|“||I don't know what the hell this stuff is--looks like someone threw up their guts all over the walls--but it's spreading faster than we can cut it up, which is pretty disgusting in itself.||”|
The Corruption is an encrusting mass of Necromorph tissue typically found wherever there has been an outbreak. It is perhaps the single largest Necromorph entity on either the USG Ishimura, Aegis VII, USG O´Bannon, or the Sprawl in terms of sheer mass. While it poses no direct threat to Isaac Clarke, Gabe Weller, or John Carver, its texture and surface slows them down when treaded upon, making them easier targets for other Necromorphs. It has also been documented to remove free oxygen from the atmosphere and metabolizing it into unknown poisonous gases in conjunction with Wheezers, posing a threat to the long term existence of Isaac and any remaining crew of the Ishimura.
The Corruption is one of the first and most pervasive signs of a Necromorph outbreak. Like all Necromorphs, the Corruption is only active in the presence of a Marker signal.
In Dead Space: Salvage, scans show that the Corruption is only 70% human. This implies that the Corruption will use any available biological matter—or, at least, any animal tissue—to grow. This makes sense from a practical standpoint; the Corruption can spread via otherwise-useless food sources, leaving the intact corpses to become combat-oriented Necromorphs. According to a log addressed to Dr. Cross, the Corruption resembles a bacteria. It infects (likely dead) cells through osmosis, whereupon it proceeds to reproduce asexually at an incredible rate. This allows it to spread far and (relatively) fast during an outbreak, even in areas of low available biomass.
It has an extremely rapid growth rate. A member of the Ishimura crew remarked that by the time they had finished sterilizing an area of the Corruption, it had already grown back, and in even greater size. This is also demonstrated when Isaac makes his second trip to the Ishimura's Bridge in Dead Space; despite only a few hours having passed, the Corruption has engulfed several elevators, rendering them nonfunctional.
There are limits to the growth of Corruption, however. It doesn't seem to affect living tissue, as Nathan Mcneill crawled through corrupted areas on his bare hands several times and even fell into it face first during his plight on the Ishimura. The Corruption also is relatively sparse in submerged areas, as seen when traversing the Ishimura sewers, the Corruption can be seen covering large areas above water, while the flooded canals and drains surprisingly lacks any growth. Further, in Dead Space 2, the Corruption is not as common as it is in Dead Space. This is likely because the outbreak on Titan Station is still in its early stages by the time Isaac is freed, whereas the outbreak at Aegis VII had been underway for some time prior to his arrival on the Ishimura.
The Corruption’s role during an outbreak seems to be one of support; it passively converts the local atmosphere into noxious gas, and grows through hallways and ventilation systems—which has the dual effect of blocking potential escape routes and rapidly spreading via a preexisting network of convenient vent shafts. Additionally, the Corruption provides a universal source of ready biomass for recombination, as well as a convenient substrate on which non-mobile Necromorph variants can grow.
According to Gabe Weller in Dead Space: Extraction, the Corruption smells like vomit. This is likely a side effect of its aforementioned atmospheric conversion. The fact that Isaac treads carefully and heavily when walking over it would seem to indicate that the growth has a slick surface. This is corroborated by the experience of Security officer Nathan McNeill during the events of Dead Space: Extraction; When McNeill falls through a pipe full of Corruption, he seems to slide down it at extremely high speeds.
Relationship with Necromorphs
It is revealed through ship logs, read to Isaac by Kendra Daniels, that the Corruption is a habitat changer, somewhat of a Necromorph "Biome". This suggests that the Necromorphs could not easily infest the ship without its presence and that the hostile creatures would be very weak without it. Cysts, Guardians, and Nests can only grow and appear around the Corruption, furthening the theory that the Corruption grows by absorbing and consuming organic matter around it. This also helps support the theory that the Corruption is more of a Necromorph habitat, as Cysts, Guardians, and Nests appear to be unable to be formed or spawned without it.
In addition to being a habitat changer, the Corruption helps the Necromorphs adapt to the various environments they travel through, such as zero-g areas and vacuumed areas in space. It also serves as a hive to conceal themselves and to conserve their energy for unsuspecting prey when left idle to extended periods of time, helping support the theory that the Corruption may be less of a Necromorph Entity and more of a Necromorph Habitat.
- The Corruption bears a great resemblance to Flood Hives from the Halo series. Both are comprised of living tissue, covering the walls and floors of certain areas, and also change the environment to be more suitable for its inhabitants (Either Necromorphs or Flood).
- The Corruption is also similar to the unnamed plant-like growth that demarks the presence of the invading aliens in Duke Nukem 3D.
- The Corruption is also similar to the Zerg Creep from the StarCraft Series, though the Creep does not affect movement speed of non-Zergs traversing it, unlike the Corruption.
- For reasons unknown, in Dead Space: Downfall the Corruption, at one point in the movie, has two "lungs", which make a breathing sound similar to Isaac's.
- In Dead Space: Aftermath, the Corruption appears to have tentacles, as a few tentacles strangle a man in one scene. It is unknown if these tentacles are from the Corruption or another unseen Necromorph.
- In Dead Space (Mobile), Karrie Norton encounters Enhanced Brutes in a room filled with the Corruption. During the fight with the Brute, other enhanced Necromorphs (Slashers, Exploders, and Pregnants) assist it. Throughout the game, the Corruption is on the walls and floor, sometimes creating a bridge that can be traversed. However, the Corruption contains no Necromorphs and is, therefore, not a threat in this game. Also, Vandal can walk and run normally over the Corruption as if it wasn't there. This is most likely an overlook by the developers.
- The Corruption only makes a small handful of appearances in Dead Space 3, being oddly absent in places where it should be abundant due to the multitudes of Red Markers found in various locations of the game both on the planet surface and in the ships orbiting the planet. It is possible that the Machine, due to blocking the Brother Moon's signals, also prevented the vast expansion of the Corruption, not to mention the timespan from when Isaac and Carver explore Tau Volantis and the arctic climate on Tau Volantis. This however would not account for the absolute lack of Corruption within the ships surrounding Tau Volantis, where the Necromorphs were seemingly forced to resort to cocooning themselves after they had run out of victims, rather than merging with the Corruption. This again supports the theory that the Corruption is more a Necromorph Habitat. Having run out of victims/sustinance, the only real option for the Corruption would be to die out, where as most other Necromorphs could just cocoon themselves to help prevent decay.
- As mentioned before, the Corruption apparently cannot grow in water and, as Tau Volantis was once an aquatic planet, the Corruption could not spread until after the Machine flash froze the atmosphere.
- The lack of corruption could also be due to the Convergence Event, as it requires that the markers absorb all organic matter on the planet. This would include all necromorphs and the remaining alien species that have yet to be infected, as well as all of the corruption that had spread across the planet. Since the alien machine was only activated when the Brethren Moon in orbit had reached its final stage in convergence, this would mean that most of Tau Volantis would have been devoid of organic matter by the time the S.C.A.F expedition fleet had arrived.
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