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Houdini Splicer

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Saturnine Splicer

The Saturnine, a strange and dangerous group of Houdinis.

"Them Splicers come screaming out the woodwork. Burping fire, spitting ice..."
―Bill McDonagh[src]

Houdini Splicers are a unique kind of Splicer, as they are one of the few types known to be capable of using offensive Plasmids while possessing the ability to turn into an invisible cloud of molecules and reform elsewhere. There are two types of Houdini Splicers: ordinary fire-wielding Houdini Splicers who appear in BioShock, BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite's downloadable content, Burial at Sea - Episode 2, and ice-wielding Houdinis who are much stronger and appear in the later levels of the first game and in BioShock 2's downloadable content, Minerva's Den. Additionally, a non-hostile variant using both fire and ice-based Plasmids appears briefly in Burial at Sea - Episode 1.



Cannon Fodder? - More of a pest than a serious foe, if the player can avoid the bolts they throw, they pose no serious threat, but one can catch their missiles in the same manner as the Telekinesis projectile catching tactic for Nitro Splicers and Spider Splicers. Killing them might be a bit difficult due to their ability to turn invisible, but not overly so. However, one reappearing right next to the player might give them a fright. This Splicer type upgrades at the game's midpoint, casting ice at the player instead of fire.

Notable Behavior - This Splicer is the easiest to spot. They produce a unique and very loud sound when turning invisible which can immediately alert any player to its presence. When invisible, the player can pinpoint where the Splicer will reappear by looking for tell-tale signs of Houdini movement: shimmering in the air, footprints in the water and small whooshing noises signify the presence of a Houdini in the vicinity. Houdinis also have a tendency to reappear where the player isn't looking, so always watch one's back. They also usually reappear in the player's vicinity. These Splicers have a rather basic attack pattern: they will fire an elemental projectile at the player, run away from the player, disappear, reappear somewhere else and repeat the process.

Tips and Tricks:

Hephaestus-Houdini Splicer-Rosebud

A Houdini hurls a fireball.

  • When badly injured, Splicers will attempt to use a nearby Health Station, if available. This can be used to the player's advantage if they had previously hacked the Health Station. After they have dealt a good amount of damage to the Splicer, it will run to get health and be poisoned to death by the hacked Health Station.
  • Houdini projectiles are easily dodgeable, so if the player is watchful they won't take damage. However, be careful the Splicer's fireball doesn't ignite a barrel or an oil slick near oneself.
  • Always be on the offensive: these Splicers can easily bypass traps, and will always attack the player from the weak spot in their cover.
  • As such, it is impossible to escape from a Houdini Splicer, as it will always follow the player and reappear near them.
  • This Splicer is specifically designed to use fear tactics and play on the player's emotions. If they can keep their nerve, they will be able to kill this Splicer on any difficulty, without much trouble.

Recommended PlasmidsEdit

  • Telekinesis will be able to launch a Houdini's projectiles back at it with ease.
  • Alternatively, Sonic Boom can also reflect projectiles, although with less precision.
  • Incinerate! will deal continuous damage to this Splicer, whether or not they are invisible. As such it is very recommended to use it against this Splicer type.
  • Insect Swarm works even better on Houdinis. Not only will a swarm of bees deal continuous damage to the Houdini, but it will also reveal their presence, thanks to the large cloud of insects surrounding the invisible Splicer.
  • Winter Blast can help the player easily take down this Splicer type. However, Houdinis are known to hold valuable loot, so only use in last-resort situations.
  • Electro Bolt can stun the Splicer for short periods of time allowing the player to throw some much needed attacks before they turn invisible.

