By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on July 12, 2019
Is it Friday already? How can that be, I distinctly remember it being Monday not a day ago... Damn, ladies and gentlemen; this traveling through time has got my brain all tangled up. Not that this is actually a deviation from the norm, but still... missing an entire week is never fun. Oh well, now I'll have to call some people and see what I have been up to these past few days...
Oh hi, Dennis! What do you mean, where have you been? Well, I'll tell you where I've been, I've been right... damn, damn,damn; I really can't remember. It's like something that is on the tip of your tongue, but instead of on your tongue , the damn thing is on the tip of your Hippocampus. I'm sorry Dennis, what was that? Did I clean and paint our Big Red HQ? What a silly question, of course I didn't... or did I? I remember the smell of paint somehow being involved, but it's just a big blank bunch of dead space where my memories used to be... Hey, that gives me an idea! Strap in, people, we're going to 2008!
Ah yes; 2008! The year in which I was still a strapping and somewhat young lad of 28 years old, happily hammering away at my pc's keyboard and playing almost every game that was made! I was, at that time, especially fond of a very, very cool horror game, which basically had all the things I like. It was set in the future, it was set in space and, more importantly, it had some of the coolest monsters I had (and, incidentally, still have) ever seen! I mean, come on; there's just nothing that beats the feeling of dismembering alien monsters with light guns and the likes. Yes, fellow time travelers; we are, of course, talking about the game that was, at the time, the ultimate in monster dismemberment: Dead Space!
Released by the now defunct Visceral Games and published by Electronic Arts in October of 2008 for PC, Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, Dead Space took the player on a journey through space and time, not unlike what we do every two weeks. Quite unlike the safe Big Red Timemachine, however, Dead Space bombarded the player with a barrage of evil space zombies or, as they are called in Dead Space, Necromorphs! Now, I don't know about you, but I think there's actually no better name for the twisted, grotesque and seriously dangerous creatures you will encounter as you make your way through the dilapidated hallways and rooms of the USG Ishimura.
Confused? Am I going too fast for you? Okay, let's back up a bit and start at the beginning. The year is 2508 and you are an engineer by the name of Isaac Clarke, who is currently on a mission to investigate the distress signal of one of the largest mining spaceships, the USG Ishimura; the ship on which Isaac's girlfriend, Nicole Brennan, is stationed . Upon arriving at the Ishimura, the guidance system of the ship Isaac is currently on, malfunctions (even in the future nothing works!) and sends it crashing in to the mammoth hulk that is the IShimura. Now, without a means of transportation, Isaac and the other crew members must search the Ishimura and figure out a way to get out of there, while also investigating the Ishimura and search for both the source of the distress signal as well as the Ishimura crew, who are eerily absent at the moment.
Pretty soon after they start exploring, Isaac and his colleagues come across one of the lost crew or, at least, something that used to be one of them. You see, it seems the crew had been slaughtered, but somehow, their corpses have been reanimated by an evil alien lifeform (is there any other kind?). After this first encounter, Isaac gets separated from the rest of the team and must face the lurking dangers aboard the USG Ishimura alone. Luckily, him being an engineer, he knows how to cobble together certain items, making more than decent weapons in the process. Your first weapon is actually a sort of light based mining tool, as in: "I'll use this highly focused beam of light to cut up every damn monster that gets in my way!" And this is, ladies and gentlepeople, where the bloody dismemberment fun starts!
By using his weapons, Isaac must make his way through the Necromorph-infested corridors of the giant space ship. Now, normally, when it comes to shooting monsters, a well-aimed headshot is usually your best bet. Not in Dead Space, however. Even if you take off the entire head, the body of a Necromorph will still come after you. Only by dealing enough damage to its limbs, will you be able to stop it dead in its tracks. To this end, some of the weapons have a rotating cuff that enables you to deal damage with much more precision. A horizontal strike for the legs and then quickly turn it 90 degrees to take out an arm or two. And if they still keep coming, and because something worth doing, is something worth doing right, just rotate the cuff back and take out the neck. See, it's splatter fun all round!
