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The Player 

by Marty Demarest & r & & r & Dead Rising Rated Mature; Xbox 360 & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & C & lt;/span & onsider the zombie. His cheek is raw hamburger. He lurches on one leg. The other is a flap of flesh trailing behind him. He shuffles across the shopping mall's atrium.

I need to check my watch. Whew. I've been in this mall an entire four hours.

I'm carrying an electric bass guitar, and after I'm finished checking my watch, I swing my bass through the zombie's head. Metal chords grind. Blood splashes across the floor in every direction except the one in which I swung. The zombie falls.

I grab my camera (from its secret invisible storage spot -- the same place Bugs Bunny keeps his carrots and Optimus Prime his trailer) and take a picture of the fallen zombie trying to get up.

Wait. The batteries in my camera are running low. Fortunately, I'm in a mall. I can grab some more from the photo shop. Up the stairs, past two groping zombies (they move so slowly), and then my transceiver (a glorified walkie-talkie) rings and I've got a scoop! Instructions scroll across the bottom of the screen like an MSNBC broadcast. Now I need to save someone.

But first I need to check my watch. My arm hairs look nice.

Oh, goody -- more zombies. A whole wobbling group. It's time to haul out the bass and swing it. Those same blood splotches that hit the ground before hit the ground again, as zombies fall like ninepins and cheap Muzak descends from the ceiling like...

Better drink some chocolate milk. Good. That feels better.

A picture. I need to take a picture. I keep forgetting that I'm a photojournalist, and that I'm supposed to be taking pictures of zombies, or killing them, or checking my watch.

No. No pictures. I'm going to go into this clothing store (swerve around four zombies swaying like aquarium flora) and change into a dress and stand in front of the mirror and rub my hands over myself and sigh. Then I'll turn around and swing my bass through the zombies that have finally, finally caught up with me. I really swing it through them. It passes right through their bodies. They moan, indistinctly, and the same old blood splashes splash randomly around the room.

This is a nice big watch. I hope I don't need to wind it before I leave, because there's no button to control its big watch knob.

Batteries. I was going to get batteries.

THE GOOD: Despite the fact that it doesn't involve killing any zombies, camera mode can yield some pictures that look disturbing: people being eaten, etc. But most of the time the zombies shuffle around, indistinctly, waving their arms, waiting for the game to end.

THE BAD: Killing zombies is the point of playing a game in which I am trapped in a mall full of zombies. Dead Rising, instead, wants me to rescue people, micromanage my time, worry about useless gadgets that seem to have been designed simply to occupy buttons on the Xbox 360's controller, and try to unravel a mystery. I want to kill zombies.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Dead Rising sinks.

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