each. There are five Sea Slugs in total, giving the player 5×10 = 50 ADAM. Three are found in the beginning underwater section of Siren Alley. 2 more are found outside near Fontaine Futuristics; one at the beginning of the level, and the other can be reached by climbing the staircase near an Alpha Series corpse on the way to the hidden Plasmid lab.
  • Gather from a Corpse: In the later stages of the game, the player will be able to control a Little Sister who can gather ADAM from corpses, yielding 40 ADAM each time. There are three corpses in the level, yielding a total of 3×40 = 120 ADAM.
  • ADAM from Eleanor: In the level Inner Persephone, Eleanor will harvest/save Little Sisters from the Therapy and Infirmary Wards, granting the player 50 ADAM for each ward. Therefore the player will get a total of 2×50 = 100 ADAM.

Note: Saving will grant the player 3,240 ADAM total. Harvesting will give 3,430 ADAM instead. Combining both methods (after earning the Proud Parent Tonic) will give the maximum sum of 3,510 ADAM.

Minerva's DenEdit


An ADAM corpse.

In the DLC, ADAM is gained in the same way as in BioShock 2. In total, there are nineteen Sea Slugs, six Little Sisters and two Big Sisters. Saving all the Little Sisters in a level will grant the player the Proud Parent Gene Tonic and 100 ADAM (along with a cash reward) as a first gift, and persisting will earn the player the Armored Shell 2 Tonic and 120 ADAM. If the player has purchased the Protector Trials and unlocked every star, they may also access the Master Protector Tonic for free, which increases all ADAM rewards from gathering sessions by 40.

If the player chooses to rescue the Little Sisters exclusively, they will earn a total of 1570 ADAM (2050 with Master Protector) plus Armored Shell 2 and $260, which are both extremely useful in the final fight against Reed Wahl and cannot be obtained otherwise. If the player chooses only to harvest them, they will earn 1710 (or 2190) ADAM, thus creating a gap of 140 ADAM. If the player chooses to rescue the Little Sisters in Minerva's Den and then harvest them in Operations they will accrue a total of 1690/2170 ADAM, plus $100, which is 120 ADAM more than for a "pure" Rescuer but still 20 ADAM less than for a Harvester.

BioShock 2 MultiplayerEdit

In the multiplayer, ADAM serves as the player's main form of advancement through Ranks, and can be obtained in various ways. They are as follows:

  • Kill. Reward: 10 ADAM. Granted upon killing an enemy.
  • Assist. Reward: 5 ADAM. Granted upon dealing damage to an enemy without having dealt the killing blow.
  • Hack. Reward: 10 ADAM. Granted upon successfully hacking a machine.
  • Research Photo. Reward: 10 ADAM. Granted upon successfully researching an enemy corpse.
  • ADAM Vial. Reward: 10 ADAM. Granted upon collecting one of the ADAM vials scattered across the level.
  • Killing Streaks. Reward: 50 ADAM. Granted upon killing three enemies in a row without dying.
  • Big Daddy Suit. Reward: 50 ADAM. Granted upon picking up a Big Daddy Suit in the level.
  • Big Daddy Takedown. Reward: 100 ADAM. Granted upon landing the killing blow upon a Big Daddy.
  • Trial Completion. Reward: Varies depending on the trial and its level. Granted upon completing a trial.


Behind the ScenesEdit

  • ADAM and EVE are a reference to the Biblical characters Adam and Eve, who, according to Genesis, cursed themselves and the human race with death after eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This symbolizes the fall of Rapture and its citizens.
  • The effects of ADAM are reversible, as explained in the Minerva's Den DLC, but the effects of ADAM have only been reversed on one person, Charles Milton Porter, with the help of Brigid Tenenbaum.
  • Tenenbaum's visual description of ADAM in her Hatred audio diary, describes ADAM as it looked in the BioShock X06 Trailer[2]. There, ADAM was a green, murky liquid dispensed via smaller, leaner hypodermic needles. In the final game, ADAM appears as a scarlet or red substance.
  • In the book "Deco Devolution" -- the art book included in the BioShock 2 Special Edition -- there are some references to ADAM being called EDEN, perhaps in its early stages. From the Splicer section of the book; "The concept of EDEN led us to experiment with enemies so devolved in their form that they become more or less human blobs."
  • Early in BioShock's development, ADAM would have been the actual currency of Rapture, just as the Ryan Dollar was in the final game.[3]
  • If the player looks out any window in Outer or Inner Persephone, they can see an enormous glowing orb. According to one of the game's developers, Steve Gaynor, it is this orb that gave the slugs the ability to produce ADAM.
  • In BioShock InfiniteBurial at Sea - Episode 2, An audio diary from Frank Fontaine reveals that Drinkable Plasmids use ten times more ADAM to produce than Injectable ones. This explains why their production was cancelled shortly after their release, and why they were only shown in the DLC. 
  • Also in episode 2 of Burial at Sea, while Elizabeth explores Fontaine's panic room in the Manta Ray Lounge, A syringe containing a green liquid can be found in one of the facilities rooms. It's likely that this is ADAM in its raw form. An examination the syringe will cause Elizabeth to see the Little Sisters attacking the mutated Frank Fontaine at the end of BioShock. Similar syringes can be found in the former Bathysphere Sales Office with other medical supplies.
  • When Elizabeth is reviving Booker DeWitt when he suffers enough wounds to drain the health bar, she is shown using a slim, hypodermic needle filled with a glowing green liquid. It is unknown what this liquid is, however the later developments of the BioShock story along with the description of ADAM in its raw form, it is entirely possible that Elizabeth uses raw ADAM to bring Booker back from mortal wounds.
    • This would explain Booker's ability to survive serious injuries and recover in a matter of seconds.


  1. ADAM_Explained Audio Diary text from Tenenbaum
  2. BioShock X06 trailer at
  3. BioShock Developer Walkthrough (at 11:53) on

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