Dead Rising


When a zombie virus infects a small Midwestern town, photojournalist Frank West braves the undead to get a few good pictures but ends up stuck inside a shopping mall in the process.

I don’t know what it is about zombies and malls. Ever since Dawn of the Dead zombies have been portrayed as having an innate love of the mall, like being dead makes you want to congregate there more so than when you’re alive. Sure, malls are a great place to go if they’re full of living humans. The places can get so packed that you’re able to take a few bites out of someone without anybody noticing that it’s you specifically biting someone. You do a little bit of chomping and then shamble off before anyone even catches on that a zombie is in their midst. If there weren’t any people there then what would be the point in going to a mall? I mean yeah, it’d be nice to loot to the place if there was a Barnes and Noble there but what would be the point of just hanging around. There would be no point. A zombie is going to go where the people are, and not just a few people, but a mass of people. There is only so many times you can ride the security cart around an empty mall for fun before you’re going to want to eat someone, so if you want safety in a world overrun by the undead definitely head to the mall. No self-respecting zombie is wasting their time there if there’s nothing to eat. Unless the pretzel place is still open. Zombies love pretzels.

In Dead Rising you play as Frank West, a photojournalist who is investigating why the military has sealed off the town of Willamette, Colorado. He has a helicopter fly him over the town where he finds utter chaos. The town’s residents seem to be going insane right before Frank’s eyes. People run around in a panic while being pursued by sickly looking individuals who attack and devour those they catch. Before Frank can get any answers though the military finds the lone chopper carrying him, so he instructs the pilot to drop him off on the roof of the nearby Willamette Mall where he can be picked back up in three days. The pilot does as he’s instructed, letting Frank off on the roof and fleeing before the military can catch up to him. Inside the mall Frank finds that the situation is worse than he could have possibly believed. It seems that the town is overrun by the living dead and any resident not already among their number has locked themselves inside the mall. Things only get worse for our photographer when an old lady goes to retrieve her lost dog and lets the entire mass of zombie flesh beating itself against the doors inside. Those that survive the slaughter hole themselves up inside the mall’s security room, and if Frank wants any answers as to how this calamity came about he is going to have to sneak around a mall full of creatures intent on devouring him whole to find them.


{He’s not up against much}

I had a feeling I was going to love this game the minute I picked it up and I was most assuredly right about that, but I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I did. Who knew taking a picture of a zombie right before slashing it in half would be so much fun? That’s one of the game’s main mechanics, a camera. Since our protagonist Frank West is a photojournalist there is a function for taking pictures of anything, anytime in game and saving those pictures for later viewing. You also get points for those pictures that are based on things like brutality, sexuality, of horror. Basically, the better the picture the more points you are going to get. These points go toward leveling up your character which I’ll go into detail in a bit. I liked this aspect of the game. At first I thought it was going to be more of a gimmick, just something to help sell the game, but it becomes an interesting challenge to try and take the best pictures possible, often even putting yourself in danger to do so.


{No risk, no reward right}

Though I enjoyed the camera aspect of Dead Rising, my favorite thing about the game wasn’t the camera, but the weapons, and by weapons I mean damn near anything in the mall. There are hundreds of possibilities as far as what can be used as a weapon, everything from guitars, tennis rackets, bowling balls, sledgehammers, and wooden boards to nonsensical things like cash registers, gumball machines, and shopping carts. Even things that do little more than piss off the undead are available as weapons, things like giant teddy bears, toy swords, or giant LEGO heads that can be placed over a zombie’s head. There are a few of the more standard weapons of course like guns or swords, but these are harder to come by and in the case of guns, run out of ammo and are useless once empty. I loved how nearly anything could be used as a weapon against the horde. It added an immense level of enjoyment to the game in using my imagination to take out zombies left and right. You are also able to heal by drinking juices and consuming food you find throughout the mall, so if you find yourself running low on health just head over to the nearest food stand for a quick recharge.


{And yes, you can put the head on wearing that suit}

The gameplay is set up like your standard sandbox game in the vein of Grand Theft Auto, the whole mall is yours to explore, but there are a few differences. For one you only have 72 hours to discover why these events are happening (72 hours game time translating to around 6 hours real time). You uncover the details through case files in which you are given a set amount of time to complete certain tasks. If you fail to complete these tasks before time runs out you are forced to start over if you have any hope of finding out why the zombie outbreak happened. Furthermore, if you fail to make it to the roof by the end of the 72 hour period you are looking at starting back from hour one again. You are also able to take various side missions to find other survivors hiding throughout the mall, but you have to do so in the confines of the time allotted to you. If you take the time to rescue a survivor you run the risk of missing a casefile and losing your chance to discover the mystery behind the zombie outbreak. Then there are the psychopaths hiding throughout the mall. At certain points are various survivors who have snapped and turned into crazed individuals intent on ending all life, people like a mall clown turned killer, a grocery store manager intent on protecting the items in his store, a gun nut who thinks everyone is out to steal his weapons, and a survivalist suffering from PTSD, among others. Taking out a psychopath or rescuing a survivor results in a great deal of prestige points but could possibly end your time in the mall.


{Good luck sleeping now}

Prestige points? I forgot to mention those. That’s how you level up in the game. Killing zombies, taking good pictures, saving survivors, or stopping psychopaths all result in prestige points that help your character to level up. Leveling up can give your character more health, special moves to use on the undead, and more slots to carry weapons. You are allowed to carry a set amount of weapons or health items (such as juice, food, or snack bars) at any given time. This is important because weapons degrade as you use them and health items aren’t always easily accessible. The more you use a weapon the faster it will degrade until it becomes unusable or if it’s one of the rare guns you can find, once the ammo is gone the gun will disappear. Though to be honest I didn’t find the guns to be all the helpful. The only time I found the guns to be effective were in the psychopath fights, but for the most part I stuck to the hand to hand weapons which were able to last longer than the guns and take down a greater number of the undead. Some weapons you aren’t able to store like the chainsaw or the lawn mower, but nearly everything else can be stored as long as you have the space for later use. So what happens if you are forced to start over? Where do all those points go? Don’t worry, even if you are forced to start over you keep all your points and whatever abilities you’ve earned as you’ve progressed through the game. Which is a lucky thing because the game seemed dead set on making sure you played through a few times before you were able to actually beat it. I’m not going to lie, I must have had to restart the game about twenty times before I was leveled up enough to beat it.


{I loved the kill count in the bottom corner that let you know how many zombies you’d killed}

I’d highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a fun zombie killing romp, it has some great replayability with the sheer number of survivors to find and psychopaths to kill and the graphics still hold up even for a game made in 2006. In fact, I think I’m going to go play it right now.


The Undead Review


Developed By: Capcom and Studio 1

Published By: Capcom

Released Date: 2006

ESRB Rating: Rated M

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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