Free Zombrex for everyone!
I never really found Dead Rising to be that appealing. It always seemed just too chaotic for me to enjoy. However, my gaming tastes appear to have changed since then, and I found myself heartily looking forward to the arrival of Dead Rising 2. I don’t know why. Maybe I have spent too much time dealing with brain heavy strategy titles lately and a bit of mindless zombie bashing would be a welcome break. Whatever the reason, the release of Dead Rising: Case Zero on XBLA seemed to be a perfect re-introduction to the mass zombie mashing genre.
The story, as every zombie bashing game needs a story, takes place between Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2 and follows our hero, Chuck Greene, and his daughter as they take refuge in the desert town of Still Creek after fleeing Vegas. However, their van gets stolen, along with the supply of Zombrex that Katey, the daughter, needs. This leaves Chuck with the task of finding some more Zombrex for Katey and finding a way out of town.
Katey needs to have a shot of Zombrex every 12 hours to prevent her turning into one of the shuffling undead. So right away there is a time limit imposed. If that were not bad enough, it soon becomes apparent that the military are on their way back into town, and that will mean bye bye little Katey. So yeah, there is a lot to do and very little time to do it.
Gameplay consists of running around the town finding certain items, such as the Zombrex for Katey, and coming up with new and inventive ways of pounding Zombies. Along the way there will be the chance to save some other survivors, mix up some weird and wonderful cocktails, and make some cash. Oh, and you will fail. Sorry.
The truth of the matter is that the game is very short. This is not due to the lack of things to do, as there is a lot to discover and collect, but simply due to the time limit. That time limit is both the most annoying aspect of the game, and the most genius.
The thing is, the time limit is very, very tight and most gamers will be hard pressed to do everything that is needed within that time limit. So they will fail. Then they will have to play it through again, refining what they are doing, and getting all that is necessary done more quickly. Chances are that the second play through will fail aswell. In most games, at this point I would give up.
But in Case Zero there are two things that have prevented me from hurling my controller at the TV and cursing the name of Capcom. Firstly, there is just so much to do in the game. Each time you play through, you can find the better equipment or make a more perfect zombie killing device, making the game a little bit easier and increasing the chances of success.
The other thing that keeps you coming back for at least a few playthroughs, is the experience. As the player progresses, they earn a type of experience and level up. That level, and all of the benefits that come with it, are carried over to Dead Rising 2. The maximum level to be reached in this game is only level five, but realistically the player will only reach level two or three in the first playthrough, giving even more encouragement to go through it all again.
Although the game is short, taking about three or four hours for a single playthrough, it has excellent replayability. Combine that with what is great gameplay and a bargain price of just 400 MS points, and there really is very little reason not to buy this game. Unless you don’t like mashing zombies of course.