Alien Isolation’s 10 most nerve-shredding moments

Corporation employee finds early code, attempts to uncover secrets of Sega horror game.
Alien Isolation preview
Alien Isolation preview lead © Sega
By Richard Wordsworth

On August 10, 2014, the crew of the USCSS Red Bull docked at Sevastapol Space Station. But what began as a routine mission to preview unreleased video game Alien Isolation soon took a grizzly turn, and only one crewmember, [REDACTED], returned. According to his testimony, the crew found something never recorded once in over 300 surveyed worlds: "a creature that gestates inside a living human host" and "has concentrated acid for blood". Those were his words.

It is the finding of this court of enquiry that this man is a lunatic and knowingly volunteered to play the scariest game of both 2014 and possibly this century. While we may never know the details of what really occurred on the Sevastapol Space Station, we have included the most harrowing excerpts from his three-and-a-half hour interrogation as a matter of record below.

1. Watching the Alien appear on the motion tracker...

[REDACTED]: I'd been in contact with one of the Sevastapol's doctors. He told me that if I wanted a Trauma Kit to save a wounded crew member, I would need to find a keycode hidden on one of the station's computers. I asked him to come with me, but he gave some flimsy excuse and due to an ill-timed attack of selective mutism I did not press the issue.

Retrieving the code was easy. The door to the computer was locked, so I used my hacking tool to match up symbols until the screen turned green and the door slid open. I'd like to say for the record that if the doors on the Sevastapol used regular pin tumbler locks instead of having doors that just slide open when something walks up to them, someone could have have locked the alien in a utility closet and none of this would have ever happened.

It was when I stepped back into the corridor that I first saw the creature. It came out of a ceiling vent and the Motion Tracker I'd cobbled together from spare parts started pinging like a chorus line of angry microwaves. I hid under a hospital gurney and watched it lope about on the Tracker. The thing about building your own Motion Tracker under pressure is it's really easy to overlook certain features – like making it able to tell whether a giant alien space monster is in a corridor with you, above you in the vents, or below you in the service tunnels. As it was, I just had to sit there until its blip wandered off the screen altogether. If I were doing this all again I'd set aside a few more minutes for R&D.

Alien Isolation
Alien Isolation © Sega

2. ... Then disappearing again

[REDACTED]: One thing I did remember to include was a distance read-out for point of last contact. The monster's movements are pretty unpredictable unless you can lure it somewhere with an improvised Noisemaker, a Flare, or by accidentally hitting something with your Wrench (easier than it sounds). Sometimes it stalks the corridors, peering into rooms and looking under tables. Other times it races around like it's actively trying to catch you sneaking between hospital gurneys. Having time to crawl silently between gurneys was important.

Sometimes, though, the monster just stops. It finds a spot to wait and disappears entirely off the Motion Tracker. I remember at one point I was crouching in somebody's office, thinking about making a clattery run for a key-coded security door. After a couple of minutes, I poked my head out the door and came face-to-face with the monster, which was waiting patiently in the middle of the corridor. So I clomped my way noisily back inside, jumped into a closet and slammed the door as loudly as I possibly could, in the hopes of intimidating the creature with my brutish physical prowess.

Alien Isolation
Alien Isolation © Creative Assembly

3. Hiding...

[REDACTED]: My plan worked perfectly. As I said earlier in my testimony, the doors on the Sevastapol that aren't locked down all open automatically, and the creature seems intelligent enough to know that doors don't just open and close by themselves. Especially if it's just seen a person jump out of one, turn around, and run back through it again waving their arms in the air.

It followed me into the room and stuck its snout right up against the grill I was looking out of. I stared it down through the slits in the metal. I know in my initial report I said that I pushed myself as far back against the inside of the closet as I could [backwards on the keyboard] and held my breath [right mouse button], but I put this down to the side effects of such an unusually long hypersleep. The monster thought better of it and skulked away, humiliated.

4. ... And being found

[REDACTED]: That said, there was another time when I hid in a closet and the same thing happened, only this time just when it looked like the monster was about to give up and leave, it wheeled round, ripped the door off its hinges and punched a hole in my face with a second set of extendable jaws. Perhaps I didn't slam the door loudly enough when I climbed in.

5. Meeting fellow survivors...

[REDACTED]: I wasn't alone on the Sevastapol. Apart from the monster, I also encountered several bands of roving former residents. I had hoped that, given our common foe, we might be able to form a party of survivors and figure out a way off the station together. I would even have been willing to share the supply of Pipe Bombs and Molotov Cocktails that I'd been making from all the components I found scattered about.

The survivors I met seemed pretty badly outfitted, carrying only standard issue Revolvers, which are about as damaging to the monster as a light daubing of exfoliating cream. I thought they'd be grateful to hear how if you set the creature on fire with a Molotov or use a Pipe Bomb as a proximity mine, you can scare it into temporarily retreating into a vent shaft. I also had some Smoke Bombs, which can block the creature's line of sight, and a Flashbang, which apparently does nothing against the monster so was really just taking up space. I was going to give that to them as a token of goodwill.

But when I went up to talk to them they started shooting at me so I went back to hiding under a gurney again.

Alien Isolation
Alien Isolation © Creative Assembly

6. ... And watching them die

[REDACTED]: One of the things the Sevastapol's doctor told me (over the radio, while he cowered behind a locked door in his office), was how the unending bleakness of life on a crumbling space station can really grind on a person's sanity. I think he was definitely onto something, because after the survivors spurned my offer of help and Flashbangs I was gripped by an immediate need for bloody retribution. Unless this tribunal frowns on that sort of thing, in which case I blame the hypersleep.

One woman from the group split off from the rest to come after me. She kept shouting about how I couldn't hide from her, oblivious to my crouching form underneath another of the Sevastapol's ubiquitous hospital beds. I waited until she gave up and started retreating, then I shot her in the leg with my Revolver.

I didn't have a lot of bullets to spare. I kept finding boxes of Revolver ammunition around the station, but they only ever contained one or two bullets. Who was this person, looting the station of ammunition, but leaving behind one or two rounds for other survivors to scavenge? A better one than I, that's for sure. But even after stripping the place bare, the need to conserve ammo was foremost in my mind, and I was gambling that if I shot this woman once, she'd panic and start firing impotently into my bulletproof hospital bed, making one hell of a racket in the process.

I was right. And sure enough, after just a few shots there was an ominous scuttling sound from the vents above. I heard the woman scream for help and from under my gurney saw that she was shooting in the other direction now. Something grabbed her. Then she stopped screaming.

Unfortunately, her two companions were still alive, and standing (now quite agitated) between me and my escape route. After sacrificing their friend to a space monster, I figured diplomacy was definitely off the table now, so I climbed into a vent and tossed a Noisemaker out onto the floor. I watched on the Motion Tracker as they came to investigate. Then I watched as a third blip streaked towards them through the vents like a freight train. Afterwards, I gathered up their bullets and went to the exit.

Alien Isolation
Alien Isolation © Creative Assembly

7. Meeting the Working Joes

[REDACTED]: Also, there were robots. No, really; the Seegson Corporation that owns the place evidently brought in a load of Working Joe androids to help with the day-to-day running of the station, back when that was all about moving bits of old machinery around, rather than killing people with improvised incendiaries. From the emails I read on the workers' terminals, the Synthetics aren't very good. They're second-rate Weyland Yutani rip-offs with creepy red eyes. Also some of the emails say they've started murdering people. My own research supports this conclusion.

I was trying to turn on the power when I encountered my first Synthetic. It was trapped in a glass case and didn't seem responsive, so I ignored it and used the crank handles to power up the generators. This woke it up. Thinking I'd discovered another potential ally, I just was about to offer it my Flashbang when it grabbed me by the throat and started hitting me in the face. I kicked it off and took a swing at it with my Wrench. It caught my Wrench in its hand and started hitting me again. So I shot it five times in the head with my Revolver. Then I went to leave and was dragged into a ceiling vent by the monster.

8. Getting dribbled on

[REDACTED]: This was quite a shock, as until that point I'd only ever seen the monster go in and out of vents, or heard it scuffling around inside them. I hadn't suspected that it might follow me to an area and then ambush me by sitting very still and dangling its mouth out of the ceiling like some terrible fairground toy-grabber cabinet. If I'd been watching more closely, I might have noticed that there was a stream of tell-tale slime dribbling out of the vent in question. Then again, that could have just been a leaky air conditioning unit. Almost everything on the Sevastapol is falling apart – for all I knew it could have been a maintenance man in there, crying quietly at the futility of his work.

Alien Isolation
Alien Isolation © Creative Assembly

9. Using any computer...

[REDACTED]: One of the many talents that makes me so ideal for dangerous space missions is my ability to freeze time every time I look at my map. Some call it a gift. Others, a curse. But I will concede that, given the labyrinthine nature of the Sevastapol and the non-functioning nature of most of its doors, being totally safe from harm as I tried to trace a route that wouldn't take me through bandits, under ceiling vents or across an electrified floor did come in handy.

But the thing is, you can check a map anywhere: in a vent shaft, in a closet, under a hospital gurney – all places of relative safety when a nine-foot killing machine isn't rummaging around like a nosey schoolmaster hunting for contraband. But if you want to check a computer terminal, time marches cruelly on. And you can't just move the monitor under the desk, either – if you want to read someone's emails or redistribute power to subsystems like Air Purification, Lights or Sprinklers, you have to do it standing up in full view. The computers aren't even good: they're old and clunky and take ages to boot up. The people who make them must be in a whole different building from those making the androids.

Alien Isolation
Alien Isolation © Creative Assembly

10. ... Especially the Save Points

[REDACTED]: On a list of exemplary candidates, these computers were the worst. I don't know what sort of environment the designers were envisioning when they mandated that these 'emergency terminals' be kept no less than 10 miles apart from one another, but it clearly wasn't a tumbledown space station that is – often simultaneously – in a vacuum, on fire, and home to a dangerous alien. My point is, you wouldn't fill a paper factory with sprinklers then hide the only fire alarm on the roof. I would have put them in every room. Or invented portable ones.

Worse, they're even slower to use than the regular desktops. If you want to record your progress, you need to stand in front of one, slot in a keycard, then wait for three lights to tick down before you can. Once, the last light had just flicked off when I heard a noise behind me, and I was just about click 'Yes' on the options screen when the monster skewered me through the chest with its tail. So I thought, 'best not', and then keeled over. I woke up again an hour in the past in a part of the station I'd already been to. I know I should have been grateful for my miraculous survival, but actually I was just really annoyed.

After hearing his testimony, it is the judgment of this court that [REDACTED] be returned to the Sevastapol on October 7 to retrieve the lost cargo and possibly capture this creature for further study. [REDACTED] surprisingly happy with this decision.

FILE STATUS: CLOSED

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