In space, no one can hear you swear. In honor of my very good friend Charlie “the Goat” Dodson. **SPOILERS ABOUND**
Here is the rundown of the Dead Space Saga:
Way back in 2008, I was working part time at a video game retailer, and Dead Space was coming out. I thought it looked and sounded interesting, so I took a chance. Wow, was I surprised. That game was awesome! It had action, light puzzles, and it even had some scares. Predominantly jump scares; but it was so fun, I didn’t mind. Dead Space also has the distinction of being the first game to ever have “Strategic Dismemberment.” Head shot? Nope, still coming for ya, you have to shoot limbs off to put them down. What a concept! Followed by a couple of sequels that didn’t perform as well, the series sadly dies, but what a fun trip. Let’s take another walk down memory lane and look at Dead Space…
Starting out with the longest opening I’d ever seen. You as Isaac Clark, engineer, are traveling to the Ishimura, a ‘Planet Cracker” mining vessel that your girlfriend Nicole is a crew member on. They’ve sent a distress call, but also made a discovery. So, as you’re traveling, and watching old videos she sent you, the crew chit chats and prepares to dock. No answer to hails and a crash landing later, you and your crew get separated, and have to fight your way through a ship full of Necromorphs (infected, reanimated crew. Think zombies and the monsters from Alien mashed together). Many, many sidequests, upgrades, and close calls later. This game will have you on the edge of your seat, especially if you play at night in the dark.
The discovery the crew of the Ishimura made is of a red marker. A holy artifact that is a major part of the Unitology religion. Unitologists are the game equivalent of Scientologists, crazy and fanatical. They view the Necromorphs as the next logical step in human evolution. Never mind the fact that contact with one (usually a scratch or stab) is a death sentence. Eventually, Isaac saves himself, but if you follow the chapter names, you get a massive spoiler from the get go: N.I.C.O.L.E.I.S.D.E.A.D. So every interaction you have with her, even her helping you get past a tough spot is a figment of your imagination. The toughest boss since Nemesis in Resident Evil takes a bow and an afterburner to the face as well.
They squeezed a Wii game (Extraction) in so the Nintendites would have some fun in the Dead Space Universe. However, being a FPS on rails took a lot of the fun out. This game was later included with Dead Space 2 for the PS3 as a side game for the PS Move. Don’t forget Ignition! The puzzle/hacking simulation that if you beat, allows you an extra bit of armor and credits going into part 2.
Dead Space 2 was a decent sequel, picking up not long after 1 ended. They ramped up the action for this installment, including Zero G free falls in an attempt to effect repairs on the station you find yourself on. You escape from a mental facility, only to learn there has been a Necromorph outbreak here as well. You have help along the way, but as you learned in part 1, not everything is as it seems. Part 2 also introduces the worst monster of all, baby Necromorphs. Creepy and difficult to kill due to their size and speed, they are a real challenge. Bosses also become more of a issue in part 2, as you have to fight larger beats along the way to progress. While more of the same, still an enjoyable game all in all.
Dead Space 3, from all indications, is nowhere near as good a sequel. Doing away with the horror element in favor of a more action centric game, a lot of the appeal of Dead Space was lost. Adding co-op for a second player is a nice idea; but Dead Space was always a single player experience. Adding another player limits the scare factor. There’s just not much to be afraid of if you have a friend with you.
The weapons! Oh yes, the weapons. So many options to choose from. Want to use a flame thrower? Ok. Pulse rifle more to your liking? Ok. Giant F’ing sideways lasers? We got that too! As for me, I’ll always go back to the plasma cutter. Alt fire modes make it easier to remove limbs, and it doubles as a flash light. All weapons are upgradeable, and the TK upgrade allows you to use almost anything as a projectile, even Necromorph limbs! Nothing like impaling a bad guy with his buddy’s claw. Work benches and nodes are invaluable in this universe.
Attempts were made to expand the universe across other media. Comics, a couple of (Horribly awful, feckin terrible) animated movies as well. Sadly, after Dead Space 2, it just fell apart. Dead Space is one of those games you keep thinking, “This is going to end soon;” but BAM! New surprise. It’s even longer, but you don’t mind because it’s so much fun.
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