Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Video Game: Deadspace
"Only The Dead Survive..."

Dead Space is a video game released for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2008. It is the first game in the Dead Space series.

The game takes place in the Ishimura, a spaceship of the Planet Cracker class, a series of ships which find mineral-rich planets and literally lift whole chunks of them into space for mining. During a mining excavation on a faraway planet, the miners discover a strange artifact of apparently alien origin. The artifact, dubbed the Marker, was apparently causing problems amongst the colonists who were working on the surface of the planet. Eventually, it's decided to transport the Marker to the Ishimura. It did not end well.

Luckily (or not), a distress call managed to get sent, and a crew of (two) space marines, led by Sergeant Zach Hammond, is sent to investigate. Along with him are two engineers, tasked with helping repair any damage done to the Ishimura that might have caused the distress call: systems engineer Kendra Daniels and mechanical/electronic engineer Isaac Clarke. Clarke also has a personal reason for undertaking the mission: his girlfriend Nicole is part of the Ishimura's crew, and he fears for her safety.

What they find is the ostensive definition of Hell on Earth (or rather, IN SPACE!): the crew of the ship has been annihilated by a series of creatures (dubbed Necromorphs by the Ishimura's scientists) who have the ability to infect dead tissue to raise their numbers. This results in zombie-like mutated monsters infesting the entire ship. Even worse is that there is apparently a cult called the Unitologists, who believe that the Marker is actually of divine origin. The name of the game is now not rescue, but survival: Isaac and the rest of the rescue team must now find a way off the ship. Using his engineering skills and whatever hastily-weaponized power tools he can find, Isaac must help his fellow survivors escape this hellish situation... if he doesn't crack first.

Gameplay wise Dead Space shares a lot of similarities with Resident Evil 4. There is one button to aim and one button to fire; ammo, health, audio logs, and money are found scattered about the Ishimura, but are in limited supply, so the player has to ration everything accordingly (though Isaac will almost always manage to find health on corpses when he really needs it); and there is a store where Isaac can buy ammo, new weapons, upgrades for his weapons, and upgrades for his suit, as well as store extra items cluttering up his inventory.

An interesting gameplay variation is that Necromorphs are very difficult to kill with head or body shots. Instead, Isaac has to cut several limbs off of each Necromorph to "kill" it. Since the Necromorphs come in many different shapes, each fight becomes an exercise in what might be called "creative marksmanship." Isaac also has a Stasis module which can slow enemies or machinery down to Bullet Time speeds, and a Telekinesis device which can levitate objects to solve puzzles.

A prequel, Dead Space: Extraction, was released in 2009. A sequel, Dead Space 2, was released in 2011. A second sequel, Dead Space 3 was released in 2013.

Iron Monkey Studios released a game for the iPhone and iPad also called Dead Space, also in 2011. It takes place in the same universe, but has more to do with Dead Space 2 than Dead Space. Since it has the same name, tropes for it are kept on this page at the bottom.
    open/close all folders 

     Dead Space provides examples of: 

  • Abandoned Hospital: Isaac must travel to the Medical Deck twice during the course of gameplay for different reasons. There's plenty of gore, as well as evidence of activities with questionable ethics.
  • Absent Aliens: In the backstory, at least. Most of humankind believes this, seeing how they've spread into the galaxy and found absolutely nothing. Oh, how wrong they were!
  • Action Commands: Mash "A" to escape enemies' clutches (or "X" or "E"...). Hard to tell if it is actually doing something unless you succeed in pushing the crazed creature away before it kills you.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Marker manipulates Kyne by communicating through the image of his dead wife and Isaac through Nicole.
    • A sharp gamer will notice that Kyne is seeing his dead wife, and since Mercer states that the Marker hallucinations are of dead people, will come to the conclusion that Nicole is dead as well. It's made more obvious in Martyr.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Inverted. For the most part, the artificial intelligence of the ship is the only thing functioning properly and not attempting to deliberately kill you.
    • Though sometimes one has to wonder, what's with all the Quarantine Lockdowns that trap you with a mob of Necromorphs, and how smug she sounded after that stunt with the tomato plant in Hydroponics...
    • The only real human-built AI, named "CECL," only officially appears in the Alternate Reality Game "No Known Survivors" (though one of the recurring whispers you hear in the main Dead Space game is a recording of some of the things she says). CECL is a "Litigious Risk Computer" which can be consulted for survival/accident odds, or dating advice odds, and is even capable of simulating conversations between two people to a remarkable degree. During No Known Survivors' intermission, CECL speaks with rough disdain of the human need to have closure and "happy endings," but isn't really malevolent.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Both the U.S.G. Ishimura and the U.S.M. Valor are chock full of massive, easily accessible air vents that give the necromorphs virtually free access to anywhere on the ship, bypassing security, lockdowns and even quarantines with impunity.
  • Almighty Janitor: Isaac rips through hordes of mutated walking corpses, fends off an Asteroid Thicket, destroys three giant... things (one of which is apparently the source of ALL the others), the list goes on. And this guy isn't even a soldier, he just an engineer!
  • Alone with the Psycho: Various things in the game show evidence of Doctor Mercer's madness.
  • Alternate Reality Game: No Known Survivors.
  • An Economy Is You: Semi-justified. The items available at the stores on board the Ishimura - futuristic power tools,note  ammunition for futuristic power tools, safety equipment suitable for using futuristic power tools, repair/upgrade supplies suitable for futuristic power tools, futuristic first aid supplies (which you would most likely need if you regularly use futuristic power tools) - are things you would expect from vending machines on board a futuristic mining ship, and just happen to be quite useful for surviving a Zombie Apocalypse. But it would have been more realistic for them to offer food, drinks, and toiletries as well.
  • Another Man's Terror: You encounter a dying man who fought his way through the ship. He gives you a note and then dies. You have to finish what he started, scary beasts chasing you and all.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Much of the story is told through logs left by the crew, but you learn most through the logs left by Acting Chief Engineer Jacob Temple and Doctor Elizabeth Cross, God rest their souls.
    • The opening transmission from Nicole is also an apocalyptic log, although you don't learn that until the end.
  • Arc Words: "Make us whole again."
  • Artifact of Doom: The Marker.
  • Artificial Gravity: It's an actual gameplay feature; more so when it's not available. Some instances have the grav-plating break, causing gravity to reverse and become more powerful over the broken panel. Walking into it throws Isaac/necromorphs so fast that it gibs them. This also occurs on the Valor, however, you find a soldier pinned to the ceiling who's still a live and groaning in pain. You can't save him unfortunately.
  • Artificial Limbs: Of a decidedly morally gray variety. You visit a body part cloning farm at one point.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Due to some rather loose scripting, it's possible to make Necromorphs jump in and out of vents endlessly, force The Hunter to kill itself, and make Brutes totally ignore you, among other things.
    • The Nercomorphs seem to be tied to their room (unless scripted otherwise). This isn't usually much of an issue because the doors are usually closed - but if you engage in battle while in a doorway, and stay close enough to the doorway the door doesn't close, you'll see the necromorphs wander off to do their own thing the moment you back up far enough, as if you're not there.
