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Dead Rising 2

X10 Preview: Back from the grave

"Groovy."

It's perhaps the most scene-stealing utterance of a single word in Hollywood history.

Bruce Campbell's reaction to building his infamous 'chainsaw arm' in Sam Raimi's ostentatiously bloody Evil Dead 2 has long been nodded to across the entertainment spectrum.

But no-one's ever built a whole game in its honour - until now. And Capcom's Dead Rising 2 is about as glorious a homage as you could wish for.

CVG's hands-on with the game at X10 last week began with our introduction to hero Chuck Greene - the guy Keiji Inafune promises will be a more 'interesting' character than DR1 star Frank West. He's certainly more eye-catching.

Zoom

Resplendent in a garish yellow motorbike jacket, we're introduced to Chuck in a blue-tinted corridor; a linear, tightly confined space where a handful of the undead ungraciously amble towards you.

The scene exists solely to familiarise us with what's to come - because only when Chuck bursts through this dingy area's doors does the scale of Dead Rising 2 really kick in.

As the metal barriers swing open, a horde of walking corpses turn to face us; thousands of circulation-devoid visages illuminated by the novelty lights that brighten one of Fortune City's (read Las Vegas') more insalubrious strips.

IT TAKES TWO
But before we can go steaming into dismemberdom, Capcom teases us; pausing Chuck in his tracks with a still screen of 'combo cards' - and, coincidently, introducing a core mechanic of Dead Rising 2.

In a revolutionary move, the firm has injected duct tape into proceedings - allowing you to stick together certain items to make inventively vicious weapons.

From electrified garden tools (motor + rake) to spiked wood (nails + baseball bat) and chainsaw-supplemented paddles (erm, chainsaw + paddle), the options on offer will leave any bloodthirsty gamer's mouth watering.

The only problem is, you've got to find the component parts - and, in the scene CVG is getting to grips with, they're on the other side of the haemoglobin-thirsty throng.

The combo 'menu' spins off, leaving Chuck facing the nightmarish funfair of Fortune, and the sheer scale of Dead Rising 2 hits us: Where the first game offered pockets of zombies, its sequel surrounds you with a veritable sea of bloodsuckers.

In the panic - and defended only by a wimpy pistol - we take refuge in a maintenance area on the far side of the promenade. After firmly locking the door behind us, in-game text instructs us to pick up a paddle and place it on the table in front of us. Then, we're told to do the same with the chainsaw. You already know where this is going.

No sooner has the 'saw's blade touch wood, the Evil Dead-aping begins. Okay, so Chuck doesn't actually copy Bruce Campbell's immortal line - but the frantic, off-camera building and subsequent satisfied expression are unmistakeable. Time to go harvesting.

As the empowered Chuck heads back out into the paved killing fields, we hammer 'B' to shatter the crowds with steel. Geysers of blood pour forth as greyed skin comically exploding into claret left, right and centre. Oh, and behind and above - and underneath. When Capcom says Dead Rising 2 surrounds you with zombies, it isn't kidding.

ELECTRIC ATMOSPHERE
If the controls are one-dimensional, the murder is anything but. After becoming bored with the paddle-saw, we find another table, and the electrified rake is born. In an inhumane nod to Sega's Columns, clusters of zombies zap each other, suffering most when they bunch together.

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