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Dead Space

Moby ID: 37332
Xbox 360 Specs

Description official descriptions

The starship USG Ishimura sends out a distress signal to the Concordance Extraction Corporation during a mining operation on the planet Aegis VII. Another ship is sent to investigate the causes of the signal; however, as it attempts to dock with the Ishimura, it crashes into it because of a system malfunction. The crew is attacked by terrifying monsters. Only three people survive, among them an engineer named Isaac Clarke. It looks like the ship is barely able to sustain its existence, many of its systems critically damaged. Isaac is the only one who would know how to fix them, and his two companions send him on a mission to find out a way to bring things back to normal and discover the truth behind the horrible events.

Dead Space is a third-person sci-fi shooter with elements of survival horror. Controlling Isaac, the player explores the ship, fighting reanimated corpses known as Necromorphs. Combat heavily relies on the so-called "strategic dismemberment", which forces the player to cut off limbs or parts of the Necromorphs to defeat them. Wounding a particular part of the Necromorph's body may either allow the player to kill it, make it change attack patterns, or even become more dangerous.

Many of the weapons in the game are improvised mining tools, such as a rotary saw, a plasma cutter, a hydrazine torch used as a flamethrower, and others. All the weapons feature a secondary fire mode; for example, the plasma cutter can be rotated to cut off vertical limbs more efficiently. Isaac can also use special abilities, allowing him to slow down enemies or pick up and throw items from a distance. A few sections in the game have Isaac float in a zero-gravity environment. Ammo and tools can be found during exploration or purchased in automatic shops available on the ship. Workbenches can be used to upgrade Isaac's weapons and armor.

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

603 People (439 developers, 164 thanks) · View all

Executive Producer
Senior Development Director
Creative Director
Art Director
Production Designer
Audio Director
Design Development Director
Level Design Lead
Senior Gameplay Designer
Senior Level Designer
Level Designers
Additional Design
Lead Engineer
Lead Gameplay Engineer
Senior Gameplay Engineering
Gameplay Engineering
[ full credits ]



Average score: 89% (based on 120 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 177 ratings with 7 reviews)

In space, nobody can hear you yawn...

The Good
Good character-design.

Inventory is pretty clever.

Good scares are actually pretty common in this game.

You always know where to go.

The Bad
All enemies are killed in exactly the same way.

Chapters drag on for way too long.

Plot is not interesting in the slightest.

Level-design is very monotone.

Very little challenge.

The Bottom Line

The story starts off with engineer Isaac on a spaceship with a small crew. The ship has been send to check up on a so-called planet-cracker vessel whose communication went completely silent. It doesn't take very long to realize that it's not just an unplugged telephone causing the trouble, as the ship has been infected with a mysterious alien race and most of the crew has been killed already. Isaac gets separated from his pals and has to find a way to escape the Ishimura (as the ship is called) with his life in tact, along the way he is also looking for his wife who was stationed at the ship.

It sounds like a pretty good setup and the Alien franchise has proven to us before that been trapped on a spaceship with alien lifeforms is frightening as all hell. The story itself is not very fantastic, but it does a good job at putting our hero in the worst places imaginable and is thus sufficient. My only gripe lies with the ever-so-important pacing, which is very bad in this title. There are a total of twelve chapters, but I stopped caring around the fifth, simply because each level drags on for eternities and just keeps getting longer and longer with every second. Every time you think you're done with a chapter, some plot-event demands you to travel halfway across the sector again to fix some broken computer or do some other engineer business.

I also briefly mentioned the side-story involving Isaac's missing wife, which might have seemed a bit too relevant to skim over. The intro features a brief message from her, but then it's not brought up again for almost half the game. It's a shame, because with such little narrative, it becomes even more obvious that most of the game consists of running through the same metal corridors for long amounts of time.


Since Isaac is an engineer, he is naturally not very familiar with the working of guns. What he does know, however, is how to use sharp objects and that's fortunate since the alien lifeforms are full of limps. This is what makes the combat in this game work, unlike a Resident Evil or Left 4 Dead, enemies can't just be killed by regular gunfire. The most effective way is to cut off their limbs, since that not only kills them faster, but also makes sure that they are less effective when they are brought back to life by some other foe. The combat also feels gratifying because of the great impact each weapon has, it genuinely feels like you have a power-tool in your hands and are mowing through fleshy foes.

