Kelly's April Pick
"Altman be praised!"
I love video games. I love the cinematics, immersing myself into their narratives, action, adventure, thrills, and chills. I love the emotional impact they can have on you (talking to you The Last of Us) and how they can enrich your life through their stories. Sadly, I haven’t found time these days to play them and can really count how many I have completed an entire game or game series myself. However, one franchise that I have finished and devoured everything about is Dead Space.
“There is no Death. Only Rebirth”
Dead Space is a horror franchise created by Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, developed by Visceral Games and published by Electronic Arts. It includes three full games, a couple of mini-games, a novel, comics, and two animated movies. It’s an action horror series set in space where you play as Issac, an engineer, and follow his horrific journey beginning in Dead Space (released in 2008) and ends in Dead Space 3 (released in 2013). He battles what are called Necromorphs which are the reanimated and mutated bodies of crew members. As an engineer, you are able to create your own weaponry and use tactile gear and suits to protect yourself from these horrific monstrous beings. From the classic plasma cutter, a flamethrower to a rotary saw, there is nothing short of diversity in weapons. In the end, it’s best to dismember these beasts before they can scurry on top and eviscerate you.
“Praise the great Marker”
I have finished all three games and one mini-game; read the comics and the novel. I have also watched the movies. I own an Issac action figure and a replica of the plasma cutter. I am a massive fan. These games are scary AF, particularly the first one. Horror set in space is a top fear of mine with the dark corners of the spaceships, creatures jumping out of vents and the absolute isolation of space - this is where terror lives. The sound design and conceptual art are beyond outstanding. The environments change somewhat from game to game but the fear remains. Dead Space, the first and original game, is the most terrifying out of the three and the epitome of sci-fi space horror. It’s Alien mixed with Event Horizon with a dash of Hellraiser with a heavy helping of cultism.
“Death is only the beginning”
One of the other incredible aspects of the series is the religion of Unitology. It is a hugely influential and powerful religion and you are introduced to it in the first game when something called the Red Marker is found during a mining expedition on a planet Aegis VII. Once this Marker is brought onto the ship, Ishimura, the humans start experiencing mass hysteria and having hallucinations. They then start to kill each other and an alien virus infects the corpses, bringing about the terrifying Necromorphs. Discovered by Michael Ultman, Unitologists adamantly believe that the human race was created by the intelligent design of a divine alien agency, and will be reunified after death in Heaven through the power of a sacred artifact known as the Marker. The Church of Unitology promises “rebirth” and “transformation”. The religion is highly eschatological, based on their concept of the end of days similar to the apocalypses described in many religions. Death is central to Unitology. Unitologists believe that all living beings will intertwine in the manner of the two prongs of the Marker, to become one. They call this process Convergence and believe that it will alleviate all of the destructive materialistic problems of the human race. This is so reminiscent of many of our known “doomsday” cults with followers engaging in the religion with unwavering faith and trust in what it promises. This is a very disturbing element of the series leading to many unsettling images and sequences.
“One mind one soul one flesh”
Unlike survival horror games like Siren, Alien: Isolation (goddamn you…), Amnesia, Soma, some of Silent Hill and more, in Dead Space you can kill these goddamn horrific beasts. This makes it easier for me to play because I can fight back although I am terrified while I do it. The storylines are rich, the games are beautiful to watch, and the action is engaging. Every aspect of the franchise is fantastic and I really should revisit it….when I can work up the nerve! When it comes to space horror, Dead Space is at the top of my list of recommendations if you are a gamer. Or you could just watch someone else play from under the blankets with one eye looking out as I know you will want to see a Necromorph running towards you.