  • Artistic License - Chemistry: Isaac's use of a 'thermite bomb' to destroy a metal barricade. Thermite used in this fashion would burn through the bottom of the containing vessel and flow down the outer surface of the blockage; unless it was pressurized to the point the apparatus resembled a liquid jet cutter, it wouldn't penetrate a vertical surface to any useful depth. There's a whole slew of things wrong with the scene in question; the door is vaporized while Isaac, standing right next to the phenomenon, takes no damage, Isaac's guns are supposed to be cutting tools but the level is built around making a cutting tool... And it doesn't make sense to keep welding equipment in a medical office, it's like keeping stacks of bricks and mortar in an operating theatre.
  • The Asteroid Thicket: The chunks of rock that Isaac must deal with in one chapter come from the planet the Ishimura is orbiting, having been thrown up when they tore the first chunk of of the planet from the surface.
  • As You Know: Your Gravity Boots will keep you stable in zero-G environments.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: to kill almost every enemy you encounter, you have to shoot off An Arm and a Leg. (Exceptions include Dividers and Swarmers.) Since every form of Necromorph has a different weak spot, most of which are discovered via Trial-and-Error Gameplay, basically every enemy in the game also qualifies as a Puzzle Mook.
  • Backtracking: Apart from copious doors to before, three levels - the Flight Deck, the Medical Deck, and the Bridge - are used twice (though your objectives are in different parts of the level the second time around).
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: As part of a regularly-occurring motif.
  • Space Zombies Can Breathe In Space: Necromorphs have no problem operating in areas with no air to breathe. However, they still should be vulnerable to explosive decompression, or cellular damage due to long term exposure to the lack of atmospheric pressure, unless part of the necromorphing process involves expelling all of the gasses in the human body to prevent that from happening-and perhaps it does, the change generates enough heat to cook their flesh, according to the Dead Space wiki.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Several times. For instance, Isaac encounters a man who headbutts a wall until his skull is pulped. Nicole kills herself via lethal injection prior to Isaac's arrival.
    • There's also the log you can pick up of the man who shoots his own limbs off with a Plasma Cutter so that even if he came back as a Necromorph he can't hurt anyone. It doesn't work.
    • And don't forget the lady with the medical saw you encounter in the infirmary.
    • The woman who shoots herself. Why they all seem to do it as Isaac appears just seems weird, though.
  • BFG: The Contact Beam. To get an idea of how powerful this weapon is, the damage from most weapons range from 5 to 20. The damage from the contact beam without any upgrades is 100 and 175 when fully upgraded.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Kendra, Dr. Mercer, and the Hive Mind.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Due to a Special Effect Failure, the version of the Ishimura shown in the introduction is vastly smaller than its own interior, to the point where it could comfortably fit inside itself several times over.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The PA system occasionally plays public addresses in French. One of those translates to "Attention please, we would like to remind you that body searches may be performed at any moment. Body damage suffered in these searches is not covered by health insurance." Some of them are also in Spanish.
    • Also, the name of the Ishimura itself, which means "Rock-Village" in Japanese. Rather fitting for a mining ship.
    • Among the graffiti phrases on the walls of the Med Lab, there is a Japanese phrase mixed in with everything else. Translated, it reads "The Ishimura is dead."
  • Bittersweet Ending: You live, but all of your companions are dead, as well as the people you knew on the Ishimura. You find out that your girlfriend killed herself long before you arrived, and that you've been talking to a hallucination of her produced by the Marker - which, by the way, almost certainly drove you at least a little insane... And there's a sequel.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted, of the five crew-members of the Kellion, Johnston, the white Space Marine who dies first, followed swiftly by the Asian Chen.
  • Boom, Headshot/Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Played straight and subverted. Shooting a Necromorph's head will kill it... if you've blown off at least one of its other limbs (or two, depending on what you're shooting). Shooting one in the head from the get-go, however, will only make it go berserk.
    • However, after the head is removed, if you throw it or shoot it, it pops like a melon filled with firecrackers.
  • Boring but Practical: The Plasma Cutter and the Line Gun are all the player needs to utterly dominate the game on any difficulty setting. The Plasma Cutter is the first weapon as well as the only free one, but both appear early on and can perform the job of any of the more Awesome but Impractical weapons faster, more cheaply, and without encumbering Isaac. There's even an achievement for completing the game using only the Plasma Cutter.
    • A slight aversion occurs in the case of the Pulse Rifle in that it is probably the most conventional weapon in-game (and technically, the only one) and is among the least effective until you've mastered it's use.
  • Boss Room: If one constantly checks their map screen, they can almost flawlessly predict when a big encounter of some kind is about to occur.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Normally you would find suit upgrades throughout the game, each one more expensive than the last. However, you can pay a few real-life dollars to have any number of max-level suits right away, giving you maximum defense and inventory space (and there's one suit that has even more defense on top of that). There are also more powerful versions of the standard weapons you can buy as well.
  • Broken Bridge: Thank you, Ishimura Security System, because sealing off all the doors in an emergency always helps.
    • The security system refers to the emergency as a "Hazardous Anomaly"; it makes sense for it to be locked away. The only thing that flaws this system is that the "Anomaly" in question can move through vents and sub-ceilings with ease, and is not stopped by doors. Unlike you.
  • Camera Screw: The camera is fine looking all around you, but it's hard to look straight up without using the aim feature with your gun. This becomes an issue in the zero G parts.
  • Cardboard Prison: One of the logs unlocked after beating the game describes the fall of the first colony in Aegis VII. The author was observing a pair of infected corpses turn into an infector and a leaper respectively inside a quarantine cell when suddenly the leaper jumped to the ceiling and smashed through an air vent allowing them both to escape, the shaft presumably connected to the base's main ventilation system for some reason.
  • Cat Scare: The game loves to do this to you: you'll hear the Scare Chord and only see a box falling from a shelf, it's only until several seconds later that a hideous alien baby jumps out of the dark at you. This is generally due to the game's line of sight detection thinking the monster is in view when it isn't.
  • The Cavalry. The USM Valor which shocks in at the introduction of Chapter 8. Of course, by the beginning of the next chapter, almost all of the Valor's crew has been brutally slaughtered. There is good reason to believe (due to text logs that can be recovered and the Valor's complement of nuclear missiles) that if the crew succeeded in their original objective, a Cavalry Betrayal would have occurred for everyone but Kendra Daniels.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Ripper is frequently used as a gun that shoots saw-blades, but the primary firing mode certainly qualifies.
    • It's a maglev chainsaw, for high-tech remote limb-lopping. Or for cutting live power lines in an emergency without the operator getting electrocuted.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Mostly averted, in that the game does not pause when accessing the inventory. It's not a good idea to open it up when a Necromorph is trying to chew your face off. However, changing clothes takes place in a special cut-scene at the store, and therefore actually is a free action.
  • Charged Attack: The Contact Beam's primary fire.
  • Cherry Tapping: Isaac's Curb Stomp of DOOM.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Escape Pod #47.
    • Don't forget the broken guidance tether on the Ishimura. Hmmm, what do you think will happen the next time a ship attempts automated docking procedures?
  • Closed Circle: After they arrive on the Ishimura, the USG Kellion blows up as Isaac attempts to load up a damage report - in preparation for leaving, in fact.
  • Colony Drop: Though not exactly a colony, a massive portion of Aegis VII comes crashing down after Isaac accidentally shuts down the only thing holding it in position!
    • He then has to not only race Kendra Daniels to the only still-functioning space ship on the planet, but also defeat the Hive Mind, start up the shuttle, and after all that, get far enough away before the Aegis VII Shattering Kaboom!
