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Dead Space: What Happens When you Don't Listen to Your Enlisted Troops

This post contains spoilers

In the game Dead Space you are the ONLY competent member of a repair crew tasked to fix a mining ship called the Ishimura, which bears more than a passing resemblance to a rib cage. Strike one.

Within five minutes of arriving on the ship, a warped mutant thing with scythes for hands that moves like a member of the Cirque de Soleil on a Meth bender drops out of the ceiling and wastes all but two of your repair crew.

This is part where I'd leave, I don't mind saying. Most people who write about video games say "Because in real life, I'm a coward." Well, I'm just not about believing I'm a coward when the undead shit hits the space-ship fan.

However, quite apart from the how brave I am as the sole member of this team who is actually useful, it's actually the hard fact that our computer technician, welder and probably our equipment guy are now dead. If that happened to a real life construction crew that I was working on, I would say "forget this." and make leaving the job site my main priority.

If it happened to a crew that just traveled x-amount of light-years, under the exact circumstance of Dead Space, I am DAMN SURE filing a formal complaint with the union when I get back, and I'll be getting back soon because there is no way I'm staying on that ship.

I'm sure I would say something were I actually within this game; but I wouldn't get listened to by the two people who outrank me, and the game simulates their not listening by having the main character never speak. So we decide to get hell off the Ishimura and of course, the ship we arrived in gets destroyed due to people not leaving when I said we should have. Strike two.

As the plot unfolds you realize that not only are there mutants running around trying to kill you, but normal humans who have gone rotten banana crazy from exposure to whatever it is that's causing all these problems. Several times during the course of the game you watch people commit suicide with disturbing sound effects and dialog.

In addition, there is a creepy religious movement whose doctrine apparently involves getting shot in the forehead as it's one-time sacrament to provide corpses for the mutants to make more mutants with. Chief Head-Banger is Dr. Challus Mercer, who not only kills people in the name of his bullshit-20-minute-old-religion, he also actively tries to get you killed by messing with door locks that shut you in rooms with bloodthirsty mutant babies and Francis Bacon paintings come alive.

You run around the ship like this for a good four hours until you find "The Marker," which is responsible for all the undead-circus performers and dead pope paintings incarnate and is huge icon the Unitology Murder Pantheon. I take one look at the thing when I find it and it just screams "CLEARLY TAINTED WITH ZOMBIE JU-JU."

I would not bring that goddamned thing on my ship if you paid me; it looked like Clive Barker designed a lamp for Ikea. Strike Three.

It occurred to me while I was trying to maneuver this Obelisk of Maroon Doom off the ship that the whole reason the thing was on the ship in the first place was another clear-cut case of not listening to the enlisted. I'm sure the captain of the ship was all about bringing this thing on board, and his Master Chief or Space Marine Sgt. Major said "Whoa, sir, that thing is pure evil."

"Nonsense, Sgt. Major, I know pure evil when I see it . . ."

"Clearly not sir, because that thing down there on the planet looks like Hatshepsut's architect took an art class from Pinhead."

So I get the thing down to the planet's surface and Kendra, this officer in my chain of command whose been whining and complaining at our commander the whole mission-because that's the productive thing to do in a life-or-death struggle billions of miles from earth-has apparently been trying to get me killed the whole time. It speaks to her competence that I am, of course, still standing.

Turns out Kendra is a mole from the galaxy spanning government that apparently built the goddamned Clive Barker Lamp of Evil as a weapon. It's pretty effective in that respect, because it causes everything to die; but really what good is that if it's made death itself a sort of super contagion? Sounds to me like they built this weapon without bothering to ask their senior enlisted if it was a good idea. . . .

Kendra is then then killed by beast that some seven stories tall with tentacles thick as tree trunks and a face only a mother made from cell structures of humanoid corpses could love. Instant karma.

If she, or anyone else, would have listened to me, we'd all be somewhere else and more importantly all still alive thinking about the next poor saps that have to go and try to fix the Ishimura. I emptied all of my four different kinds of ammunition into the thing and got the hell out of Dodge, worrying in the back of my mind how all of this is going to sound in an After Action Report.

You never see the main characters face through out the whole game until finally, on the shuttle to the end of the game you take off your helmet, breath a sigh of relief and wipe the sweat of your generically handsome brow, since it's been a long day and HOLYSHITTHERE'SSOMETHINGINTHESHUTTLEOMYGOD
ITHINKITSMYEXGIRLFRIENDWHOSDEAD!

It was a real jolt, because, you know I thought I had finished. It was a really great use of style, because I had actually finally relaxed, thinking the game was over, and instead I nearly fell out of chair in terror.

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