Bioshock Little Sisters: Rescue or Harvest?

Maintain a clear conscience when you rescue or harvest Little Sisters in Bioshock. We lay out the items and ADAM you get for each.

While exploring the underwater city of Rapture, Bioshock hits players with a recurring moral choice: should they harvest Little Sisters for extra ADAM, or do the right thing and rescue them instead? 

This is more than just a question of right and wrong. Because your playthrough can change radically depending on which option you choose it's important to choose wisely.

If you're having trouble deciding, we've broken down all of the possible rewards related to rescuing or harvesting every Little Sister found in Bioshock.

Rewards For Rescuing or Harvesting Little Sisters

Twenty-four Little Sisters can be found in Bioshock, and each can be rescued or harvested after defeating the Big Daddy that protects them.

Here's the basic breakdown you need to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • Harvesting = 160 ADAM
  • Rescuing = 80 ADAM

While harvesting seems to be the obvious way to go, there's a twist. Brigid Tenenbaum offers you a teddy bear gift of 200 ADAM — as well as goodies like ammo, health, tonics, and even plasmids — for every three Little Sisters you rescue.

Some of those gifts can be extremely useful when battling Splicers and other Big Daddies. That's especially true on the game's harder difficulty settings. You'll even need certain Plasmids to get into certain locations, such as Chompers Dental or to find all of Bioshock's audio diaries. 

Here's a breakdown of each gift you get for rescuing three Little Sisters, including the area in which you need to save them. 

  • Neptune's Bounty: Hypnotize Big Daddy Plasmid, 12 armor-piercing pistol rounds
  • Arcadia: Safecracker tonic, 12 electric buck
  • Fort Frolic: Hypnotize Big Daddy 2 Plasmid, 4 first-aid kits
  • Hephaestus: 4 EVE hypos, 6 proximity mines
  • Olympus Heights: Armored Shell 2 tonic, 12 incendiary bolts
  • Apollo Square: Prolific Inventor tonic, 150 liquid nitrogen
  • Point Prometheus: 100 antipersonnel auto rounds, 4 first-aid kits

Even with the extra 200 ADAM gift every three saves, you still get more overall ADAM by harvesting each Little Sister. Here's the total ADAM breakdown if you exclusively harvest or rescue Little Sisters throughout the entire game:

  • Harvesting = 3840 ADAM
  • Rescuing = 3520 ADAM 

Should I Harvest or Rescue Little Sisters?

The bottom line is that harvesting more than one Little Sister during the course of Bioshock's story lets you upgrade all your plasmids much more quickly, but it also results in getting one of the two possible "bad" endings.

Saving all the Little Sisters (or all but one of the Little Sisters, as you can still harvest one without consequence) results in getting the "good" ending but with slower advancement. By the end of the game, you will still be able to afford nearly all of the upgrades, however, and you get all those nifty extra goodies.

There is one instance where rescuing can be better from a gameplay perspective, and that's playing through on Survivor mode.

In particular, the Hypnotize Big Daddy plasmid and Armored Shell 2 tonics are crucial to survival in that most difficult setting. If you want the hardest experience, we recommend going the rescue route, even if you have a walkthrough or have experience with other games in the genre. 

       When playing Survival mode, you absolutely want Hypnotize Big Daddy

Whether you're playing the vanilla game or the remastered version on PS4, Xbox One, or PC, you now know whether you should rescue or harvest Little Sisters. Which route are you going to take on your next Bioshock playthrough?

Be sure to leave us a message if you need help with any other part of exploring Rapture (under the sea), or you can check out our full list of Bioshock guides here:

Featured Contributor

Ty splits his time between writing horror fiction and writing about video games. After 25 years of gaming, Ty can firmly say that gaming peaked with Planescape Torment, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a soft spot for games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout: New Vegas, Bioshock Infinite, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. He has previously written for GamerU and MetalUnderground. He also writes for PortalMonkey covering gaming laptops and peripherals.

Published Feb. 7th 2020

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