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Just The Facts
- Dead Space was released in October 2008 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.
- Warren Ellis, the acclaimed author, helped write the game's script/story.
- Dead Space will scare you at least once.
Third-person horror video-game, Dead Space, easily stands out from other games like a hammer-smashed toe on an exquisitely beautiful foot. This is because it features an abundance of insanely gory limb-dismembering hyper-violence that puts other games based on limb-severing, like Theme Hospital, to shame. Set in the 26th century, it could very well give gamers night terrors, nightmares and the highly feared night-shits. The plot, which is straight-up sci-fi cliche, revolves around the fate of a rescue mission sent to assist the stricken mining ship USG Ishimura. The player must guide an engineer, Isaac Clarke, as he solves a multitude of malfunctions aboard the ship; some mechanical, some organic. Isaac has a badass suit:
You know he fucks with that on.
Of course, like any good spaceship problem, the Ishimura's dilemma is that the crew has had the life eviscerated out of them, however, they're also being resurrected as Necromorphs. There are various castes of Necromorphs waiting to disembowel you, from the humanoid slashers to wall mounted monstrosities and hulking bio-tanks. Players will also have to face down some impressive bosses, ranging in size from slightly big to utterly colossal.
In tackling most of these enemies, players are required to go against their learned instincts of aiming for the head and torso, and instead target the limbs of their screeching adversaries. This notion, known as 'tactical dismemberment' in-game, will feel initially alien for veterans of shooters, unless they already have some sadistic predilection towards wanton limb-lopping. This, of course, makes for particularly gruesome, not to mention awkward fights, as bisected ghouls slash at Isaac's ankles out-of-sight whilst he tries to deal with the projectile-firing, wall-scuttling reanimated corpses of slain infants. Yup, nothing's sacred in this horrible gorestorm of a game.
"I said keep the lights off!"
Aside from all the spilled intestines and amputated limbs, though, it's also important to note the innovative way the developers have altered the traditional HUD. Instead of various data bordering the screen, Isaac's suit displays a health bar along his spine whilst ammunition levels can be seen on the weapons themselves. Additional information such as menus, inventories and communications are all displayed in-game via holographic projections. This original in-game HUD makes the player feel fully immersed in the action as their attention rarely deviates from the centre of the screen. Further to this, both the suit and the various weaponised engineering tools (plasma cutters, remotely controlled buzzsaw blades etc.) can be upgraded as the game progresses.
Besides being unforgettably visceral, Dead Space also offers players an abundance of puzzle solving opportunities, just to, you know, balance out the fucking gonzo necro-butchery. Two members of the Isaac's crew from the Kellion, Hammond, and Daniels, regularly communicate with Isaac; guiding him and instructing him to repair various parts of the ship. Basically, they're lazy as shit and don't want to risk getting fucked with horrible spikes and claws when there's a willing, seemingly unstoppable boffin (you) who's more than willing to carry out their bidding. Isaac's super suit of greatness allows him to perform a range of handy tricks, such as kinesis and stasis, which enable him to move around huge metal objects with ease as well as slowing down objects and enemies to a crawl. Hammond and Daniels set you a variety of problems to overcome which require the to think, analyse and then plan and execute the correct solution - which is a refreshing change from simply walking up to a problem and hitting a button to solve it.
"Eat that, you fuck!"
In between limb-flinging bloodbaths and space-based problem solving, Isaac wanders the doomed Ishimura whilst enveloped in the game's unforgettable soundtrack. Said soundtrack is arguably more terrifying than the game's horrifying antagonists. Noises that players should feel comfortable with, such as lifts and platforms moving, have been twisted into jarring ear-rapes, which, like the physical act of that description would do, leaves the audio-senses mangled forevermore. Indeed, the soundtrack is so penetrating; it will definitely stay with players long after they've killed the power to their system.
For any players who've experienced the terrors of System Shock 2
, this game will certainly bring back more than a few memories. Throw in influences from films such as The Thing
and Event Horizon
, and you have a true sci-fi horror gaming experience. Dead Space
is a challenging, memorable, frightening and most definitely hardcore
game. It's a strong IP from EA and has already spawned a sequel for the Wii (Dead Space: Extraction
) and a highly anticipated sequel.