Systems engineer turned reluctant action hero Isaac Clarke returns for Dead Space 2, EA's follow-up to its 2008 surprise sci-fi horror, third-person shooter hit.

The sequel offers another intense ride, fraught with ultraviolent attacks, grotesque projectile vomiting and creepy lighting and sound effects.

Isaac, still haunted by the horrifying events on the USG Ishimura three years earlier, begins by waking up in an asylum on the Sprawl, a huge space station orbiting Saturn. He's slowly going insane, and that story line plays out through the game.

But there's little time for back story because before he can even remove his straitjacket, he's thrust into mayhem - the mental ward is overrun by monsterlike reanimated necromorphs, and the action doesn't let up for a while.

Like its predecessor, Dead Space 2 scraps the standard heads-up display, placing on Isaac's backpack color-coded meters for health and stasis, his special ability to slow down the necromorphs. It's all good if the meters stay bright blue, but as he takes damage or uses his powers, the meters drop to yellow and then red.

Weapons, as well as Isaac's protective suit, can be upgraded throughout the game. The key to survival, once again, is cutting off the monsters' tentacles to keep them from coming back to hurt you.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

RATING M for Mature

PLOT It's time to kill some necromorphs

DETAILS Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, $60

BOTTOM LINE More limb-hacking fun!