Dead Rising

Format: Xbox 360

5 050053 015198
Age Restrictions: 18+
08 September 2006

Frank West is a freelance photojournalist. In pursuit of a juicy lead he makes his way to a small suburban town only to find that it has become overrun by zombies. He makes his way to the shopping mall, thinking it will be a bastion of safety yet it turns out to be anything but. It will be a true struggle to survive the endless stream of enemies, Can he fight off the flesh-hungry mob and search for the truth behind the horrendous epidemic...?

The best way of describing Dead Rising is as a modern twist on the Resident Evil franchise - but with so much more. As Frank, you must negotiate your way around the levels picking up anything that may come in useful against the hordes of zombies that are roaming loose around the city. On your travels you must rescue as many of the innocent civilians that are trapped in the mall and bring them back to a safe haven. And, if you have the time, you can even take photos to ensure that if and when you survive you have the photo story to end all photo stories - this also increases your points and skill rating.

You start the game on board a helicopter as it approaches the city. Something doesn't look right from the start, and it's up to you to figure out what on earth is going on. You are under a time limit. The helicopter is scheduled to return to pick you up 72 hours later and as you make your way around the shopping mall you can start to piece together why the locals have turned into zombies... or you can stay on the roof top and patiently wait for the helicopter's return. The choice is yours. However, having spent £50 I'm assuming that most people will want to explore their surroundings a little.

To ensure that the zombies don't get their rotting fingers on you you can use numerous items from around the mall. From footballs to benches, each item has a different property and dispatches your enemies in various ways. In fact part of the fun of this game is finding new items and seeing what they do to the unsuspecting zombies. Some of my favourite items included the lawn mower (which lets you plough through the zombies); Kantana sword and the bowling ball. There are also novelty toy heads that you can wear yourself or stick on the heads of your enemies. These include a Lego head, horse's head and many others.

The fact that time is ticking down is an interesting addition to the game - creating that all important jeopardy that ensures that you can't afford to leave the game running while you nip to the loo. And you'll need every minute you have to save the other humans in the mall and unlock the mystery.

When the sun goes down there are added hazards to avoid - watch out for the psychos running and driving around who will kill anything that moves. These include convicts in a jeep, a psychopathic clown (who runs around breathing fire, throwing exploding balloons and wielding a couple of lethal chainsaws) and numerous other fruit cakes that seem to only come out at night.

Sadly the game doesn't quite offer the open level of freedom that the press release promises. Okay, yes you can wander around the mall to your hearts content, but this soon gets incredibly dull. And, if you wisely decide to follow the main narrative, you soon realise that you are being shepherded around with very little option to do anything else.

There were several issues that I had with the game though. Firstly, despite the fact the options menu lets you flip the X and Y axis for the camera controls and photo mode, I found that when you changed them on the photo mode it didn't actually make any difference. And secondly, the on-screen text was so small that I had to get my nose right up against the screen to read it - which was a real pain, especially as I was playing this on a large widescreen TV.

However, to be quite honest, those moans are nothing too major and I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable romp. Hilarious in places, nail-biting in others, this is a lot of fun.

Nick Smithson

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