A zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, Nevada sends Chuck Greene fleeing to Fortune City with his young daughter Katey, but a stop in the town of Still Creek on the way might prove lethal to them both.
You have not lived, so to speak, until you have partied down with a zombie in Las Vegas, as no living thing can party like a dead thing. The one down side is that if you are amongst the living and choose to party with us, there is a good chance that you won’t still be among the living by night’s end, zombies going a little overboard when it comes to the illicit things to partake of in Vegas, so I guess that not having lived bit should maybe be changed to the last time you will have lived, but it’ll be fun. The town is actually full of zombies, Vegas being a place zombies can go party without having to worry too much about taking a bullet to the skull, what with ninety percent of the people far too drunk to notice a bunch of walking dead guys. It’s actually one of the safest times you can be among zombiekind as well considering we usually aren’t there for a meal, we’re there to have a good time, and the authorities tend to frown on a good time when it encompasses eating people, so we just fill up before we get into town. It’s hard to have drunken, debauched fun when the cops are looking for the zombies who ate the gamblers at Excalibur. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, even someone with a high level of self-control tends to lose it after one too many drinks, and zombies are not known for their self-control, add in copious amounts of alcohol and that self-control goes down even further. Still, it’s not the eating you part you will have to worry about, it’s the us not knowing when to stop drinking part that might get you in trouble, or dead, one of the two. At least you will have had one hell of a time before you went out, and if you’d like, we can always make sure you come back as one of us. It’s a win-win scenario.
It’s been some time since the events of the first Dead Rising where photographer Frank West was forced to deal with a zombie outbreak at the Willamette Mall in Willamette, CO. The event was quickly covered up and West’s location is unknown, but things didn’t stay under wraps for long. The dead continued to rise up in towns across America, including Las Vegas, NV where Chuck Greene has gained fame as one of the world’s top motorcycle stuntmen. The outbreak spreads quicker than anyone could anticipate, and Chuck’s daughter Katey is bitten by her zombified mother. Thankfully, being bitten by a zombie isn’t an immediate death sentence with the invention of Zombrex, a medicine that can keep a person from turning into a zombie after they’ve been bitten as long as it’s given at regular intervals. Chuck grabs Katey, some Zombrex, and hops in his truck, intending on getting as far away from town as he can. It seems they might be in the clear, but when Chuck stops in the small town of Still Creek to get some gas, his truck is stolen and he and Katey are left to fend for themselves. With his supply of Zombrex running low, Chuck is forced to search through Still Creek hoping to find more, otherwise his daughter will be doomed to become one of the walking dead intent on consuming them both. Worse yet, if he can’t get the Zombrex and get back on the road by day’s end, they’ll both be stuck in the town when the military gets there, determined to destroy anything living or dead.
This short game is actually a prequel to Dead Rising 2, taking place sometime before Chuck has made his way to Fortune City and gotten trapped amidst an outbreak there. I’ve yet to play through the sequel to the Dead Rising but considering how much I enjoyed playing the first one, I knew I was going to be checking it out. Luckily for me, I’ve waited long enough that not only is Dead Rising 2 out, but so are the various downloadable games attached to it such as this prequel, Dead Rising: Case Zero, Dead Rising: Case West which takes place right after part two and involves Chuck and Frank West teaming up to take down the pharmaceutical company responsible for the outbreak, and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, a remake that takes you back to the very beginning of Dead Rising 2, but instead of having you play as Chuck Greene you’ll play as Frank West. I figured that since I had them all, I might as well play them chronologically as they would have occurred in the game’s timeline versus when they all came out, but that doesn’t mean that you have to do the same. While I haven’t beaten Dead Rising 2 yet, from the bit I’ve played it doesn’t seem like you would have to play Case Zero to be able to understand what was going on. It might give you a little bit of extra backstory, but for the most part it’s just an extra little bit of the Dead Rising complete story you can play if you want more. Otherwise you’re welcome to skip Case Zero and get on with the game part 2 proper. What’s nice though is that if you do chose to play this one, any combo cards you find, I’ll get to those in a bit, and any levels you gain, up to level five, will be transferred over to the full game, so that you aren’t losing anything between.
That’s a good thing too because just as in the first game, you will have to play through a few times before you’ll be leveled up enough to finish this part of the story, but every time you are forced to restart from the beginning, either because you died or because time ran out, you will at least restart with whatever experience you had already earned. Dying is an easy enough thing to do, there are thousands and thousands of zombies running around Still Creek and you only have so many life bars before you die, each bite taking one bar. You can eat food you find around town to refill your life, but with the amount of zombies that grow more numerous the further along you go, it’s a lot harder than it seems. Running out of time is even easier to do than dying since you’ll be tasked with accomplishing so many actions before you’re allowed to move forward. You get one day until the military is going to move in to wipe out the town, one day in the game equaling about an hour or two in real time. If you can’t complete the tasks given to you in time, you’ll be stuck restarting from the beginning. The only upside is knowing that you’ll at least have all the experience you’ve already earned before restarting. Experience, here called prestige points, is earned by killing zombies or escorting survivors to safety. How many prestige points you earn killing zombies will be determined by how many you’ve killed and how you kill them. You can use anything and everything as a weapon in Dead Rising: Case Zero, certain weapons killing in more elaborate ways that will give you more prestige points, but what will earn you the most is in using combo weapons you create by combining two different weapons like a bat and some nails, a shotgun and a pitchfork, or my personal favorite, two chainsaws to a boating paddle, one chainsaw on either side of the paddle. Every time you combine a weapon you get a combo card that gives that combination an extra bonus, the only thing is you have to level up and fully gain that card before the bonus will be activated. I loved the creativity in combining weapons, but I didn’t understand the necessity in having to level up and gain the combo bonus after you’d already constructed the weapon. The other way to earn prestige points is by escorting survivors back to your hideout. The escorts felt kind of pointless since you had so little time to complete the game, add that fact with the level cap and I almost didn’t even bother with them. You reach level five rather quickly, and once you’ve reached that level there’s not much else to do other than beat the story and finish the game so you can move on to playing part 2.
The only real advantage in playing Case Zero is being able to start Dead Rising 2 with a little bit of an advantage. For fans of the series it’s nice to get a little bit more back story on Chuck Greene, but it’s nothing major that really adds any plot points to the series. It’s a fun game no doubt, and most of the aspects that made Dead Rising so much fun are present here, it just didn’t seem like there was enough added to make this one worthwhile. Unless you’re interested in starting out part two at a slightly higher level, or have already played everything else Dead Rising and need a bit more, I’d suggest skipping this and moving on to the sequel.
The Undead Review
Developed By: Blue Castle Games
Published By: Capcom
Platform: XBOX 360
Release Year: 2010
Rotting Head: Two and a Half Heads Out of Five