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Dead Rising lulls you into a false sense of security with its over-the-top premise. You are a reporter (he's "covered wars, you know") who gets stuck in a shopping mall full of zombies in search of the ultimate scoop. Sounds safe, right?
- Once you start investigating the actual plotline, everything goes to hell. The army attacks, led by a General Ripper hellbent on covering up the incident by burning everything in the mall (breathing or not), your quirky teammates are zombified before your eyes (except for the tech, who is quite possibly the only other survivor in the end), it turns out that the zombie plague is transmitted by wasps (a fact that has left this troper with a crippling fear of the insects), and all the people you worked so hard to save are summarily disposed of to keep the mall's dirty secret under wraps. Even after a climactic escape involving a jeep and a knock-down, drag-out brawl-to-the-death against the deranged general, the protagonist remains infected by the incurable zombie plague, a walking time bomb that may go off at any moment. And, of course, our villain (who is quite dead by this point) has already set things in motion so that zombie uprisings will occur all over the country. Oh, and did I mention the Monster Clown?
- What, the Monster Clown with two chainsaws, who also happens to laugh while said chainsaws cut open his stomach and lets "all the little children go on his fun, killer ride?" Not to mention the Shell Shocked Senior you have to kill, who believes you and the zombies are Vietcongs? To say nothing of Psycho Lesbian Cop Jo Slade, who, when you meet her, has been doing God knows what with a night stick to four innocent women she took hostage...
- What made the Shell Shocked Senior's defeat a Tear Jerker was how, just before he died, he realizes that you aren't a Vietcong, and tells you how he watched his granddaughter get mauled by zombies, then shows you her picture. Even though you were only defending yourself, and he's "only" a boss, that scene will stay with you. Which makes it all the more satisfying to then pick up his still-bloody machete and bring Hell to the slavering, mindless hordes that took his girl from him.
- Jo had held several more woman held hostage...Janet mentions that she had already killed a couple of them...
- Steven Chapman is scarier and more unsettling than Adam: While Adam is creepy because of his costume and weapons and has a "good" reason for being insane now, Steven... doesn't. He's slaughtering and killing everyone on a simple paranoia, and the fact that he screams at the top of his lungs with nasty close ups of his face with those crazy eyes and all.
- And in the grand tradition of ground zero zombie outbreaks, only you and one other person survive the opening scene in the mall... and by the end of the game, that number may be too high.
- Late enough into the game to have rounded up too many survivors to keep track of, there's a detail about one of them that's nagging and inexplicably disturbing. When you meet the guy, Frank notices that he has a neck injury and he very anxiously insists that it's "just a scratch." Three guesses what it most likely is, and even though it's obvious, after you get him to the security room, it's unsettling when you notice him vigorously scratching his neck through the window of the room he's in only for him to stop as soon as you walk in. Sometimes the women in the same room start yelling at him, open for interpretation, also. And if you're waiting for a call from Otis telling you it may not have been a great idea to leave your survivors alone with this guy, nothing actually happens with him. On the other hand, in the endings in which Frank and his survivors escape...
- To add to that, you should notice a small detail about the zombies scattered throughout the mall. Some are scratching their necks in the same way that survivor is. The exact same way.
- There's an incredibly chilling piece on the first day. Frank comes across a traumtised survivor called Leah hiding in a Jewelry Store. When you talk to her, she grabs Frank and asks if he's seen her baby, but then she lets go and breaks down, confessing that her baby was killed by zombies, and that she sprained her ankle running away. That isn't the scary part. It's when she begins to explain in detail about the zombies eating her baby.
Leah: "They ate her. Those damn zombies ate my baby! Right in front of me...oh God, I've never heard her cry like that! Please... Just leave me alone..."
- Don't forget the hidden cutscene if you leave the main menu idle long enough. In it a mother and her daughter are driving down the road desperately trying to get away from the zombies, only to end up stranded alone and helpless as a mob of zombies surround them while they scream. Imagine seeing that at around midnight after returning from a quick bathroom break or midnight snack.
- Sean and the True Eye cult are quite freaky. The way the cultists move just isn't natural (a very slow, shambling crawl which is changed when they suddenlly rush forward))and they also have distorted voices that are very eerie sounding. Really, Sean is quite unsettling as well, with his penchant for public executions and his demonic tone of voice. And then, there's his death. Really, if you haven't seen the cult yet, the curious player who explores the movie theater may be unnerved when they wander into Theater 4 and see the bloody eye symbols, the torches, and mannequin idol and wonder exactly what the hell went on in there. You just can't help but wonder: Exactly how long have they been doing this?