Frank West, a freelance photojournalist (He's covered wars, you know!), follows a tip of unknown origin into the small town of Willamette, CO. A military lockdown of the town is hiding a Zombie Apocalypse from the media, and Frank is hellbent on getting the story. Via helicopter, he bypasses the barricades and enters the Willamette Mall in hopes of finding the secret behind the happenings...So begins Dead Rising, Capcom's hit free-roamer for the 360. Armed with just about anything you can find (and in a shopping mall, that's plenty), your goal is to survive for three days while getting the story. Arguably the game's defining feature is the sheer number of zombies that can be on screen at once, greatly adding to the effect of a mall literally overrun with the living dead. While the game is short (Six hours, real time, not counting cutscenes or pauses), it's a haven for fans of 100% Completion challenges (unless you want to get 100% in one playthrough), as different achievements require wildly out-of-the-way trips and are of varying difficulty.It's somewhat difficult and has a rather strange way of rewarding the player up leveling.While the game is a major success in the Western world, it sold poorly in Japan, largely due to its rating meaning no mass retail availability (Chop Till You Drop sold half as well, which was actually better than some thought) as well as the 360s lesser overall sales in Japan. Despite that, Capcom created a sequel set in Las Vegas Fortune City, starring new character Chuck Greene, and releasing across the 360, PS3, and PC.See also Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, a Pragmatic Adaptation for the Wii. And speaking of Dead Rising and the Wii, Frank made his fighting game debut in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars. And speaking of fighting games, Frank makes an appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3's Updated Re-release, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. And speaking of crossover games, he makes another appearance in Project X Zone, a cross between Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega. Clearly, Frank West gets around.Shout Outs can be found here.See Dead Rising 2 for the chainsawed-and-duct-taped sequel, and Dead Rising 3 for the third game.
Adult Fear: In the Dead Rising series, survivors will not hesitate to mention when loved ones have been brutally, savagely killed. In the first game alone, one of the very first encounters is a distraught mother who is distraught to the point of near-suicide, because she had to listen as her young daughter was eaten alive. One of the Psychopaths is a war veteran who is suffering a war flashback from the trauma of seeing his entire family getting eaten by zombies.
Affably Evil: In Larry the butcher's introductory scene, he's always smiling and/or giggling creepily and treats Frank as a "customer" (though having captured Carlito, he intends to serve said customer Mexican), one of the only Psychopaths who isn't fixed on ripping Frank to shreds and/or filling him with lead. In fact, when his actual boss fight starts, he'll ignore Frank, humming and sharpening his knives unless you attack first.
In Cliff's death scene, he comes back to his senses and explains himself. It's... depressing. Still, remember why the Psychopaths are the way they are in the first place and he's not the only one who can take on a Woobie factor.
Thomas Hall too. He doesn't actually get a cutscene as he's part of a family of three, but if you take out his brother and his father the rest of the fight is a Curb-Stomp Battle he has no chance of winning- and he was the Only Sane Man trying to stop his family from shooting you. Many internet comments wish there was a way to save him- though he'd be saved by the man who killed his family.
Not to the level of Cliff or Thomas, quite a few people felt bad for Cletus, too. While coming across as sort of hypocritical, he was just desperate to survive, and was quite pathetic during his death scene. It's worth noting that in the Wii version he is actually savable.
America Saves the Day: Inverted. Later in the game, the military shows up on a mission to capture or kill any survivors in an attempt to cover up what happened there so it wouldn't get linked back to what started all this: the Santa Cabeza incident
Artifact Mook: The game famously gives you the Zombie Genocider achievement for killing a number of zombies equal to the entire population of Wilamette. Even accounting for out-of-town visitors and the infection spreading, it seems rather unlikely that that many zombies would wind up in the mall. And they still keep coming.
Artificial Stupidity: The survivors you have to escort are dumber than a sack of doorknobs, to the point where injured survivors are the easiest, because you just have to carry them to the safe room.
Attack Drone: Looking like an RC helicopter with a machine gun slung underneath, they help the Special Forces patrol the mall in overtime mode.
Ax-Crazy: The Psychopaths (the local bosses - surviving humans most of which went completely insane when the zombies were let into the mall), practically as a rule.
Badass Bystander: In contrast to most of the survivors, who have to be rescued and armed by the player, Kindall the restaurant manager shows up armed with a shotgun and helps escort you during a story-based mission where you're unable to fight due to having to carry an injured plot-critical character. It's a shame the game's limited A.I. somewhat reduces his effectiveness, and that he also attempts a mutiny later on if he survives (although his mutiny is much easier to calm down than Ronald's).
Badass Grandpa: Cliff doesn't seem that old, but it turns out he's a literal example.
BFG: The M2 machine gun is mounted on a jeep, but Frank can just carry it around after he defeats the prisoners.
Big Bad: Carlito, strictly speaking, though he ends up seeming like more of an Big Bad Wannabe. From another point of view, Brock is.
Bilingual Bonus: Carlito and Isabela occasionally speak in Spanish. Also, Larry the butcher has the kanji for 'Meat' (as seen in Kinnikuman) tattooed on the back of his neck.
The Excavator is a laugh riot. Using it impales a zombie on the tool's spinning auger, upon which you lift the spinning, flailing undead into the air and pummel other zombies with it. Limbs and bits of flesh fly off in every direction with each hit you land. Fun for the whole family!
Spearing Zombies with the Lead Pipe or the Shower Nozzle also qualify for this trope: the pipe slowly siphons the blood out of their chest cavity until they collapse, and the shower nozzle is plunged into the top of their skulls, providing them with their own private red shower until they too cave in on themselves from blood-loss.
Running down zombies with an industrial strength lawnmower, literally cutting a bloody swathe through the horde. Trying to frantically kill zombies in a toy store, plastic swords and tennis balls bounce harmlessly off the dead, biking/skateboarding directly into a mass until you inevitably get tossed, and at one point you get a ping pong ball shooting Mega Man gun.
Blown Across the Room: Cletus' shotgun has one hell of a kick, which is why his boss fight is so damned frustrating. To wit, the animation where Frank gets knocked backwards and staggers to his feet is only minimally shorter than the time it takes Cletus to rack his shotgun.
Boom, Headshot: A gun will kill any zombie instantly if you shoot them in the head (unless they're wearing a hard hat, in which case it won't work.) One survivor (Ross) will take his own life if you fulfill his request and give him a gun, another asks you to bring her a gun just in case she starts to turn, and some of them will put a bullet through their brain if you equip them with a gun and they run out of health from the zombies.
Bottomless Bladder: Amusingly subverted; while Frank isn't required to use the restroom, doing so is the primary method of saving the game. This makes even more sense when you realize that liquids restore much more health than solid foods, so Frank is usually carrying (and drinking) lots of OJ.
Bowdlerise: The Japanese version of the game is completely bloodless, due to rating restrictions that would get the game banned.
Bragging Rights Reward: Several achievements, like Zombie Genocider, Saint, and Clothes Horse. 7 Day Survivor is probably the most well known, given it demands perfection, a solid plan, and a LOT of spare time at once, as you can't save and come back. It requires you to play "Infinity Mode", where there are even more zombies than in the story mode, as well as regular run-ins with psychopaths and hostile survivors. In this mode, Frank needs to use a food item at least once every 120 seconds or start losing health.
Cabin Fever: If you've gathered enough survivors, by the third day some of them will have started arguing or occasionally knocking each other around. If you've gathered most of the survivors, by that time several of them will start actively pummeling the others (though thankfully they can't kill each other).
Camera Sniper: Used in cut-scenes as well as incorporated into gameplay.
Car Fu: The most-effective (and possibly only) way to get the "Genocider" achievement in the required 72 hours is to drive laps through the crowded underground parking garage running down zombies and changing cars as necessary.
Chainsaw Good: Both subverted and played straight. Subverted with the chainsaw you find (Slow, prone to needing startup time, and only usable by spinning or inaccurate flailing), played straight with the mini-chainsaw you can obtain from an early boss (One-handed, can be shoved into inventory, terribly damaging, and very fast).
Character Level: This game implements a level-up system: you kill zombies and take pictures to gain experience, and each level gained results in either a stat boost (Speed, Power, Inventory, etc.) or a new move (Double Lariat, Disembowel).
Cutscene Incompetence: Happens to Frank every so often. A good example is the cutscene before the alternate Kent fight, in which the by now really powerful Frank that can take dozens of bullets before going down in gameplay is chained up, stripped to his underwear, and has his entire inventory taken away by Kent, and all because Kent threatened him with a handgun.
Deadly Lunge: Most zombies are rather slow, but they speed up once they get close. There's also the occasional zombie who can quickly close distance.
The alternate version of Kent's boss fight has left some either guessing or assuming.
Jo Slade is also strongly implied to be one of these, and in unpleasant ways.
Difficult but Awesome: The regular chainsaw is like this, especially in Infinity Mode before you get the Small Chainsaw. The standard swing is awkward as hell and leaves you vulnerable to attack after each swing, and you drop the weapon if you take a single hit from anything (forcing you to pick it up and rev it up again). However, the running attack absolutely scythes through zombies and bosses as long as you make absolutely sure never to stop moving, and if you constantly swing while running, it becomes nearly as lethal as the small chainsaw.
