In Space...No One Can Hear you Mash the A Button
Space. The final video game genre. These are the continuing voyages of…(checks notes) the Ishimura? That doesn’t have nearly the same ring! Oh, well, guess we’re going to have to make due.
So, for a while, in the late 00’s, Dead Space couldn’t be beat. It was the face of horror as Resident Evil floundered. The first game became something of phenomenon, spawning sequels, animated movies and spin-off games. There’s usually a reason a whole universe of gaming takes off, and man, this first game sets everything up really well…
Players take control of Isaac Clarke, an enteneer on board a rescue vessel that’s tasked with finding out what happened to the Ishimura, a planet cracker that has strangely fallen silent. Scared of their PROFITS shrinking, the company (I’m not even going to look up the name, they’re the company from Aliens) decides to send three people to check out a ship the size of the empire state building. Probably keeps the cost down to have less people? Or it’s scarier. Actually, both are scary. Anyway, our heroes show up to find the ship has been overrun with monsters. Issac must also try to find his long lost love, who was crewing on the ship when it became infested. Long distance relationships are bad enough without adding flesh eating ghouls into the mix. Feel like that’s just asking for a breakup.
The gameplay is incredibly tight and responsive. The hook for this game is the monsters have to be severed at the limbs to really kill them. So, not only do you have to shoot with a purpose, but you have to make SURE the monsters are dead, or they really wont be. I love how they justify the fact that, because Issac is an engineer, he can design and work with all the available weapons in the game. Too often, in games now, you get some rando who just happens to know how to craft, unlike Issac, who looks very at home with a worktable and an all Rush mixtape. Also, and this is a personal thing, Dead Space does something that I haven’t seen since in a video game and I desperately want to. If you click the right thumbstick in, Isaac shoots a beam on the floor to guide you to your next objective. It’s genius. No checking a map, no being glued to a second screen, just you and the game. It pulls you into the world of the Ishimura in a way no other game has done before or since. God, was it awesome the first time I hit that button.
There’s a remake of Dead Space on the way for modern consoles, so before that hits, play the original and be impressed.
Dead Space is currently at Start Over Games for $7.99