Xbox 360
Games for Lunch: Dead Rising: Case Zero

Posted by Kyle Orland (September 08, 2010)

Games for Lunch chronicles the first hour of a different game every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each hour ends with the answer to the only question that matters at that point: Do I want to keep playing? For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: Sept. 28, 2010
System: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Beats paying $60 to try out the full game, but doesn't beat paying $0 for a demo.

0:00 I shelled out the five bucks to download this one after hearing from a few sources that it was much more than just a demo for Dead Rising 2. I played the Wii's "Chop 'Till You Drop" version of the original game, which left me a little bit wanting.

0:01 Lots of logos, then a plain title screen quickly fades to a gas station with shambling zombies. "THIS AREA OBSERVED BY COMMUNITY WATCH CITIZENS" says a green street sign. I guess they're watching the zombies shamble all over their community, then?

0:03 My wife, watching from the couch: "This isn't Left 4 Dead? I mean it looks like Left 4 Dead. Not just because it has zombies, but the style too." My wife is very perceptive.

0:04 Some decently long loading precedes a shot of an open road. "This is Rebecca Chang reporting live from outside Las Vegas," says a tinny radio voice. The zombie outbreak has left 100,000 dead and one million may be infected. The military has set up a 50-mile perimeter outside the city, and they have shoot-to-kill orders. So... things are bad, then.

0:05 A guy gets out of a beat up pickup truck. The lettering on his orange shirt reads "IJIEK" for some reason. He walks over to gas pump
cautiously and starts filling up. Personally, I'm shocked the pumps still work in the middle of a zombie apocalypse...

0:06 The guy looks at some jets overhead as we see a road sign: Las Vegas is 46 miles away. He looks at his watch and runs back to the car. As the radio warbles about something called Zombrex we see a little girl in the back seat of the car. She looks dead at first, but she wakes up with a startled protest when her dad tries to give her a shot. "Nobody likes shots, honey, but it's very important that you get this," he says. She won't need another for 12 hours. She hopes he'll run out, but he says he's "got a few more."

0:07 Dad carries the girl, Katey, into the gas station convenience store. Ominous music and camera angles precede a noise from outside. He walks out to investigate and finds smoke rising in distance. A shadowy figure runs behind him and steals his truck. "Son of a bitch ... The Zombrex." Good news little girl... no more shots!

0:09 Katey notices something. "Daddy, there's a man over there." It's a zombie of course, and a few more join him in shambling towards the pair. They run back inside and he slams the door on one, then pulls a snack machine in front of the door. "We're OK now honey, they can't get in." Yeah, right.

0:10 Dad goes out to find more Zombrex, leaving Katey... alone in the gas station surrounded by zombies? Wow does that seem like an awful plan or what? Quote of the moment: "But no, daddy, I don't even like Zombrex."

0:11 A pop up screen fills me in on the Zombrex situation. I have to give it too her between 7 and 8 pm... too early and she'll overdose. Too late and... well, best not to think of that.

0:12 A maintenance bench lets me combine a handy box of nails with a handy baseball bat to make an even handier Spiked Bat. Combo weapons like this give me a PP bonus, I'm told. I'm not told what PP is. I get 10 Gamerscore points for my trouble.

0:15 I can't believe it's been 15 mintues and I'm just now bashing my first zombie? The spiked bat gives a satisfying thunk as I tap X to swing it wildly, or hold it to give a good overhead blow to a zombie skull. I love how the zombies fall like dominoes as I knock one into another.

0:17 These zombies are incredibly slow, but what they lack in speed they make up for in numbers. The sheer size of the horde in the out-of-focus distance is impressively terrifying. Two zombies manage to get their hands on me as I swing wildly, but I jiggle the analog stick to escape. My life bar is down from four units to two. No more messing around... time to bash my way through to that Zombrex.

0:18 OK, a little more messing around as I walk into Still Creek Casino. I pick up some money on the floor and spend $100 a spin on "The Trouble with Turkeys" slot machine. I stop after losing $1,000 of my $4,000. This is better than I usually do in Vegas...

0:21 I've just been playing around with using everything I can as a weapon, from trash cans to handbags. Each one makes a really distinct sound as it hits a zombie -- the audio engineer deserves an award. I also found some beer to restore my health. Realistic!

0:22 My Spiked Bat eventually fades away into nothingness from sheer overuse. Also realistic!

0:23 A loading screen interrupts the carnage randomly. In a cut scene, the zombies aroud me disappear. I climb atop a tanker and see rows of large manilla tents and an ambulance turned on side. Case 0-1 is over and Case 0-2 is engaged. "I should search that ambulance... it may have Zombrex," says a helpful title card.

0:25 I follow the handy on-screen arrow to the ambulance, and open it in a cut scene. A dead soldier falls out rather tamely. After a frantic search, I find some Zombrex hidden inside the door. As I walk away, I overhear over the two-way radio that a quarantine crew and security detail will be there by 21:00. I look down to find a toppled motorcycle. "Yeah, I can fix this," I say to no one in particular. Case 0-2 is over... what already?

0:27 "I should bring this broken bike back to the Gas Station Safe House," says the title card. Also, the military will take Katey if they find her when they arrive at 9:00 p.m. Because that's what the military does! I have to wheel the damaged bike back in a large grey wheelbarrow tub. Doesn't seem very fitting for an action hero...

0:29 Luckily, the big grey tub is pretty good at knocking zombies down. My 100th dead zombie earns me 10 Gamerscore points and the Zombie Hunter achievement.

0:30 I find myself going out of my way to knock down zombies that aren't directly in my path. I know Katey needs me, but dang it, this is too much FUN! Besides, my in-game watch says it's only 9:08 a.m. I have PLENTY of time.

0:36 After my 300th zombie kill, I finally start to tire of pushing the cart around. For one, it's more fun when I'm bowling over big hordes of zombies, and they're finally starting to thin. For another, there's just no sense of danger to it all. The most dangerous part is when I accidentally run aground on the curb and have to beat off some zombies before I can grab the tub again. I have yet to feel scared for my virtual life.

0:38 Back in the gas station, I examine the bike carcass with a check list. Katey says she "doesn't feel so good" and actually asks me for some medicine. Wow... it must be bad if she wants the shot. My paternal instinct is acting up, here. She asks if I'll be able to fix the bike. "Daddy can fix anything."

0:41 Time to start Case 0-4: "I need to search around town for the five bike parts I need." Before I head out, I drink some OJ and try making some new weapon. The baseball bat and whiskey don't work together, but the propane tank and the nails combine into an I.E.D. Cue the outraged Iraq War veterans in 5...4...3...

0:44 Out in Still Creek, I swat at a bee as the zombies watch. I crush the bee under my boot and their heads explode. Because... that's how it works? I'm kind of confused.

0:47 Just outside the gas station, a guy named Dick is cowering on top of a white van. I swing my IED at them to clear them away, mainly because I can't figure out how to just explode the damn thing. When I climb up to join Dick, he tells me he owns local pawn shop and asks for my help getting back. Well... y'see... I've kind of got this sick daughter and... all right, why not.

0:49 Dick runs ahead of me like a dick. Luckily he's pretty spry and good at avoiding zombies on his own. When we get to the nearby shop, he's very grateful. "I can't just give things away for free, but maybe I can give you a good deal." Hmm... I can't save your life, but maybe I can use your arm as a good zombie bashing weapon...

0:51 I could buy a handgun and an assault rifle, but I go for the amusingly ridiculous "drill bucket" for $2,500. It's... a bucket with a set of six drills wedged in the side. I can pop it on a zombies head and watch as they hilariously convulse before tumbling in a headless heap. It's entertaining, and worth a lot of PP, but very inefficient and ineffective at keeping off large groups. Eh, give and take, I suppose.

0:52 Speaking of PP, I can't believe that I've killed hundreds of zombies yet I'm still only half way to "level 2." Talk about grinding...

0:53 I'm having so much fun utterly destroying zombies with a large wooden bench that I forget I'm looking for motorcycle parts. Maybe they're inside the movie theater. Hey, it could happen!

0:54 The theater lobby has a life-size cardboard cut out of Protoman from the Mega Man series. Does this mean a Mega Man movie is finally coming to theaters? OMG BREAKING NEWS!

0:55 An emergency exit out front leads me to an alley, where I find a motorcycle engine. Inside the theatre, I found a Bowie knife which is pretty effective for quick zombie slashing. Overall, a good trip to the movies.

0:59 I could have returned the engine to the gas station much more quickly, but I was having too much fun attacking zombies with a large cactus and playing with the drill bucket again.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Yes.
Why? Just seeing what other crazy weapon combos are available will keep me going for a while, but I hope the action gets more interesting (and less incredibly easy) relatively soon.

This review was based on a downloadable copy purchased by the reviewer.

Check out hundreds of archived Games for Lunch reviews on the official Games for Lunch blog.

I've been writing about video games for 17 years now and for some reason they're still paying me


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