  • Combat Tentacles: A bunch of necromorphs have these, most notably the recurring ones that grab you and drag you towards your doom.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: When the game isn't freaking you out with body horror.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Isaac doesn't die until that last sliver of blue is gone, but he does increase his heart rate, breathing rate, and slump over while moving if badly injured. Also, while having no lasting side-effects, Isaac starts panting and gasping heavily with increasing intensity as his air reserves run out.
    • On the higher difficulty levels, the Necromorphs can dismember, and kill, Isaac even if the Life Meter is halfway full.
    • Guardians have a One-Hit Kill attack on all difficulty levels if you get too close to them.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: Chapters 3 and 4. First, you have to run a circular through a now-active centrifuge to reach an elevator and leave the area, ducking into large niches in the walls when the arm goes past or being torn to shreds. In the next chapter, you have to run over the outside of the Ishimura and hide behind metal walls to avoid getting splattered by asteroid impacts. Made interesting as you are exposed to space in both cases, so if you take too long, you asphyxiate, while Chapter 3 also has Necromorphs pop up in each cubby-hole.
  • Continuous Decompression: Averted. When an airlock opens, the air will rush out in a second or so.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Aside from the Valor, there are several instances where a door won't open until after some before schmuck gets killed. Including the guy banging on the door when you get the plasma cutter (he gets killed by a Slasher), the scientist pinned to a wall and killed by a Lurker, Hammond being killed by a Brute, and Jacob Temple being stabbed to death by Dr. Mercer. Why can't you just break the windows in the latter two instances when you're carrying weapons made for cutting metal and pulverizing rock?
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The Necromorphs are ridiculously more powerful when they're not directly facing Isaac; they can one-shot anyone who happens to be behind at least one pane of unbreakable glass. It's also implied that a single Leaper somehow managed to destroy the Kellion, and a single Slasher killed almost the entire crew of a fully-armed warship, then infected them despite that Slashers can't do this at any other point in the game.
  • Cypher Language: You see strange text scrawled on the walls in this language. The decoding information is likewise scribbled on the walls, if a bit slightly smeared.
  • Dangerous Windows: The Ishimura doesn't have many windows. But it does have chest high vents that act the same way as windows for incoming monsters.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Sometimes you are forced to kill enemies in pitch blackness (Isaac's tools have mounted flashlights), and sometimes it's a false alarm.
  • Dead All Along: If you take the first letter of each chapter name and put them together, they spell NICOLE IS DEAD. It is indeed true. The "Nicole" you see throughout the game is just a hallucination created by the Marker to manipulate Isaac into putting it back on the Pedestal they took it from.
  • Dead Hand Shot: The box art.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: The ventilation fans.
  • Decontamination Chamber: Which takes exactly as long as it takes for Isaac to kill several Necromorphs. However, the ship's AI considers Necromorphs to be Bio-hazards (which they are), so it isn't much of a stretch for the AI to wait until the bio-hazards have been dealt with before finishing. After all, each time a necromorph enters, there's another body that needs to be decontaminated.
  • Dead Character Walking: A glitch that sometimes causes necromorphs to endlessly run around in circles, making them invincible until you block their path. Well, not talking per-say,
    • Enabling an invincibility cheat or mod in Dead Space will cause Isaac Clark to turn into a walking, talking, shooting mutilated pair of hips if he takes damage past what his life bar says he should die from.
  • Death by Irony: Hammond. When you first fight a brute, he warns you that the only way to harm it is to shoot it in the back. Much later in the game, a brute corners him, and he panics and fires right into the creature's front, doing nothing and getting him torn apart. To be fair to poor Hammond, though, he was cornered and up against a vastly tougher version. On top of that, he was already wounded and visibly limping.
  • Destruction Equals Off Switch: Or on switch in the case of certain doors with exposed fuses.
    • Justified since destroying the fuse should activate the door's fail safe and allow people to exit in an emergency.
  • Diegetic Interface: Everything is a Hard Light Holographic Terminal projected either by Isaac's RIG or the equipment he's working on. Your HUD is the indicators on your back (for health), the ammo counter on your weapon, and that's it. And you don't see the ammo counter unless you're aiming.
  • Distress Call: Two, one from the Ishimura that gets you out to it in the first place, and another is made by you while you're on the Ishimura.
  • Divine Chessboard: The Marker is guiding various people through projections of dead loved ones to destroy the Hive Mind by putting it back on the pedestal. The Hive Mind in turn guides the Necromorphs.
  • Door To Before: Gets pretty obvious as the game goes on that when there are two doors leading to one area on a map and only one is open when you go in, that you will end up going all the way around and coming out through that previously-locked door.
  • Driven to Suicide: The crew of the Ishimura isn't entirely dead when Isaac arrives. When you do find them, most of them will be in the process of committing suicide because they know that the Necromorphs turn human corpses into new Necromorphs. Some of them might be doing this to join them; others apparently found creative ways to kill themselves (like a guy who blasted off all his own limbs!) so they wouldn't add to the threat. Mostly, though, the survivors are all nuts since they've been Driven to Madness, both by the horrible situation as well as the Mind Rape effect happening to everyone.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: This happens to Aegis VII.
  • Elite Mooks: Dark versions of the Necromorph types are tougher, faster, and deal more damage. They mostly show up in the later levels.
    • The Valor soldiers with their Stasis unit merged in their Necromorph form; they're fast.
  • The End... Or Is It?: In the ending cut-scene, Isaac seems to be attacked by his dead girlfriend, who has been made into a basic Necromorph. It's all imagined by Isaac, he survived the encounter and reprises his role, plus actual spoken lines, in the sequel.
  • Energy Weapons: Or in this case, energy power tools and one weapon.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: "Everyone!" as Kendra claims.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The Ishimura is just as lethal as the Necromorphs in some cases.
  • Evil Is Visceral: Purposely uses as many of the related tropes as possible. Even the creatures and bosses that are not man-shaped at all use organic features for maximum Squick factor. The game studio that develops the series is named Visceral Games too.
  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: The USG Ishimura is a mining ship, so the industrial sectors of it are noisy and clanky, with steam and other evidence of heavy processing machinery going on. There's also a rush of visually obstructing gasses when in a room undergoing a change in air pressure, such as an airlock opening.
  • Exploding Barrels: They're technically canisters, and presumably filled with Hydrazine fuel or fuel for the ship itself.
  • Eye Scream: It's no big spoiler that the captain of the ship is already dead, but it's a semi-spoiler when you learn he was stabbed in the eye with a needle by Dr. Kyne in an attempt to calm him down. Made even worse when you read a text log stating the needle went all the way past his eye and into his brain.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Shockpoint drive. How does it work? In this game you can dismember alien zombies, so who cares?
  • Fetch Quest: Pretty much any level will be about trying to fix some problem by finding some part elsewhere on the ship, with plenty of necromorphs in between. The rare exceptions are usually on the subject of activating or deactivating a part of the ship.
  • Finishing Stomp: A good idea when you're not quite sure whether that Necromorph in front of you is dead yet. Also a good idea when you're not quite sure whether there's an infector nearby who might make a new Necromorph out of that human corpse in front of you. And finally, a good idea if there's a crate you want opened in front of you. Not a good idea when it comes to certain enemies who happen to be explosive, but in 95% of all cases, stomping the crap out of something will make your situation better - even if it's just by relieving stress.
    • Isaac believes it's cathartic as well: he puts a lot of emotion into his voice when he stomps on something.
  • Flatline: This sound is emitted by a RIG if its wearer (e.g. Isaac) dies. Also, when Hammond, and later Kendra, gets killed, Isaac can hear flat-lines.
    • Also, if you listen closely in the beginning, you can hear flat-lines when the two Red Shirts you brought with you are killed.
  • Follow the Leader: Dead Space was very obviously inspired by early footage of Dark Sector, back when the latter game was set in space and featured a protagonist in a similar suit fighting space zombies; even the names are similar. In a way averted, as in the end Dark Sector didn't follow its own early footage.
    • The gameplay meanwhile, shares some similarities to Resident Evil 4, from the camera angles, to the inventory, to the aiming and shooting. But the formula is tweaked enough that it is not bad.
  • Foreboding Architecture: Is there a time where entirely artificial, metal-based architecture doesn't make one suspect a hideous murder is about to happen?
  • Fridge Logic: Isaac sees a plea for help from his girlfriend Nicole before getting on the ship, while still in hyperspace. It's revealed at the end of the game that this message actually ends in her suicide. How did Isaac not notice this before? While it might be excused as the Marker somehow screwing with Isaacs head, the full video is revealed to you by Kendra, in a way that implies she knew how it ended all along.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The first letter of every chapter title. Together, they spell out NICOLE IS DEAD.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: There's a couple, but a big one is in Chapter 5, where the Fetch Quest-link can be broken (Isaac can't activate the panel to turn the Chemical Mixture W/DNA into Poison), possibly by saving/reloading during the quest, preventing the player from continuing further. Reloading the game may fix this, but usually the only way is to completely start over with a new game.
    • Also, don't save after moving the Marker into the second to last shutter. (IE, don't put it in the shutter, then go and save at the nearby save point.) Even after you open the other Shutter, the Marker will refuse to move onto the tracks.
    • PC users have an issue that makes the game Unwinnable within minutes of starting the game. What's supposed to happen is that a door is opened, and you witness someone being killed by an enemy. What tends to happen is that the someone is killed by nothing, and the open door acts like a closed door.
  • Gangsta Style: The Plasma Cutter actually has a Gansta Style mode; the barrel, such as it is, can be rotated to fire sideways, making it easier to sever legs or shoot things that are crawling on walls.
  • Ghost Ship: The Ishimura.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Short summary: Item of immense religious significance found on a planet, item removed from planet, really, really, really bad stuff goes down afterward.
  • The Great Repair: Keeping the Ishimura afloat.
  • Grid Inventory
  • Grotesque Gallery: Every Necromorph, including the ones pinned to the wall by a mound of flesh that constantly gives birth to hideous little babies every few seconds.
    • Did we mention it screams? Constantly?
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The Valor is a military ship armed for war and advised it may be dealing with a deadly biological menace. So of course they take a random escape pod on board and take no precautions at all when opening it; What's the worst that could happen?
  • Hammerspace: Isaac appears to keep weapons inside his groin, and his grid inventory represents some alternate dimension that items typically enter through his feet.
  • Harder Than Hard: Impossible difficulty, which has to be unlocked. It is hardly impossible, but squander upgrades, money, or ammo and you will die miserable death after miserable death in the later chapters. However, you won't get any new overpowered items or hidden cutscenes if you finish this difficulty.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: With one exception, the enemies in this game pose more threat to you than the bosses do, largely because the bosses telegraph their moves well in advance. Only the giant slug boss you have to fight with the turret is of comparable difficulty, and that can be boiled down to poor controls.
  • Head Desk: Not really done to express annoyance, but the first game has Isaac come across a guy randomly doing this in a part of the USG Ishimura. The guy is just standing in the hallway beating his head against a wall, with more blood coming out with every hit. Eventually, he hits his head against it hard enough that it kills him. And when his corpse is on the ground, you can see that there was nothing left inside him, all of his intestines had apparently been ripped out.
  • He Knows Too Much: Isaac Clarke by the end. And in fulfillment of this trope, Kendra leaves Isaac for dead twice because he knows that the Marker was a military experiment.
  • Healing Factor: The Hunter Necromorph can regrow limbs, making it an ammo sink until you find a way to keep it from following you.
  • Hero of Another Story: You'll frequently hear about the exploits of Acting Chief Engineer Jacob Temple via audio logs found throughout the ship, detailing his journey to find and save his girlfriend while traveling through all the areas that Isaac ends up going through. Unlike Isaac, Jacob even actually manages to meet up with his girlfriend alive. Unfortunately, Dr. Mercer ambushes and kills them both.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted, though the Lurkers are actually mutated from clone embryos meant to be used for replacement limbs (which, in the expanded material, is apparently a regular enough safety hazard that they have an entire deck devoted to this).
  • Hive Mind: The Necromorphs are supposedly lead by one, though it doesn't seem to do a whole lot.
  • Holographic Terminal: There's no HUD at all, just a bunch of nifty holographic GUIs that manifest as actual objects in the game world. No pausing to check the inventory for you!
  • Hope Spot: Near the end of the game, Isaac actually succeeds in putting the Marker back on its pedestal and suppressing the Necromorphs and the Hive Mind. That lasts for just a few seconds before Kendra removes it again and things get even worse.
  • Idiot Ball: Apparently, the entire crew of the Valor spontaneously forgot about their infinite-charge personal Stasis modules when faced with a single bog-standard Necromorph.
  • Im Dying Please Take My Macguffin: How Isaac gets his kinesis module.
  • Improvised Weapon: Only one of the eight weapons is an actual gun, the rest are really mining/survey equipment. Rather undermined, since they are tools that happen to work more or less exactly like firearms, probably so the workers would have something effective to defend themselves with in case they were attacked by Space Pirates.
    • Word of God states that the power tools were illegally modified when the ship came under attack. Every weapon (except the Pulse Gun) is designed to cut or bisect enemies: the crew knew about dismembering being effective, and adapted their tools (the only things they had) to deal with the situation.
  • Incendiary Exponent: The flamethrower.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. The Necromorphs transform infants as well as adults, with similar results. One log implies that some children have been born to members of the crew, but the majority of the undead mutant space-babies apparently come from the growing tanks that are right next to the racks for storing fully organic replacement limbs. To make things worse, Isaac can also kill them with a melee attack, that has him kicking them into the next wall.
  • Informed Equipment: Isaac's weaponry and equipment are kept in Hammer Space; despite that the inventory is an in-universe object, the things it represents are just sucked into Isaac's feet and deposited in a pocket dimension for when he needs them.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The characters with names and faces are voiced by the same people in whose likeness they are made.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: The flimsy metal barricade in the Medical Bay, which for some reason requires an entire level centered on building a makeshift explosive device to shift, despite the player character's entire armament at that point supposedly consisting of industrial cutting tools.
    • Oddly inverted in areas featuring zero gravity. Isaac should be able to accidentally walk off the unprotected edge.
    • You also can't step off the edge of the floor only a few inches from the top of a ramp.
    • You can't hop off the tram platform and go down the tracks, either.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: You won't hear Twinkle Twinkle Little Star the same way you used to...
  • Jump Scare: A particularly unexpected one happens at the very end after the boss battle.
  • Kill 'em All: Everyone dies except Isaac.
  • Kill It with Fire: You can buy the flamethrower during gameplay, but its usefulness against most Necromorphs is debatable.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kendra steals the Marker from its pedestal. The only thing keeping all the horrible space creatures neutralized. She's smashed into paste by the massive Hive Mind less than five minutes later.
  • Late to the Tragedy: By the time the Kellion makes it to the Ishimura to repair the subspace array, most of the crew is dead. At most, there are 20 survivors, and of these, all but 6 are too far gone (physically, mentally, there's 5) to be saved by the time you see them while 3 of them escape just as you arrive. The entire ship is overrun by the infection, and Necromorphs have free reign over it.
    • And the Valor after that. Not a good day in the Aegis system.
  • Laughing Mad: One of the survivors that you come across can be found in the crew quarters, where you get the final nav card to repair the executive shuttle. She's in a room with a large amount of other dead crew members, laughing before blowing her head off.
  • Limited Loadout: Isaac can only equip 4 weapons at a time. The rest must be either kept within the safe (accessible from any of the Ishimura's store consoles) or sold to those stores to free up space. The game further encourages an even smaller loadout for two reasons. First off, the guns are upgraded seperately. As such, if you carry the full allotment of 4 guns, you'll have 4 poorly upgraded guns. Likewise, ammo drops are based off of the equipped weapons, so if you have a weapon along for niche uses, it'll still take up 1/4th of the ammo pickups you find. For this reason, it's generally best to pick two weapons to use for the whole playthrough.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Level 5 of the Shooting Gallery can be this. The targets pop up just fast enough that shooting a red target can accidentally blow away a blue one behind it in the same shot, thus ruining the score.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: HOLY—
    • Throwing a severed head will cause it to explode.
  • MacGuffin: The Marker - Practically anything weird that happens can be credited to the Marker messing with you... The power of the Marker to repel Necromorphs is somewhat debatable though, as the Necromorphs seem as willing to attack you when you are standing next to it. Maybe it needs to be on its pedestal to work properly.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Once Isaac loads the Marker onto the shuttle, Kendra reveals her status as The Mole, kills Doctor Kyne, and leaves Isaac to die on the Ishimura. Isaac's not going to let her get away with that.
  • Made of Plasticine: Isaac can dismember uninfected human bodies by stomping on them in the right spot. He's also torn apart in some kills (like the gravity centrifuge) where he should die from trauma but still have his body intact.
    • The first is somewhat justified - Isaac is wearing magnetized boots, so he could just turn the magnet on for a split-second to gain some extra force.
  • Mad Scientist: One slightly less mad one who wants your help and another much crazier one who wants to kill you.
  • Magikarp Power: Almost all the weapons, especially the smaller ones. Your plasma cutter and pulse rifle, once fully upgraded, will tear through basically everything. The Line Gun is no slouch, either.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Smashed to pieces, slashed to pieces, being impaled then slashed to pieces, being body-jacked by a parasitic head, being eaten, and much more.
  • Meaningful Name: Temple and Cross care for each other, and both are murdered by Mercer, the hyperreligious whack-job.
  • Meat Moss: Growing all over the ship. Made about ten times more disgusting by it being self-replicating rotting flesh implicitly constructed from ordinary dust (which is made of dead skin).
  • Militaries Are Useless: A single necromorph is enough to take out the entire crew of the USM Valor.
  • Money Spider: For some reason, many of the Necromorphs are carrying either ammunition, health, or their paychecks. This gets a little weird when you find it includes Lurkers.
    • Stasis modules can be melded into flesh, so can items. That still doesn't explain why lurkers have items, though.
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted, as Isaac must learn to fight off several (very) different types of enemies at the same time. Isaac is invincible to attacks from other enemies when he's trying to pull one off of his face, though.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Whoever gave a doctorate to Dr. Mercer is crazier than he is. And Kyne's school isn't much better, considering what he's done.
  • Monster Closet: The necromorphs pop out of vents, floor tiles, the ceiling; outside of a few rare circumstances you never run across them in the open. After a while you can pick out exactly what parts of the wall the Necromorphs will pop out of, although Dead Space 2 just skips the closet outright at times and has monsters magically appear.
  • Mundane Utility: Inverted. The weapons that Isaac uses are actually mining or repair tools. The plasma cutter, line gun and ripper are used for cutting through rock and other barriers, the force gun is essentially a jackhammer, etc. etc. All of them have in-game justifications for the Ishimura's task of planet-cracking. The only true weapon that you get is the pulse rifle, and it's a lot less effective than your other weapons unless you know how to use it properly.
    • Don't forget Isaac's suit. At its strongest, it's slightly less effective than full-on combat armor, because it was made for engineers (like Isaac) trained to go in and solve problems under extreme conditions. As an engineer trained to handle emergencies on a spaceship, Isaac had to be prepared for anything that could go wrong on a spaceship, and a lot can go wrong in a spaceship.
  • New Game+: Beating the game once unlocks the hardest difficulty mode, a shittonne of credits, and ten Nodes.
    • It also gives you the Military Suit, the best non-DLC armor you can get.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Even before the Zombie Apocalypse, the Ishimura isn't exactly the safest place in the universe. For example, it has nozzles designed to spray acid across a hallway at a set of storage rooms at regular intervals.
  • No Hero Discount: Vending machines aren't known for their kindness, after all. Nope, no one hacks the system to give you freebies. Nope, you can't break into the machine and help yourself.
  • Not Quite Dead: Occasionally, Necromorphs that you have only damaged will play dead and ambush you when you try to walk past. The Hunter Necromorph refuses to die, growing back its limbs when you cut them off and even coming back after you cryogenically freeze him. Eventually, you have incinerate him with a shuttle's engine fire to finish him off for good.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: The Necromorphs. Ironically, the game makers basically summed them up as "Space Zombies."
  • Oh, Crap: Kendra's reaction to the Hive Mind. Seconds before it smashes her into paste.
  • Once More with Clarity: The video log from Nicole as seen at the beginning of the game seems like a plea for help. When the clip is shown at the end of the game in full, it reveals her true fate.
  • One Bullet Clips: Taken a step further with each type of ammo being limited to a set clip size in your inventory (100 rounds per slot for Pulse Rounds, for example), which often doesn't match the clip size of the gun you're using it with. The Plasma Cutter can never hold as many rounds as one of its clips does, while Pulse Rifle clips only cover the bare minimum capacity of the rifle. A fully-upgraded rifle carries slightly less than two clips.
    • Possibly justified as the inventory may be showing how much ammo would fit in that much inventory space, not necessarily a single full "magazine." And since Isaac is modifying the "weapons," it's not hard to believe the weapon capacity is different than a magazine.
  • One Last Job: Being the Captain of the Ishimura, a ship about to be decommissioned, Mathius chose to become a part of the Church of Unitology's plan to secretly retrieve the Red Marker. He dies of needle to the brain.
  • Oxygen Meter: Used when you enter a vacuum or toxic environments. The game is pretty forgiving in this respect: you get a minute of air minimum, and there's infinite oxygen refill stations in areas where you'll certainly exceed that minimum.
  • Parental Abandonment: After unlocking the game's background logs, you are able to review the Background Request Hammond submitted for Isaac and Kendra. It is suggested in Isaac's file that he is estranged from his vested-Unitologist mother Octavia and has been unable to locate or contact his father Poul despite his efforts due to an executive order record classification.
  • Path of Greatest Resistance: The Guide Lines subvert this somewhat, but there are a few times where your best navigation maneuver is to seek the path that tries to kill you.
  • People Jars: Gotta make replacement limbs somehow, right?
    • Doctor Mercer's office contains various heads in jars and a room in the Medical Bay contains the Hunter and another victim in large jars.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: Necromorphs don't need to eat, sleep or breathe and are essentially immortal. The Hunter even more so; not only does it share those attributes, it can regrow limbs endlessly.
  • Personal Space Invader: Every Necromorph tries to grab Isaac and gnaw his face off, but the Lurkers are especially prone to this, and the several giant tentacles Isaac must face grab him and drag him down the hallway.
  • Playing with Syringes: It becomes clear as you progress through the game that several questionable activities seemed to have been endorsed by The Government.
  • Powered Armor: Subverted somewhat. Isaac's suit is basically a fabric spacesuit when the game begins, and the various suit 'levels' add bar-like plates to the exterior of it, making it roughly akin to futuristic splint mail as the game progresses. Played straight with the Military Suit, which resembles a cross between Stormtrooper armor and MJOLNIR armor.
  • Press X to Not Die: If a creature grabs hold of you, just mash the right button and you'll pry them off, and oftentimes unleash a can of whupass whilst doing so (such as kicking the lurkers clear across the room). A few instances, such as the Hive Mind's grab and the tentacles dragging you to your doom, require you to aim, rather than just mash.
  • Psychic Link: The Hive Mind apparently has one of these with the other Necromorphs, though in practice it doesn't really affect the proceedings and the Necromorphs seem to largely do their own thing.
    • It might be more intelligent that it looks: the moment Isaac begins moving the Red Marker, Necromorphs everywhere increase in numbers and try to stop him every step of the way.
    • And the Marker is really pulling a Mind Screw on Kyne and Isaac.
      • Also, right at the start of the second mission, Isaac runs into a dying, blinded woman cradling and talking to "McCoy" (at that point, McCoy was a rotting, dismembered torso). She tells Isaac that McCoy said he'd show up, and hands him a kinesis module. This is likely the Marker tricking her into giving Isaac a needed tool so he could do his part in returning it to the planet.
  • Psycho Strings: The entire soundtrack.
  • Punch Packing Pistol: The Plasma Cutter is extremely effective, and if upgraded remains so for the entire game.
  • Raising the Steaks: Some fish get attacked by the Necromorphs.
  • Randomly Drops: Sort of subverted. Item drops are randomized, but ammunition dropped tends to only be from weapons Isaac is carrying. All ammunition drops that don't fit this are fixed and will be available from the same location in every single playthrough of the game.
    • There also seems to be something of a pattern in how often medkits are dropped (especially when Isaac's health is very low) and where stasis-recharge packs are more likely to recharge (in the areas where this ability is required more often).
  • Rear Window Witness
  • Recycled In Space: The game is Resident Evil 4 IN SPACE! Whether or not this is awesome is entirely up to the player. (Apart from gameplay, it's effectively an updated version of System Shock 2, but that was already in space.)
    • Not to mention that, as Yahtzee noted, the story is more or less Event Horizon meets Aliens.
    • Another Let's Player made a informed comparison to Run Like Hell: Hunt or Be Hunted.
  • Red Herring: You lose contact with Hammond several times throughout the game with weird shit popping up during the interim, and Kendra thinks he knows more than he's letting on. He doesn't, she's The Mole and keeps cutting off his communications. She's most likely accusing him of being a spy to avert any suspicion towards herself. "The lady doth protest too much" indeed.
  • Redshirt Army: Oh Dead Space army, you fail so hard. Maybe you should send the troops into mining engineering classes.
  • Retirony: The Ishimura was to be decommissioned the following year of the events of the game, but for the unlucky crew, especially Captain "One Eye" Mathius, they all went insane and killed each other or themselves before being turned into Necromoprhs.
  • The Reveal: Isaac finally takes off his helmet in the ending cut-scene.
    • It can also be seen at the very beginning if you know what you are doing.
    • Finding out NICOLE IS DEAD, as spelled out by the first letter of each chapter name.
    • That Kendra betrays you and leaves you for dead or that Isaac has been experiencing hallucinations of his dead girlfriend induced by the Marker and arguably propagated by the Hive Mind.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Isaac loves his stamping on crates. And so do the fans.
    • Those crates just happen to bear a passing resemblance to the original Xbox console. Interpret that as you will.
  • Room Full of Crazy: In addition to the usual mounds of corpses, some rooms have writing scribbled all over the walls. Not all of it is in English, and it's possible that decoding the writings in the Unitologist alphabet would prove scarier than anything else in the game.
    • And did we mention that the writing is usually in blood?
  • Rule of Cool: Some of the game's developers have specifically stated that they did not want Isaac to look like a Space Marine. Be that as it may, what's the best suit in the entire game, in terms of both protection and aesthetics? The Military Suit. Not that it did the ''Valor'' any good...
    • The primary reason why you would find a remotely operated circular saw blade weapon. It even sounds like a real circular saw. If there's a more satisfying way to dismember necromorphs, we haven't found it yet.
  • Scare Chord: The game features a dynamic music system implemented so that no music, or very little, plays when there's nothing around, but when Isaac sees, hears, or feels something that seriously raises his stress levels, some scary violin chords kick in.
    • Listening to the soundtrack on its own has moments of this, since those chords are built into almost every track.
    • Then there's that incident with the tomatoes...
  • Screamer Trailer
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Doctor Mercer introduces himself and his insanity by releasing he Hunter from the tank right behind you.
    • Oh, and for the Aegis VII miners? Moving the Marker off its pedestal was a bad idea.
  • Second Hour Superpower: The Kinesis Module. This is probably one of the most useful tools at your disposal, along with your plasma cutter. While many of the objects you can throw at enemies are relatively weak, there are a number of objects (including enemy body parts) that do massive damage, and aren't too uncommon in the environment. It's possible to play through almost every fight using only the Kinesis Module, effectively allowing you to have a weapon with unlimited ammo.
  • Shooting Gallery
  • Shout-Out: Isaac Clarke's name.
    • At one point, you have to salvage a "Singularity Core" from the USM Valor. Said core looks an awful lot like a flux capacitor...
      • The first loading screen, which is a graph describing the Kellion's Shockpoint jump, also states that the "Flux Capacitor" is a component of the FTL engine system. Other components include The Improbability Drive and Warp Field Generator.
    • On the Medical Deck, a woman addresses a corpse as McCoy.
    • Mercer also possesses a medical manual in his office for 'Galaxy Class' starships. There's also a "Storage Room 47".
    • Having to mix up poison and use it on the hydroponics deck? Guess the system has been shocked.
    • A visual shout-out to Alien; when encountering danger for the first time, you run down a dark hallway full of flashing yellow lights, almost identical to Ripley's retreat from the Nostromo.
    • The promotional comic The Big Game is one to the Chick Tracts.
    • In the medical section of the Ishimura, at one point you can hear over the loudspeaker, "Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard."
    • Word of God says that the Divider enemy and its howl were inspired by The Thing (1982).