Besides fighting your way through enemies, Isaac also has to do a lot of running around. Since this is a horror game, much of the emphasis lies on building atmosphere. This is however handicapped by the fact that all enemies are very weak. You might be shocked when an enemy jumps through a vent in front of you, but one good shot at their tentacles will stun them and a second shot will break them completely. All enemies succumb to this tactic: just aim for whatever limbs you see and cut them off. This eventually resulted in me still using the starting pistol several hours into the game and all the fancy tools in the shop just went completely by me.

The rest of the gameplay is very basic: missions consist of Isaac running around an area of the Ishimura looking for items to open up a path or a way to fix some broken systems. It's nice that it sorta sticks with the whole Engineering gag, but the events lack any sort of fun-factor. Sometimes you have to do a short puzzle, but the mechanics usually limit this to either picking something up or slowing it down, since that is all Isaac can really do. Sometimes you're in zero-gravity getting absolutely lost, but not in an engaging or interesting way and at other times you have to do little mini-games to progress, but these all control like absolute shit.


The first hour or so was really frightening for me, since I had to run away from fucked-up monstrosities with no means of defense. Even when I found the pistol, it seemed very weak to me and I refrained from exploring too much. The sighing and breathing I heard coming from the other side of walls kept me on edge and, dang it, I was having a load of fun. As described in the Gameplay section of the review, though, it wasn't meant to last. When I realized just how feeble enemies were it sucked all the horror from the presentation and the few times the game did present me with a new foe, I could just freeze it with stasis and fire away at whatever obvious weak-spot we were using this time around.

When frightening the player no longer works, then trying to amaze them with jaw-dropping scenery is a good road to take. This should not be too difficult in practice, since we are already in space anyway. Just show us some awesome stars, planets and spaceships and you should be good. However, the game rarely goes outside and when it does, the view is often too limited to allow any kind of sightseeing. You also can't breath, which is quite logical when you think about it. A real waste, but at least the gory presentation during combat makes up for some of it. I just love the sounds of limbs been cut off...


Not recommended. The game is pretty long and lack the variety needed to justify a second run through it. You could make it a big interesting by using different weapons than before, picking a higher difficulty or taking different routes in the upgrade trees, but it's definitely limited to the fans only.


I couldn't be bothered to make it to the end of Dead Space, simply because the pacing is just so bad. Spending hours tracking through various similarly-looking hallways with little to no combat or narrative to keep you engaged is pretty boring. It could have worked if the atmosphere they were trying to present worked well with the enemies they used, but it really doesn't work. It's like greeting your new neighbor every day, the first few times are interesting and you might feel the need to strike up a conversation, but after a few days you are just going to say "hi" and mozy along to work. That's my relationship with the necromorphs in a nutshell, except the greeting is a saw-blade.

If you are easier to scare than me, then the atmosphere might really get to you and if that happens, then I can recommend it to you. Ask yourself just how easily you lose yourself in a horrifying setpiece (a Silent Hill, perhaps) and you will know whether or not you should get this game.

Windows · by Asinine (957) · 2013

In space, no one can hear you scream

The Good
The sheer amount of atmosphere.This is a labour of love, showing dedication in every pixel and every frame.The surroundings are awesome, its very interesting to see how a dedicated team can create such a dense setting and atmosphere although the game plays on a spaceship.Its claustrophobic, shocking, awesome. The game plays great (much better than for example Too Human), sounds terrifying, looks fantastic and will keep you at the edge of the seat.

The Bad
There are one, two scenes which can be a bit too hard the first 10 times You try it, but if You keep at it or play with friends, this really doesn't detract too much from the experience.Oh, and it borrows a lot from SYSTEM SHOCK 2, but You could call it an homage because it's so well done.

The Bottom Line
DEAD SPACE is a dream come true for fans of games like The Thing, Alien, Hellraiser, Event Horizon and such.It truly captures the atmosphere of such survival horror settings and keeps You in awe almost during its total lifetime.My compliments to the developers, as this is one of the rare gems where its very, very hard to find any flaws.The environments are totally convincing, the enemies totally challenging and terrifying, the story is very well told, the sound alone makes this all stand out.Although the story is not new and borrows a lot from the classic SYSTEM SHOCK 2, it retells this kind of story in an entertaining way.

Xbox 360 · by Emmanuel Henne (23) · 2008

Although its story is lacking a crucial element, Dead Space is a compelling and thrilling action horror.

The Good
I lurves me some survival horror. I've always clung on to the Silent Hill series and I have dabbled with Resident Evil . However, RE has been rather sickly lately. Don't get me wrong, Resident Evil 4 was a decent Third person shooter, but honestly, it lacked any true horror. I roll my eyes when people call it one of the scariest games ever. To me, true survival horror is a dead art. Then Dead Space came along.

What attracted me to Dead Space was its setting. As a movie buff, I love it when games can successfully give tribute to good movies. Dead Space does an awesome job giving tribute to 3 classic films: Ridley Scott's tense and famous "ALIEN," Andrei Tarkovosky's psychological answer to 2010, "Solyaris," and last but definitely not least, John Carpenter's sick & twisted "The Thing." What elements does Dead Space take from these films and pay tribute, you ask? Well, it has the creepy isolation of Alien and the feeling of dread being stalked by a monster much deadlier than yourself. It takes plot elements from Solyaris, concerning the space setting, the dead wife, and crew dying in strange mannerisms involving hallucinations. And from The Thing, it takes the monsters. The Thing had some f**ed up and very twisted baddies, and Dead Space's nasties resemble The Thing in many ways and their venereal horror approach is also similar. The game pays tribute, it doesn't rip off, and I respect that.

The story is simple, at least it starts off simple anyways: You are Isaac Clark (I see what you did there, devs >_>), an engineer sent with a small crew to answer a distress beacon from a mining ship known as the Ishimura. Naturally, it hits the fan and you are separated from your crew by a strange not-quite-alien not-quite-human monster known simply as "Necromorphs" (For those who don't speak Latin, this literally means "Dead Shape" or "Shape of Death" if you want to interpret it a different way. Clever, it suits them perfectly.) and you must survive. While this set up is fairly cliche and retreaded, what makes the plot compelling and interesting is the backstory and history of it all. There's a fascinating and deep backstory to the Ishimura, and what happened on this ship prior to your arrival. There's a lot interesting going on, and its easy to see why they gave the game companion pieces to make this backstory richer. The concurrent plot does get more interesting as it moves on as well. Isaac's chase for his wife is eerie and yet interesting, and pays a bit of tribute to Solyaris in its psychological elements. However, a certain element of this plotline ruins it... More on that later.

The graphics are awe inspiring at times. The detail is awesome, and chills will go down your spine whenever you look out into space and view planets, stars, eclipses and more. The detail is also used against you as well, but that's par for the course in horror games. The necromorphs truly do live up to the name of "Dead Shape" and are disgusting and scary. They tap a primal element and a fear that has always plagued me: Sub-humanity. To elaborate, sub-humanity is when a monster in a game/movie/comic/etc. is so twisted that it could pass as one of the filthiest alien creatures discovered, but in truth it was once human, and an echo of that humanity can be seen. When I encounter creatures like this, something so inhuman but containing small parts of the human form disturbs me and my skin crawls. The necromorphs are easily one of the most disturbing of these kinds of monsters, the more twisted they get, the creepier they are mostly because of their faces which look tormented and distressingly human. The amount of detail put into them is great, and all the other characters look great and there are some amazing special effects.

The sound design, as one would expect is one of the most important elements of the game, and the developers delivered. The game sounds freaky, and the various "types" of necromorph continue that same path of sub-humanity, emitting sounds that both sound human and yet utterly alien. Sometimes during shrieks you'll think you heard the last of the creatures humanity crying or even talking. The atmosphere is laid down by two things: The soundscape and the immersion. The game is one of the most immersive horror titles ever made, and will make you its bitch. It will never let you go, and it drags you through the game by your throat and always keep you in. You really feel like you are on the Ishimura, and much like System Shock 2 the fear here is that you are isolated alone on a ship full of ghosts, monsters, and only one human with questionable motifs to keep you company. The eerie soundscape is awesome, always providing scary sounds emanating from different parts of the ship and even around the dreaded corners. It doesn't do this game's excellent soundscape justice to use speakers, grab your stereo headphones and crank it up.

The gameplay is much like Resident Evil 4. In fact, its almost exact although in some ways improved. For one... YOU CAN MOVE WHILE AIMING. That was one of the things I hated most about RE4, why the hell can't you move while aiming? Thankfully, you can do that here. The combat also has a unique hook that works well: 'Strategic Dismemberment.' Y'see, there's only way to kill these bastards and that is to deprive them of their limbs (Although a word of warning: DO NOT TAKE OFF THE HEAD. I know its instinct to aim for the head, but this only makes them stronger.) and the way this is implemented is very well done. The term "strategic" is a proper way of describing it, because the games physics are so well done. Take off a bipedal creatures leg, and it will stumble to the ground giving you ample time to finish it as it desperately crawls. Take off the tail of the creatures I like to call scorpion-men, and they will do less damage. As you can guess, the game is pretty gory; but for once the gore actually makes the game scarier. As I said, taking off the head of a monster is not a good idea. One time I was in the vacuum of space and naturally, you can't hear much in a vacuum. A scorpion-man leaped at me and I took off its arm, its head, and gave it a big blast to the stomach. As his blood eerily floated through the zero gravity, I turned away thinking he was dead, but then I heard a soft growl in the vacuum and looked around expecting a new monster, but turned around and saw the headless, one armed creature crawling with its one arm towards me and I about crapped my pants there. Gameplay is great, and it works quite well and uses a tried and true formula but truthfully improves it.

The boss fights are epic, especially the one in zero gravity. The final boss is also incredible, and its one of those moments where you freeze, stare in wonderment as something massive appears, and go "WHAT THE HOLY F*** IS THAT!?!?!?" before running in fear and cowering behind a box. The boss fights are satisfying and awesome.

The game successfully pulls off monster closets, something games rarely can do. There are a couple times that the closets get predictable, but the game does a better job than most at keeping them relatively well hidden and the thick atmosphere will almost always make you jump.

The necromorphs are very fleshed out, each "specie" of necromorph is unique, has a unique AI, habits, and style. This makes them feel 3-Dimensional and real, which of course, also makes them scarier. There are no two species of necromorph alike, and this also makes the 'strategic dismemberment' even more interesting because you have to learn the biology of each specie, its weak point, and have to learn how to take each one down properly in unique manners.

The Bad
The story, as compelling as it is is lacking one crucial element: A protagonist. Sure, you control Isaac Clarke but he never says a word save for some notes in his journal between levels. You never even see his face save for a few seconds at the beginning. This means that his lost wife and the twists it takes lacks true emotion or power. You can't identify with Isaac, and that means you could care less that he's looking for his wife. The games story is told so well that you will still feel emotion for his wife and get interested, but it still lacks the true emotional and psychological impact it could've had thanks to the fact that Isaac has no character whatsoever. This makes what would've been an excellent story very lacking. Its still a great story, but this ruins some of the things the developers were trying to do.

The graphics may be great, but the game does suffer from an extreme case of "Browninitis." Browninitis is a disease that was present in the Quake games, but not truly severe until Doom 3. Since then, almost every shooter and horror game has contracted Browninitis. Symptoms include muddy textures, lack of any decoration and colour beyond brown and brownish gray, and can make even the best graphics look bland at times. Dead Space has a nearly fatal case of Browninitis. It's so disappointing that the otherwise beautiful graphics didn't get handled with more care and artistic flair. The ships environments are depressingly monotonous and it doesn't help that a few missions have you backtracking.

The final cut-scene is stock, cliche, and stupid as hell. It is a majour buzz kill for what could've been the only scene where Isaac actually shows his face and shows true emotion.

Although the game is scary, there are times that it uses scare tactics that don't really work and sometimes the weapons you can get are a little too powerful and you don't always feel as vulnerable as you should; although you can just choose to stick to other weapons if you feel too powerful.

Puzzles and horror games go hand in hand. Apparently Dead Space didn't get the memo. While there are a couple good puzzles, for the most part puzzles are repeated and aren't really "puzzles" because you've already solved them time and time again. It would've been nice to have a few more puzzles to keep the brain juices flowing as well as the adrenaline.

There are moments where the voice acting and dialogue can get hammy. While the voice acting is fairly good, particularly on the logs you find around the ship, sometimes your supporting cast overact or even underact.

