- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

George Romero recently told me zombies exist “to be damaged,” and this has never been truer than with Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, (Capcom, reviewed for Xbox 360, rated M for mature, 400 Microsoft Points from Xbox Live Arcade).

Acting as a prequel in advance of the megalaunch of Dead Rising 2 on Sept. 28, this very brief but exciting third-person action game takes place 46 miles outside of Las Vegas in a jerkwater town called Still Creek that is loaded with lumbering masses of living corpses.

The player controls former motocross champion Chuck Greene, who must keep his infected daughter, Katey, from turning into a zombie and figure out a way to get out of Dodge before the military finds her.

Chuck is going to need to find the parts to rebuild a motorcycle to succeed as he scavenges through the town and saves a bunch of folks along the way.


While exploring, those zombies present a major obstacle to his goal and Chuck uses just about every object and combination of objects he can pick up to violently massacre the once-human creatures. Those items are not limited to gumball machines, stick horses (impale to your heart’s content), two by fours, bowling balls, mail boxes, pitchforks, chain saws, sledge hammers, large wrenches and a special insect called a queen that causes small mobs of zombies to disintegrate.

While on the main mission, with the ticking clock to adding to the nail-biting, our hero might rescue a pawn broker (who returns to his shop to sell items to Chuck), play a slot machine to help win cash, find the infection inhibitor Zombrex and give Katey a shot (only when prescribed), use a warehouse cart to bowl over zombies and drink alcohol to the point of throwing up (restoring health).

For creative killers, a new combo system gives Chuck a stronger arsenal.

Find some nails and a bat and combine them using a workbench to create a spiked weapon, or configure some power drills on a bucket and use liberally for the bloody destruction of any undead’s head.

Don’t get caught hanging out at night because those zombies get a bit quicker and more aggressive  with glowing red eyes, no less.

One moment guaranteed to induce a nightmare is a creepy boss battle against a blowtorch-wielding redneck named Jed who’s out to kill Chuck’s daughter. It’s Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning hanging out in Tim Robbins’ basement in “War of the Worlds” all over again, only much more violent.

A nice touch will allow combo weapons, costumes and a possible level-five upgrade to be carried over to the new game.

Fans of Dead Rising will find Case Zero just a fleshy morsel to quickly devour, but the taste will find them moaning with anticipation for the soon-to-be-released sequel.