Dead Space is a third-person horror action video game, developed by EA Redwood Shores (now known as Visceral Games) for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows. It was released on October 14, 2008 on the consoles and October 20 for Windows. The player takes on the role of an engineer named Isaac Clarke, who battles a polymorphic undead species called the 'Necromorphs' on board a stricken interstellar mining ship.
Dead Space is set in 2508. Earth had been through an extinction-level event, caused by rapacious and unsustainable use of resources. The remaining humans realized that the only way to get new resources was from the stars: with Earth's resources used up, the only way to gain the resources to survive would be to search new planets for resources. That’s where the Concordance Extraction Corporation comes in. At a time of near-desperation, CEC invented the ship that would eventually save all of humanity: The USG Ishimura.
The USG Ishimura was a ship designed for the new resource-gathering practice: planetcracking. The Ishimura's job was to mine other planets for their rarest and most valuable resources to take back to earth. Even though there have been subsequent Planetcrackers (a small fleet now exists), the Ishimura remains the iconic symbol of mankind's will to survive, even after all these decades. Thanks to Planetcracking, mankind is now thriving again, and resources are plentiful. By the time of the game, the Ishimura has performed 34 successful planetcracks, and is now in the process of beginning its 35th. However, the events that take place during this planet crack are events that threaten the very survival of humanity.
The USG Ishimura, during the process of mining the planet of Aegis 7, sends out a distress signal to the Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC); the CEC dispatches the USG Kellion to investigate. As the Kellion attempts to dock with the Ishimura, a malfunction occurs and the Kellion is badly damaged; however the crew lands safely and sets off to find the Ishimura's crew. However, it becomes clear very quickly that the Ishimura has been apparently abandoned.
As they enter the flight lounge, Isaac Clarke, the crew's engineer, enters a separate room to assess the Ishimura's damage. As he does so, the flight lounge locks down in quarantine and grotesque humanoids break into the lounge and attack the crew. Cpl. Johnston and Chen are killed, while the two survivors of the attack, Zach Hammond and Kendra Daniels, flee and tell Isaac to run. Isaac, defenseless, is forced to run for his life through a hallway before escaping his pursuers through an elevator. Isaac manages to get a weapon and make contact through a window with Hammond and Kendra once again. Hammond recognizes that many of the ship's systems are failing, threatening the ship due to a nearby asteroid belt, and sends Clarke around the ship to fix the core systems to keep them alive. However, Clarke first attempts to repair the Kellion, but it is attacked by creatures before he can even begin, and it explodes to the bottom of the hangar bay. Hammond also promises he will help Isaac to find his girlfriend Nicole Brennan, a medical worker on the Ishimura, who sent Isaac a strange video (viewed by the player at the game's beginning), which was Isaac's motive for taking the mission; so he could visit her.
During these treks, Clarke discovers various text and audio logs scattered throughout the ship and pieces together the events that transpired before his arrival: the ship's captain was actually an agent of the "Church of Unitology" — a large and influential religious cult — assigned to retrieve his religion's most deified relic, known as the "Red Marker", from Aegis 7, under the guise of an illegal mining operation; the planet itself had already been deemed by the Earth Government as off-limits. The Marker was discovered by the colonists by accident; only the captain and a handful of others were aware that The Marker was already there (but they all feign amazement at finding it so as to not give them away). Soon after the Marker was extracted and brought to the Ishimura, a large portion of the civilians — first on the planet-side colony, then the ship — suffered from mass hysteria brought on by violent hallucinations, before subsequently killing each other, believed to be caused by the Marker somehow.
Despite this, the hysteria was kept under control, and planetcrack commenced a week later. Immediately after planetcrack, the colony's power went out and an alien organism began ravaging the colony, infecting the bodies of the dead and turning them into "Necromorphs" - abominations that kill and infect dead bodies in order to make new creatures to spread the infestation. Captain Matthius then cuts off traffic and communications between the Ishimura and the colony to prevent the infection from reaching the ship. Dr. Terrence Kyne, the Chief Science Officer, comes to believe that Captain Matthius is behaving irrationally. Under maritime law, Kyne relieves the captain of his duty, though Matthius refuses to comply, spouting angry fanatical comments of heresy. Appearing to be somewhat insane Dr. Kyne attempts to inject the captain with a sedative. Benjamin Matthius is killed by Dr. Kyne in the ensuing scuffle as the needle is rammed through his eye socket, supposedly by accident. The infection then spreads to the Ishimura via a colony shuttle piloted by a survivor, who was unaware that Necromorphs had snuck aboard his shuttle prior to take off. The shuttle crashes into the docking bay, allowing the aliens aboard the shuttle to escape into the Ishimura's ventilation system and begin killing and infecting the Ishimura's inhabitants. The Kellion had arrived after the Ishimura had completely fallen to the Necromorphs.