Naturally, as you progress through the game, the enemies you'll encounter will get stronger, so it's only natural that your weapons and armor do the same. And this is exactly where Isaac's skills as an engineer come in! You see, along the way, you'll come across workbenches which enable you to upgrade your existing arsenal with so called "nodes"; small but very useful items you'll find during your adventure. You can use these nodes to enhance certain aspects of your weapons and suit of armor to match your preferred play style. Once you place a node, it cannot be removed, so think before you start spending them!
Apart from the weaponry, Isaac has some other tricks up his sleeve that make life somewhat easier for him. His EVA suit has a stasis module, which enables Isaac to slow down objects or enemies for a limited time. Using this correctly can give you the ability to dismember enemies with more ease or get through fast moving obstacles. Now, with the Ishimura filled to the brim with enemies, ammo is something you'll definitely not want to waste, especially since you also have limited space in your inventory and every item or weapon you pick up take up some of this valuable space. If you run out of ammo, you can always bash a Necromorph's head in with your gun or stomp on their heads with your heavy magnetic boots. These boots also come in really handy in those areas where the artificial gravity fails. You can use your suit's thrusters to make your way through these zero gravity areas and latch on to a metal surface with your magnetic boots of ass-kicking.
Now, making your way through such a big ship is always going to be an arduous task, which makes a map a crucial piece of equipment. Luckily, Isaac has just the thing: a holographic map of the different sections of the USG Ishimura. But, unlike other games, Dead Space does not warrant your safety while checking said map or, for that matter, your inventory, which is also holographically represented. The game doesn't hit pause when you want to check your route or your collected items, so always be wary of your surroundings and don't get caught with your proverbial pants down. The only time you are really safe, is when you are at a workbench, so make the most of your time there.
Because of the scale of the game, as well as its (at the time) new game mechanics and awesome environments, weapons and enemies, Dead Space set the standard for horror / action-based games and was widely regarded as one of the best games in the genre. It even spawned two sequels, which were also received positively, although never as good as the original game. Especially Dead Space 3 had to endure some stiff criticism, mostly because of the two-player coop system, which kind of drew away from the horror aspect of the game and focused more on action-based gameplay. Personally, I think all three games in the Dead Space series are truly awesome, but hey; that's just me. To be totally honest, I'm still hoping someone picks up where the series left off and brings us a brand new installment in the series but that, sadly, may never happen.
As a game in the horror genre, Dead Space really had it all; cool design, a good story and awesome gameplay made this title into one of the all-time greats, a title that it still manages to hold on to, even in today's world of gaming. Now, it may not be for everyone, but if you're into horror, sci-fi and bloody good shooters, then you should really give Dead Space a whirl! I promise you will not be disappointed. With that being said, our trip through time and space for today has come to an end. Please mind your head when exiting the Big Red Timemachine and keep to the left, behind the yellow line as you make your way to the exit.
Hey, look who it is, ladies and gentlemen! Hi Bob, how are you doing? Or, more to the point, what are you doing here? Wait, I think I remember now. I got you here, didn't I? Yes, that's it! I got you here, after which we painted the Big Red HQ together, didn't we? See, I knew my memory would come back eventually. What's that, Bob? I shouldn't have drank that pint of turpentine? Well yes, but I didn't know it was turpentine, did I now? I thought it was a nice cool glass of vodka! Oh well, all water under the bridge I say!
Oh, I'm sorry, dear friends, I'm being somewhat rude, aren't I? Please let me introduce my dear friend, Bob Ross. I always said, if you want something painted, go to someone who knows his stuff! No Bob, please don't touch that lever. Why? Well, because it operates the garbage disposal unit, and the temporal interpolation intermitter stabiliser is still a bit dodgy after the recent attacks. No, just don't. Trust me! So ladies and gentl... BOB! NOOO!
Damn, he went ahead and did it anyway. I'm sorry dear readers, but it seems that our friend Mr. Ross has had a happy little accident. I'll just go and see if he's anywhere near okay and hope to see you all in a week or two, when my esteemed colleague, Dennis, will take you on another trip down gaming memory lane.
Visceral & Electronic Arts