Introducing 52 in 52 2: The feature film sequel!

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Over the last year Kat embarked on a literary challenge to see if she could read 52 books in 52 days; essentially one book per week; and to kick off 2015 with something new and fresh, we are pleased to say we are going to continue tradition. This time, however, 52 feature length movies will be in the spotlight but rather than having Kat just do all the hard work, I am also taking part in the challenge as well. Again, like last year, we will have a few rules, as followed:

  • The films have to be at least one hour long – Some early or specialist feature films are therefore not permitted
  • At least one of us cannot have seen the film before – This is so one of us watches the film as new experience but the other is not allowed to spoil any of the plot.
  • The one who hasn’t seen it previously will have to write the majority of the review – The other will be contributing however
  • Mediums allowed – DVD’s, Blu-Rays, Online Streaming services (i.e Netflix), Network broadcasts and of course, the actual cinema
  • Sequels are permitted – However, only if they are a new cinematic or home entertainment release during 2015 or the preceding film has been watched first. Prequels are also allowed regardless if the original film has been watched or not

Like the book challenge, it’ll give us both an opportunity to watch some great films that we have always wanted to watch but never really got round to do so. Some films will be watched at around about the same time they become relevant, so we could watch a romantic comedy on Valentine’s Day or a Christmas film during December.

So which films are we going to watch? Here is an extensive collection of the films that have been shortlisted for our challenge. You may notice that collectively there are more than 52 films on our watch-list. This is so if we can’t come by a copy of one thing, we will still have a back-up to watch.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Science Fiction; directed by Stanley Kubrick

2012 (2009) – Disaster; directed by Roland Emmerich

50/50 (2011) – Comedy Drama; directed by Jonathan Levine

A Christmas Carol (2009) – Christmas; directed by Robert Zemeckis

A Long Way Down (2014) – Black Comedy; directed by Pascal Chaumeil

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) – Comedy; directed by Tom Shadyac

Airplane! (1980) – Comedy; direct by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker

Around the World in 80 Days (2004) – Comedy Adventure; directed by Frank Coraci

Beetlejuice (1988) – Comedy; directed by Tim Burton

Dirty Dancing (1987) – Romantic Drama; directed by Emile Ardolino

Divergent (2014) – Science Fiction Action; directed by Neil Burger

Donnie Darko (2001) – Supernatural Drama; directed by Richard Kelly

Enchanted (2007) – Fantasy; directed by Kevin Lima

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – Comedy Drama; directed by Michael Gondry

Godzilla (2014) – Science Fiction; directed by Gareth Edwards

Goodfellas (1990)  – Crime Drama; directed by Martin Scorsese

Grave of the Fireflies (1988) – Animated Drama; directed by Isao Takahata

Groundhog Day (1993) – Comedy; directed by Harold Ramis

How to Train your Dragon (2010) – Animated Comedy; directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois

I Am Number Four (2011) – Science Fiction; directed by D.J. Caruso

Indian Jones and the Curse of the Crystal Skull (2008) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Jaws (1975) – Horror; directed by Steven Speilberg

Jingle All The Way (1996) – Christmas; directed by Brain Levant

Kindergarten Cop (1990) – Comedy; directed by Ivan Reitman

Maleficant (2014) – Fantasy; directed by Robert Stromberg

Monsters University (2013) – Animated Comedy; directed by Dan Scanlon

Need for Speed (2014) – Action; directed by Scott Waugh

Never Been Kissed (1999) – Romantic Comedy; directed by Raja Gosnell

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – Fantasy; directed by Guillermo del Toro

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) – Comedy; directed by John Hughes

Pulp Fiction (1994) – Black Comedy; directed by Quentin Tarantino

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Adventure; directed by Steven Spielburg

Ratatouille (2007) – Animated Comedy; directed by Brad Bird

Sharknado (2013) – Disaster; Anthony C. Ferrante

The Blues Brothers (1980) – Musical; directed by John Landis

The Breakfast Club (1985) – Comedy Drama; directed by John Hughes

The Godfather (1972) – Crime Drama; directed by Francis Ford Coppola

The Hangover (2009) – Comedy; directed by Todd Phillips

The Hunger Games (2012) – Science Fiction; directed by Gary Ross

The Karate Kid (2010) – Martial Arts; directed by Harry Zwart

The Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – Christmas; directed by George Seaton

