This year's Dead Space remake was pretty good. In fact, if you forced someone like PCG's Sean Martin to put a number on it and publish that number in an international videogames outlet, he'd say it was 84% good. But that doesn't mean it couldn't be better. What if, for example, its searing, high-res textures were replaced with a swimmy clatter of pixels? What if its sleek UI were substituted for an array of brutally functional squares? What if it ran on a PS1, not a PS5?
These are the questions that only Fraser Brumley's Dead Space Demake is brave enough to ask, and what's more, it's asking them for free. Available on Itch.io, the Dead Space Demake is more of a demo than a full-on game, and it captures about ten to fifteen minutes of Dead Space's intro in full fifth-generation, the-polygon-harvest-was-poor-this-year glory.
"Dead Space Demake has everything you want and more," writes Brumley, "from necromorph limb dismemberment to affine texture mapping errors". "You've played Dead Space (2008) and you've played Dead Space (2023) it's time to soak in the horrid vibes of Dead Space (1998)".
I'd say 'it works surprisingly well,' except I think I write some variant of that almost every time I write about a demake project, so I guess I'll say it works unsurprisingly well instead. The shambling horrors of the USG Ishimura take on new life in their new low-fi environment, but you can still hobble them just as easily. Being both free and short, it's definitely worth your time to check out.
It sounds like it's not going to be the dev's final venture into PS1-era game design, either. "This project was mostly a way for me to learn Unreal and the PS1 aesthetic," Brumley explains on the game's Itch.io page, "so look forward to what I'll be putting together in the future". I have been curious what Resident Evil 4 would play like if it had been done in the style of RE1 to RE3, I suppose.