Dead Rising is an action adventure game exclusively for the Xbox 360 and was produced by Keiji Inafune and developed by Capcom. It was released in North America on August 8 2006, and in Japan on September 28, 2006. A playable demo was released for download to the Xbox 360 from the Xbox Live Marketplace on August 4 2006. The game follows the events of the main character over a three-day span while he is trapped in a mall infested with zombies.
The main objective of the game is to remain alive for at least three days. In-game time runs twelve times faster than real-time, so one day in the game is exactly two hours in real time. Therefore, the game can be completed in six hours of gameplay. However, there are several other elements to the game that the player can choose whether or not to pursue.
As a journalist, Frank has an interest in uncovering the truth behind the zombie epidemic through unlocking a series of "case files" that each build upon the previous ones and reveal the central plot as the game clock progresses. Unlocking case files is accomplished primarily by being in the right place at the right time in order to view a cutscene that tells the next part of the story. The player will also be reminded via walkie talkie if they are meant to be somewhere specific.
"Scoops" serve as side quests for the game. Found in the mall are a number of "psychopaths", human characters that have been driven insane due to events of the zombie outbreak or have used the havoc as a cover to accomplish their own evil ends. Typically, they will be armed with powerful weaponry and serve as optional boss battles. Frank carries a camera and can earn points from photographing different situations. Pictures are evaluated and assigned a genre, either erotica, horror, outtakes, drama or brutality. Use of the camera also allows Frank to complete certain scoops by taking photographs of various NPCs and items.
There are 54 survivors (53 is the maximum that can be saved; Frank counts as a Survivor) located throughout the game that can be located via scoops or investigation of the mall's areas (Otis does not inform you of some survivors). Upon rescue, they will join the player's party and can be taken to the safety of the security room. The survivors mainly take shelter inside stores, but some have been split up or are being held hostage by a psychopath. Frank carries a notebook with him and records details about survivors noting their status, either "Located", "Safe", "Dead", "Lost", or "undead". Along the way some will request items, some will give the player items for the players good deeds, others revolt against the player and attempt mutiny. Most of these missions are completely optional.
dead Rising incorporates a leveling system that allows Frank to learn new offensive attacks, increase his health meter, throw weapons further, increased damage, carry more items, or improve his speed; one new skill, ability, or improved stat is awarded randomly at each increase in level. To level Frank up he has to earn "Prestige Points" (PP), which is done by helping survivors, taking pictures, and killing zombies, among other things. A unique aspect to Dead Rising is that should the player start a new game, all experience progression made in previous games can be carried over to the new game.
Certain foods and utensils can be combined to create more potent items, increasing the depth and strategic elements of the game. There are over 250 items that a player can use to attack zombies. Electronic Gaming Monthly reported that there can be up to 800 zombies on the screen at once. During the day the zombies are more sluggish, but at night they become more active, gain red glowing eyes and increase in numbers.
One popular aspect of the game is the fact that there are little constraints to the player's progress. The storyline may simply be ignored, leaving the player free to just spend the whole three days in the mall sampling food or trying on clothes if they so desired; some Achievements reward this method of play. Also, the player may choose to ignore the plot completely and gain more PP to level up and use in a later game.
dead Rising features three modes of play:
- 72 Hour: Frank has three days to solve the mystery of the zombie outbreak. This is the main mode of play.
- Overtime Mode: An extra day that wraps up the events of 72 Hour mode. Unlocked by getting the best resolution, the 'A' ending in 72 hour mode.
- Infinity Mode: A sandbox mode where Frank must last as long as he can. The biggest difference is that Frank can now die of hunger. The health bar drops once every 100 seconds to represent this. Other differences are that food is limited and the transceiver, save, and some watch functions are disabled. Everyone, including survivors, are now enemies (which drop character-related supplies upon their deaths) and they all fight each other for the food they hold in order to survive. The game continues until Frank's inevitable demise and is unlocked by finishing Overtime Mode.
