What You Need to Know About BioShock Infinite's 1999 Mode

BioShock Infinite’s 1999 Mode is pretty hard, but not too hard if you know what to do. The things added in the 1999 Mode are:

  • No navigation arrow to help guide you
  • Enemies have increased health and deal more damage
  • Enemies don’t drop as much ammo and money
  • When you die, you lose money; if you die and don’t have enough money, then you get a Game Over and have to start from the beginning. (That's what I've heard, though I, personally, have not died yet)


So here are several tips that make the game a bit easier, and some things that you are going to want to watch out for: (Remember this is what I have found to work; it does not mean it will work for you.)

  • Make sure you try to find all of the infusions to boost your health, shield, and salts. I add two to both Booker's health and shield, then one to salt.
  • Play it safe; don’t rush into any battle. One guy can kill you very easy.
  • The weapons that I use are the shotgun and the carbine/sniper. The sniper rifle and carbine are great for headshots, which is what you're only going to go for. For perspective, the carbine drops enemies with five shots to the body as opposed to one or two to the head; the sniper is almost always a one-shot headshot. And the shotgun is a great combo for the Shock Jockey and the Bucking Bronco vigors.
  • The vigors that I use the most are Bucking Bronco, Shock Jockey, and Murder of Crows. The Possession vigor is alright only when the Patriots are near other enemies.
  • Tips for taking out the Patriots: Shock Jockey and Murder of Crows are the best; they stun him long enough to pump some lead into him until he dies.
  • Enemies do not tend to rush you unless they have a shotgun, unless they are the melee variety (that's why you should have a shotgun).
  • The turret Tears that you can open up on the battlefield are good for distractions, but they tend to die fast. The cover Tears and the ones that give you guns and salts are the best.
  • Use the Skyline to get out of a bad situation.
  • The upgrades that you should try to find are as follows: any that gives you a 50% critical bonus; when your shield breaks, you get a 50% movement speed boost; and when you kill a guy, you have a 40% chance to gain some salts. The other one is up to you. (Although this is what I think, there may be a better combo.)
  • This may seem redundant, but use cover.
  • And last but not least, the Handymen: Fuck them. I have not found a good way to kill them yet, so just stun them with Murder of Crows and GTFO. 


That is all the advice that I can give you for now. This game in not easy, and it has been a fun challenge so far on 1999 Mode. All I can say is, don’t die!

Scumbagb3n's picture

You can't fathom how useful this is- so good to know all the little details for my playthrough. To kill the handymen I think you just have to unload a carbine into their heart- I haven't killed on yet but I've come pretty close.

John Tarr's picture

Good tips Ben. I've also heard that Undertow is also a great Vigor to use in combo with a shotgun for 1999 Mode, even though it's a pretty late game ability.

John Tarr's picture

Also, you can unlock 1999 Mode without finishing the game by entering the Konami code at the homescreen.

doubledare100's picture

You think the Handyman is tough, the Siren is a bitch and a couple of reasons why

First and foremost she raises people from the dead. Not only that but in order to kill the minions is to disintegrate them using Shock Jockey or Devils kiss so she can't resurrect them. 

Those minions are tough to (I've had to shut off the xbox in order to not start the game again at least once so far).

Another reason is the first time you fight her, the re-spawn point is bad and everyone seems to be right in front of me when i come back to life. So yeah there is my two cents about a certain type of enemy.

Benjamin Weeks's picture


The siren is easy all you need to do (or what i did is) grab a Sniper or the Carbine and sit behind cover and then poke you head over the cover and shot her in the head, on 1999 mode i think it take around 15 shots

Excaliber3510's picture

The only effective way I've seen to kill the handymen is to have one of the grenade launchers, to go on the skylines near the handyman and as soon as he hops on the skyline to damage it hope off and open fire on his heart: note don't shoot at his back it isn't worth the ammo for the damage. Also do not use the RPG as it will run out of ammo long before the handyman dies. Have the (electric or crow) vigor as a distraction equipped in case you get trapped in a corner and the fire one equipped due to the insane amount of damage that it does to them if you hold it til it turns into the trap form and manage to hit him in the heart. I can make a video if you guys need one for the handymen due to how much of a menace they can be.

Excaliber3510's picture

And for sirens I've got a strategy if you need that too

Triptych5998's picture

Game Over in 1999 Mode kicks you back to the main menu, where you can reload from your last checkpoint. No starting over. (Confirmed by XBL: Dairypop4000)


I'll have to check it myself. I've only had the chance to play through once on Dairypop4000's copy, but he's a thorough guy so I'm gonna trust him on this one.

Burchy's picture

Few hours into my 1999 playthrough, nothing to taxing so far, but can imagine it being very challenging further on

Tomdog01's picture

I just completed on 1999 mode and found a rhythm to killing Handymen. I believe all the Handymen you fight have Skylines around them.

I simply jumped on the Skylines doing default speed or lower, while staying relatively close to him, until he says something like "Get Down From There!" you have about 5 or 6 seconds that he hangs from the Skyline and can be unloaded on. Then after he jumps down, you have about the same time while, I assume, the character model lags.

Do this 3 or 4 times and he is dead fairly easily. 

Create New Account or Log in to comment