  • Shown Their Work: The Dead Space wiki talks about the hydrazine fuel of the flamethrower and its use for melting ice on comets for mining. Such a fuel is used in space travel already, ice is plentiful on comets, and it's all very well thought through, except that in the game, the flamethrower doesn't work in a vacuum. Hmm.
    • Ever wonder why flies would populate something that's floating around in space? The Ishimura is designed to be self-sufficient. It has hydroponic gardens, probably recycling centers and whatnot. As such, flies would be completely necessary for breaking down organic waste and many of the gardening processes.
    • The Game Pro article, The Science of Dead Space.
  • Sidetrack Bonus: There are many rooms and even entire areas that you do not need to pass through to proceed, but many may contain supplies. Or monsters. And many times, both. This is recycled throughout the series.
  • Sniper Pistol: The Plasma Cutter is basically a fancy handgun, but it's extremely long ranged and stable.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Averted, more or less. The first weapon you get, the Plasma Cutter, is good enough to be your weapon of choice to the end of the game. There's an achievement for only using the cutter for a playthrough, and it's actually fairly easy to get, the only downside being an inability to shoot multiple enemies at once.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: One of the trailers for the games is set to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" while flashes of gore and horror flicker across the screen. It also plays faintly in one of the later levels of the game.
  • Space Is Noisy: Averted. The game will amplify the sounds coming from inside Isaac's helmet, muffle the sounds coming from direct contact with his weapons or the ground, and mute most sounds while in a vacuum (you can still hear close enemies though, because the sound being realistically transmitted through the floor). It's actually quite immersive and adds to the gameplay since he can't hear Necromorphs creeping up on him.
    • Space Is Cold is also averted, for that matter, though it's less obvious.
  • Space Is Slow Motion: Perhaps unintentional, but nearly everything done in zero gravity environments is slower than in the artificial gravity counterparts.
    • At least the slower walking is justified as magnetic boots would require you to always keep one foot on the ground at any time, making walking quickly and running very difficult.
  • Spiritual Successor: To System Shock, in every way except for gameplay, which is more closely modeled after Resident Evil 4.
  • Spotting the Thread: Quite a few: first of all, it is a relatively simple jump in imagination to complete the message that the chapter titles are spelling out, in both Dead Space and Extraction.
    • Second: You know that Doctor Kyne is hallucinating and is seeing his dead wife, and after hearing Mercer talk about it in a log, you can figure out that the Marker can only create visions of the dead, and, so Nicole is dead as well.
    • Third: While aboard the USM Valor in mission 9, you get a video transmission from Nicole. For a split second, her face distorts into a skull.
    • Fourth: When you are in close proximity to Nicole in the Flight Control Room, getting close to the monitors causes them to display Marker text overlaying a CEC logo. It's the first clue that something is wrong with Isaac.
  • Spring Loaded Corpse: Necromorphs adore playing dead, and since the ship is overflowing with corpses, this can make for many a Jump Scare. Resulting in your throat getting torn out.
    • Made even worse by the fact that many creatures love to play dead in the middle of a fight, and will happily stalk you while your back is turned. Nothing quite as pleasant as turning around and seeing the creature you supposedly just killed escape into a nearby vent.
    • This turns into a bit of unintentional hilarity when players have wised up to this trick. The best of them simply know to (a) watch for the item drop when you kill a necromorph (since items tend to be shiny and holographically highlighted), (b) automatically blow any "predeceased" necromorph you see laying around away by shooting its legs out with a plasma gun or line gun (this works since only one "predeceased" necromorph on the whole ship actually is dead and not playing dead, though it can still be overlooked if a play-dead necromorph is hiding in a pile of human corpses), and (c) preemptively dismember all the corpses in areas they know an Infector will be about. The rest of us simply dismember everything and some of us rationalize it as Isaac Clarke being properly paranoid. Or we like the psychological morale boost to hear Isaac's cave-man roar and the wet squelch sound of corpses popping under the Mighty Boot.
  • Stock Scream: Isaac releases a few of these at times, particularly during the battle with the Hive Mind if you fail to free yourself from the tentacles.
  • Subspace Ansible: Implied via Nicole's message getting out at all.
    • Note that the distress signal Isaac sends out being answered immediately is part of the story (the military ship was nearby all along).
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Kendra sees fit to steal the Marker after Isaac returns it, even though it is the only thing holding the Necromorph hoard at bay and she is barely armed (a single pistol, while Isaac is practically an armory). Needless to say, her death comes swiftly.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: The two Red Shirts Isaac brought with him in the scene where Isaac has to override security in the Flight Lounge.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Played straight, but often inverted in a manner similar to After Boss Recovery.
    • If you come across a save spot all by itself - no bench or store - it's a good reason to sweat in this game.
  • Sympathy for the Hero: Mercer will repeatedly tells you that he admires your determination and perseverance, including saying that you almost make him think the human race had a future after all.
  • Take Your Time: No matter how urgent the task, nothing will actually happen until you reach the place it's supposed to occur at. Even when the ship is getting pummeled by asteroids or the oxygen levels are rapidly falling, or that big chunk of planet crust is dropping through the sky down onto where you are fighting the end boss. The Necromorphs are good enough to leave you alone while you spend all the time you want practicing at the shooting range or playing Z-Ball.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: An Infector is polite enough to just stand there and let Mercer go through his entire speech before eating him.
    • But going to the store is not, oddly enough. If you go into a room and run to the store console you may find yourself with a rather unpleasant surprise behind you.
  • Tech Points: Power Nodes are usually found as a reward for completing objectives (not directly, but conveniently in the same room as that key you've been looking for, etc.) They are used for upgrading weapons, your space suit, and occasionally opening optional doors with lots of pickups behind them.
  • Telekinesis: via Applied Phlebotinum. It basically gives you Half-Life 2's Gravity Gun, up to and including the use of nearby objects as improvised projectiles. It also provides a very useful workaround for the scarcity of ammo: once you've shot the arms off one Necromorph, you can use those arms to stake the next two you come across! Also, Necromorphs playing possum aren't affected by telekinesis, but dead ones are. It takes the trial and error out of the equation.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: Often played straight, though it is handwaved by the creatures hiding in vents. The mad doctor Mercer supposedly has hacked the controls for a lot of the areas, but there's a few times where he exits into areas from which there is no escape, and how he avoids being dismembered by the monsters he worships is a complete mystery.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Pretty much every death scene for poor Isaac. A good example would be the Hunter death scene: the creature stabs both its blades through Isaac, then lifts him up above it. It then stabs him two more times, cuts off both his legs, cuts off his left arm, looks into his eyes as he bleeds out, then decapitates him and cuts his torso in half. Yeesh.
  • The Radio Dies First: Kendra hangs a lampshade on it while approaching the USG Ishimura, and it continues to happen to individuals communicating with Isaac throughout the game as needed.
  • Third-Person Shooter: The core gameplay mechanic of this game.
  • Title Drop: The name of the twelfth and final chapter of the game is "Dead Space". Additionally, the backstory log "The Red Marker" indicates the Marker creates a "dead space" around it that makes the necrotic recombination effect dormant, though this doesn't occur during gameplay. It is implied that this dead space is just a measly few meters.
