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Who says you have to grow up? Here at SI.com's Game Room, our staffers review the latest sports video game titles to hit the market and welcome your feedback.
8/31/2006 04:25:00 PM

Is zombie-killing a sport?

Posted by Jacob Luft

Technically, Dead Rising (CAPCOM, $60, XBOX 360) is not a sports game. It's a Dawn of the Dead takeoff in which you get to experience life trapped in a shopping mall full of unending waves of zombies. There are some objectives to complete and a plot line to follow, but the basic point is to decapitate, maim, bludgeon, shoot, stab and generally pulverize as many of the walking dead as possible in a three-day span.

The key is in the way you go about it. Virtually any and every object you can think of is at your disposal in this shopping mall. All you have to do is press "B" to pick up an item in any of the stores. Are chainsaws your thing? Visit the hardware store, where you can also load up on two-by-fours, hedge clippers and propane tanks (those will slow you down a bit). You can go to the music store and find a stash of CDs to throw at the freaks or go to the toy store and load up on fake lightsabers. These are all child's play compared to the lawnmower, though.

As a sports fan, I choose to do my zombie killing in true sportsman fashion. Baseball bats are especially effective; always make sure to have one in reserve. The golf clubs and hockey sticks are great too. You can line up the zombies in your aim reticule and pepper them with drives and slapshots. Skateboards and bicycles are fun too. Just ride through the packs and knock 'em down like bowling pins. There's a gym that is fully stocked with weights that make for wonderful projectiles; these are the only dumbbells I've picked up in months.

If no weapons are available, you'll have to kill them with your bare hands. Various judo and wrestling moves become available as your character levels up.

This is what you call a target-rich environment.
This is what you call a target-rich environment.
This game is like Grand Theft Auto presented by George A. Romero. There are all kinds of silly diversions. For instance, you can pick up Halloween masks of pigs and devils and whatever and put them on the zombies as they roam around mindlessly. Or you can put the masks on yourself. You can go to the men's stores and try on three-piece suits. Or, if you are into this kind of thing, you can try on clothes at the women's stores. You can even pull a hanger off the rack and use it as a weapon.

Amateur photographers will appreciate the Pokeman Snap! aspect of this game -- you get bonus points for taking pictures of the goriest, gnarliest and most depraved things you see. Believe me, there's a lot of that. This game is definitely not for your kids.

I'm only about a third of the way through this title so I'm sure I'm leaving some cool stuff out. So far its the only thing that has been able to knock Madden out of my 360. That being said, Dead Rising is far from perfect. The controls are wonky as hell and I often have to backtrack on objectives because I couldn't get to a save point (you have to find a bathroom to save your progress). The biggest drawback is the lack of an online mode. Co-op zombie killing with your buddies online would be genius.

Still, this is a pretty unique game. If you have ever wanted to experience the visceral thrill of taking a Louisville Slugger to a zombie's dome, it's worth checking out.
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