Dead Space 2′s 10 Most Horrifying Moments

dead space 2 reviews Dead Space 2s 10 Most Horrifying Moments

Any time a video game is touted as “scary” or “terrifying,” the Internet will inevitably fill up with macho players trashing it and talking about how they’ve been more scared by all the weights they’ve been lifting instead. The classification of what makes a game fall into the survival-horror genre then ensues, exposing the purists (“If you have more than two bullets and don’t spend most of the game solving puzzles, it ain’t scary!”) and the progressives (“Sure, you’re mowing down enemies with an infinite rocket launcher, but they have, like, three eyes! Scary, bro.”)

Many of these arguments flooded forums everywhere when Dead Space 2 was released. The original was a fantastically terrifying experience, presenting players a brand new IP that didn’t suck. Even though most of the Internet derided the series for being predictable and lacking of scares, that’s not what I’m here to do. I would rather discuss the moments that made me scared to pick my controller back up because of the smothering tension. Since describing how scared I was of a video game I played voluntarily exposes my lack of self-confidence, I’ll use pictures to show my approximate reaction instead.

So, with that in mind, read on to check out the ten most terrifying moments from Dead Space 2, which we look back on to celebrate the launch of Dead Space 3.

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The Beginning

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Who can forget the way the original Dead Space kicked off? Being chased through a dimly lit hallway by an unknown force of terror into a claustrophobic elevator that barely holds it back in the first place? Holy crap, if you’re not panting yet, then you’re probably in better shape than me. Needless to say, my expectations were high for Dead Space 2, and as I sat wondering how they could possibly top such a moment, they freaking went and did it.

Isaac, wrapped up in a straightjacket, is in the process of being released by an orderly as the Necromorph attack begins. But since nothing comes easy for our protagonist, the orderly is killed inches from his face, transforming into a Necromorph himself. One headbutt later, Isaac is rushing through destroyed corridors, being pursued by an army of these things. In a straightjacket. With no weapons. Remember, this is about three minutes into the game, and the intensity has already blasted past 10. Well played, Visceral Games.

Approximate reaction:

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Baby Necromorph

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At one point in the game, as Isaac continues to explore the huge expanse of the Sprawl, he enters a school for young children, which has tragically been ravaged by the invasion. Walking by a window, he sees a woman who has survived the attack, beckoning for something off screen. We get to fix our attention on one of the most disturbing images in the series: a baby, transformed into a Necromorph bomb, crawls towards the woman. As the poor baby reaches the survivor, they embrace and hug each other until the baby explodes, killing them both in a splatter of motherly blood. Good luck having children, let alone sleeping, after witnessing that.

Approximate reaction:

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The Pack

deadspace2 pack Dead Space 2s 10 Most Horrifying Moments

Encountering The Pack for the first time is a chilling experience for a multitude of reasons, the least of which being that they hunt as their name suggests. If seeing a mass of enemies all charging at you from various directions, how would you feel knowing that they’re small children? Not content with giving adults and babies all the fun, even young children get to be transformed in terrible ways, leading to a literal pack of Necromorphs that do everything in their power to disassemble Isaac piece-by-piece. Sure, they’re weak and easier to kill than a fly, but when there are upwards of ten of these baddies on every side, deaths comes quickly. I hope you’re not too attached to your arms.

Approximate reaction:

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The Freezers

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This was one of those parts that was spoiled in the demo version, which is sad because it happens to be one of the most tense scenes in the game.

Isaac stumbles into a freezer room, filled with pods large enough to contain quite a few bodies. The first room builds the music, the tension, brings your weapon to the ready…but nothing happens. But upon entering the second room, which is identical to the first, there’s a flash of screaming corpses, quick and loud enough to fill your pants with your preference of excrement.

If that shock wasn’t enough, however, the tension that follows will have you on the edge of your already stained seat. Isaac is forced through room after room, each identical to the last, with some containers busted open, and some still closed. Never knowing which area will bring the imminent Necromorph flood is unnervingly perfect, and a perfect example of what makes Dead Space 2 so effective.

Approximate reaction:

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The Stalkers

Dead Space 2 Stalker Dead Space 2s 10 Most Horrifying Moments

In case you couldn’t tell, all of the new enemies introduced in this sequel were examples of how a sequel should develop a horror series: take the original premise, and evolve it into something horrifying yet recognizable. Enter the Stalkers, lovingly referred to as the “velociraptors of Dead Space.” They easily live up to their names, treating Isaac like the helpless prey that he is.

As he investigates the Church of Unitology, Isaac has his first run-in with these baddies, and first time players will have no idea what they’re in for. A few chirps and barks signal their arrivals, and one of them is even dumb enough to pop their head around the corner of where they’re hiding. Set for the kill, Isaac approaches, plasma cutter at the ready.

