- "And almost instantly, he is perched on his hands, shifting his weight from one palm to the other. He's pacing, circling the room and... he appears to be watching me! He sees me! No, he's fixated on the ceiling now... Oh God no, he's leaping at the vent! With his powerful tail-like appendage, he's striking at the reinforced covering, trying to get it open! I must warn the others!"
- —Dr. G Abernathy observing a transformation of a Leaper
Leapers are Necromorphs appearing in almost all the Dead Space series, with the ability to leap long distances toward their prey. Sporting razor-sharp fangs, along with a long scythe-tipped tail made from the victim's intestines and legs, they are extremely deadly foes.
Leapers appear to be made from a single human corpse, with the host body's modifications serving to give the Necromorph vastly increased mobility. The musculature of the upper arm becomes more developed, and the fingers grow bladed claws for climbing and slashing with the hands becoming dislocated along with the thumbs moved to the back to create animal-like paws.
There is a slight lengthening of the vertebral ridges, and the flexibility of the spinal column is increased to help in locomotion. The legs are completely re-shaped: the muscle and bone is flayed, fused together, and lengthened into a single limb tipped with a sharp blade of considerable weight and durability. This tail is highly flexible, able to contract and coil into about a third of its original length. The Leaper uses its powerful tail to quickly launch the creature toward its victims or uses it to stab into its enemies in a similar fashion as a scorpion, as seen with Eckhard. The cranial and sinus areas of the skull appear to have been dis-articulated from the neck, and the jaws have become heavily mutated. The upper sets of teeth are completely gone, along with most of the palate reaching back into the throat. In their place is a pair of multi-jointed appendages that bear sharp, bony fangs. The lower jaw is split into two curved mandibles ending in knife-like fangs.
In Dead Space 3, however, the fangs of the mummified Leapers appear to have once been fingers and several other arms and at least 2 rib cages can be also seen, most likely meaning that the mummified Leapers were made with more than one corpse. Also the Leapers still possess the clothes of their original hosts, which colors varies depending on where they are encountered.
Leapers have frequently been encountered in both known major Necromorph outbreaks. They are able to handle Zero-G environments, using their leaping ability to great effect, and are often found in such environments. They are about as durable as a Slasher; however, they can at times require more ammo to take down due to their smaller size, "jinking" movements, and quick closing speed. If not quickly handled, they can rapidly become a serious threat due to their quick strikes and fast attacks.
In Zero-G areas, Leapers are typically found alone or are accompanied by Lurkers. On other very rare occasions, they will group together with Slashers, such as in the tram pathway of the Ishimura in the first chapter of the first game.
Leapers appear to scout their possible victims by quickly flashing through open vents and rattlings in an attempt to scare its target and suddenly jump out of nowhere with its high speed and agility.
Leapers also have an Enhanced form that are encountered later in the games. Enhanced Leapers are darker in color and possess glowing eyes. They are much tougher than normal Leapers, sometimes taking 2-3 shots from the Plasma Cutter (depending on which difficulty you chose) just to sever a limb. They are also capable of doing more damage than a normal Leaper.
- Cutting off just one arm will rob a Leaper of the ability to sprint, but it can still leap. If you cut off their tail they will slow down and will not be able to jump. Decapitation is ineffective.
- Stasis the Leaper, then move up to it and introduce it to the bottom of your boot. Depending on how close Isaac is to the creature, his attack may snap off an arm or even both if standing right on top of it. Rarely on difficulties lesser than Zealot/Impossible will a Leaper ever survive such a stomp.
- Another fast way to kill a Leaper is to cut off one arm first and then shoot the head. Shooting off an arm and the tail also works.
- In Zero-Gravity environments, the Leaper moves more slowly because it must use its arms to anchor itself firmly to the deck. However, it also has an extended jump attack and can engage you from any direction. Since Leapers often travel with Lurkers in Zero-G, keep moving to dodge the Lurker barbs while you defend yourself from Leapers.
- Enhanced Leapers are a particular threat in poorly lit areas due to their dark color, so keep an eye out for their glowing eyes.
- If a Leaper is encountered in a Zero-G environment, and on the same surface that you are on, you can continuously run around it in circles, causing it to hold its position as it tries to face you. With the correct timing, it won't be able to move at all while you shoot it.
- In Dead Space: Extraction, the Leaper dies upon the severing of its tail, removing the need to cut off two or more limbs.
- A direct hit from a Force Grenade to a leaping Leaper can kill the beast in one shot and divert its trajectory away from you.
- Any leaper that has their arm cut off while not grounded (i.e. on a wall or leaping) is nearly guaranteed to die immedietly, regardless of how many limbs it still has intact.
- Stasis is much more valuble on Leapers from Dead Space 2, as those leapers can move much faster and jump much further than they could in Dead Space, often jumping right on Isaac from across a large distance. They also have combo attacks, as they will jump on Isaac, staggering him, then immediately swinging their tail.
- A fully upgraded Force Gun can stop a Leaper in the middle of a pounce, knocking them to the ground and stunning them, however keep in mind that it takes several shots from primary fire to kill one.
- Upon sighting a Leaper, you only have maybe a few seconds tops before it is assaulting you, even from a distance. Keep this in mind and make sure you are equipped with the proper weapon before engaging.
- In Dead Space, there are rare instances where a Leaper may live if both its head and tail are dismembered, though it can still attack by clawing at Isaac.
- The first observed creation of a Leaper is detailed in this log. The first ever Leaper was formed from a deceased researcher, Dr. Hogan, and promptly managed to smash a vent in its containment room and escape.
- The Enhanced Leaper is the only Necromorph to retain its appearance throughout all 3 games, besides the Guardian.
- Despite being sharp and lethal, the Leaper's tail couldn't be used as a TK projectile in the first Dead Space. This is fixed in Dead Space 2.
Visceral Games held a "Get Dismembered in Dead Space 2" contest, in which users submitted ideas for ways Isaac could dispatch an enemy as it grappled him. The winning entry would have their kill used in the game for Isaac, and be featured as a NPC. The winning entry was a way to kill the Leaper, dubbed the "Meat Cello".
- The Meat Cello grapple break was intended to cause the Leaper's head to be crushed as Isaac rips it's tail off, resulting in its death, however in the game Isaac will simply boot its head to pieces then tosses the (otherwise unharmed) creature over his shoulder, dazing it. This was most likely for balancing issues, as a move capable of instantly killing an attacker would most likely be spammed on higher difficulties.
- There is a glitch at the end of Chapter 11 of Dead Space that causes one of the Enhanced Leapers dismembered arms to become mysteriously elongated upon death. It usually happens when the player kills a Leaper right in front of the door that leads to the Hangar Bay, but it is unknown if there are any other factors that may cause it.
- Leapers in Dead Space 2, besides being stronger, faster, and more aggressive than they were in the original Dead Space, also have a bit of a combo attack: the Leaper jumps towards Isaac, hitting him once, then backs up, then quickly attacks again. Rarely, it will attack a third time.
- In Dead Space 3, both Leaper variants can sometime survive having both arms dismembered; they will drag their bodies towards their targets and slash with their tails. This is more frequent on higher difficulties.
- In Dead Space 3, Leapers sometimes will glitch, causing them to run in place or in circles, making them easy to kill.
- Leapers have some similarities to scorpions and snakes, specifically their similar tails and the way their heads and mouth have mutated with 4 long, sharp teeth. They do not, however, inject venom.
- During the player's jumps in the Zero-G environment, Leaper jump attacks on him will damage Isaac.
- Leaper's ulna bones appear to be separated from the elbow and are visible from the outside. These bones will vibrate rapidly whenever the Leaper is in its resting position (as seen above in the first picture in the overview section). Reason for this is unknown.
- It seems that the developers went for a dog-monkey like look for the Leaper at first. It would walk on four limbs, have no tail and have a stub head. The body is veiny, dark and covered with some sort of bio-armor.
- As time went on, they made the creature much more veiny, with veins coming from the back and the legs being more pointy. At some point, they scrapped this armory-veiny look of the Necromorph, just like all the other types and went for the more human-like look as seen in the final production. However, they kept the idea that this Necromorph would climb on walls. The more final look of this concept was that they had a tail of two legs fused together, something the final production does have, although is more complicated.
- If Isaac fails to escape from the Leaper's mauling, it pins his arms to the floor, bites his head, and decapitates him. If Isaac succeeds, he will kick the Leaper off of him.
- If Isaac is in low health when the Leaper strikes him, Isaac will simply get dismembered and collapse on the ground.
- In Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3, if Isaac is grabbed by a Leaper and succeeds in getting it off, he will throw the Leaper to the floor and pull on its tail while crushing its head under his boot. This was intended to cause the Leapers head to be crushed and it's tail torn off, resulting in its death. This death was the winning entry of the "Get Dismembered in Dead Space 2" contest, however the Leaper's head just gets crushed, then Isaac throws the Leaper over his shoulder, where it will continue to attack without a head.
- It is possible to get around this. If Isaac pulls off the move in a narrow area with unaccessable "Death pits" like on the catwalks in Chapter 9, he will often throw the Leaper right over the edge where it will plummet to its death.
- If Isaac is grabbed by an Enhanced Leaper and succeeds in getting it off, he will simply kick the Leaper off of him, similarly to Dead Space. This holds true for the Enhanced Leapers in Dead Space 3 as well.
- Dead Space (Comics)
- Dead Space
- Dead Space: Extraction
- Dead Space 2
- Dead Space 2: Severed
- Dead Space 3