By MooseyMcMan 19 Comments
The year was 2006. I was still in high school, and it was summer. I had purchased an Xbox 360, but didn't have much to play on it. Call of Duty 2 was a good game, as were the Original Xbox Halo games, but nothing got me excited that summer like a certain zombie game.
Dead Rising. I bought it, and I played a ton of it. I knew going in that it was a game that required a lot of leveling, and restarting the game. And I was fine with that, at least at first. The game had its issues, sure, but the things that made it great were astounding. The number of zombies on screen was, at the time, mind blowing. It was a true example of something not possible on the previous generation of consoles. And running around killing hundreds of zombies was fun, which was a nice bonus.
But the more I played, the more the negative aspects of the game started creeping in. The controls were fine for fighting zombies, but human enemies? Not so much. Especially in the boss fights. Take, for example, the first boss fight in the game. It's a fight against Carlito, and it takes place in the game's food court. Carlito is on an upper level shooting down with a P90 at Brad (an agent of the Department of Homeland Security), and Brad gives Wartime Photojournalist Frank West a pistol to aid in the fight.
The only problem is that fighting Carlito with that pistol is about the last thing that you want to do. First off, the shooting controls in the game are awful. It's basically the controls for Resident Evil 4, only worse (right trigger to go into aiming mode, left stick to aim, X to shoot). At least in RE4 there was something resembling speed in the way you aimed, and in that game you could reload guns. Here, Frank aims his gun at the speed of molasses and just throws guns away when they're out of ammo.
But even if the aiming controls were good and responsive, guns just don't do enough damage to be worthwhile, at least against bosses. Maybe if you got nothing but headshots, but don't forget that Carlito is shooting back at you. And, naturally, every few shots from him causes Frank to stagger and lose his aim.
Instead the best strategy (so far as I could tell) is to climb up to Carlito's level and wail on him as quickly as you can with a melee weapon. If you have a good cleaver or a baseball bat, it doesn't take too long, but it still boils down to mashing a button and hoping the AI doesn't shoot you while you're at it. Then Carlito leaves, and you have to fight him again the next day (this time Carlito has a sniper rifle, and if you take too long, Brad dies), but at least then you have access to a store where you can loot katanas, which are fast and do high damage.
But it was neither of those bosses that got me to stop playing Dead Rising. It wasn't the convicts in the jeep in the park with their mounted turret, it wasn't the crazy store clerk with the shopping cart. No, it was Isabella on that motorcycle. After numerous attempts, I just gave up on the game. I wasn't having fun, and it was making me angry. And by this point, other games were coming out (including the Wii, which was close on the horizon), so I put Dead Rising aside, though I vowed to return, eventually.
And I did! Almost every year after 2006, I tried, at least once, to beat the game again. But these were half-hearted at best. And in 2012, I didn't even try at all. But this year, the year 2013, I decided that this was it. The new consoles were coming (er, are coming), and if I didn't beat this game now, I was never going to beat it. So I sat down, newly determined, and dived back into Dead Rising.
And I beat 72 Hour Mode. It wasn't really that hard. The motorcycle boss definitely took me a few tries, but really the hardest part of that. But even after my triumph over 72 Hour Mode, I felt deflated. I knew that there was Overtime Mode after that, the Instruction Manual said as much. But, well, I guess now I'm getting into real SPOILER territory, so if you're a crazy person who cares about this game's story (don't), and haven't played it, then stop reading this and go reevaluate your life. Maybe go talk with some friends or something, I don't know.
Anyway, late in 72 Hour Mode, a bunch of soldiers show up and start killing all the zombies in the mall. But, at this point in the story, you can actually just hide from them until they leave, which they do a couple (in game) hours before the helicopter is due to arrive. Then it's just a leisurely stroll through the mall to the helipad where you get to watch a cutscene of the helicopter crashing, and Frank looking all depressed.
Then Overtime Mode starts, where the zombies are back, despite being wiped out, as are the soldiers, despite them all leaving. And on top of all this, now Frank has (somehow) been infected with zombie-ism, and he and Isabella (who despite trying to kill Frank earlier, is working with him, which is explained in the story earlier) are trying to make up a medicine to keep Frank from turning. But, like I said, the mall is now filled with soldiers. And these soldiers are tough, and carry machine guns. My first attempt at fighting them met with abject failure. But for whatever reason, instead of killing Frank, they knocked him out, took all his gear and clothes (not counting underwear, because of course an M rated game with the gory killing of thousands of zombies, plenty of people, and lots of cursing can't have any nudity), and then there's a mini-game to escape. But after escaping I didn't see any apparent way to get Frank's stuff back, so I just turned the 360 off.
Did I spend all this time only to meet failure in another spot?
Of course not! In beating the game, I leveled up to Level 40, and in doing so, I unlocked the final speed upgrade. So, I decided to go back into 72 Hour Mode to at least fool around with the increased speed. I ended up beating it again, this time using the small chainsaws and magazine technique on the bosses (which makes the game WAY EASIER). Oh, I should say, for those who don't know, you can find magazines in the game that, when in your inventory, they give you various bonuses, like making certain weapons last longer, making food items restore more health, or teaching Frank conversational Japanese.
And when I beat it, I went into Overtime Mode... This time with my small chainsaws. And I realized that one whack from a small chainsaw was enough to kill a soldier, so I decided to keep on trucking. And eventually that lead to the final boss of the game, which is, of course, a two part affair.
The first part is a boring, but mostly easy, turret sequence where you control a machine gun on the back of a jeep, and you shoot at a tank. The tank has weak spots, and you need to shoot down the various missiles and whatnot that it sends your way. After this there's a cutscene, and Frank finds himself on top of a tank fighting some military man, and the tank is surrounded by zombies. But all the weapons and health items I had were gone, so naturally I died. And I had to start from the last time the game saved, which was before I even got to the jeep with the machine gun. Only slightly before, but playing through that boring turret sequence again was, well, boring. But that time I beat the military man.
And my quest was over. So, naturally, I went right into Infinite Mode, and lasted two (in game) days in that before Frank starved to death (because that mode adds starvation). And then I stopped playing.
But, like I said, my quest was over. It only took seven years, but I beat Dead Rising. Sure, if I had been more patient, I could have beaten it back in 2006, but whatever. I wouldn't have a story to tell if that was the case. I'm glad I did beat it, because in getting to the later parts of the game, and in leveling up to the level cap (50), I've really grown to appreciate Dead Rising.
See, Dead Rising isn't really a game about killing zombies. It's a game about not killing zombies, and trying to get as many survivors as you can. Sure, even then, you have to deal with terrible survivor AI, and pathing, but whatever! End game Dead Rising is fun because of how fast and powerful Frank has become. And because at level 50 you unlock a zombie walk that tricks zombies into thinking Frank is one of them, but is so painfully slow that it's not actually useful at all. But I think that's really fun.
So...yeah. I had fun. But I'll never play a Dead Rising game again (probably). I have no interest in playing any of the Dead Rising 2 games, and I highly doubt I will have an Xbox One. And based on what I've read, it sounds like Microsoft is too heavily invested in Dead Rising 3 for it to find its way to PS4. There might be a PC version at some point, but unless I get a lot of money, I doubt I'll have a gaming PC either.
Speaking of which, here's my obligatory "Go buy my book" segment! US Link. UK Link.Canada Link. It's only a dollar, or the equivalent in your nation of choice. Pulpy Sci-Fi Adventure awaits you! Or not, you don't have to buy it. And maybe pulpy is a really dated term to use, given that it's only available as an electronic book.
At this point I've, well, I wouldn't say admitted defeat, but I know that just putting a few links here in a blog isn't going to get big sales. Maybe one or two of you will buy it, and maybe even read it. I've been told it's quite good. Or at least good. But it's not going to lead to long term, sustained sales that I would like. At this point it would take something weird like a celebrity endorsement, or me being famous for something else for it to sell.
Which is why I really need to get back to work on my next book. I've probably said that I have a finished draft, I've just been waiting for a couple people I know to read it and tell me if it makes sense. But if they don't get on that by the end of the summer, I'll just have to publish it as is, plot holes or not! Well, I'll go through it for typos and stuff, but that's not the same as having someone else read it and pass judgment on the quality of the story. It might be hard to understand if you've never done it, but when you create something that big (and my novels are decently sized, though not super long), and the entirety of it came from your mind, it's REALLY hard to determine if it's any good or not. I mean, I wouldn't have written it if I thought it was bad, right? I dunno.
Oh, right, video games. Well, actually that piece of art is something I found on Twitter. I believe it was an artist's interpretation of what MGSV would look like if it was a direct to VHS film in the 90s, and well, I thought you would all like to see it.
It's been a while since the last time I wrote up a blog about video games. The last one I wrote was about Ryan Davis, but I have played video games since June 3rd, both new and old. And I want to write something up about them, but I think I've said enough for now. After seven years of trying, Dead Rising deserved this much space, and its own post, so you'll have to wait for my thoughts on Super Mario RPG, The Last of Us, Hotline Miami, Borderlands 2, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Bulletstorm, and more(?).
Until then, the Year of Luigi rages on, whether or not you want it to, or are even playing any Nintendo games (I'm not, I don't even own a 3DS or a Wii U).
Also, as a final note, I should say that it's almost impossible to search for Dead Rising on this site. Typing that in comes up with everything BUT the original game. Even some dumb iPhone game from 2010. It's weird. I had to attach this to the Dead Rising Franchise page because Dead Rising the game page wouldn't come up. WEIRD!