But what’s that to the right? Isaac turns just in time to get knocked down by another one of the Stalkers, who each take turns beating the snot out of him. Once Isaac is back up and ready to fight again, they retreat, chirping and barking the whole time. This is a pack of predators who can stalk and communicate together in a way that no video game enemies have ever been able to. Kudos to the developers for creating such formidable foes, and for making the rest of the game a tireless exercise in constantly looking over your shoulder.

Approximate reaction:

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Return to the Ishimura

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Despite how terrifying the Sprawl is in Dead Space 2, the USG Ishimura houses more than its fair share of horrors from the first entry in the series. Although nothing specifically astounding happens on the ship, the suspense comes with being back on the dreaded vessel that ruined Isaac’s life in the first place.

Revisiting familiar locations such as the medical deck puts the player in Isaac’s shoes better than any other gimmick can. The locations bring with them memories of that first romp through Dead Space, and remembering what has happened once makes it even more horrifying to imagine what might transpire now. Also, there are a ton of Necromorphs waiting on board to rip Isaac to pieces just for old time’s sake. Ah, sweet sweet memories.

Approximate reaction:

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Poke a needle in your eye

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Perhaps the most infamous moment from the game, anybody who has played it knows exactly what I’m talking about here. For those few of you who haven’t had the (dis?)pleasure of playing through this scene, let me give you a quick rundown: Isaac, seeking to uncover the knowledge in his head that can destroy the marker (it’s a long story), discovers a machine designed for just that purpose.

Easy peasy, right? Sure, except that information is unlocked by jabbing an insanely long needle through Isaac’s nervously twitching eye and into his brain. Of course, you have to match the needle up precisely to a single point on his always moving eye. Anyone with a fear of needles, eyes or needles entering eyes (about 99% of the population) will feel a slight stinging just watching the scene. But having to actually guide the needle slowly into Isaac’s eye, with the threat of destroying his face (and modelling career) if done wrong? As many battles as you’ve fought up to this point, nothing has you on the edge of your seat more than this.

Approximate reaction:

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The Chase

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Even though poking a needle in your eye is plenty stressful and disgusting, it sets off a chain of events that causes the last two chapters of Dead Space 2 to be the most horrifying part of the whole game. Beginning immediately after unlocking all the good stuff in his noggin, Isaac has a confrontation with the Ubermorph.

If that name doesn’t give you chills, then maybe this will: the Ubermorph is an insanely large Necromorph that can regenerate any lost limbs, and practically nothing can stop this behemoth. Now, imagine for a whole chapter that this unstoppable force is right behind you, constantly pursuing you as other enemies try to stop you. Cutting off its legs only does so much to alleviate the pressure, and it only stays down for seconds at a time.

I personally can’t stand being chased. I find it to be the single most terrifying thing in the world, feeling that prickling all down your spine because you know something is behind you, hands inches from your back. But just imagine that, magnified by a million, while also concentrating on survival. That’s about as soiled as pants can get.

Approximate reaction:

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The Gauntlet

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We’re getting really close to the end here, and it’s not to be reached without a wee bit of difficulty. The Ubermorph is still on your tail, but the amount of Necromorphs standing between Isaac and the Marker is astounding. Every enemy presents a huge challenge, and it gets to the point where running (and flailing) is the only feasible option. You are besieged on every side by Necromorphs of all types, and that feeling of being pursued is made infinitely worse knowing it’s a whole army of howling beasts reaching for you.

Consider this scene the ultimate confrontation between Isaac and the Necromorphs. There is literally nothing that can be done, but Isaac powers through like a champ because the Marker is waiting ahead. The symbol of all of his suffering, of the destruction of humanity, is in his grasp, and nothing will stop him from destroying it. Which brings us to our final mind-shattering moment…

Approximate reaction:

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The End

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And so we’ve reached it, the end of Isaac’s quest on the Sprawl. As he reaches the Marker, he discovers that his death is necessary to finally activate the Marker, and as we should know by now, Isaac ain’t having none of that!

Through a series of events I won’t spoil here, Isaac gets pulled into his own mind, facing his inner demons in an attempt to stop the Marker from taking him completely and destroying all of humanity. Needless to say, the final battle is as intense as they come, and has an unforgettable conclusion whether you succeed or die trying.

Approximate reaction:

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And there you have it folks, the ten scariest moments from Dead Space 2 that (at least for me) led to more than a few screams, squeals, whimpers and gratuitous sweating. With Dead Space 3 hitting shelves today, now’s a better time than ever to continue the adventures of Isaac, the undeniable master of dismemberment.

Here’s to hoping that the newest entry is just as terrifying as the past two have been, and be sure to check back soon for our review of Dead Space 3!

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