The Wind Rises (2013) – Animated drama; directed by Hayao Miyazaki

There’s Something About Mary (1998) – Comedy; directed by Peter Farrelly and Robert Farrelly

Top Secret! (1984) – Comedy; directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker

Wayne’s World (1992) – Comedy; directed by Penelope Spheeris

When Harry Met Sally… (1989) – Romantic Comedy; directed by Rob Reiner

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) – Comedy; directed by Robert Zemeckis

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Action; directed by Bryan Singer


Not contempt with enough films to watch at home, here is a list of the films we could potentially see that are being released whilst we do our challenge. These include films that will be shown in cinemas during the 2015 period:

Fifty Shades of Grey (releases February 2015) – Drama; directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson

Avengers: Age of Ultron (releases May 2015) – Action; directed by Joss Whedon

Jurassic World (releases June 2015) – Science Fiction; directed by Colin Trevorrow

Furious 7 (releases April 2015) – Action; directed by James Wan

Minions (release June 2015) – Animated Comedy; directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda

Spectre (release TBC but possible October or November 2015) – Action; directed by Sam Mendes

Fantastic Four (releases August 2015) – Action; directed by Josh Tank

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (releases February 2015) – Animated Comedy; directed by Paul Tibbitt

The Little Prince (releases October 2015) – Animated Fantasy; directed by Mark Osborne

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (releases December 2015) – Science Fiction; directed by J. J. Abrams

As you can fully see, there is a diverse range of films; from cult classics to big blockbusters as well as some highly anticipated titles such as Star Wars and James Bond’s new outing. There’s some that I haven’t seen and others that Kat hasn’t seen whilst the rest neither of us have seen. This challenge not only gives us the chance to put across double-perspective accounts from both of us but also gives us the chance to say why we thought it deserved a place on the list whilst the other gives their verdict, for the better or possibly worse. And because of the social nature of watching a film, we can include guests to give an even more in-depth discussion.

As always, if you think we’ve missed out a critical film that we must see, send us a tweet @Reviewinators; send a comment on Facebook or comment on this post below. Don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll be updated on the new articles as and when they come out. You know it makes sense!

Jimmi

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So Jimmi Completed Dead Space

*Slight spoilers, but nothing game-breaking*

Almost two years after originally purchasing Dead Space, I finally got around to playing it through its entirety. Other games have graced my PS3 in that time but, after a long hard think about it, it was time to see it through to the end.

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If you don’t know, when I first got it I was petrified of it. Fast forward to now and not much has changed. I tried to put my fears behind me and solemnly ploughed through the terror; the same terror that enthralled and engrossed me to keep going.

Dead Space is a survival horror game about a space engineer called Isaac Clarke who ventures onto the distressed USG Ishimura; a spaceship designed to collect and mine minerals and resources from other, deep-space worlds with the intention of replenishing what had been lost on Earth after a near wipe-out. The ship encountered danger when trying to find a religious artefact called The Red Marker on the planet Aegis VII. With the Ishimura taking the artefact, a wave of mutation began to run amok and as a result, the ‘planetcracker’ spaceship took a turn for the worse. The crew became infected with a parasitic life-form that turned them into Necromorphs; hideous, grotesque but vastly intelligent beings with the sole intention of turning Isaac’s brains into jam. Isaac battles his way through the ship with an array of tools at his disposal, cutting down Necromorph after Necromorph along the way.

Photo Credits: EA Games

Photo Credits: EA Games

In basic technical terms, Dead Space is your run-of-the-mill corridor based third-person shooter. Further from that, the mechanics of the game spread out above and beyond making this an edgy and scary experience. Although it follows tropes of having to follow simple objectives made a lot harder by obstacles such as a lack of oxygen or negotiating zero-gravity puzzles, it managed to keep me on my toes at all times. The tight, narrow corridors feel claustrophobic; as though running back from whence you came is not going to do you any favours. Having to fight the mutated remnants of the crew in such a constricted space makes you think of your movements and actions carefully before attacking. Sometimes you have enough time to go over the meticulous details; other occasions not so and you find yourself in a rush of panic as a Twitcher or Brute comes charging for you like a bullet. More often than not, I found myself creeping along edges of corridors in-case I came across something that might be around the next corner. It made me think, which weapon do I use? Do I use my heavily upgraded plasma cutter or shall I just unleash a torrent of fire with the flamethrower and then slice the limbs off with the Ripper? If option A, do I have enough ammo to last me a barrage like that? And so on until you inevitably run through so many options that by the time you get to the Necromorph, it has already sliced Isaac in two. You also have to remember what you did in previous rooms. Before I cottoned-on, it wouldn’t be rare for a dead Slasher to rear up when you least expect it. Now that I’ve become accustomed to this behaviour, remembering who or what you killed previously can save you the fright of a life, and so if you spot a body in a place you don’t remember it being, chances are it isn’t dead. Fortunately with my gun-ho attitude whilst playing, I try to brutalise anything in my way regardless.

Photo Credits: EA Games

Photo Credits: EA Games

Everything else does an amazing job in setting the scene and capturing the horror. The sound design for example is astounding. Every noise the ship makes keeps you alert. The rattling coming from the air vents; is that normal or is it a Lurker? Then the jarring symphonic strings start up and you know for fact that something just burst through an inlet, but where that inlet is, is anyone’s guess. Finishing an objective gives a reassuring hum and a bright blue glow to let you know everything is under control. Graphically, although the game is going on six years old and was made in the earlier days of both the Xbox and PS3 life, it still looks good. The read-outs on the weapons and Isaac’s suit contrast the dark environment and they are clear and precise, as are the menus and the guidance line. Dust particles illuminated by the lights fill the air in certain sections and the grisly textures of enemies are a nightmare in themselves. There are a few visual quirks on certain things and the physics engine does make corpses wrap around Isaac’s feet and then bounce off down the corridor (sometimes for the worse; the amount of times a loose flailing limb has nerved me into thinking it’s anything but was absurd). Even having the menus happen in game rather than a standard head up display simply adds to the immersion. There’s nothing more tense than trying to swap out an air can as Isaac is desperately losing his breath whilst Necromorphs continue their assault.

Adding these together can make for some intense sequences. When an area goes into a quarantine lock down, you know about it even when you don’t expect it. Everything goes dark, all bar the strobe of a lone, yellow warning light and the doors are barricaded with a heavy thud, as Necromorphs you previously thought weren’t there, come snarling in. With nowhere to hide, blasting through the extra-terrestrial zombies is your only way out that can lift the quarantine lockdown. Other times, the game plays with its flaws. We all know that with video games as you progress a new area has to be loaded. Dead Space does this with lifts and doors. In the lifts, enemies can burst through the ceiling and commit you to battle in something no bigger than a wardrobe. Doors to bigger areas don’t open straight away; you have to wait for the area to load. This doesn’t break away from the immersion as you can hear the guttural roar of a Divider coming up behind you and the pulse in your head as you frantically try to get the door open knowing that if you do turn around and open fire, the smaller creatures that make up the monster will ultimately deplete your ammunition. Shouting ‘open the door!’ doesn’t really do much either but the safe haven behind it is so satisfying.

Photo Credits: EA Games

Photo Credits: EA Games

Dead Space is a fantastic game and an experience that has had a lasting effect on the games I play. Considering my initial thoughts, I have grown to accept it and appreciate it. For someone who hasn’t played many horror games, the jump scares and the sudden mini-boss fights still unnerve me but it has opened me up into looking into playing more horror orientated games in the future, which was my aim all along when I bought it in 2013. I played it with an open mind as something new and it delivered on every promise Kat set it to. The feeling of escaping this hell was what kept my going and kept me coming back to it, knowing that there is a way out. I still played it with the ‘kill everything’ mentality and I found ways to keep myself entertained by giving the Necromorphs names such as Phil, Gerald, Hector the Infector and Ivor the Divider (because these were people once upon a time, maybe ‘Phil’ is still in there somewhere). Sprinkle in a bit of time to play on the shooting range and a round of Zero-G basketball (If Link can go fishing whilst Hyrule is under threat, it won’t harm Isaac to play a few hoops) and you have a neat but scary, little package that took me about twelve hours to get through. I will eventually want to play through again on a higher difficulty and now I’m at the end of the story, I can move onto its sequel but at the moment my time on the USG Ishimura has finally come to an end. And the last scare? Yep, that vibrating DualShock 3 again…

Words by Jimmi

Leeds Castle – Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom

Nestled away off the M20 outside of Maidstone lies Leeds Castle, described as ‘The Loveliest Castle in the World.’ Dating back to the 1100’s, the castle is shrouded in history. From Edward I to Henry VIII right up to Lady Bailey’s private ownership in the early 20th Century, this magnificent building has become one of Kent’s best and most attractive tourist attractions.

Leeds Castle in all its splendor Photo Credits: KS. Wigley 2013

Leeds Castle in all its splendor
Photo Credits: KS. Wigley 2013

We have been a few times – we’ll come to a reason why shortly – and have been impressed by its spectacle and grandeur. With its beautiful and vast five hundred acre gardens, moat and lake, it is impressionably quaint, especially around the spring and summer months when the flowers are in bloom and the resident peacocks are in feather. Around autumn, it evolves with the browns and oranges as the trees get ready for the cold, turning the once green foliage into a burning secret gem. What is magnificent is that it still holds a lot of charm no matter how the weather is. You can appreciate the best of the grounds even if it’s incredibly cold or blisteringly warm.

The peacocks actually own the house. Well at least they think they do... Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

The peacocks actually own the house. Well at least they think they do…
Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

Spring and summer are best suited to castle and gardens as it is the perfect time for picnics with a fantastic backdrop of the castle. And the geese. And ducks. And swans. And many, many peafowl. Due to the warmer climes a botanical wonder also beholds any who enter the grounds with many beautiful and brightly coloured flowers in bloom to delight and amuse you. The gardens hold a serenity that not a lot of places can match. They are well kept throughout the summer and you can wander at your own leisure. As for spring and autumn, parts of the grounds are kept sealed off so the plants and flowers can be replaced without interference. The lakes are linked up by small streams that run the course of the gardens. At one end, there is a summer house and a traditional Japanese-styled zigzag bridge that crosses one of the ponds. At the other is a waterfall that feeds the lower lakes from the larger moat that surrounds the castle itself. The expansive garden also has its own hedge maze, which is as fun as it is frustrating. You start and you can see the finishing point; a raised concrete mound at the centre. You just have to find the route. It’s a fun little time-spender and out of the times we have been, we still haven’t known which way is the correct one. We still recognise specific parts of the maze but don’t know how to get there. Once the middle has been reached, you can see the entire maze to retrace your route and see the correct route you should have taken instead of aimlessly drifting through the hedges, which is what we did the majority of the time. Getting to the middle was just pure luck, we feel.  Once you’ve finished going over your failed route, you exit via an underground grotto, complete with carved stone statues, eerie lighting and this ghastly face…

As if the grotto wasn't creepy enough! Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

As if the grotto wasn’t creepy enough!
Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

When you’ve had enough of the gardens (or indeed the rain) you can wander around the castle itself and learn all about its history. The walk past the water cascade to the gatehouse hits home that when you see the castle, you realise that this wasn’t built as a defence. There are no portholes or secret nooks for soldiers to hide in, battlements only look decorative, cannons don’t line the front garden, and the castle itself is not belligerent; this was purely built as a place to live. It just so happens to have a moat. With a choice of an audio tour or simply making your own way, you get to explore the majority of the rooms. Starting out in the wine cellars on the lower floors, you work your way up and around the grand building learning about its colourful history as a royal residence and under private ownership. Some of the rooms have encapsulated the Tudor splendor very well and the furniture, decorations and awnings have remained.

Elegant yet tasteful Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

Elegant yet tasteful
Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

Other rooms have a more modern décor from the turn of the 20th Century; with the bold colours and striking but simple lines. You make your way through into the different rooms, laid out in a labyrinth style, which is somewhat confusing if you don’t know where you’re going. This is an over-thought though as you do make you way through rooms such as master bedrooms and down corridors, peering into servant quarters, the music room, drawing room, the spectacular bathroom and various exhibition spaces. The grand marble staircase brings you to the end of the tour. The castle also features a courtyard; a magnificent spiral staircase made out of one large tree; period art works; historical artefacts and sizable library full of old books.

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Mostly about birds
Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

Although not as big or even as spectacular as some royal palaces, Leeds Castle is still an eye to behold. It’s quaint within its surroundings which suites it perfectly.

Leeds Castle does also hold special events in its grounds. We visited during a St. George’s day festival and on a plot of land, overlooking the castle, an arena had been set out and various skilled recreationists took part in jousting challenges. Crowds gathered around, cheering and booing for their respective knights in shining armour; watching on in awe as they stormed down the track on horseback; charging at each other with lances, only to continue their battle on-foot with carefully choreographed swordfights. The castle has been known to hold special open air concerts, guided garden tours and photo walks, a supercar showcase, hot air balloon flights, fireworks displays and Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. These events are rather limited and can be somewhat quite pricey in their exclusivity but on the more down-to-earth front, there are regular occurrences that do take place also.

Moses watches his dinner Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

Moses watches his dinner
Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

Falconry displays are held at specific times and if you have time during the visit it is worth it. You get to watch the birds of prey dive and swoop whilst a trained falconer talks you through the stories and the procedures of being a falconer and how these winged hunters work. If birds of prey aren’t your thing and you prefer water-bound birds, there is also an opportunity to feed the swans and ducks that reside in the lakes. There’s also a children’s play area where you can let your kids burn themselves out to their hearts content if you so wish. And then there’s the…

If that's your thing, you're in luck! Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

If that’s your thing, you’re in luck!
Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

And once you need a break you have a choice of a Costa coffee café, the restaurant that serves hot food, a snack bar selling chips and the like or, our personal favourite, the ice cream parlour that sells delicious frozen Kentish diary treats! There are also a couple of souvenir shops that sell gifts such as personalised fridge magnets and key rings so you can immortalise your visit forever.

Leeds Castle is a unique place to visit. It’s fairly hidden away but it is a highly recommend place to go. Unfortunately ticket prices aren’t cheap and this may come as a downside – an adult ticket costs £21 – something that when cash is hard to come by, will turn people away, especially if they have . However, what you get for the price is as many visits over the course of a year. Perfect if like us, you live only thirty minutes’ drive away, which is why we’ve been as many times as we have. Not so perfect if you plan on only visiting once. If you are local, you can of course behold the castle in all its splendour. Take a picnic and enjoy the views. Take a raincoat and enjoy the house itself. Or merely take yourself and wander peacefully through what the gardens and grounds have to offer and realises why they call it ‘The Loveliest Castle in the World.’

Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

Photo Credits: KS Wigley 2013

Jimmi and Kat

Visit the Leeds Castle website

Follow Leeds Castle on Twitter: @leedscastleuk

Like Leeds castle on Facebook

AverMedia Game Capture HD Review

Video

Jimmi takes a look at the AverMedia Game Capture HD video game capture device whilst playing through popular games such as Grand Theft Auto V and Killzone 2 in this exclusive review!

No spoilers!

So Jimmi bought Dead Space

I will obviously keep spoilers to a minimum; we know how much we don’t like them.

