A good horror movie requires craftsmanship: you need just the right amount of suspense, scare, suggestion, open terror, action and of course good visual effects. If anything is missing or the balance isn’t right you get something which is cheesy, gory, laughable or all of the above. The same rules apply to horror computer games. There are a lot of them, but only a few are masterpieces.
Dead Space is such a masterpiece: a third person shooter set on a gigantic starship drifting through space. Your character Isaac Clarke has to fight his way through a nightmarish maze of dark corridors and find a way off the doomed ship. Most of the crew members have been killed and turned into horrible monsters called Necromorphs. Their relentless attacks turn Isaac’s odyssey into a merciless struggle for survival.
The game rivals a good horror movie: gloomy atmosphere, scarce lighting, creepy sounds and things moving in the shadows. The references to Aliens and Starship Troopers are unmistakable. You know that there is a monster lurking around the next corner because you can hear it. But when the monster finally attacks from just the direction you didn’t expect the game still makes you jump.
If you like a game with an interesting plot, tough fights and a good scare you should definitely try Dead Space. I loved and hated it, both at the same time.