Another flaw with the story is that there are too many questions even after finding ALL of the logs (Yes, I replayed just to find them ALL because I wanted some answers), reading the comics, and seeing that stupid animated movie. None of them answer one of my biggest questions: What the hell is the marker? and although we get that the marker is holy to the religion of Unitology, WHY is it holy to them? What are the Unitologists principles? Why did the Necromorphs come with the marker, when the game suggests that they proved there was no alien or bacterial life on the planet they found it on? What was that one Unitologist with the beard babbling about? If the necromorph is a polymorphic parasite from another planet, why was that bearded Unitologist guy creating a new species of them? Why did he have control over it? And that's just the first few questions I have. There's a lot that needs to be explained, and these questions sometimes open up plot holes that are going to take a lot of work to fill.

The Bottom Line
Dead Space is a great start for what could be a great series, it is one of the first true survival horror games in years, even if the action at times does walk into RE4 territory and makes the game a little less scary than it could've been. The incredible atmosphere, great story, scary monsters and set pieces will keep you on your seat and despite the fact that the story is incomplete without any true emotion or connection with the main character, the story carries weight and has a lot of potential in it. Its a flawed gem, but a gem is still a gem no matter how flawed. Its worth checking out if you are a survival horror fan.

Windows · by Kaddy B. (777) · 2009

[ View all 7 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Limited time free offer from Origin Rwolf (22296) Apr 1st, 2014
Should I go on? Slug Camargo (583) May 15th, 2009
Wii version coming soon. Big John WV (26941) Mar 23rd, 2009
QUERY: Dead Space demo... ending... And Wan Mar 1st, 2009
Add New Game Group bobthewookiee (71) Feb 15th, 2009


1001 Video Games

Dead Space appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Air filtration room bug

Unfortunately, each platform the game was released (PS3, XBox 360, Windows) on, features the same, occasionally reproduced critical bug. In the 6th Chapter, where you are trying to pass the furnaces in the Air Filtration room, the control panels near the locked doors, which you should shoot out, are absent, and there is absolutely no way to proceed in the game. The exact steps to reproduce this bug are still unknown. No fixes exist at the moment of this trivia contribution, but a solution to avoid this bad situation does exist.

Just save your game in the very beginning of each chapter while you are in the tram, and keep it until you finish the chapter. If the bug occurs, just reload your save game and walk through the chapter from the very beginning once more. Just go to the problematic place as fast as possible and examine whether it is the same or not. Do it until the control panels appear, and you'll be able to get along.

Chapters (Spoiler!)

When put together, the first letter of each chapter's name spells out NICOLE IS DEAD.


At first the game was developed for the original Xbox.


Producers admittedly reported to having drawn inspiration from cult-movies like The Thing, Alien and Event Horizon, as well as from successful videogames like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.


Some of the characters that appear or are mentioned in the game also appear in the animated prequel Downfall, which depicts the outbreak of the Necromorphs on the Ishimura.


  • Isaac Clarke, the main character of the game, is named after science fiction writers Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.
  • Unitology, the fictional religion that plays a large part in the series' storyline, appears to be vaguely inspired by the Church of Scientology.


  • GAME British Academy Video Games Awards
    • 2009 - Original Score Award
  • GamePro
    • February 209 (Issue #245) - Xbox 360 Game of the Year 2008
  • GamePro (Germany)
    • February 26, 2009 - Best Console Action-Adventure in 2008 (Readers' Vote)
  • GameSpy
    • 2008 – #8 Xbox 360 Game of the Year
    • 2008 – #9 PS3 Game of the Year
    • 2008 – Best Audio of the Year

Information also contributed by Mark Ennis, PCGamer77, POMAH, Sciere and sgtcook

Related Games

Dead Space 3
Released 2013 on Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Dead Space 2
Released 2011 on Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Dead Space: Extraction
Released 2009 on Wii, PlayStation 3
Dead Space Pack
Released 2011 on Windows
Dead Space: Ignition
Released 2010 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Dead Space 3: Enervator
Released 2013 on Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Dead Space: Astronaut Pack
Released 2008 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Dead Space: Tank Pack
Released 2008 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Dead Space: Obsidian Pack
Released 2008 on PlayStation 3

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by BinaryDragon.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Sciere, Niccolò Mineo, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added November 4th, 2008. Last modified December 1st, 2023.