  • Took a Shortcut: You really do have to wonder how some of the characters manage to get around the ship without being killed, considering they're running around a ship infested with undead killing machines. Hammond and Kendra are somewhat justified, given that the former seems to have military training and the latter spends most of her time sealed in a secure control room and also turns out to be a Spec Ops agent. But you really have to wonder how the unarmed, rather doughy-looking Dr. Kyne, as well as the unarmed and completely batshit insane Dr. Mercer, managed to survive for so long when everyone else got killed.
    • Simple, The Marker is safely leading Kyne around the ship and considering how intelligent the Hive Mind is, all of Mercer's help means leaving him alive is more useful than transforming him into a Necromorph.
  • Tractor Beam: It's called "kinesis," thank you very much. Also, the gravity tethers.
  • Tuckerization: See Shout-Out above.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: The Valor's armoury is full of weaponry Isaac can't take, and he has to buy all his own gear save the Plasma Cutter; no other weapons appear in the game as pickups, even though they're supposed to be industrial tools used in the standard operations of the ship he's on. You can't even take the rifle off a guy who was just killed two feet in front of you. That said, he finds a metric assload of ammunition free for the taking.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: If you don't waste ammo, avoid taking hits, and sell everything you pick up short of ammo and a few medkits, you can upgrade your equipment early on and have a much easier time with the rest of the game. By contrast, if you waste ammo and get hit a bit too much, you'll spend more money on ammo and medkits and less on upgrades, which will only get worse as the game starts throwing elite necromorphs at you.
  • Unwinnable: See Game-Breaking Bug, above.
  • Variable Mix: The music rises and falls depending on how you move through the level, but it also remains silent unless the player sees a monster, whether or not the monster is actually in the room with you. If one hits you from behind or jumps into view, you get a very appropriate musical sting that adds to the surprise.
  • Vendor Trash: The superconductors. Lampshaded by their descriptions.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Admittedly, the only creatures you interact with are undead aliens, but Isaac can maim and mangle them just as badly as they can brutalise him. Cutting limbs off, punting babies like footballs, ripping heads off in choke holds, tearing tentacles out... and this is actually encouraged by the game; it's more ammo-efficient to dismember your opponents. This even applies to human corpses. Any intact corpse is Infector bait, so the savvy player will maim them all with gratuitous boot-stomping.
  • Video Phone: Isaac has an ultra hi-tech video phone with a projected holographic screen as part of the RIG suit's Comm Link.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Nearly every panel you can interact with is in huge font with simple words and large symbols. Also, you basically never have to search for functions; the exact thing you are looking for will pop up if you approach the respective terminal.
  • The Virus: The Necromorphs, the race of baddies who make up the Zombie Apocalypse. Unique in that they can't actually infect living people - they have to be dead first. Precisely how the virus itself is transmitted is never particularly clear, since the only vector seen, the Infector, can only create one specific type.
    • Although the Hunter was created by injecting the infection directly through the forehead of a living victim.
    • The motion comic goes into more detail on this, showing a corpse infected by contact with a bacterial colony transforming into an Infector and proceeding to reanimate other nearby dead.
    • Not to mention the book, in which a scientist injects himself with suspicious alien tissue, becoming an Infector soon after.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Kendra and Hammond, for most of the game.
  • Was Once a Man: Pretty much all of the things Isaac graphically dismantles used to be members of the Ishimura's crew, excluding the Hive Mind, and possibly the Leviathan and Slug.
    • It's implied (admittedly more All In The Manual) that the Hive Mind is physically composed from the reshaped corpses of, A: the majority of the colonists, B: the original poor bastards who became Necromorph chow when they first reverse-engineered the damn DNA codes, or C: both of the aforementioned.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Used to kill the Hunter.
  • Weapon of Choice: Not exactly canonical, but given that the Plasma Cutter is perhaps the most useful weapon in the game (see Boring but Practical), as well as the first weapon you get, and the only weapon you get for free, it's not surprising that Isaac is usually portrayed in promotional material as using it.
  • Where It All Began: Before the last chapter, you find yourself back on the hangar deck, where you arrived.
  • Your Head Asplode: The Scientist in Chapter 2.
    • Also, the cackling mad woman who commits suicide as you enter the room in the Unitology 'coven'. Too bad you can't pick up her pistol, since this is just moments prior to the Hunter's second appearance (though all things considered, a pistol would probably be useless).
    • A Necromorph also does this to Isaac if you don't fight it off in time.
  • Zombie Gait: Averted for the most part. Most Necromorphs can keep running pace with Isaac, the exceptions being the ones whose bulk or frailty wouldn't logically allow them to match his speed. Special mention has to go to the Twitchers, former soldiers whose stasis units have been repurposed to make them inhumanely quick, allowing them to cross a room in seconds.
  • Zombie Puke Attack: Female Slashers and legless Brutes, although it's more akin to an organic grenade.

     Dead Space: iOS Edition provides examples of: 
  • The Bad Guy Wins: And how. See Downer Ending.
  • BFG: The Heavy Pulse Rifle has unlimited ammo, fully automatic and costs 200,000 credits. You can either get it after at least five playthroughs, or you can do a microtransaction.
    • The Corer. Tyler describes it as having the power of the fist of God. It can cut through 65% of heavy elements.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The fake battery-life indicator flashing red is there to screw with players' minds.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The iTunes Store has several DLC packs with suits and credits that can give you a leg up on the early parts of the game. You certainly don't need them in standard gameplay unless you want to totally break the game, but if you attempt the Harder Than Hard Nightmare Mode, it may come in handy.
  • Corrupt Church: You play as a newly-converted Unitologist engineer recruited to (unknowingly) unleash Necromorphs into the Sprawl.
  • Downer Ending: After defeating the final boss, Vandal is seriously wounded and tries to get help but no one answers. The game ends with Vandal's helmet lying on the ground, with a trail of blood starting from where she was lying down. Meanwhile, Tyler reports to his superiors that his mission has succeeded, setting the table for Dead Space 2.
  • Face-Heel Turn: All this time, Tyler Radikov was setting up Vandal. And boy, does Vandal get pissed off by this betrayal.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've played Dead Space 2, you know this game is not going to have a happy ending.
  • The Hero Dies: In Dead Space 2, Isaac discovers a recording next to Vandal's eviscerated corpse; the aforementioned conditions in which the log is found, combined with the fact Norton notes that that was her final log, indicate she died in the end.
  • Interquel: This game takes place between Dead Space and Dead Space 2.
  • Karma Houdini: Tyler Radikov gets away with manipulating Vandal/Karrie Norton into allowing the Necromorphs to spread throughout the Sprawl.
  • Mind Screw: Vandal's hallucinations get very creative and mind-boggling. At one moment, you think you've transformed into a Slasher Necromorph, only to find out it's one of the protagonist's hallucinations.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: This is used to jumpstart the game's events. After sabotaging the powerboxes used to control the infection, Vandal is pressed by Director Tiedemann to repair the emergency quarantine seal.
  • Schmuck Bait: That battery life indicator that flashes red while fighting a Brute? It's just there to play with your head, nothing to worry about.

Dead Island: RiptideSurvival HorrorDead State
The Dark Meadowi OS GamesDeath Rally
Dead Rising 2UsefulNotes/SteamDead Space 2
Dead SpaceThird-Person ShooterDead Space 2
Dead SpaceScience Fiction Video GamesDead Space: Extraction
Barely-There SwimwearImageSource/Video GamesHolographic Terminal
CrysisHumble BundleDead Space 3

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy