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Overview

"I've covered wars, you know."

Dead Rising is an open world survival horror game developed and originally published by Capcom for Xbox 360 in August 2006. Players control Frank West, a freelance photojournalist who travels to Willamette, Colorado for his next story after receiving a tip that "something big" is happening there. He heads to the town's Willamette Parkview Mall via helicopter to investigate the details of the incident but immediately finds himself trapped in the middle of a zombie outbreak, forcing Frank to survive within the mall complex for seventy-two hours until his charter pilot returns.

Capcom's Keiji Inafune, known for his prior work on the Mega Man and Onimusha series, was the producer for Dead Rising. The game was inspired by popular zombie horror films of the 1960s and 1970s, especially those directed by George A. Romero such as Dawn of the Dead, which is also set inside a shopping mall.

Dead Rising was ported to Wii in 2009 as Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop; however, several changes were made to this version in order to accommodate the reduced graphical capabilities of Nintendo's console. It was also ported to iOS devices in 2010 with a release simply titled Dead Rising that adds social networking features.

The original game was followed-up by a 2010 sequel, Dead Rising 2, and has since become a successful franchise. A 2016 re-release of the first Dead Rising brought the game to the PC, PS4 and Xbox One platforms, along with enhanced resolution options and multiple save slots.

Gameplay

Although Frank West's main goal is to uncover the truth behind the Willamette zombie outbreak, the core of Dead Rising's gameplay is focused on survival within the confines of Willamette Parkview Mall. At the beginning of the game, the main entrance to the mall's Security Room is welded shut to safeguard against zombie attacks, establishing this room as the player's base of operations. A large air duct leading to a warehouse provides access to the rest of the mall complex. Frank must scavenge resources such as healing food and weapons in order to survive his expeditions through the zombie-infested shopping mall while attempting to investigate story leads and completing other mission objectives.

Players can earn Prestige Points (or "PP") by killing enemies, taking photographs and escorting Survivors to the Security Room, as well by using certain interactive objects or fulfilling special Survivor requests. Once Frank earns a predetermined amount of PP, he will level-up and gain a randomly selected skill or attribute boost. There are five base attributes than can be increased by leveling-up: attack power, movement speed, health, inventory slots and throwing distance. Frank's maximum level is fifty.

Combat

Dead Rising's combat focuses on the use of improvised weapons found both inside and outside the various stores of Willamette Parkview Mall, which contains a wide selection of shops reflective of those found in a typical American mall circa 2006. Frank can arm himself with musical instruments and compact disc cases found in music shops, soccer balls and golf clubs from a sporting goods store, or dumbbells found at the mall's workout gym, just to name a few examples.

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 with which the player can defend themselves against the zombie horde.

Frank also features many hand-to-hand combat skills. 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:

  • Zombie Ride
  • Jump Kick
  • Flying Dodge
  • Kick Back
  • Power Push
  • Football Tackle
  • Judo Throw
  • Double Lariat
  • Lift Up
  • Roundhouse Kick
  • Suplex
  • Karate Chop
  • Knee Drop
  • Wall Kick
  • Hammer Throw
  • Face Crusher
  • Neck Twist
  • Giant Swing
  • Disembowel
  • Somersault Kick
  • Zombie Walk

Photography

Maximum PP bonus on a Photo Op
Maximum PP bonus on a Photo Op

Frank's trusty camera allows players to snap photos for Prestige Points. The game awards varying amounts of PP for photos based on a number of factors, including total number of subjects, the subjects' size within the frame, and the centrality of the subjects' positions within the frame.

Depending upon the image's subjects and their activities, a photo may also earn a PP bonus based on its theme or genre. There are five bonus genre classifications for photos:

  • Erotica: Provocative images of women's bodies (including female zombies) trigger this bonus.
  • Horror: Active zombies are the primary factor in Horror photos.
  • Outtake: Includes humorous situations such as subjects lying prone or wearing novelty masks.
  • Brutality: Images depicting excessive violence or gore can earn this bonus.
  • Drama: Human NPCs interacting or otherwise emoting may trigger a Drama bonus.

Much larger PP bonuses can be earned by capturing "Photo Ops"; these are special animations performed by some characters under certain conditions, which are indicated by "PP" icons appearing above an NPC's head. Specific Photo Ops can only be photographed once per playthrough for their PP bonuses, and nearly all of them require precise timing to capture.

One hundred "PP Stickers" scattered throughout the mall can also be photographed for substantial PP bonuses.

Survivors

Besides the hordes of zombies roaming throughout the mall, Frank can also encounter several non-infected NPCs called "Survivors" with whom he can optionally interact and escort back to the safety of the Security Room. All Survivors bestow a significant PP bonus upon joining Frank's group, and successfully escorting them to the Security Room grants even larger amounts of PP. Unfortunately large groups of hostile enemies and poor Survivor AI implementation can often make rescues very difficult. By default, any Survivors in the group will automatically follow Frank, but players can also set manual waypoints to direct all Survivors toward a specific location.

Survivors escorted to the Security Room
Survivors escorted to the Security Room

Several Survivors have special requirements before they will agree to join Frank; for example, a hungry Survivor may demand food, or a frightened Survivor might refuse to move until Frank eliminates a particular threat nearby. Even after joining the group, not all Survivors are capable of adequately defending themselves or even moving on their own, and some will require extra attention from Frank in order to reach the Security Room alive. More able-bodied Survivors can be given weapons for defense (though not necessarily any type), and all Survivors can be given food items to replenish their lost health. Care must be taken to minimize friendly fire with an escort group, as Frank can easily deplete a Survivor's health with too many strikes from a strong weapon.

Including Frank himself, there are a total of fifty-four Survivors that can be encountered within the game. However, the maximum number of Survivors that can actually be rescued in a single playthrough is only fifty-three, due to certain events that occur (or fail to occur) as a result of the player's actions during the main story.

Psychopaths

Adam the Psychopath clown
Adam the Psychopath clown

Psychopaths are special bosses that can be encountered and fought throughout the game. These powerful human enemies appear at specific times and places, and they can be very difficult to defeat, especially at lower levels. Carlito, one of the game's primary antagonists, is encountered multiple times over the course of the main story during different Psychopath boss fights.

Defeating certain Psychopaths is mandatory in order to reach some of the game's multiple endings, including the optimal "true" ending.

Characters

Below is a full list of every character in the game in a rough order of appearance:

Modes

72 Hour Mode

Frank's watch tracks active missions
Frank's watch tracks active missions

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.

Overtime Mode

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.

∞ Mode

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.

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. Fortunately the 2016 re-release of Dead Rising appears to have resolved this game-breaking issue.

Items

Weapons

Conventional weapons such as knives, handguns and automatic rifles can all be acquired inside the mall; however, a much greater variety of mundane objects can be wielded by Frank as improvised weapons. Power tools, large furniture and even children's toys are just a few examples of potential weapon items, although some objects are much more effective at neutralizing threats than others.

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 & 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
  • Cooking
  • Criminal Biography
  • Cycling
  • Engineering
  • Entertainment
  • Health 1
  • Health 2
  • Hobby
  • Horror Novel 1
  • Horror Novel 2
  • Interior Design
  • Japanese Conversation
  • Lifestyle Magazine
  • Skateboarding
  • Sports
  • Survival
  • Travel
  • Weekly Photo Magazine
  • World News
  • Wrestling

Food & 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.

Food

Beverages

Mixed Drinks

  • 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.

Clothing

Not all items are used for survival; Frank can also wear certain articles of clothing found in the mall's various stores.

Unlockables

A number of special garments and weapons can only be unlocked by completing certain Achievements, or as free downloadable content.

Downloadable Content

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.

Reception

Initial commercial response to Dead Rising was strong, and Capcom reported having shipped around 500,000 copies within the first month after its release. Critical reception of Dead Rising was generally positive, although complaints were levied against the game's restrictive save system, as well as the rudimentary AI used for NPC "Survivors" that can optionally be escorted to safety.

Capcom also received significant criticism regarding the small size of the text used in the game's dialogue boxes, which become mostly illegible when viewed on standard-definition or smaller high-definition televisions. The developers eventually addressed the text size issue in a statement explaining that Dead Rising had been "optimized" for HD televisions, and that a post-release patch to add a larger text option for SD televisions "wasn't possible".

Legal Issues

The MKR Group, copyright holders for both Dawn of the Dead and its 2004 remake of the same name, filed suit against Capcom in February 2008, alleging that Dead Rising infringes on the copyrights and trademarks of the two films. In response, Capcom asserted that the concept of humans fighting against zombies inside a shopping mall was not protected under copyright law; they also pointed to a disclaimer printed on the front of the game's packaging, 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 dismissed in October of the same year, with the presiding judge supporting Capcom's assertions that the basic concept was "wholly unprotectable".

Ban 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.

Soundtrack

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)
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