Visceral Games is often credited for single-handily reinvigorating the Survival Horror genre with the release of its 2008 sci-fi horror title Dead Space. With an equally successful sequel arriving three years later, the EA-published franchise has established itself as one of the most important horror series this generation, and for good reason: it’s had gamers cowering behind the sofa for nearly five years now.
Whether it’s the inescapable tension that sets in while creeping around the Ishimura or the immediate terror that kicks in as you face a swam of Necromorphs on The Sprawl, Dead Space pulls more than enough punches when it comes to scares. And, with the launch of the hotly-anticipated Dead Space 3 due this week, PSU.com felt compelled to compile a list of what we feel are the series’ most pant-wetting moments to have graced our screens.
Join us now as we take a gander at Dead Space’s scariest moments.
- - - - - - -
The Beginning (Dead Space)
Dead Space sets the tone perfectly from the outset, creating a stomach-knotting atmosphere that would have Resident Evil quaking in its boots. Here, we see protagonist Isaac Clarke – possibly the world’s unluckiest space engineer – boarding the Ishimura after contact with the ship is lost. After examining the main entrance with his colleagues, Isaac and co. realize something is horribly wrong. Luggage is strewn about the place, blood decorates the walls yet there’s not a soul in sight. Then, in classic horror fashion, all the lights go out, and before you know it you’re running for your life down a narrow corridor, blood-thirsty necromorphs hot on your tail. Separated from his colleagues, Clarke narrowly makes it on board an elevator into the depths of the Ishimura…
Love hurts (Dead Space 2)
Clarke’s dementia while on board The Sprawl forms an intrinsic part of Dead Space 2’s plot, with our troubled hero frequently experiencing creepy visions of his deceased girlfriend, Nicole. Creepy, we say, because Isaac’s blonde-haired lover isn’t quite the pretty picture he remembers, but rather a nightmarish, screeching monstrosity covered in claret. The first major confrontation with Clarke comes just after he exits a ventilation shaft; Nicole bursts onto the scene completely blindsiding you, before attempting to stab Isaac in the eye socket with a needle. It’s a brilliant jump-out-of-your seat moment made all the more potent by the fact this abomination is wearing the face of the woman you once loved.
The Hunter (Dead Space)
During the latte portion of Dead Space, Clarke’s progress is hindered by an inexorable being known as the Hunter; a necromorph boasting regenerative capabilities making it nigh-on indestructible. The beast stalks Isaac through the Ishimura’s medical labs, and can only be momentarily subdued, never killed outright. Any encounter with this tenacious baddie is sofa-soiling material, and the fact it attacks you while Isaac is surrounded by other foes only compounds an already deadly situation. Unlike quick jump-and-scare tactics, the Hunter is an on-going fear; a perpetual pant-wetting monstrosity that refuses to give in until you manage to freeze the bugger in its tracks.
Stalkers attack (Dead Space 2)
The Stalkers have proved one of the most lethal additions in the Dead Space bestiary, proving themselves as fast and efficient killers. Their debut in Dead Space 2 demonstrated their acute hunting skills and pack mentality, where they play cat-and-mouse with Isaac in the Unitology Church. The atmosphere is palpable as you duck around corners catching a glimpse of your foes as they poke their heads out from behind pillars, before charging head first at you. In fact, it’s not so much the beasts themselves that are going to cause you to reach for the underwear drawer than the disturbing sound they emit. This combined with the tense, foreboding score really helps to accentuate the fear factor, and makes for one of the most nail-biting standoffs of the entire series.
The Morgue (Dead Space)
You would have thought that reanimated corpses infesting the blood-splattered corridors of an abandoned mining ship is freaky enough, but this pales in comparison to the Ishimura’s morgue. While any sane person would avoid this place like the plague, Clarke unfortunately must venture down into this corpse-filled hell house to retrieve a key item in his quest. The great thing about the Morgue however is just how…quiet it is. After all, you’d expect the place to be inherently knee deep in necromorphs given the copious amount of dead bodies to infect. The fact this isn’t the case – at least initially – puts your senses on amber alert, creating one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in the entire game, or the series for that matter. Of course, things don’t stay quiet for long; before you know it, the corpse of the Captain is reanimated, and necromorphs pour into the room, and the whole place becomes a bloodbath.
Let us know what Dead Space moments scared the pants off you in the comments section below.