hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Five space horror games better than Dead Space 3

1:00 PM on 02.05.2013 // Allistair Pinsof

In space, no one can hear you be mediocre

By now, you may have heard the inarguable, absolute truth -- as is the case with Destructoid's reviews that are handed down from the maker to our holy reviewers -- that Dead Space 3 is not as great as the first two games.

Being the case, throwing a temper tantrum and spamming EA's Facebook with inflammatory comments is understandable, but why not do something more productive, like play five other space-horror classics instead?

(Or, just go ahead and play Dead Space 3 which is still really awesome for what it is!)

In Dead Space, the sound design stirs the nerves as alien rattling, clawing, and screaming echoes down a hall. And when the necromorph comes within sight, the sensation of fear peaks, causing the player to nervously misfire a couple rounds before hitting. But, what if necromorphs couldn't be seen? Enemy Zero is such a game, wherein aliens are invisible and can only be eliminated up close. The first-person view, extremely limited ammo, and hush-quiet ship of Enemy Zero make it a space horror game that is yet to be matched in its pure, visceral scares. It's a bit too simple for its own good, and once the tricks of the AI are learned, the illusion of the aliens goes out the window with it. Yet, Enemy Zero is the first game I'd recommend to those who think Dead Space isn't scary enough.

Pick a genre, pick a perspective -- hell, even pick a platform -- and there is likely a worthy Aliens game for you. From the overlooked run-and-gun action of Alien Resurrection to the eerie Metroid-inspired Infestation, the Aliens series is among the few franchises to successfully make a transition from theaters to consoles, time and time again. Let Jim Sterling, Aliens connoisseur, be your personal spirit guide.

No "When I was 12" qualifiers here: I still find the Metroid series unsettling in its atmosphere and haunting sound design. Without relying on the jump scares, gore and narrative padding that Dead Space frequently indulges in, each Metroid game achieves a similar tone of menace and isolation. From landing on planet Zebes to evading bounty hunters, Metroid never offers the player a safe haven from predators. It may not be as shocking as Dead Space, but it's definitely as effective. There are few horror series appropriate for kids that still manage to scare the pants off adults.

Every year, people install and play System Shock 2, despite having to navigate the swamps of fan patches, setup troubleshooting, and cryptic .nfo documents that point the way to running the revered title on current systems. It's true that System Shock 2 led the way to Ken Levine's work on BioShock, but it's not true that BioShock carried the same elements of horror that made SS2 a remarkable game full of unforgettable scares. I wrote about one I had here, and could write about many more if I only had the patience to reinstall it on my current computer -- Oh, what the hell ...

I sure am cheating here. Cryostasis doesn't take place in space; it takes place in the North Pole, 1981. But, what makes a space horror game a space horror game? The tech and presence of the planets and stars, I'd argue. But, it's the confines of a ship, adrift and left nowhere, and the complete isolation that makes enemy encounters so scary. Cryostasis even offers the bonus of surreal dream sequences, especially near the end, that will speak to the sci-fi nut. I could have listed Doom 3 or Dino Crisis 3 (it's not bad, really!) here, but I chose Cryostasis instead because it really nails the elements of space horror even if it doesn't take place in space.

[Image by modusprodukt, courtesy of deviantART]

Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -