Bioshock Infinite strategy guide: 1999 Mode
- Posted April 11th, 2013 at 00:03 EDT by Timothy Nunes
BioShock Infinite is the hottest thing in gaming right now. I sought to take this game to the next level--scoring a Platinum trophy in the process. This meant dialing the difficulty to 1999 Mode right off the bat.
Be warned: though I try to avoid spoilers in this strategy guide, there are a few points where they were unavoidable. So, new players: read this guide only if spoilers don't bother you.
Before you start
Avoid the Dollar Shop for three reasons
- Saves Silver Eagles for Vigor and weapon upgrades
- The only gold trophy for the game requires you to avoid the Dollar Shop in 1999 Mode
- Excuse to scavenge for the robust amount of items littered throughout the game
Season Pass ($19.99) might be a worthwhile investment
- 5 extra Infusions are rewarded right away
- Grants damage upgrade for Pistol and Machine Gun
- Grants access to all upcoming downloadable content; if you enjoy the game, you’ll play the extra content anyway
- Costs 100 Silver Eagles to revive
- Having less than 100 coins boots you to the main menu
- After dying, try reloading your checkpoint to avoid the coin penalty
Shock Jockey – increase stun duration
- Cheaper earlier upgrade; it’s used the entire game
Murder of Crows – target multiple enemies
- Useful crowd control throughout; very effective against Handymen
Possession – decrease Salt cost
- Very expensive, but late-game fights basically require it
Devil’s Kiss – hit multiple targets
- Stuns, does damage; very effective as battles grow larger
- Traps play key roles in later fights; stun and fire damage when triggered
Undertow – nothing; already useful without upgrades
- knocks enemies away and pulls them in by default; excess money only benefits length of reach
Bucking Bronco – upgrade not necessary, but increase effect area if it fits your play style
- lifts regular soldiers and Firemen into the air; very effective by default
Charge – do not upgrade, especially if random gear enhances it
- good contextual interrupt for Firemen and random soldiers without needing upgrades
Return to Sender – do nothing, especially if upgrading Shield with Infusions
- shields from and absorbs damage for short duration, and can be used as an explosive projectile
- Only upgrade weapon damage. Avoid reload speed upgrades, since random gear is free and can decrease reload times for all weapons; I played most of the game with normal reload times anyway.
- Weapons will be swapped constantly, so money shouldn’t be spent heavily on upgrading them until challenging fights.
- Stay away from upgrading handguns: the Pistol becomes pointless and the Hand Cannon is incredibly powerful by default.
- The Burst Gun and Machine Gun show up prominently throughout the end of the game, but I recommend only upgrading one.
- The Sniper Rifle plays a key role in the latter third of the game, but it’s useful any time after it’s found in the game; upgrade damage fully before final fight
- The RPG and Volley Gun become more useful in the end-game. Upgrade Volley Gun damage around Memorial Gardens and RPG damage a couple Armory stores after that.
Shock Jockey + automatic weapon – devastating to single targets or small groups, since S.J. increases weapon damage
Murder of Crows + Devil’s Kiss – passive damage and crowd control, especially after enhancing both Vigor’s area of effect
Bucking Bronco + Devil’s Kiss – heavy crowd control with explosive damage which sends basic soldiers flying
- Vigor usage is minimal in the early hours, so apply Infusions to either Health or Shield first. Choose one of them and stick with that decision until it’s leveled. I chose Shield, because it’s a good indicator that significant damage is being taken; the bars each increase 25%, so ratios between Health and Shield will be 50/50 or 70/30, respectively, after one is maxed out.
- After leveling Health OR Shield (to your liking), max your Salt bar, since Vigors play major roles in the game's second half. Then, put remaining Infusions in the stat left untouched.
- All gear cases hold random gear, making strategizing around gear challenging
- Determined players can keep reloading checkpoints to retry opening gear bags to get what they want, since most bags generate a random piece of gear.
- Gear can be freely swapped before specific fights, so look through them with an eye to the situations you're facing and apply them according to your Vigor and weapon choices.
Strategies for difficult enemies
Firemen and Rockets:
- Shock Jockey stuns them, increasing weapon damage; use machine gun for fast kill
- Bucking Bronco lifts them into the air for crowd control
- Devil’s Kiss staggers Rockets briefly, and can be used in combination with Bucking Bronco; Firemen are immune to Devil’s Kiss (see Vigor Combinations above).
- Shock Jockey stuns them, increasing weapon damage
- Devil’s Kiss interrupts them; good spammable ability to keep them from teleporting
- Volley Gun also good for keeping Crows from teleporting
- Crows aren’t nearly as beefy as Handymen, so they don’t require too much damage output
- Shock Jockey stuns them, increasing weapon damage
- The gears on their back are the only functional weakness. Stun them, then use a preferrably automatic weapon; Sniper Rifles work wonders as well
- Possession works nicely for a very short amount of time, but it won’t make them kill themselves like it does with normal soldiers
- Shock Jockey, Bucking Bronco do not work; Charge does not interrupt
- Murder of Crows do work, and can be combined with Devil’s Kiss (see Vigor Combinations above)
- Handymen take more damage when hitting the heart in the middle of their chest
- Handymen jump great distances when pursuing; be cautious and move around constantly
- Handymen will jump on Sky Lines and electrocute them if you spend too much time on the lines
- These fights take a long while. Keep your patience and keep moving. If any enemies accompany a Handyman, dispatch them first or they’ll catch you off guard.
- Before the fight, run around the graveyard and find both the Burst Gun and Volley Gun (upgrade Volley Gun damage before this fight). Finding these guns during the fight is suicidal.
- Don’t bother using Vigors while she’s darkened during the resurrection of dead enemies: she’s immune during this phase.
- Drop a Devil’s Kiss trap on her position as she finishes resurrecting enemies to damage her and her summoned minions.
- Use Possession on Rockets, since they do the most damage; Possession does NOT work on Sirens.
- When the graveyard fight starts, run to the right and behind the chamber, where a Medical Kit tear resides. This is a great place to camp, as the Siren tends not to go back there.
This fight is much harder than other boss fights, so here's a step-by-step guide on how to manage it.
- Grab the Sniper Rifle on the back-left side of the deck behind you.
- Destroy the first single gunship with Songbird.
- A gunship with a rocket cannon underneath it will fly to the other end of the Command Deck. Shoot the rocket cannon with the Sniper Rifle instead of using Songbird (Have Sniper Rifle damage maxed before this point). Use Undertow to knock Rockets, who are found on the top walkways on both sides, off the ship.
- Two gunships will then drop off enemies in the middle of the deck. Have Songbird attack the middle of the deck to eliminate most of them.
- A zeppelin will appear on the left side of the Command Deck and will launch two Motorized Patriots; use Shock Jockey and the Sniper Rifle to take out the first one, then use the first Patriot’s Rail Gun and Shock Jockey to quickly dispatch the second. Kill all remaining stragglers on the deck.
- Two more zeppelins will appear, and one will shoot rockets. Destroy that one with Songbird first, then eliminate the next round of Motorized Patriots and soldiers.
- Destroy the final zeppelin once Songbird's cooldown ends and eliminate the remaining soldiers to finish the event.
Hopefully, these tips and tricks help alleviate some of 1999 Mode's difficulty and make the undertaking that much more entertaining. This was one of the most fun hard difficulties I've played in a long time. I hope you're able to find the same enjoyable experience that I had while also making room for your own playstyle. Upon finishing 1999 Mode, you'll be one step closer to that Platinum trophy for BioShock Infinite! To see if your opinion of the game matches Adam Dolge's judgment, check out his review right here.
US Managing Editor Tim Nunes is an avid PlayStation gamer and a major trophy collector. If you want to reach out to a fellow trophy hunter, then you can find Tim on Twitter.