Game Check



Dead Rising


[Xbox 360] Rated M

Malls are cool places. You know it, we know it, Kevin Smith knows it. You could stay in a mall 24/7 and have everything you need right at your fingertips.

But you're gonna need weapons. Because if movies and the just-released Dead Rising for the Xbox 360 are any indication, the only time you're gonna be locked in a mall 24/7 comes after zombies rise from the dead and trap you there.

You are Frank West, a photojournalist who's gotten a hot tip about weird happenings in a Colorado town (not South Park). As the game opens, you're aboard a helicopter with a top-down view of mayhem below.

By the time you touch down, it's total chaos. The town has been overrun. Only one place to go: the sprawling Willamette Parkview Mall.

Interestingly, this game is more than just a zombie slaughterfest. Remember, you're a journalist, and your camera is just as important as a gun. Taking great pictures of what's going on will help your character level up (and uncover secrets) faster than just bashing zombies.

You're not alone in the mall. Many of the town's survivors have already packed in or are on the way. Part of the challenge comes from deciding which survivors to help and which to ignore. For instance, some characters can lead you to new and better weapons - but only if they're the ones you elected to make a stand with. It's complex but realistic, and you'll get in the flow rather quickly.

OK, so you already have your camera, obviously - but what about those weapons? They're lying about everywhere if you look hard enough. You've gotta use your brain. And remember, zombies aren't using theirs, so almost anything in the mall can be used to take 'em out. Like a soccer ball, for instance. It's one of the first items you'll come across. It can't kill a zombie, but launch a Zidane-style rocket and you'll knock a few of them to the ground and make some room to run.

Miami Vice: The Game


[PlayStation Portable] Rated M

What a surprise: A video game based on a movie based on a 20-year-old TV series has turned out to be pretty good, after all.

Yes, this is the grittier, updated Miami Vice, not the pastel suits and feathered hair version. Yes, it's a shooting game. (Would you expect anything else?) And no, it doesn't seem to be designed as a cheap marketing gimmick to capitalize on the film, as so many others are.

Players choose to go through the game as Sonny Crockett or Ricardo Tubbs, going from room to room in linear levels, taking out the bad guys. You must make frequent use of cover, using your gun's laser sight to aim and fire. Controls are intuitive, and the graphics and gameplay are well-done.

Between missions, there are various minigames. In one, you "hack" into "Flash RAM" cards - found in each level - by maneuvering a tiny triangle around the screen, blowing up menacing squares.

Bottom line: Although short - you can complete the game in a day or two - it's worth checking out.


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