Fort Frolic is the seventh level of BioShock. The initial objective of this level is simply to walk across a large entry hall to a door leading to a second bathysphere, which will take Jack to Hephaestus. However, access is restricted by Sander Cohen, an egocentric, demented artist and musician who has trapped the player in Fort Frolic and has disabled radio communication with Atlas and Andrew Ryan.
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, a day of shopping, 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.
Sander Cohen — an artist, director, gallery owner, and "a real lunatic, dyed-in-the-wool psychopath" — controled Fort Frolic.
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.
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, most of it is shut-off or inaccessible to Jack. Cohen's Muse Box lies besides the stairs in it's class case. 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 notably, of them is the Fleet Hall, where the citizens of Rapture could enjoy theatrical and musical arts. Inside, it offered the citizens a chance to catch a drink of Ryan's Club Ale or a bite of a chocolate-creme cake before the show started. Since the fall, the place has been maintained 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 become burned to a crisp. Inside, all Jack will find are some safes and a plaster-covered table with a plaster Splicer family around it.
When open to the public, Fort Frolic was home to many diferent stores. However, much of the mall area has been closed off or shuttered. Only the southernmost portion of the space is easily accessible. Just off the Atrium are two bathrooms, and in the men's room one can see some of Sander Cohen's "Human art." The Cocktail Lounge once served as a place where the night-clubbers of Rapture could unwind and 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 is 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 top 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 Splicer 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 the many once fine establishments here is Sir Prize: Games of Chance. Sir Prize was just one of the many gambling and drinking spots in Fort Frolic, but is now in disuse. The space is not empty, however, as when Jack arrives a trio of Splicers are engaged in a barroom brawl. Sinclair Spirits was, at one point, the best place 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 due to the sea water 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 it is not in danger of being flooded or suddenly collapsing, tobacco is outdated in Rapture, replaced by addictive ADAM.
Eve's Garden was the most well known gentleman's club in Rapture, featuring Jasmine Jolene – "Ryan's favorite girl." It was a place where the men 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 decimated and destroyed part of Poseidon Plaza. Once a place where the 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.
The area also contains 2 Proxy Mines and a crate with cash and an Automatic Hack Tool.
Jump up onto the crate, turn around, and zap the water.
Several Plastered Splicers have spawned in the water; three zaps should do them in.
These Splicers hold very good loot. However, never look away from the corpses.
Fail to do so and not only do the corpses disappear, but new Plastered Splicers spawn in the room.
Upstairs, turn left. Kill another Plastered Splicer by the falling water.
Go back to the Atrium.
Atrium: Third Photo, Battle
A big battle (15-16 Splicers in all, two will be alive at any time) will take happen after placing the third picture.
As usual, many strategies can work. Save first.
The battle starts a few seconds after placing the third photo.
Easiest solution that requires no ammo: if you've hacked the nearby camera and have the camouflage tonic: Go back to the camera you've hacked that's nearby. Stand under the camera and watch the Splicers get killed by the Security Bots as they trip the alarm. Even if you're invisible, they'll all come where you are but wont attack since you're invisible.
Run back to the corner to the left of the Metro exit doors.
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 revellers. Pharaoh's Fortune Casino would have been one of the main targets.
At the end of the episode, Fort Frolic's marquee can be seen from the window in the hall where Elizabeth rendezvouses with Atlas.
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.
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.
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. This was removed before BioShock was completed, but the Ferris Wheel was later included in the Challenge Rooms downloadable content for the PlayStation 3.
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.
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.