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Hostile aliens and claustrophobia rule the day in Dead Space, a survival horror game in the vein of the classic film Alien. Dead Space takes place in the distant future when Earth's lust for raw materials has extended deep into the galaxy, and giant ships roam the cosmos mining planets for resources. Gamers climb into the spacesuit of systems engineer Isaac Clarke, sent with a team of investigators to the massive USG Ishimura to determine why communications have gone dead. Once aboard, Clarke discovers that the more than 1,000 crewmembers, including his love interest Nicole, all seem to be missing, dead, or transformed into hideous alien mutants. To make matters worse, Clarke's transport ship is destroyed, his fellow investigators are slaughtered, and he is forced to scramble through the Ishimura's labyrinthine corridors weaponless and alone.
The game's action takes place from a third-person perspective, and the narrative is revealed in classic survival horror fashion through messages scrawled in blood, the dying utterances of mortally wounded crewmembers, and any discarded logs or journals players may stumble upon. Gamers can loot corpses for credits which can then be used in the ship's many automated vending machines to purchase weapons, upgrade Clarke's space suit, and gain access to restricted areas. Much of the ship's interior has been damaged and thus lacks oxygen or gravity, creating a number of environmental puzzles, and making choices regarding upgrades exceedingly important — powerful weapons offer little solace to a player devoid of oxygen. However, choosing the correct weaponry is also crucial, because the creatures that dwell within the Ishimura are terrifyingly powerful, and unlike most games, the action in Dead Space doesn't pause while players check their journal, change weapons, or reload. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide