In the biographical book Masters of Doom, John Camarack was quoted as saying "...the player should be afraid all the time..."
John Camarack and John Romero were said to be dead against a "Doom Bible" or definite story line --which explains the lack of cut-scenes in the game. Games had cut-scenes before Doom.
A story should be the story of the player and it should happen in the game because of what happens during the game... at least in this kind of game.
I think the first space horror survival kinda game was really SINISTAR. Sinistar was the Freddy Kruger/Jason Vorhees/Chucky of space. I mean just look at him!
When he gets assembled and says "Beware I live!" it was f#%$% terrifying! Normal weapons don't affect him at all, he bashes asteroids out of the way like they're nothing, he moves faster than you and if (when) he touches your ship, he eats it.
The relentless single-minded purpose of the workers, the constant fear of the warriors... and the inevitable nightmare of Sinistar's incarnation, along with the loneliness and small-ness of the player in relation to the infinite seeming space that goes beyond the screen and even beyond your scanner range made the story of this game very intense --without having a story.
If you're familiar with Sinistar, you'll see the game mechanics of Captain Zero owe a lot to Williams' 1982 masterpiece. If you've played that and the PC version of Star Control, and arcade games like Strike Force and R-TYPE, then you know where Captain Zero is coming from.
...or at least where I hope it's coming from.
In Captain Zero, there's a darker, colder, spookier section of space. A place where ships go but never come back. Where the husks of their destroyed spaceships come back to life to destroy anything around them.
There's a machine/monster called the DemiLich with bright red eyes. If they fix on you directly... well ever see the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Very uncomfortable. You'll need a really good dermatologist after that.