Recently, I had been thinking about getting a first-person shooter for my PlayStation 3 as a means of verging away from just playing driving and racing games. I bought this up with Kat and she recommended that it could be a good idea, as long as I stayed away from any Call of Duty game. I thought this was understandable as I think I’d only get a Call of Duty game if I really had to and if it was insanely cheap. Going through lists of potential contenders, she mentioned that she watched someone else play Dead Space a few years ago. Although it is a third-person shooter rather than a first person shooter, it does have guns, explosions and action and so it ticks all the right boxes to be an enjoyable game. Seeing as Dead Space 3 has recently been released, I decided to look into it a little bit on Wikipedia before venturing out and what I read sounded alright. Browsing through the High Street chains that weren’t closing down, Kat and I looked to see if we could find anything that resembled a good shoot-em-up, but we weren’t initially looking for Dead Space. I browsed over the original Borderlands, Far Cry II and even F.E.A.R as they all seemed to be high on action but they seemed a bit out of my budget in the case of the first two or weren’t favoured well in reviews in F.E.A.R’s case. We carried on searching through the second hand shops until I came across, lo and behold, Dead Space for a bargain £5.99 in Chatham’s branch of Cash Converters. I asked more about it from Kat and she said it was terrifying. Not knowing whether this is because my girlfriend has a low tolerance for anything remotely scary, or that it was genuinely pants-wettingly horrific I was hesitant. So what was I to do? Go with what Kat says and miss out on potential bargain. Or spend the night awake reliving the terrors that she foretold me about?

Bugger...!

Bugger…!

We got back and rather than sliding the disc into the PS3 as soon as I possibly could, I thought I would look up a review or two. Gaming news and review website GameSpot gave it a rather high 9 out of 10 in 2008 and Metacritic has the PS3 version marked in the realms of 88 out of 100, which shows it must be a very good game. Reading over the GameSpot review, I started to feel the surge of fear and regret even more as I glanced through their article. Here are some quotes that stuck with me:

“something terrible has happened”

“preserving the horror experience”

“grunts of pain”

“feign death among the corpses of their peers to rise up and attack when you least expect it”

 “Even more alarming than their ghastly appearances and uncouth manners is the fact that they are quite intelligent”

And, even more terrifyingly;

it can continue trying to eat your face

Oh dear. Never the less, I decided to see why it was rated so highly but was still adamant on playing a nice game like Flower or Eufloria. But no, Kat wasn’t having any of it. She wanted me to play this £6 blood-orgy to see what it was like and to see if it lived up to what she could remember. Or she wanted to see me soil myself and poke fun of me. Of course, it wasn’t until after we got it back from Chatham that she told me things tend to ‘jump out’ and that you have to ‘watch your back’ which made me feel a lot better about returning it and getting my money back. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for cheap scares. They are and can be genuinely funny. But the way she was describing it to me wasn’t coming across as funny. It coming across as terrifying. I had unwittingly bought a survival horror game…

So, I started the game and made a new profile for the save data. The first cut scene started and immediately the living daylights were pulled out of me by the vibration of the Dualshock resting on the case… Yeah, this wasn’t going to be my thing, I thought. To cut a long story relatively short, you play as Isaac Clarke, an engineer on-board a mining ship called the USG Kellion. It receives a distress call from Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC) and naturally, the crew of the  go to see what all the fuss is about on-board the recently crashed and seemingly abandoned USG Ishimura that was dispatched by the CEC. As the Kellion approaches, it malfunctions as it came into dock on the Ishimura. Isaac space-suits up and he and the crew begin searching the wreck. This serves the tutorial level to get used to the controls, which are actually for a game of this calibre, very simple and there is a lot of help to get you started. For example, pressing R3 shows a navigational line to follow to the next objective which is very handy as there is no traditional head up display or map to follow. The map, inventory and useful tidbits of information are bought up as a hologram in front of Isaac. This also includes video and audio logs, computer screens and various interactive parts that you come across as you venture through the horror. This first bit was fine. It didn’t look like a survival horror game at all. It looked like a cross between Red Dwarf set in the same distant future of WipeOut. However, I was thinking why did we, of all people, have to go towards the distress call? Why didn’t we just fly past the world and go to a nice beachy moon that has two suns and many alien bartenders serving alien martinis? In fact, I would have rather bought Alien Bartenders, had it been a real game but Dead Space was the game I bought so I duly had to carry on.

