Thunderbolt logo

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

Dead Rising

Keiji Inafune said he wanted to try something a bit more interesting than just releasing a demo before Dead Rising 2 hit shelves and that was the seed from which Case Zero‘s flesh-rotted fruit sprouted. This XBLA exclusive download is going to set gamers back 400 Microsoft points for what amounts to a slice of Dead Rising 2‘s pie. It’s an interesting piece of software, not only because of all the zombies that need to be slain in highly creative ways, but also how it offers more than just a demo experience.

Case Zero is a prequel to Dead Rising 2, taking place immediately in the aftermath of the Las Vegas zombie outbreak. With Chuck’s wife turned and his daughter Katey bitten, the duo flee to a small town just outside of Vegas called Still Creek. Bad luck continues to follow them when Chuck’s truck gets stolen, along with Katey’s dose of Zombrex (a drug that suppresses zombification), and leaves the two of them stranded at a gas station with thousands of zombies waiting outside. The only key to salvation are the motorcycle parts scattered around town that Chuck can fashion together and escape with.


Still Creek is a small town with a southwest atmosphere and desert landscape, the antithesis to Fortune City’s glamor and gluttony. It won’t take too long at all to comb through the town’s stores, theater, bowling alley, and sheriff’s department. Make no mistake, Case Zero is Dead Rising 2 on a much smaller scale. Even so, a decent amount of variety has been packed in. There are still survivors that need rescuing, a psycho (aka boss) to take down, and a few pieces of clothing Chuck can try on.

Most importantly there are combo cards to be acquired. These combo cards let Chuck get an extra boost in experience when he puts together a makeshift weapon from two of the needed items littered around Still Creek. These combo weapons are more powerful than the regulars and a lot of fun to watch too. There are only a few, and a lot of the items seem to usually be in close proximity, so it won’t take the player to fashion them together.


Time has a nasty habit of getting away from the player as the game is much smaller, so is the window of opportunity to complete the necessary objectives. Katey’s Zombrex lasts only a mere twelve in-game hours, and it takes time to figure out where all the survivors and motorcycle parts are located. It feels like a tight leash, especially because it’s so tempting to focus all effort on racking up as many kills as possible. The military can easily end up arriving well before the player has gotten around to accomplishing anything.

Still, there’s always the option to start the game over with whatever level progression was previously made. Leveling up with PP (prestige points) through killing zombies and rescuing survivors (the biggest givers of PP) is important. The more Chuck levels up, the harder he hits, the more damage he can take, and the more slots he has in his inventory. Chuck caps out pretty quickly—at level five—but players can import their progress from Case Zero into the full version of Dead Rising 2 for a little extra boost at the beginning, not to mention some of the costumes carry over as well.


Case Zero doesn’t add much to the Dead Rising 2 experience, but it’s cheap and offers lots of fun and replayability. Be warned that there’s a strict time-limit and if rushed through, Case Zero can feel a tad short. It’s more than a demo and it’s a great way to get a taste of what awaits in Dead Rising 2 without investing in the full version.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in March 2010.

Gentle persuasion

You should check out our podcast.