Recommended Weapons and AmmunitionEdit

  • Antipersonnel ammo will usually kill any Splicer in a couple of shots.
  • The Wrench, with the right upgrades, can help the player easily take down a Houdini, as they are both relatively weak and don't deal high melee damage.
  • A Shotgun loaded with 00 Buck will be enough to take down a Houdini on any difficulty, on any level. However, Exploding Buck is more effective if the player can afford it, as it not only deals continuous damage to the Splicer but it will also deal significant damage even if the player is too nervous to aim correctly. Electric Buck is also effective at stopping the Splicer in their tracks before they teleport.
  • A Grenade Launcher loaded with Grenades or Heat-Seeking RPG's can easily take down a Houdini in a single shot. Proximity Mines are useless since a Houdini Splicer can bypass them when invisible.
  • A Chemical Thrower loaded with Napalm will kill these Splicers in around a second, using only a few units of ammo. Liquid Nitrogen works well too, but attacking the Splicer while it is still frozen will shatter it, yielding no loot.
  • Using the Crossbow is only recommended for players possessing sufficient skills at twitch-aiming. However, a Steel-Tip Bolt bodyshot will always kill or severely injure a Houdini on any difficulty, so it pays off. As such, Incendiary Bolts aren't required against this enemy. Trap Bolts, on the other hand are very useful because one can surround himself and if the Trap Bolts are far enough away, the Houdini Splicer will kill itself by walking into it while invisible.

Recommended Gene TonicsEdit

  • Natural Camouflage will help the player ambush this Splicer type, although it is impossible to escape from them, as they always reappear in the player's vicinity.
  • The Human Inferno line of Gene Tonics, in addition to increasing all fire-based damage dealt by the player, will also make them resistant against a Houdini Splicer's fireballs.
  • The Frozen Field line of Tonics, in addition to increasing damage dealt by the Wrench and giving it a chance of freezing any enemy it hits, will also make the player resistant against a Houdini Splicer's ice orbs.
  • The Damage Research line of Tonics will significantly increase damage dealt against enemies researched using the Research Camera. This Tonic is dependent on the amount of research the player has done.

Significant Houdini SplicersEdit

Sander Cohen

Sander Cohen, a unique Houdini Splicer.

Only two Houdini Splicers hold significance in Jack's journey through Rapture, and both can be found in Fort Frolic. The most noticeable one is Sander Cohen, a fire-type Houdini Splicer but with more damage tolerance and a longer invisibility duration. The other one is his former disciple and shady character, Martin Finnegan, an ice-type Houdini Splicer who is found in the frozen tunnel between the main part of the Fort and Poseidon Plaza. Frank Fontaine is capable of teleporting, but this happens only when his health reaches zero, and is used to return to his ADAM-injecting device.

The first Houdini Splicer the player encounters is in Arcadia. He tries to lead the player into a trap by crying out for help before making himself a threat. An audio diary, The Saturnine, describes a group of Houdini Splicers, the Saturnine cult, who cover themselves in leaves and roam about in Arcadia. Most of the Houdini Splicers encountered in Arcadia are members of the Saturnine.

Research BenefitsEdit

In addition to increasing the potential damage that can be dealt to Houdini Splicers, using the Research Camera on them can yield an extremely useful Tonic at level two, Natural Camouflage, which allows Jack to become invisible after standing still for a few seconds. Level four research also makes it easier to predict where a Houdini Splicer will appear after turning invisible.

BioShock 2Edit

Bioshock2 2014-01-05 20-58-51-465

Houdini Splicer throwing fire balls.

In BioShock 2, Houdini Splicers are first encountered upon entering Dionysus Park. They are noticeably more agile than in the original BioShock, able to sidestep or roll to dodge gunfire or projectiles. They are also more durable, generally having almost 50% more health than the Leadhead Splicers in the same level. Houdini Splicers in BioShock 2 only throw fireballs, and never use ice projectiles.

Strategy ChangesEdit

  • Houdinis attack much faster than in the previous games and, in the later levels, can throw several elemental orbs at the player in a single bout.
  • In addition, Houdinis have more health than before, and can take several heavy hits before dying. On the other hand, the absence of U-Invent machines in the sequel means they hold less valuable loot.

Recommended PlasmidsEdit

  • Electro Bolt will shock the Houdini, preventing them from escaping.
  • Winter Blast will stun Houdini Splicers for even longer and render them more vulnerable to damage, allowing the player to kill them instantly. This only works on the Houdini Splicers in BioShock 2, though, as Wintry Houdinis are immune to all freezing effects.
  • Insect Swarm will temporarily distract the Houdini, as well as mark their location as they teleport.

Recommended Weapons and AmmunitionEdit

  • Using BioShock 2's Research Camera makes the invisible Houdini Splicer visible via the gold outline, useful in fighting them before receiving the Research Bonus that makes their "teleporting" easier to predict.
  • A Drill Dash can help close the distance to a Houdini Splicer in addition to doing heavy damage.

Recommended Gene TonicsEdit

Minerva's DenEdit


The Wintry Houdinis in Climate Control.

Wintry Houdini SplicersEdit

Unlike the main game's Houdini Splicers who only use fire attacks, BioShock 2's downloadable content, Minerva's Den, features Houdini Splicers which only use Winter Blast. These new Houdini Splicers are covered with a light layer of frost, and will use this to hide amongst other frozen Splicers. They also disappear while leaving a blue cloud rather than a red one. Wintry Houdinis are also immune to Winter Blast and other ice-based attacks. If one of their Winter Blasts hits a friendly Security Bot, the bot will deactivate until the player manually reactivates it.

Burial at Sea - Episode 1Edit

Les Temps Perdu Waiter

A waiter displaying his Houdini ability.

In the BioShock Infinite downloadable content, Burial at Sea - Episode 1, a non-hostile Houdini Splicer is seen working as a waiter at Le Temps Perdu on High Street. He offers Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth refreshments, which Booker declines, and then vanishes. He can be seen continually appearing and disappearing around the bar serving customers refreshments, tending to their needs, or keeping the place clean. He's seen using other Plasmid abilities to light a customer's cigarette with the snap of his fingers or to chill their drinks with a blast of ice.

Burial at Sea - Episode 2Edit

BioShockInfinite 2015-06-07 15-00-21-705

Houdini Splicer of Ryan Security.

Houdini Splicers appear as one of the significant enemies of BioShock Infinite's downloadable content, Burial at Sea - Episode 2. As opposed to the previous hostile iterations of this enemy, they appear to be relatively sane and are part of Ryan Security, attacking Atlas' forces and hunting down Elizabeth in Fontaine's Department Store. They are also capable of throwing much faster fireballs than in previous games, which make them difficult to dodge and, like Firemen, will release an omnidirectional blast when approached, igniting Elizabeth. They are particularly tough enemies, requiring multiple Tranquilizer Bolts to take down and are completely immune to Possession. However, like any other enemy, they are still vulnerable to stealth blows.

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • The name "Houdini" is a reference to Harry Houdini, a famous magician on Vaudeville in the 1900s who performed many escape acts. Houdini's advertisements sometimes showed him making his escapes via dematerializing.[1]
  • As seen in the second developer gameplay demo,[2] Houdini Splicers would have originally been in the Medical Pavilion, but the Splicer ability was not included in the final version of the environment.
  • In BioShock, there are two non-aggressive Houdini Splicers inside of Sander Cohen's apartment in Olympus Heights. The Splicers, a Breadwinner and Lady Smith, appear to be a couple dancing. However, they will turn on the player if either they're attacked, if the record player is disrupted, or if the player uses the piano. This will also incur the wrath of Sander Cohen.
    • In BioShock 2, a similar dancing scene with a couple of aggressive Houdini Splicers can be seen at the Lounge in the Triton Cinema in Dionysus Park, and are also a Breadwinner and Lady Smith. If one is killed, the remaining one will rush over to the corpse of their fallen companion, get down on their knees and begin crying. 
  • There is either an unrendered Houdini Splicer on the top floor of Artemis Suites, or a forgotten invisibility cloud animation. This can be viewed by using console commands on the PC to ghost up to the top level.


  1. Harry Houdini on Wikipedia
  2. BioShock Gameplay Trailer #2 on YouTube

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