After getting to grips with the controls, you eventually get onto looking at a computer screen in a small room to find out the status of the ship you have just boarded. When everything seems fine, a lock-down of the area happens. Orange lights begin to flash and you, as Isaac, cannot escape this room as the crew outside begin to panic. You can only look on in horror out of the windows as something drops out of the ceiling. Between the slow strobe of the warning beacon and the darkness, we see one of the crew being horribly eaten by a mutated, clawed thing as blood splatters onto the window whilst the rest of the crew start to open fire and run away. The only way out is through another door in the room, thus separating Isaac from the crew. This shook me up quite badly as I had no idea what was to come next. The flashing lights and the discordant music only added to the drama. As you run down the corridor, things only get worse. You were being followed by one of these things, that we have all come to know and love as Necromorphs which are the mutated remnants of the Kellion’s crew. Isaac takes a beating and manages to get into the safe haven of a lift. The doors shut out the Necromorph and all is calm until it tries to break in again and eat the soft squishy stuff in Isaacs head. This was really ‘new pants’ territory! I just knew it was going to happen… The Necromorph however is no match to the heavy lift doors and so as they slam shut, limbs fly all over the encloses space as blood rains all around. The lift opens up onto a new floor and even more disturbingly, a dead body. Learning that the Necromorphs can feign death and that things can pop out, the corpse made getting the first weapon, the Plasma Cutter, a whole lot more distressing. I unwittingly used all the ammo and Isaac’s right boot to make sure the corpse was as dead as it could be. I’ll admit I was a bit confused as to what to do and at this point and I really wanted to stop playing this and put on a different game that wasn’t going to scare the bejesus out of me. The blood-curdling screams overheard in this room were not nice; to say the least and I had no idea how to get out. Luckily – after about six minutes of franticly looking around and panicking like a headless chicken, whilst have a small meltdown thinking that the guy in the corner was going to rear up and attempt to ingest me – the clue was right under my nose. The doors opened and, say it wasn’t so; another Necromorph was outside the door eating another dude’s face. And yes, he wanted seconds! Having no ammunition, I had to resort to using the R1 function to beat the living snot (or Necromorph equivalent to snot) out of the mutated-face eater with the Plasma Cutter. It eventually went down dropping ammo and credits, because, y’know, these were people once upon a time. And now they resemble something between a zombie and very hungry praying mantis.

It was horrible. But, you know what? It was very satisfying. It was gross. But it was brilliant. It is a bit of a gore-fest and if you don’t mind that then this game can be very addictive. The mechanic is actually pretty cool too. For example, the Necromorphs will not back down under a shot to the head or torso, as you would expect a zombie or a Nazi to. It requires you to dismember their limbs with the array of tools and weapons at your disposal. They’re a bit unorthodox as guns when you think about it; however they do the job very well. As you progress, you can upgrade your weapons, armour – or RIG (Resource Integration Gear) – and inventory just as upgrades work in other video games. Credits can be used to buy more weapons, health packs, statis packs, oxygen refills and lots more items found in the in-game store that will help you fight through the hoards and waves of undead space zombies. You can also keep your items in the stores safe, leaving it for later when you may need it rather than clogging up your inventory, which after the amount of different pickups you find, you will have to make room for. If you want to get rid of them altogether, you can sell them for credits to spend on better weapons or something that will come to be more useful later on.

There are a lot of handy abilities that build up some interesting puzzles too. The statis packs you encounter give you the chance to slow down time to either attack a Necromorph or get through jamming doors or past quick enemies; kinesis lets you pick up objects to clear a path and gives you the capability of throwing them at the undead; and zero-G lets you stick to surfaces and leap from one wall to another when gravity is taken out of the equation. And these can all be put together to create conundrums that leave you standing around thinking what to do but having to remember that you could be eaten at any moment. It makes you think quickly but cleverly. All the guns and weapons have a primary and secondary fire mode too. The Plasma Cutter can be fired either horizontally or vertically, depending on which Necromorph limb you want to slice off. The Line Gun fires a larger area burst of energy than the Plasma Cutter but can also deploy a mine that goes off after a few seconds. I found this out the hard way as the shiny blue object it fired out of the front of it looked too enticing not to check out. Yep, cue an explosion and Isaac flying onto his back. Oxygen and statis can also be replenished at various stations dotted around the ship. Save points can come thick and fast so you can always save your progress as you carry on or on some levels they can become scarce so you have to battle your way through, just to save the game but chances are, if you’re looking for one, there will be one around the corner and hopefully not being guarded by a Necromorph.

It does make for a very interesting game. It is terrifying because you don’t know what is around next corner and the visual and sound add to a fantastic bone-chilling atmosphere which is stunning. Lights flicker on and off and walking around can trigger a quarantine lock down, which normally means something is going to happen. You normally see Necromorphs moving in the darkness but aren’t necessarily sure as to whether it is actually what you think it is or whether it is some poor chaps mutilated remains still twitching. Either way, they’re going to be either stomped on or de-limbed. Level two, however did not favour well with me. After going through the labyrinth of corridors, part of the mission required me to remove a blockade from the medical unit of the ship. Seeing as I don’t particularly like medical things, I thought this was right up my alley. Walking around, seeing remains of the people who looked like they were half way through surgery is very unnerving. There’s one section where you watch the Necromorph tear into someone and actually turn into one and another where you hear the heavy dull thud of something banging on metal only to discover it’s one of the demented crewmembers banging his noggin on a wall, only to watch him collapse in a pool of his own fluids as you get closer to him. It is a scary game without a doubt. But you can take it with a pinch of salt. It is actually rather funny if you allow it be, in much the same way a ghost train at a fair is funny. Quite a few times I would burst through doors, aiming in anticipation shouting ‘c’mon you mother-flipper! Let’s be avvin’ yer!’ and shrieking ‘ahhhhh, kill it with fire!’ as I blast a horrible scorpion like beast with the Pulse Rifle or Flame Thrower. The ragdoll physics are sometimes laughable too. As you walk over or continue to dismember the dead, the bodies normally leap around uncontrollably. It can be hilarious watching the dead Necromorph bouncing down the corridor but also discomforting because when you do it unintentionally you do think it’s still alive. And so you unleash your weapons full force on what is essentially nothing “wasting” valuable ammunition (I use the quotation marks because making sure the thing is dead is not wasting in my book). And when they do attack you when you let your guard down, boy do they go for it. The cinematic is gruesome but hammering ‘X’ can make you fight off the snarling creatures and drop kick them in a shower of blood and gore. I have only played about two hours through the story and I have gone from being tempted to take it back because I didn’t want the pleasure of knowing what happens next (I even went as far to say to Kat that I won’t be buying a game on her recommendation again) to changing my opinion entirely (and also retracting my statement). I have come to accept my fate. I am going to work my way through fighting these horrible things and hopefully I should emerge the other side a better person. Or white as sheet unable to close my eyes at night. And herein lies the problem; I see it getting much worse in the process. Well, Necromorphs… Let’s be avvin’ yer!

Oh, and another thing. If at all you do buy Dead Space, I can assure that it will be worth it especially if you can find it for £5.99 or less because it is a lot of game for not a lot of money. Amazon has it for about twelve quid currently, but I would recommend you look around Cash Converters, CeX or even the pre-owned deals in GAME. GAME currently have it for about £8 pre-owned online and you can even download it off Steam currently for £9.99 if console gaming isn’t your thing. I urge you to play it because it is a quite a different gaming experience which, if you’re like me and seem to be only tied down to one genre, you will come to know it and even love it. It is no wonder then why it was rated so high and received countless awards and the atmosphere it creates is very immersive which makes it very reminiscent of sci-fi horror films like Alien or The Thing. The original has created some sort of a legacy and as a result Dead Space 3 has rocketed into the UK Gaming Charts at number one! However, if you do get scared by the sound and visuals (the sound was highly praised by critics) then follow this simple tip. Just turn the music volume down, turn on the subtitles and (even if you own it then try it anyway) play some cool Jazz in the background. I can tell you the experience I had it will be a lot better and more relaxing if you’re a bit faint hearted; it changes the situation of waiting for something to jump out at you into something almost bearable. Everything is a lot better when done to Jazz. Including killing space zombies! I might have to try that whilst playing Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I’m petrified that even Jazz won’t do the Redead justice. Man, are they screwed up!

Posted by Jimmi

You can read the GameSpot PS3 review by clicking this handy link.