Dead Space: Combat Guide

Quick Links

  • It's (Not) Dead, Jim
  • Conserve And Collect
  • Double Your Damage
  • Peg Those Legs
  • If They Fly, Make Them Die
  • Sprint And Strafe

There's nothing quite like coming to close-range blows with a Slasher in Dead Space. It's pulse-pounding, it's terrifically atmospheric, and yes, it is absolutely terrifying. And Slashers are but the first of many varieties of Necromorph that Isaac has to contend with. You'll find some guns along the way, and a couple of rad special abilities, but it's largely up to you, the player, to deduce how and when to cease the defense and get going with your offense.

That's exactly what our guide is designed to help you do – to acquaint yourself with Isaac's fighting capabilities, and help you get a handle on how to endure the gauntlet that is the USG Ishimura.

It's (Not) Dead, Jim

Our first tip is perhaps our most important. There are loads of Necromorph bodies decorating the floors of the Ishimura. Only some are corpses. The dastardly creatures are very good at playing dead. Stepping over one gives it the advantage of momentum – it will leap straight up, undoubtedly tearing at Isaac's RIG spacesuit in the process.

Stomping is your most powerful tool if this happens. Stomp on everything. Whatever button your console or PC has assigned to this, never, ever underestimate just how strong it is. (It also feels good, to be honest. Lots of reverb. Isaac screams. The whole thing is great.)

You can also shoot alleged corpses from afar. Fire a single round whenever possible. Wasting ammo is no bueno in Dead Space. Which leads us to…

Conserve And Collect

You can purchase ammunition from shops. You shouldn't. Generally speaking, you should always try to use your guns sparingly enough that you never fully run out. This is possible purely thanks to the sheer amount of ammo that can be found throughout the ship.

Ammo comes in crates, lockers, within the fried husks of some of the Necromorphs you'll conquer, beside the bodies of the poor crewmembers littering the halls, and even hidden in places that can be accessed via Kinesis. You might not always meet your self-imposed standard, but it's a good idea to at least aim to never part with hard-earned credits for bullets.

As an aside, you're likelier to acquire ammo for the weapons you want if you leave the ones you don't intend to use back in storage. Nifty.

Double Your Damage

Many Necromorphs have weak spots. Even bosses, like the terrifying Brute at the end of Chapter Four – that guy's are the pits of his arms and all around his hips. Leapers, the second type of regular enemy Isaac encounters in Dead Space, are best dealt with by shooting their tails to prevent them from jumping. Even Slashers, those most frequent of foes, will go down more swiftly if you know what you're doing; in their case, aim for the arms, not the head.

Some Necromorphs have pulsing sacs on their backs. Think 'Zelda-like'; if you see something that stands out, there's a good chance the game wants you to notice. Nearly everything you'll fight in Dead Space is designed around the basis that the player will discover its weak points. That way, you'll be able to endure when, inevitably, several of the same creature ambush you simultaneously further down the line.

Peg Those Legs

This one's simple. Necromorphs are fast. Well, most are, at any rate. When you end up face-to-face with three or four at a time – and there's bound to be another pair coming down some nearby vent or crawl space – firing a spray of shots at all their legs to slow them down together lets you pick them off one by one without as much latent fear of being mauled to pieces in the process.

If They Fly, Make Them Die

Infectors are deadly flying Necromorphs whom Isaac first becomes acquainted with at the end of Chapter Two. He doesn't fight one there, but rather, the powered-up corpse of the captain that the Infector in question got to just before Isaac did. That's the name of their game – Infectors fly around zones raising the dead into strong Necromorphs that will eventually overwhelm you if left unchecked.

If you see an Infector someplace, know that it likely won't attack you for a while; first, it will raise that legion. Kill it before it can.

Sprint And Strafe

Sprinting means surviving. It's quickly revealed via early-game tutorials what you'll need to press and hold in order to do so. You'll be running often, because, well, of course you will be.

Less obvious is Isaac's ability to strafe. Holding the sprint button while walking backward will allow him to jump slightly to the left and/or right in reverse. Put plainly, this means you can back up faster than you ordinarily would. More times than we wish to count, we've found ourselves ambushed by a scary thing in front of us and taking frightened steps back while planning our strategy. Don't underestimate how helpful it is to do this in half the time.

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