Though Hammond states that he is unaware of what the Marker's role in everything is, Daniels confides to Clarke that she believes Hammond is lying. Clarke would later encounter his girlfriend Nicole, though they are unable to meet directly. Nicole is seen to be behaving strangely.
With the critical systems repaired, the three are able to launch a beacon for rescue, attracting a nearby military ship, the USM Valor. However, the Valor, having picked up an escape pod launched by Hammond containing a Necromorph, becomes overrun with the creatures and crashes into the ship. Hammond then deduces — from the heavy military equipment he finds on board — that the Valor was actually assigned to destroy the Ishimura, suggesting that someone outside of Aegis 7 knew of the alien threat.
The group thus decides that they must find a shuttle and escape while they can. Clarke and Hammond then retrieve the Valor's power core in order to repair an available shuttle, but Hammond is killed by a Necromorph in the process. The surviving Dr. Kyne later contacts Clarke and urges him to return the Marker to Aegis 7. He reveals in a video what the planetcrack caused: a large creature known as The Hive Mind, the creature that controls all of the Necromorphs, was allowed to escape the instant the planet was cracked, and begun infecting the colony. He believes that The Marker actually acted as an inhibitor, rendering the Hive Mind dormant as long as the Marker remained on the planet; the Hive Mind's dormancy would also cause all other Necromorphs to enter a dormant state. He concludes that the only way to stop the creatures for good is to return The Marker to the planet.
After being assisted by Clarke in loading the Marker onto the shuttle, Kyne is murdered by Daniels, who reveals the truth behind everything: she is a government operative ordered to retrieve the Marker for her superiors. She further reveals that the Marker is a reverse-engineered copy of another Marker found on Earth, and was placed on Aegis 7 by the government hundreds of years ago to have scientists study its effects. These scientists discovered the pattern covering the surface of the Marker is, in fact, the DNA code for Necromorph infection. The newly created infection escaped and began to kill the doctors and transform them, and it wasn't long before the original colony fell, but the doctors were successful in editing the Marker into an inhibitor of the infection, and activating this new feature. With the doctors dead and the infection locked away, the government marked Aegis 7 as off-limits and abandoned the planet. The planetcracking operation was in fact a mission by CEC and the government to retrieve the valuable marker, which led up to the present events. She then leaves on the shuttle without Clarke, but Nicole arrives and is able to help him recall it, prompting Daniels to flee via an escape pod.
Clarke takes the shuttle with the Marker to the colony, and replaces it there; this pacifies the Hive Mind briefly, but also disrupts the gravity tethers holding a large portion of the planet several miles off the surface, threatening to destroy the colony. As Clarke attempts to escape, Daniels appears and takes the Marker back to the shuttle, once again removing the dead space field pacifying the Hive Mind, and shows Clarke (through a fully recovered distress transmission) that Nicole actually committed suicide before they arrived on the Ishimura, and Clarke's visions of her had been the Marker's way of attempting to bring itself back to the planet, revealing that it is sentient in some way. Before she can leave, Daniels is killed by the gigantic Hive Mind, but Clarke is able to defeat it. Leaving the Marker behind, Clarke flies off in the shuttle just before rock crashes into the planet, possibly destroying the Ishimura and ravaging the surface of Aegis 7.
As he sets course away from Aegis 7, Nicole's suicide video plays, but is stopped by Clarke, who then simply stares off into space . He is suddenly attacked by what appears to be Nicole in Necromorph form. The screen is suddenly covered with strange runes and Nicole screaming, which then cuts to black and static.
Over the course of Dead Space, Isaac Clarke encounters many variants of the Necromorph threat.
- Slasher : The most common form of Necromorph, it attacks using two large blades sprouted from the victim's hands.
- Leaper : A Necromorph more commonly found in Zero Gravity areas, it attacks with its large tail, a fusion of the victim's legs.
- Lurker : Reanimated infants that prowl the corridors and are usually found in Zero Gravity. They attack with three barbed tentacles that fire quills.
- Infector : A bat-like Necromorph with the sole-purpose of infecting corpses with a proboscis and turning them into new Necromorphs.
- Pregnant : A large hulking Necromorph that carries a payload of smaller Necromorphs along with two large scythe-like blades.
- Exploder : A small, thin Necromorph with a volatile appendage which rivals its own size.
- Divider : A tall and thin Necromorph with the ability to divide itself into multiple segments. It emits haunting sounds similar to that of whales.
- Twitcher : A spastic and remarkably fast Necromorph formed by marines with Stasis units built into their suits.
- Guardian : A stationary Necromorph plastered to a wall with six deadly tentacles. It can fire out pods (See below) as a possible form of self- defense.
- Pods : Small embryo-like Necromorphs that sprout tentacles and fire quills at threats.
- Swarmer : Very small Necromorphs that travel in large groups and can jump a short distance and rip away at flesh until the victim is killed.
- Brute : A very large and powerful Necromorph that can charge with great bursts of speed and in some cases launch volatile projectiles when immobilized.
