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[Weooo Weooo! Fun Police is a quick look at questionable design choices in popular games]

Sometimes, developers take risks. Visionary directors might have a specific gameplay element that they want to introduce; in their minds, it’s revolutionary; but as a gamer, it just makes you want to pull your hair out!

Dead Space was a massive hit immediately upon release. Hailed for it’s innovative “non tank” controls and a return to an environment that was (gasp!) actually scary, the game was a 15-20 hour action packed romp through an infected mining ship. Read on to find out when I momentarily stopped having fun, and why!

After getting acquainted with the game’s easy to pick up controls, you’re given an abundance of toys to play with, and more than enough equipment to enjoy yourself. Even though you can only have four active weapons at a time, you can mix and match from a myriad of choices, all with an alternative method of fire. Best of all: the game holds your hand with dynamic on-screen tutorials, explicitly tells you how to solve puzzles, and has a stable of non-challenging enemies!

You’re having a blast, so what could go wrong?! Three words: asteroid mini game.


Why it’s Weooo Weooo worthy:
I’ll first add a tiny disclaimer: by no means am I bad at video games. My favorite genre is hardcore action, and nearly always, I complete the top “xtreme death suicide crap your pants” difficulty. “Dead Asteroids”, as I call it, managed to have me throwing my controller at the wall in mere minutes.

Simply put, asteroids are pelting your ship, and until you can get the auto-targeting system back online, you have to fend them off with a seat-turret¬† similar to the Millennium Falcon’s. You have 85 health to work with, and the larger the asteroid, the more damage it does to you when it collides with the ship.

Dead Space’s Asteroid mini game was mind blowingly frustrating for two reasons:

1) It didn’t explain one vital detail: each cannon was a different trigger

During my first ten attempts, I was just using the right trigger to fire, which only activates the right cannon. Every other challenge in the game explicitly tells you how to activate equipment needed to progress, but the Dead Asteroids just kind of says “good luck!” Eventually, I realized that by pressing both triggers at the same time, I could fire a double laser that nearly pushed the cannon to overheating, but blew up large asteroids easier than normal.

2) The asteroids were on a random pattern sequence, seemingly did random damage, and shot at you at random velocities

As soon as you think you’ve “learned” the pattern, you realize that it’s on a random sequence. The game builds up your hopes through the first three attempts or so, having you think “oh, I think it was like this last time! I got it now!”, only to shortly utter “oh…I don’t remember this” moments later. Also, each attempt, by pure luck, could either be incredibly easy or impossibly hard. To give you a bit of perspective; on my fifth attempt, I had a large asteroid zoom at light speed into my hull and do twenty damage right off the bat, followed by a few swift medium asteroids that flew right into my blind spots in complete opposite directions from one another (a 7-10 split, if you will). On my successful attempt, I only had two sluggishly slow asteroids make an appearance at a much later interval, and every smaller size asteroid neatly kept to the middle of the screen.

To top things off, there’s an achievement associated with this ordeal:

s5Don’t get cocky, kid 10G
Survive the ADS Cannon with over 50% shield strength remaining

Shortly after geeking out at the Star Wars reference, you’ll want to start throwing your controller against the wall in 3…2…1…ignition!

After all was said and done, was Dead Asteroids really that bad? It’s certainly not enough to say, detract points away in a review score, but it is a rather odd design choice. After holding the player’s hand to such great lengths to the point where the entire game can be classified as “easy”, it makes you wonder why such a difficult, and tacked on mini game was thrown in. Did you have a tough time with Dead Asteroids, and take solace with the legions of youtube users who cringe at sight of the above video?

Stay tuned for the next edition, which will feature Prince of Persia.

  1. I have to admit that at first I had a hard time with the Asteroids section in Dead Space. However I did eventually get the hang out it, and I even went back in my second play through of the game and earned the special “Don’t Get Cocky” achievement.

    I don’t think it was a bad decision for the developer to put this section in the game though, as I do enjoy when games employ multiple types of gameplay. I do agree however that they should have explained this section better and made it a little easier to get through.

  2. I have to agree that this was frustrating (along with the Slug Boss similar battle) but after all was said and done, really enjoyed it. Once you learn the loopholes in the guns for the Asteroids, it became fairly easy. I think I beat it with 63 damage left on my 2nd play-through.

    However, seeing the “Don’t Get Cocky, Kid” trophy popping up gave me a huge grin.

  3. Dead Asteroids wasn’t too tough for me, but I agree that it was an uninspired means of breaking up the gameplay. They just threw a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what would stick.

    The zero-g “basketball” court was a much more interesting mini-game, in my mind. I would have liked to see more things like that, which give some insight into the people that used to be alive before they were turned. That actually added to the story, plus there was a reward for completing that one in game. It unlocked some lockers and there was a node and some other items. The turret sequence just gives an achievement and a cheap nod to Star Wars, which is funny and nerdy, but tired.

    The outside of the ship segments were another great way of breaking the rhythm up successfully — hopefully they focus on the original ones that worked when they do Dead Space 2! Good write-up!

  4. avatar tommyturntables

    it’s an absolute nightmare! I like the idea of the mini game but its toooo hard. Maybe I’ve got really bad luck (or aim or both) but I’ve played 40 or more times and it is seemingly impossible. I get a massive amounts of asteroids, many of them huge that break into 3 smaller ones and there’s no way it can be achieved. I have searched and searched for a cheat but to no avail. It’s ruined a splendid game for me. I even started again from scratch and went on ‘easy’, thinking that I’d get through this section that way so I could see the rest of the game (albeit with a sense of shame for having easy as my game setting) but no luck, the stupid mini game is the same regardless of what difficulty you have chosen. WTF?????

  5. I threw my arms in the air when I got past this part… Oh, the times I got so close and failed almost made me throw my cat in the microwave to make myself feel better.

    • avatar Kim

      David, I think the process in Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 was a mix bewteen what is described for Gear of War 2 and what you mentioned: it did unlock content in the sequel based on your progress in the original in addition to the better stats feature. The only difference is that in GoW2 it’s achievement-based, probably because it’s a X360 exclusive, which was not the case for R6V2 :)

    • avatar Poyo

      I often find myself loionkg at what’s in the online store of my console and there’s a lot in there that I have no idea what it is. A logo and some text will not sell the game to me. But I get every starter pack I can find, and so far there’s only one of those I haven’t paid to upgrade to the full game.Developers need to have more faith in their games. I’m a lot more likely to press this button to unlock all levels than to buy a completely unknown game. Sure, a trailer can work (Bionic Commando, when the original music started playing ), but please: Make sure you show me how great your game is, and make it easy for me to buy it.

  6. avatar TheSinatraHandShakeCode

    I totally agree, I remember buying this game along with the prequel DVD the day it came out on PS3, loved every utter second of it EXCEPT for that part, after about 5 seconds I felt my hands tensing up and a ball of frustration growing in my stomach and i also found my eyes drifting to various parts of my bedroom out of sheer boredom, but then after that, it was back to alllll lovin’ baby

    awesome article

  7. avatar Chris B

    I found it really easy both times I played it! Once with my flattie, he failed 3-4 times before giving the controller to me, where I completed it – only just but with no major issues. The 2nd time was on my own playthrough where I got the achievement.

    L2P dudes!

  8. avatar Blacksheep

    i admit i had a tough time with this section but i actually enjoyed it. Yes it did take me about 3 play throughs to realize how to use both cannons but after that it became much easier and if your any good you wont overheat the entire time. plus its a great break from creeping through hallways and getting stabbed in the back

  9. avatar Mondo

    Hate this section with a passion – if I want arcade games I will buy arcade games! I have to say though I dont feel such a total failure having read everyones elses contirbutions – I did get past this section last time I played – fingers crossed I can this time!

    • avatar Saba

      In the 60s it ranged beewetn .5% and 5.5% of the total budget. In the 00s it ranged beewetn .5% and .8% of the total budget. The money in this case would come in the form of a no-interest loan with a payment deadline of 2035, for example. To pay it, NASA could turn over money collected to the federal government, or sell off its equipment and facilities if a lack of funds occurred. This plan would make NASA more of an independent entity for a time with more abilities to make its own decisions. When the loan date expired, the program would come back under complete government control. This way, there is a guaranteed return on the investment. It’s just like loaning we did to European nations in WWII or the checks we currently write to Africa. Thanks for your comments.

  10. avatar Nolt

    Got to agree here, played action games for years but admitedly am more of a first person shooter I’m also playing the rest of the game on hard until this point. I have given it 30 tries now and packing it in, realize i haven’t got anywhere near into the game but just cant be doing with restarting this over and over. Saw a video of it being done, it seems to have no correlation with the amount of asteroids on my screen which are 2-3 times more.

    It seems to be random how many asteroids come at you at any given time so it might be a case of luck. But this 2 minute piece of inappropriately shoe horned in game play has ruined what was shaping up to be a fairly good game.

  11. avatar amanda

    hey person how are you .

  12. avatar DeX

    For me this part is still a big problem. I tried more than 20 times. I read a lot of advices but i just can’t complete this stupid part. It started as a great game but now i have no enjoy in it. I just want to do this part and still can’t no matter how i try. It just makes me angry all the time. Is there any code or chet to skip this part? Otherwise i think i delete it and search for something else.

  13. avatar Gustavo H.R.

    That asteroid minigame ruined the game for me. I’ve tried to get past it around 70 times or so, and nothing. Call me whatever things you want, but the damned section made me give up on the game. Then I just bought STREET FIGHTER 4 to ease my frustration.

  14. avatar Nic

    I agree aso, My crappy laptop, (on all low settings) manages to decently play it, but when I start shooting astroids it lags real bad at times letting countless asteroids ram my face. really wish there was a cheat to get past this. The fact that its just a couple lines of code stopping the game from continueing is the most frustrating part.

    • avatar Gabo

      I can only agree on that, I can remember servael demos of games i really enjoyed (especially older ones, back from the time where i was a poor child without Internet, living off game demos from obscure gaming magazines).Fallout 1 for example had a great demo, they gave you a leveled up character and put you into a modified town that was also in the original game, but with different NPCs, quests and things to do. You were already leveled quite a bit and had some good weapons you were already able to start and participate in a little gang war and you were able to loot and use the signature weapon of the series, the minigun. I had a lot of fun for an rpg demo, it lasted for about 30-45 minutes if you didn’t know what to do, but it was great fun to toy around, shoot random people or join the other side of the gangwar-quest.Another example for a new content demo was Half-Life:Uplink, I guess everyone remembers that one.I also saw a whole different demo concept in the game Albion, I don’t know if anyone remembers it, it’s an old scifi-rpg made by BlueByte (get the demo and Dosbox). The demo basically gave you the beginning of the Gameplay up until you leave the first continent of the world, where the demo ends. That was basically 1/5th of the game, giving you more than roughly 10 hours of gameplay if you didn’t know what to do, and the real clue was that you could import the savegame from the demo into the full game to continue just where the demo stoped.

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