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Dead Rising is a pretty awesome game, but it can be a bit tricky at times. Its main character is freelance photographer Frank West and he finds himself stuck in a shopping centre full of zombies and he's only got 72 hours to escape. How he manages that feat is entirely up to you, also depending on you are dozens of other survivors.

There are three basic game modes. 72 hour mode is where you start off with 3 days to explore the mall or undertake the missions in the game. Overtime mode is a sort of a 1 day epilogue to that. You don’t have 72 real hours to play the game - it actually works out something like 4 hours of play time, but there’s still plenty to do. And finally, there’s infinity mode where you have to survive by gathering food - which doesn’t actually respawn as it does in 72 hour modes, and fighting off other survivors.

You’re not the only person alive in the mall - there are several others, who the janitor will tell you about. Rescuing them is usually fairly easy, actually getting them back to the security room where they can hide is trickier. Some can be armed, so give them a spare weapon if you have one. And the ones who can’t be armed can be lead by the hand or carried. Don’t lead a load of survivors around at once - they’re much harder to manage. Have two with you and you should hopefully be able to keep them safe. But why rescue them at all? Because you get major PP points. PP points come from rescuing survivors, killing zombies and taking good photographs and will give you additional skills such as being able to walk like a zombie, smash zombies heads into the ground and so forth.

There are a whole range of skills to be earned, plus your life bar which will slowly increase as you level up. I’ll leave you to discover the various skills, but there are two that are worth mentioning. One, zombie ride, lets you stand on zombies heads and leap off them, very useful if you’re in a crowd and is given to you early in the game. The second, zombie throw, allows you to pick up a zombie and hurl it at other zombies, killing the zombie you threw and stunning the others. This is an essential skill to use if you’re low on weapons.

Another way to rack up points is to take photographs. The general guideline is to take a photograph of anything and everything you see. If you want to keep a photograph, go to the photo viewer from the main menu and hit ‘y’ on the photograph. Otherwise all photographs eventually get overwritten. If someone gets reunited with their partner, take a photo. If they get killed, take a photo of their death. If you stick hats on zombies, take photographs of that. Oh, and take a photograph of every psychopath you meet.

There are two main types of missions in the game. Both involve rescuing a survivor or defeating a psychopath. Scoops are given to you over the radio by Otis and don’t have to be completed but are helpful in levelling up your skills. The other types are cases, which have to be completed in order to progress the plot - miss one of these or fail one and you can continue the game, but you won’t get the proper ending.

The mall is fairly spread out, consisting of several plazas, with a Leisure Park in the middle. All of the areas are filled with zombies - the Food Court probably the least so - and the Leisure Park is home to three convicts with a jeep so there’s plenty of danger. But here are a few things worth noting about these locations. The North Plaza contains not only the supermarket and hardware store, but also the gun store. So you’ll be visiting it often. The catch is, the corridors are so narrow that you’re easy pickings for zombies. Your best bet is to try and nip inside some of the empty stores for a breather, then head out again. The Entrance Plaza is where you’ll encounter the Sniper Family if you go for that scoop. Trouble is, there’s virtually no food to be had here, so be sure to stock up from other stores if you’re low on damage. The Maintenance Tunnels run under the whole of the mall and can be used to access any part of the mall, as long as you get the key which is hidden in the small ‘dead end’ room in the middle of the tunnel map, along with an uzi. Before you get the key they can only be entered from the car park area in the leisure park. They’re chock full with zombies, however, so you will need to use the car or one of the trucks you find inside there if you want to get through. Driving around in the car is a good way to rack up PP points.

There are a whole range of weapons and items, virtually anything can be picked up and used to fight zombies. The catch is that all weapons will eventually degrade and disappear. I recommend getting yourself over to Cletus’s Gun Shop in North Plaza and picking up a few weapons.

The game has a lot of good themes and new ideas putting it above the average, but not he best in its genre.