There are a total of 50 Xbox Live Achievements available for dead Rising, based on killing zombies, rescuing survivors, completing side missions, taking photographs, using weapons, trying on clothing, and achieving various endings to the game.
Dead Rising features a wide variety of improvised weapons in the form of common items that can be found around a large shopping mall. Weapons will break down or run out of ammo with use, often to be thrown away, but certain weapons will gain new properties. For example, a push broom would break in two, leaving the wooden support which can still be used as a spear; or a mannequin, which breaks into five usable parts such as the arms, legs, or torso. Others can be changed by the environment such as the frying pan, which can be heated on a stove (to increase damage or to gain access to a special move). The player can also lift some larger items such as benches or cash registers that can be used to smash foes or thrown at them, but these are not considered part of the player's inventory; that is, the player cannot store the item and the item will be dropped if the player selects a different weapon from his inventory.
The game focuses on the exploits of Frank West, a photojournalist who is intent on breaking the story on why the fictional town of Willamette, Colorado has been sealed off by the National Guard. Frank is taken to Willamette by helicopter, as the roads leading to the town have been blockaded and the town itself quarantined. Flying overhead, Frank notices what appears to be a brutal riot. He witnesses multiple murders and a gas station exploding during his flight. Approaching the Willamette Parkview Mall, Frank sees a helipad and tells his pilot, Eddie, to drop him off. Frank jumps onto the mall's roof and reminds the pilot to return in exactly 72 hours.
Frank meets up with Carlito Keyes, a Hispanic man who acts mysteriously. In reply to Frank's question about the events in town, Carlito replies that Frank should see it for himself, all the while chuckling to himself. Upon entering the mall, Frank finds there are creatures trying to enter the mall and he asks one of the survivors boarding up the entrance what the disturbance is. The man proceeds to inform Frank of a zombie outbreak that has occurred across Willamette. The only thing preventing the zombies from entering the mall is a makeshift barricade- the zombies, however, swarm the shopping center after a hysterical woman breaks through the barricade in order to try and save her dog (which is already zombified) from the zombies. A Homeland Security officer named Brad appears at the top of the stairs shouting at everyone to retreat to the security room. Frank, Brad and a few other main characters are the only ones who make it to the room.
When Frank enters, the janitor, Otis Washington, welds the door shut. Brad then leaves the security room via the air ducts. Jessie, also of Homeland Security recognizes an old man she identifies as Dr. Barnaby in one of Frank's photos, but neither Jessie nor Brad are willing to share what they know. After receiving a transceiver and map from Otis in order to be kept informed of the mall's events, Frank returns to the mall through the air ducts. He begins to encounter survivors, who need his assistance to make it safely to the security room, as well as survivors driven to madness by the zombie infestation, known as Psychopaths.
As the story unfolds, Frank and Brad have a series of violent encounters with Carlito, while Frank continues to bump into a beautiful Hispanic woman named Isabela. Frank and Brad are eventually able to locate Dr. Barnaby and bring him back to the security room, but it is still unknown why Homeland Security is particularly interested in Barnaby in the first place. After Frank is able to pacify a violent Isabela and bring her back to the security room, she reveals she is the sister of Carlito and that he is behind the zombie infestation.
She explains that Dr. Barnaby was the head of a research laboratory in the fictional Central American city of Santa Cabeza, the hometown of Carlito and Isabela. The research facility was attempting to find methods of mass-producing cattle, but instead, Barnaby and his team discovered an insect wasp called a "queen" that would turn the cattle into zombie with a single sting. After one of the "queens" escaped and infected the townspeople of Santa Cabeza, the US government sent a special forces team in to wipe out the entire city. The massacre was covered up under the pretenses that it was a raid on drug-trade operations. Outraged over the slaughter of his people, Carlito planned and executed the release of numerous "queens" in Willamette in revenge. Once the importance of Dr. Barnaby is revealed, he suddenly turns into a zombie and attacks Jessie before he is killed.
The zombie outbreak in Willamette is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as Isabela later explains Carlito has much bigger plans. Hidden beneath the mall are 5 bombs that when detonated will release queen larva into the atmosphere, making it possible for a worldwide outbreak.
Depending on the player's actions from this point on, the ending for the game varies.
As Frank, the player has the opportunity to complete or fail certain cases/scoops that will result in the player receiving one of six different endings. This will affect the fate of other NPC's within the game as well.
In the ending where Frank successfully manages to complete all the main "scoops" (main storyline advancements/challenges), he ends on the roof, standing on the helipad, and awaits the helicopter. All survivors have escaped in some other manner, it should be noted that Otis leaves a message behind about trying to hijack a helicopter. Ed DeLuca is seen looking through binoculars, seeing Frank on the roof. He then flies his helicopter over towards the mall, to Frank's delight. It turns out very soon, however, that a zombie has snuck into his helicopter, and he loses control, crashing soon thereafter. Frank, devastated, falls to his knees, and stops moving. One or two zombies appear on the roof. The screen blacks out. Later, the screen fades back to Frank, still unmoving in the same position he was in, but with zombies strewn randomly across the roof. One has made it to the helipad, and closes in slowly to take a bite of Frank. A gunshot is heard, and a hole appears in the zombie. Isabela has appeared in the doorway to the stairs, and yells for Frank. She makes her way to him, and wakes him up. They escape to Carlito's hideout, where Frank wakes up, and is told that he was infected with the virus, but has incredible immunity. Frank jokes that he just has longer till the virus turns him into a zombie, a walking time bomb. Isabela then makes an unknown connection, and goes to a nearby laptop. After a short search, she tells Frank about some children who were tested on, and given a temporary cure, so as to become zombies later. She then proceeds to tell Frank about the cure, and tells him the ingredients and tools she needs to make him one. Gameplay resumes.
Throughout dead Rising, Frank West meets characters who are essential to revealing the truth behind the zombie outbreak, as well as helping him survive the ordeal.
- Frank West
- The main protagonist of Dead Rising. He is an "overly zealous" freelance photographer/photojournalist that came to Willamette for the "scoop of a lifetime", thinking it was just a riot. After three harrowing days within the Moosified town of Willamette, as well as several close calls with hostile Special Forces soldiers, Frank ultimately manages to escape the town (after learning that he has unfortunately been infected with the zombie (parasite) and releases the true story of the death of Willamette to the public.
- Isabela Keyes
- The younger sister of Carlito. Very little is known about her, but that she worked at Dr. Barnaby's laboratories in Santa Cabeza as a medical technician. She starts off as an enemy, but after Carlito attacks her, she realizes the mayhem her brother is causing and becomes an ally. She helps temporaly subdue Frank's infection, and escapes with him out of Willamette.
- Carlito Keyes
- The older brother of Isabela. The mysterious Carlito tries to kill Frank at every turn. He is the cause of the outbreak and wants revenge for his the slaughter of his hometown, Santa Cabeza. Most of the game is spent trying to uncover the motivation and story behind Carlito and his connection to the zombies.
- Brad Garrison
- A DHS agent who reluctantly fights alongside Frank throughout the story. He assumes the responsibility of re-stocking the Security Room with healing items and trying to locate Dr. Barnaby early in the game. At first, he is uneasy to be around a member of the press, and even goes so far as to stereotype Frank as a crooked paparazzi. However, he soon grows to trust Frank. At the end of the "Bomb Collector" case, he is forced into the zombie-infested maintenance tunnels by Carlito and is attacked, resulting in his stomach being torn out. Frank returns to look for Brad, but Brad, close to to dying, realizes that there is nothing that Frank can do, except shoot him and not tell Jessie.
- Jessica "Jessie" McCarney
- Brad's rookie partner. She is charged with watching the monitors for information on the person/people responsible for the outbreak. Like Brad, she is distrustful of Frank, and patronizes him for being a civilian. However, she grows to trust Frank after he manages to retrieve the medicine from a crazed Steven. Jessie would later be bitten by an infected Dr. Barnaby and becomes a zombie by the final hours of the game. She kills two Special Forces soldiers in her undead form, but is soon killed by a dismayed Frank.
- Otis Washington
- A mall janitor. Otis tries in vain to stop Frank from chasing Brad back into the mall, and winds up handing over a map and spare transceiver. He periodically sends the player information and scoops over Frank's transceiver. If Frank is unable to reach the stairs of the Entrance Plaza when the zombies are first let in, and instead is knocked out, it is Otis that drags him from the chaos. When the Special Forces arrive, Otis sneaks out and attempts to steal a helicopter.
- Dr. Russell Barnaby
- A genetic researcher, whose work led to the events chronicled throughout Dead Rising. He becomes infected and attacks Jessie. Brad shoots him after he attempts to attack Frank.
The citizens of Willamette who were not initially killed by the zombie outbreak are referred to as "survivors." Scattered across the mall, their fate is dependent on Frank. Otis gives Frank a transmitter and a map of the mall, contacting him about events happening in the mall. Otis acts as the source of information for finding survivors. However, Otis does not notice a few survivors on the security monitors and thus, some must be stumbled upon. More than 50 survivors can be escorted to the security room and "saved."
In addition to battling thousands of zombies, Frank West must also deal with psychopaths, the game's term for humans gone mad by the invasion (or otherwise corrupt, evil or immoral humans who serve as the game's bosses). Examples include a clown who goes insane after seeing his audience eaten, a deranged butcher thinking people are "fresh meat" and zombies are "spoiled meat", and a Vietnam War vet who suffers war flashbacks after seeing his granddaughter eaten by zombies.
Dead Rising has earned generally positive reviews. The game received ratings of 8.1/10 from 1UP.com, 8.7/10 from TeamXbox, 8.3/10 from IGN.com, 8.4 from GameSpot, 4.5/5 from GameSpy and 9.25/10 from Game Informer. IGN stated the game needed "a better save system, more intelligent NPCs, a more forgiving story progression, and tighter controls," but still called Dead Rising "one of the more unique and entertaining titles on the Xbox 360." GameSpot said, "It's zombie action for people who want zombie action, and it's simply a great piece of entertainment."
The reviews shared a general consensus. All the reviewers commended the game's "sandbox" style mall to explore and the sheer amount of ways to kill the thousands of zombies. Prior to its release, Dead Rising topped the video game sellers chart of Amazon.com. Capcom is currently giving away surveys asking fans if they would like to see a sequel. On August 29, 2006, Capcom announced the game had sold more than 500,000 copies in the two weeks since its US launch date of August 8.
Dead Rising has won several awards. IGN awarded the title "Most Innovative Design for Xbox 360" in its Best of 2006. GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2006 awarded the game honors for "Best Action Adventure Game", "Best Sound Effects", and "Best Use of Xbox 360 Achievement Points". Additionally, the game won "Action Game of the Year" at the 2006 Spike TV Video Game Awards. It ranked #2 in gaming magazine Gamesmaster's Top 50 of 2006. It also won Best Original Game of 2006 on X-Play.
Issues and controversies
Dead Rising has an unusual save system: only one game-in-progress can be saved per memory device per profile. With this single-save system, it is possible to save a game far away from a critical objective with little time remaining, making it impossible to reach the next objective in time, and thus, impossible to complete the plot.
In these cases, Dead Rising allows players to save their current level and status, and restart the game from the beginning as a more powerful player. The system is a deliberate game mechanic, borrowed from one of Capcom's RPGs Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter; the two games share some development team members.
During the first play-through of the game, the save points are limited with a great distance between them, and auto saving is not supported. Gamers have expressed frustration as they will sometimes get killed immediately after fighting a psychopath, ultimately having to restart from the last saved point and facing the psychopath again. Many have also mentioned that if they had multiple game slots it would make certain tasks/achievements easier to achieve.
Though the unusual saves are largely unpopular with gamers and likely caused Dead Rising to be scored lower on game ratings, Keiji Inafune said, in an interview with Electronic Gaming Monthly, that the saves were intentionally designed so that players would feel that there were some consequences for their actions and would be forced to make quick, tactical decisions.
A point of contention among many fans was the operation of the game's transceiver, specifically how persistent it is when ringing, and how vulnerable Frank is while answering any calls on it. While using the transceiver Frank is unable to jump, attack, or pick up or use any item. Furthermore, if the call is somehow interrupted (such as being attacked) the call will end abruptly, only for the transceiver to ring a few seconds later. If Frank answers Otis will scold the player for being rude, then start the previous call over from the very beginning. 
Numerous gamer-oriented webcomics and blogs attacked the use of the transceiver within Dead Rising. VG Cats published a strip concerning the merely annoying issues of the transceiver, while Ctrl+Alt+Del's strip addressed the vulnerability angle. Something Awful's tongue-in-cheek feature Otis Rising suggests that the annoyances and vulnerabilities of the transceiver are part of an intentional effort by Otis to get Frank killed.
Unpublished in Germany
Due to its graphic violence, the Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, Germany's equivalent to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, has refused to rate the game. Microsoft does not allow unrated games to be published for the Xbox 360, effectively halting the production of a German version of the game. The game is available as an import to players of legal age.
Dead Rising has drawn complaints from gamers that have standard definition sets and smaller high definition sets for having difficulty reading the on-screen text. This is due to Capcom's decision to develop exclusively for HD gamers, as the game had been touted as one of the first truly "next generation" titles available for the Xbox 360. On August 10, 2006, a Capcom representative posted the following on Xbox.com:
| Dear Everyone, I have heard your concerns and passed them to every source within Capcom possible. I feel your pain as I, myself, have a large SDTV and am having trouble reading the mission objectives, item names, etc.
Unfortunately it does take time to resolve any issue and we would want to fix the issue appropriately as any changes to any game can create additional problems from the result of change; that's just how game programming works and that's why games go through extensive game testing programs and approvals.
A week later, Capcom released a statement saying they would not be fixing the problem and suggested some DIY solutions:
|Unfortunately Dead Rising was optimized for High Definition TV's. Due to this, the font in the game might be difficult to read on standard definition TV's. If you are having a hard time reading the text, please try the following: 1.) Adjust the settings on your TV or monitor. 2.) Try using component cables instead of standard composite. 3.) Setting the TV to widescreen ratio (even though you may not have a widescreen TV) may help in some cases.|
Using a VGA output cable is also a solution to the problem, as the Xbox 360 supports a number of common monitor resolutions high enough to render the text readable.
While the small text within Dead Rising cannot be fixed, Capcom responded quickly to avoid similar criticism on the same issue for their next major Xbox 360 game, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. When the demo was released in late 2006, it also had significant amounts of small text, and responding to these complaints, Capcom adjusted the game prior to release to detect the use of a standard TV and increased the font size as needed.
- Soon after Dead Rising was released in the United States, Capcom released 9 downloadable "keys" to Xbox Live Marketplace that would unlock different lockers in the Security Office, providing the player with 9 new outfit options. 
- On March 4, 2007, a rumor stemming from Electronic Gaming Monthly claimed that the platinum version of Dead Rising would contain a new cooperative mode, and that it would also be available to current owners via the Xbox Live Marketplace for a fee. However, Christian Svennson of Capcom has confirmed that this is a hoax, and that no new content will be in the platinum version.
- On May 31, 2007, 3 downloadable "keys" were made available over Xbox Live giving the player access to 3 more outfits: The Pure White Suit Key, the Accountant Key and the Stripe Key.
On March 30, 2007, a soundtrack album was released as a 2,000 copy only limited edition. It came with a T-shirt, showcasing Frank, Isabela and an outline of the mall.
- Official sites
- Dead Rising official site (American)
- Dead Rising official site (European)
- Dead Rising official site (Japanese)
- Other resources and information
- Dead Rising Reviews at Metacritic
- Dead Rising in the Internet Movie Database
- Dead Rising in Wikipedia.
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