Exploders are a specialized Necromorph form that act as "suicide bombers," much like Crawlers. Their most prominent feature is the large, glowing pustule attached to their left arm, which is filled with a highly explosive chemical substance.
Exploders appear to be created from a single human host. The cranium of the host is split open vertically, with the brain cavity being filled with connective tissue that allows the two halves of the head to serve as "jaws." The left arm of the creature has become stiff, no longer having any articulation points except for the shoulder. A large pustule, filled with a glowing yellow chemical, has developed at the arm's end, making it very heavy and unwieldy. This substance is extremely reactive to blunt force, resulting in a powerful explosion when the force applied on it surpasses a certain threshold.
To counter the weight of the left arm, the Exploder's right arm and legs have been transformed in a way that moves the creature's center of mass away from the massive pustule, thus allowing the Exploder to walk - albeit very clumsily.
The right forearm has been extensively modified, with the right hand and foot fused together and extended in order to act as a leg, while the original legs and left foot have become fused and twisted to form a single muscular limb. Although Exploders move sluggishly in general, they are capable of displaying surprising bursts of speed after they have closed the distance between themselves and their intended targets.
Once an Exploder is within striking range, it will swing its pustule into its victim or the ground, resulting in a deadly explosion for anything caught in the blast radius. The blast produces enough force to dismember a human victim, and usually results in the destruction of the Exploder itself.
Due to their suicidal attack and relatively slow movement, they often attack in large groups in an attempt to overwhelm their target. Their presence can be easily detected by the distinctive cackling sounds they make when they are in the vicinity.
In Dead Space 3 a slightly altered, more deadly form of the Exploder is encountered, where it appears to be crawling, moving much faster than its upright counterpart. The signature pustule is still present, and still quite deadly in close quarters. To make matters worse, it seems to be dragging behind the Exploder's body, making it tougher to shoot at. It may be wiser, if not ammo-conserving, to fire away at the body rather than risk it getting too close before one can make the shot.
- It is imperative that Exploders be taken out at long range as their suicide attack is extremely dangerous, especially in Dead Space 2 as Exploders in that game have a much larger blast radius than in the original Dead Space.
- Exploders make their signature sounds when they are spawned and their pustule glows from a long distance, making them easy to spot. Use this sound warning to get rid of them before they become a threat, since their voice is very distinctive from the other Necromorphs.
- Regardless of how skinny they look, a single Exploder can withstand a lot of damage. If shot at the body, they might survive even a direct hit from a fully upgraded Contact Beam.
- The arm that carries the pustule is very weak, and can be easily cut. The Exploder can live after the pustule is detached from it, in which case it will approach you and perform a rather weak head-butt. However, the threat of the creature is reduced by an extreme degree without its pustule attached.
- Kinesis can be used to throw the pustule at other enemies. An Exploder's pustule inflicts more damage than any of the weapons in the game. It is even capable of killing Brutes in one successful hit in certain difficulties. Accurate weapons, such as Plasma Cutter, Javelin Gun and the Ripper are best to dismember, or even kill an Exploder without destroying its pustule.
- If at a distance, shooting the pustule attached to the Exploder's arm will instantly detonate it, killing the Exploder and any other Necromorphs caught within the blast radius.
- In any area that spawns Exploders, the game can spawn an Exploder at an air vent right next to where Isaac is. When this happens, the Exploder will immediately use his suicide attack as soon as he exits the vent, with no time for reaction. Thus, when Exploders are spawning, pay special attention to the presence of vents and stay away.
- This can give instant deaths to the player in the hardest difficulty modes.
- If an Exploder gets too close to safely destroy its pustule, shoot it in the body to knock it backwards a considerable distance.
- As a last resort, use Stasis (which automatically recharges in Dead Space 2 or later) on an Exploder, and then run past it. This triggers its attack animation so that once the Stasis wears off, it'll destroy itself and anything close by.
- It is possible to avoid the damage from the suicide attack even without Stasis, if there is a solid wall between Isaac and the Exploder. For example, if Isaac makes a sharp turn around a corner or a goes up a ramp.
- The Force Gun's primary fire does not detonate the pustule even if shot right on.
- Be especially wary of Exploders or Crawlers in rooms containing a decompression window. In these scenarios, it's best to sever the pustule and leave it be. It's easy enough to get dangerously close to a window during these moments, and detonation will often break the window and leave Isaac no time to close it.
- In all three main games an Exploder will commit suicide if it survives its hand and foot getting dismembered, leaving only the Pustule attached. It will fall to the ground, look to the left and right, then ram its Pustule into the ground.
- In Dead Space 3, Exploders can move much faster than past iterations, crawling low on the ground instead of limping slowly toward targets. This means that Exploders can pose much more of a threat than before, especially if approached from behind. Crawling Exploders also have a quick time event that is not shared with their normal variants.
- However, the pustule's range and damage seems to have been lowered in Dead Space 3, taking nearly 4 explosions to kill Isaac/Carver on Hard difficulty with no RIG upgrades. This is in stark contrast with the Exploders in Dead Space 2, where having one blow up even a few meters away can be nearly fatal.
- The original version of the Exploder is also randomly encountered through the later portions of Dead Space 3 as well.
- Enhanced versions are encountered in Dead Space (Mobile), appearing darker in color with a dark orange color pustule. It is not encountered in any other game however, even though it takes place on the Sprawl.
- It is unknown why so many Exploders are encountered in the USM Valor, as Isaac boarded the ship only a short time after it crashed into the Ishimura. There is no other justification other than for difficulty purposes.
- One fan theory is that these Exploders were created by absorbing explosive chemicals from the ship's large supply of weapons.
- The Exploder was the very first Necromorph to appear in a gameplay preview of Dead Space 2.
- There is two instances of Exploders that do not attack the Player in the first Dead Space.
- An inaccessible Exploder observes Isaac in combat from behind rubble in Chapter 9 of Dead Space on the USM Valor before wandering off to a corridor.
- An Exploder observes Isaac behind a window in Chapter 10 of Dead Space, although it fails to break through to get to him, instead retreating into a nearby vent. Curiously, it does not pursue Isaac afterwards.
- A rare glitch can occur in Dead Space when an Exploder bursts near Isaac and tears off his top half and his head, leaving his bottom somewhat intact and still able to walk around holding a gun.
- A very, very rare glitch has happened to where if you shoot off the explosive sac at the same time an Exploder swings it, it is cut off, doesn't detonate, but the explosion scene still happens, and oddly enough, does nothing.
- In Dead Space 3, hitting one with stasis, running past it, and making it explode while still in stasis will make the screen shake around the area until the stasis wears off.
- The Exploder's head is similar to the creature in the movie The Thing, where the first corpse has a split head. This however could have been a complete coincidence.
- Alternatively, the Exploder's explosive pustule could have been formed from the remains of one of its legs, as well as portions of its ribcage, rather than as a growth of the arm; the leg crossed over the Exploder's body during redistribution. The bones supporting the pustule resemble those in the lower leg and the ribcage.
- There is no specific death scene animation for the Exploder, but Isaac is blown into pieces if a pustule's explosion kills him.
- The Exploder will "bite" pieces of Isaac off using the flaps of its head if its pustule has been removed.
- If a crawling Exploder pins Isaac or Carver in Dead Space 3, and the player fails the QTE following afterwards, it will disable his arm pushing it back by chewing on the shoulder (but not biting it off) and proceed to bite his head off.
- Dead Space (Mobile)
- Dead Space: Extraction
- Dead Space
- Dead Space 2
- Dead Space 2: Severed
- Dead Space 3