Initially released on the Xbox 360 in August 2006, Capcom's Dead Rising is an action-adventure game that puts players in the role of Frank West, a wartime photojournalist who has come to the town of Willamette, Colorado after receiving a tip that something was going down. That something? Zombies.
Capcom's Keiji Inafune was the project lead on Dead Rising, playing against type to some extent as he is more traditionally known for his work on the Mega Man series. Dead Rising is inspired by many zombie movies of the 1960s and '70s, such as George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. So much so, that the owners of the rights to Dawn of the Dead have since filed a lawsuit against Capcom for infringing on these copyrights. This is despite a warning label on the box, which reads "This game was not developed, approved or licensed by the owners or creators of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead".
The lawsuit was later thrown out because the similarities between Romero's movie and the game were tenuous at best (they are both set in a mall and deal with zombies). Throughout all this, Romero was oblivious to both the game and the ensuing court case and even unwittingly signed a copy of Dead Rising at an event while the case was still ongoing.
Plot & Gameplay
The core of Dead Rising's gameplay is focused on survival..
72 Hour Mode
After being dropped off by a Helicopter, Frank must stay alive for 72 hours until the pilot returns to pick him up. Until then, he can run through various missions given to him by several characters in the game, some of which lead to more information on the true nature of the zombies attacking the mall. In addition to searching for survivors and trying to stay alive, Frank will also encounter several boss characters, including humans who have suffered mental breakdowns in the face of the zombie onslaught.
The catch with this mode is that the clock is always ticking and Frank's three-day pass is constantly running out, so finding every secret in the mall and saving every civilian is something that could take several playthroughs to master. frank levels up throughout the game and carries his current level into later playthroughs. Some parts of the game are extremely difficult during the first playthrough as you simply are not high enough level to handle the challenge.
The maximum level Frank can reach is 50. The game does give you some unlockable abilities based on your level that carry over from one attempt to the next, such as various attacks, unlocked weapons, and the size of your health meter, which make your tasks within the mall slightly easier.
Frank is also armed with a camera, and, as a photojournalist, he can earn additional points by taking photos of particularly intense, funny, or dramatic scenes. There are multiple ending ratings from A to F. If you fail to complete the game in the allotted 72 hours or miss a mission, the game does not end, but rewards you with a "worse" ending, allowing you to play however you wish. You can literally do nothing but wait for your ride to return for the length of the 72 hours and still get an ending if you so choose.
Survivors and Psychopaths
Throughout the Willamette Mall Frank will encounter many other non-infected people. Most of these can be interacted with and escorted back to the Security Room to safety. Frank gains massive amounts of Prestige Points (to level up) for each rescue. As you can imagine, this can often be very difficult. Especially when trying to escort a group of survivors at once.
Depending which ending you are shooting for, it is possible to save a total of 53 people from the mall. There are achievements tied to rescuing certain numbers of survivors by games end. There are other people in the mall who not only don't need rescue but don't want it. Psychopaths are mini-bosses that are sprinkled throughout the game. They spawn at specific times and places during the game and can be very difficult to defeat, particularly and lower levels. Some endings are not possible without defeating some of these Psychopaths.
Below is a full list of every character in the game in a rough order of appearance:
If the "A" ending is achieved in 72 Hour Mode, this mode is unlocked. It is simply a continuation of the 72 Hour Mode story, allowing you to fully wrap up the events of the game. You are given 24 hours to complete this, which tasks you with finding a way to turn Frank away from becoming a zombie.
After even further completing Overtime Mode, this mode is unlocked. The mode challenges you with staying alive as long as possible in the mall. You can not save your game in this mode. Additionally, the catch involved is the addition of "hunger." Frank will need nourishment every now and then in the form of the mall's food or slowly lose health without actually being damaged. This keeps constant pressure on the player and prevents him from just hiding in one place to survive. Note: Food can not only be found throughout the mall but is also dropped by defeating psychopaths and survivor zombies. More importantly, food does not respawn in Infinity Mode. Once it's gone, it's gone. So manage your resources wisely. Get a high enough score in the form of time spent in the mall and you may just find your way up the ranks on Xbox Live.
The Food Court Glitch
There is an infamous glitch that has enraged many a gamer attempting to get the 7 Day Survivor achievement in Infinity mode. If Frank enters the Food Court at any time after the 5th day begins, midnight of Day 4, the XBox 360 will freeze up, ending your game and perhaps your sanity. For all the years the game has been out this aggravating bug has never been patched. There are many guides out there on the web that will save intrepid achievement hunters hours of misery.
The combat revolves around improvisational use of items found in the stores of the Willamette Parkview Mall. The mall contains a wide selection of shops which are naturally based on the kind of shops which would be found in a Mall. You can arm yourself with CD's and musical instruments found in the music shops, soccer balls and golf clubs from the sporting goods store and weights and dumbbells found at the local gym. Unlike most zombie games, such as Resident Evil, the take on zombies in Dead Rising is pretty comical. Placing novelty headgear on zombies will confuse and blind them, as will throwing pies and other food items at their faces. Other common weapons are toy guns that shoot foam balls at the zombies, a shower head that can be inserted into a zombies head to produce a shower of blood, or a sledge hammer capable of crushing heads with a single blow. Overall there are over 250 items wit h which the player can defend themselves against the zombie horde. Frank also features many hand to hand combat abilities. These are improved by earning experience points which are awarded to the player for completing tasks, including taking photographs. Frank's combat abilities are often based on moves seen in professional wrestling. This ranges from German suplex's to lifting a zombie high over his own head, allowing Frank to launch it at the others. These moves are learned as Frank gains levels, eventually culminating in more fanciful moves, including ripping the guts out of a zombie using your bare hands. At higher levels Frank's hand to hand combat skills can be better than most weapons in the game. Here is the full list of Frank's unlockable moves:
- Jump Kick
- Zombie Ride
- Kick Back
- Flying Dodge
- Power Push
- Football Tackle
- Judo Throw
- Double Lariat
- Lift Up
- Knee Drop
- Wall Kick
- Hammer Throw
- Neck Twist
- Giant Swing
- Face Crusher
- Somersault Kick
- Karate Chop
- Zombie Walk
With more than 100 weapons to eradicate the Zombie menace Dead Rising is the only place to see a zombie die by a Mega Buster, an homage to Capcom's Mega Man, and the most powerful weapon in the game.
Books and Magazines
Throughout the mall are scattered various books and magazines that Frank can equip and use to effect performance. These effects can range from improving the healing potency of food to adding to a weapon's durability. Here is the list of Books/Magazines that Frank can find:
- Brainwashing Tips
- Camera 1
- Camera 2
- Criminal Biography
- Health 1
- Health 2
- Horror Novel 1
- Horror Novel 2
- Interior Design
- Japanese Conversation
- Lifestyle Magazine
- Weekly Photo Magazine
- World News
Food and Drink
There are dozens and dozens of different edible items that Frank can find to restore health. Many of these items can be combined in a blender to create a completely new beverage with special effects. Finding food is even more crucial in Infinity Mode as your health gradually ebbs away and needs to be replenished whether you are bitten by zombies or not. Here is a complete list of all available food in the mall:
- Energizer - Gives Frank temporary invulnerability to attacks.
- Nectar - Causes a queen to spawn near Frank.
- Quickstep - Increases Frank's speed.
- Randomizer - No benefit, makes Frank sick.
- Spitfire - Allows Frank to spit fiery projectiles.
- Untouchable - Causes zombies to ignore Frank.
- Zombait - Draws zombies attention to Frank.
The Xbox 360 version of Dead Rising has several pieces of downloadable content available for free. Each download allows access to a locker containing a new item of clothing.
Most of the songs were composed by Hideki Okugawa and Marika Suzuki, but Capcom purchased the rights to use some licensed songs:
- Gone Guru by Lifeseeker (featured during convict's battle)
- Fly Routine by Hostile Groove (featured during Steven's supermarket battle)
- Slave by The Evolutionaries (featured during hardware store battle)
- On A Mission by Hostile Groove (featured during butcher battle)
- Bored Again by Lock Jaw (featured during movie theater battle)
- Heaven's Creeping In by Supernova Syndicate (featured during security guard battle)
- Blame It On the Cold One by Carlton Moody (featured during the introduction movie)
- Justified by Drea (featured during the credits)
While Dead Rising was fairly well received there were a good number of criticisms about the gameplay. The largest complainant was concerning the on-screen text in the game. The text was designed to be read on HDTVs and when the game was played on an SDTV the text was very small and hard to read. This issue was wide spread and Capcom later stated that no patch to fix the problem was coming. It did not help that the vast majority of in game communication in the game was through on screen text.
Another major issue was the save points in the game, which were hard to find and limited in their locations. The game only allowed for one save per profile, which did not allow much flexibility for players.
In addition, others had serious issues with the AI of the survivors. They frequently lagged far behind and often times did little to avoid the swarms of zombies, which made it difficult to get them back to the safe house or given location.
The targeting system was also an area of occasional frustration. The use of projectile weapons and guns was clunky and hard to aim making ranged combat very difficult.
The Wii Port
In July 2008, it was announced that Dead Rising would be ported to the Wii and receive the title Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop. Utilizing the Resident Evil 4 engine, the game features a new over the shoulder camera, motion controls and improvements to the structure and save system of the game, which were some of the main issues that players had with the games initial release. As an added bonus, players can choose to play as Nathan "RAD" Spencer, from Bionic Commando. The game was released February 27, 2009.
Controversies in Germany
In Germany, the USK (which gives games their ratings) refused to give Dead Rising any grade of rating due to the sheer amount of violence in the game. This is especially due to the amount of dismemberment in the game, which is a factor that is often required to be censored. Because Dead Rising never received a rating, the game was never allowed to be released in Germany. Selling the game in Germany is a criminal offense.
- The achievement Zombie Genocider states you have to kill 53,594 zombies. This number is significant as it is the exact number of residents where the game is set, Willamette, Colorado. Gaining this achievement will also cause the Real Mega Buster to spawn in the Security Room for Frank to use.
- The copyright holder of both the original and remake of the Dawn of the Dead film, the MKR Group, filed a lawsuit against Capcom due to Capcom using the "survivors fighting the undead in a shopping mall" concept. The case was filed in February of 2008 and dismissed that same year. The judge presiding over the case stated idea of zombies in a shopping mall was simply "unprotectable" under copyright.
- The original release contains numerous spelling errors in the achievements, which still remain to this day.
Xbox 360 Game Installation
Dead Rising requires 6.6GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD.
iPhone/ iPod version
A version built completely from the ground-up for the iPhone (not 3G compatible) and iPod Touch will be released Holiday 2010.
This version will include social networking features such as calling out to friends when you die. This call will be placed on your friends' Twitter and Facebook feeds and they will have the option of reviving you.