- Wheezer : The only Necromorph that cannot attack directly. With the host's lungs expanded and relocated to the back, it can render the surrounding environment toxic.
- Isaac Clarke - The main character and protagonist of the game. Isaac is a system ship specialist and an engineer traveling aboard the shuttle Kellion to investigate and repair the USG Ishimura, accompanied by three security personnel and a computer specialist. Unfortunately for them, they are thrust into the middle of the nightmare that the Ishimura has become. Clarke is also trying to find his girlfriend, Nicole, a medical specialist assigned to the ship, whose fate is unknown at the start of the game. Throughout the game, Isaac stumbles across a conspiracy involving the Church of Unitology, the government and the realm of possibilities.
- Kendra Daniels - Kendra is a technologist and part of the team sent aboard the Ishimura to repair communication systems. She helps the player through the Ishimura in many ways, giving directions and assisting through areas of the ship that would otherwise be inaccessible. She frequently expresses distrust of Hammond, but turns out to know more about the situation than anyone previously thought.
- Zach Hammond - The senior security officer on board the Kellion who travels with both Isaac and Kendra to the Ishimura. Hammond's initial desire to complete the original mission and not immediately abort puts him at odds with Kendra, who finds this suspicious. Throughout the game, he works to fulfill their original mission and repair the Ishimura, but as time goes on, he becomes more disillusioned and focuses instead on getting himself and the rest of the surviving team off the ship.
- Challus Mercer - A doctor aboard the USG Ishimura, a devout Unitologist and one of the main antagonists of Dead Space. In the wake of the calamity that has gripped the Ishimura, Mercer has gone completely insane, surrendering completely to religious fanaticism, and attempting to convince the crew of the Ishimura to commit mass suicide. Mercer often works to bar the progress of Isaac and even attempts to kill him outright, sending a regenerating Necromorph he created himself, the Hunter, after Isaac several times throughout the course of the game. To Mercer, everything that has happened is God's will; he believes the Necromorphs are the natural successors to humanity, and that their emergence from corpses represents life after death. Mercer insists repeatedly that Isaac should die and allow "God's children" to take over.
- Terrence Kyne - The Chief Science Officer of the Ishimura who appears later in the game and asks for help from the surviving members of the Kellion team. He seems to be a bit eccentric, perhaps deranged, but offers to aid Isaac in stopping the nightmare that has gripped the Aegis System and the Ishimura. Kyne attempted to relieve Captain Matthius of duty during the crisis on the ship, but instead seems to have been complicit in the captain's death either in whole or in part. He regularly interacts with his dead wife, an apparition caused by the Marker that can't be seen by the player.
- Nicole Brennan - Isaac's girlfriend and a medical specialist assigned to the Ishimura. The game starts with a video from Nicole, asking for help after the ship's infestation, establishing one of Clarke's reasons for coming to the Ishimura.
- Chen - A security officer on the USG Kelion.
The players must fight their way through various levels of a stricken mining ship, which has been infested with an alien species known as the "Necromorphs". The game features an 'over the shoulder' third-person perspective, similar to games such as Resident Evil 4 and Gears of War. The interface does not feature a traditional head-up display. Instead, information is relayed to the player via lights and translucent screens which hover over Isaac's weapons and armor. There are weightless and decompressed environments, which Isaac can navigate using a pressurized suit equipped with gravity boots. Some levels will even lead out onto the surface of the ship's hull. Floating debris will present a hazard, and Isaac can lose his footing and simply float off into space. In keeping with Isaac's profession as an engineer rather than a soldier, weapons in the game are mostly improvised, and consist of an array of bolt cutters, stasis fields and rudimentary energy weapons.
Combat in the game is complicated by the fact that most Necromorphs are not simply rendered 'dead' after a certain number of rounds have been fired at them. Rather, they must be dismembered a certain way to be dead, but they can adopt new stances and tactics, and even sprout new limbs, based upon where they have been wounded. The game's Executive Producer, Glen Schofield, has said that 'the primary theme of Dead Space is dismemberment', and early previews of the game have noted the high levels of gore
Marketing Promotions and ReleaseEdit
- Main article: No Known Survivors
No Known Survivors is a viral campaign made by Electronic Arts that provides an opportunity for visitors to explore the narrative world of Dead Space. The site employs interactive components, 3D animations, voice acting, original video and "Papervision 3D" technology to tell two equally tragic four-chapter stories.
Dead Space Original SoundtrackEdit
- Main article: Dead Space Original Soundtrack
The Dead Space Original Soundtrack was composed by Jason Graves and was released on November 11, 2008. It features editing montages of a portion of the music heard in-game. The soundtrack is sixty minutes long while the in-game score is over two hours long.
- Main article: Dead Space (comics)
Achievements and Trophies Edit
- Main article: Achievements and Trophies
There are 48 in total (8 of them secret) and an additional Platinum Trophy on the PS3 version when all others are awarded. The method for obtaining each one is the same in both versions of the game (minus the PS3 platinum).
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