The Alien movie had as its tagline ‘In space no one hears you scream’. In the video game Dead Space, there is a lot of screaming, along with ghostly visions, mutants, terror, alien monoliths, it’s pretty much a total sci fi bloodbath.
Your role in the game is to take the place of Isaac Clarke, an engineer on board a space repair vessel on a repair/rescue mission to the USG Ishimura, a huge, planet-cracker class, mining ship. The Ishimura has lost communications after coming into contact with an alien artifact (called a marker) and you have been sent along to reestablish contact and investigate what has happened. Isaac’s girlfriend, Nicole, is also on the ship and he is desperate for any news of her. Upon arrival, you discover that the ship has become infected by some kind of alien scourge and the crew have become something less than human. What was a rescue mission has now become a deadly fight for survival as you not only try to escape the horror contained inside the walls of the Ishimura, but also try to ensure the safe delivery of the alien monolith, all without getting ripped apart or eaten.
The game is a first person shooter with a horror/sci fi theme. There are a number of set missions that you need to play through in order to reveal the storyline and hopefully survive your ordeal. All of the weapons you encounter in the game are some version of mining tool. You start the game with a basic weapon but it is possible to find and upgrade it and other more powerful ones at various workbenches scattered around the game - some enemies can be taken down faster if you use the appropriate weapons. Parts can be ripped from dead bodies and used to stake enemies to walls ready for the finishing blow. The walls of the Ishimura are covered blood, gore and alien hieroglyphs and it is possible to decode them, once you find the alphabet scrawled on a cabin wall. Finding various text logs and audio recordings fill in blanks in the storyline as you go and help Isaac to see what’s really going on aboard the ship. Later you end up planet side with Isaac as he explores the colony that originally found the alien ‘marker’ monolith. Can he survive the mutant onslaught? Can he find and rescue Nicole? What is the truth behind the alien marker?
Dead Space rocks! Although it was released in 2008, the gameplay is excellent and full of terror and lots of gore. The atmosphere of the game is incredibly creepy and full of lots of ‘jump’ moments. The game is violent, most enemies cannot be killed with a single shot, depending which one you encounter, cutting off body parts slows them down until they can finally be finished off. The dismembered parts can then be used to attack other bad guys. Some of the mutants can regenerate limbs or develop new methods of attack depending how you have dismembered them. Headshots usually kill bad guys first time in most video games, in Dead Space you just piss them off and make them more angry and aggressive. Finding the workbenches to upgrade your armoury and equipment is essential for your survival in Dead Space. It’s really satisfying to upgrade the weaponry and see the damage you can do, most weapons have two firing modes and you are required to find out which modes are the most effective on different mutants. The dead bodies look unbelievably gross after you have finished them off. This is not a game for the squeamish! Although Dead Space is a little dated when compared to the two follow up games, it's definitely worth getting.