The Small Chainsaw can be collected from the clown boss, and will carve up all of the subsequent bosses with ease. If you get books to extend its life, the first one you grab will last you until the end of the game. Not only that, but if you grab it before you stop the roller coaster, you can get a second when the cutscene ends. Also, if you leave that section of the mall and come back, it will respawn at the control station.
The Mannequin Torso weapon is one of the best in game, easily dishing out more damage than most other everyday items. When Frank's strength is upgraded once it becomes lethal to bosses as well as zombies.
The machine gun on the back of the Convicts' truck. Kill the gunner, snatch the gun, then waste the other two. Hold onto it afterwards and kill more bosses with it.
Downer Beginning: A mother and a daughter are shown to be devoured by the undead inside a broken car at night in the prelude.
Downer Ending: Endings B through F are all downers. Ending A, however, is hardly any better as the helicopter you have planned to get on crashes because of a zombie aboard. Although this one is narrowly averted later by the Overtime Mode, we arrive at the true ending - Ending S, which can be considered a major downer: you succeeded in escaping from the hellhole of Williamette Mall with every single bit of evidences you need to expose the government crimes that instigated the disaster to the whole world. However, the U.S. government only acknowledges partial responsibility over the livestock research program that destroyed Isabella and Carlito's home, and refuses to admit its guilt over causing the zombie disaster. People soon disregard every critical danger you fought so hard to make them aware of - including Carlito's chilling plan of using orphans to provoke the apocalypse in the entire United States, setting the stage for Dead Rising 2 5 years later.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Carlito meets his end not at the hands of Frank or the military, but a random Psychopath who put him on a meat hook.
Drought Level of Doom: Infinity Mode serves as a version of this. There's plenty of food at the beginning but it doesn't respawn, so you must balance your inventory carefully, and fight dangerous psychopaths and survivors to get more. Then, on day 7, all psychopaths and survivors disappear and you are left with the quickly dwindling food supplies.
Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: The zombies are easy to cut through, but the psychopaths will give you all sorts of trouble, even at max level.
Empathy Doll Shot: When Frank meets Adam. He glances into a passing Space Coaster car and sees two bloody dolls propped up in the seat.
Escort Mission: A great deal of the game, some are entirely optional while others are needed for story purposes. The death of the character you were escorting results in no punishment, but a successful rescue gives a hefty reward.
Failure Is the Only Option: Every one of the survivors in the intro will die, even when you beef up in a New Game + , they don't have the AI to follow you to the stairs. Even when you have the ability to pick them up, you won't be holding the survivor once the cutscene ends.
Foreshadowing: The loading screen that appears after the cutscene where Frank meets Kent for the first time is the same bloody one used for psychopaths, before Kent snaps and becomes one of the game's psychopaths.
Friendly Fireproof: Completely absent. Other survivors are quite capable of shooting or smacking you to the ground, and vice versa.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Done intentionally with most of the bosses, many of which are not connected to the Big Bad or the plot in any way - but just regular people who suffered a Freak Out as a result of the outbreak and have become a danger to other people. Larry is a particularly good example, as unlike many of the other bosses he has very little background to be inferred and very little of his personality is revealed - but he still shows up out of nowhere and causes major problems to the main plot. In any case, many of them are even in missions that seem like any other, where you might not even know a boss is coming until the cutscene starts.
The Government: Who enforces lockdown. There are Black Ops soldiers (who look like HUNK and have M-16s) on the loose. Oh, and they were involved with the Mad Scientist who found out what causes the zombies - a species of hornet.
Glass Cannon: When Kent goes Psychopath he's easily defeated with a few good hits from a rock... but let him catch up to you and he'll kick the living hell out of you before you can land even one of those hits.
Glowing Eyes of Doom: At night, the Zombies' eyes start to glow and they become significantly more difficult to defeat.
Female zombies will often attack Frank's crotch. This is just as awful as it sounds.
Paul accidentally sets his crotch on fire when you defeat him, giving you the opportunity to save him with a nearby fire extinguisher. One mistake many players make is to use the aim button to spray the extinguisher, which causes Frank to throw it with all his strength...into the guy's groin.
Even Isabela also does this to Frank after being defeated in her boss fight and before going to his side.
Guide Dang It: Some survivors have no in-game indication of their location or even their existence.
Guns Are Worthless: While handy for their range, firearms are largely inferior to melee weapons. Far more effective against the living dead than they are against crazy humans.
One of the boss fights gives you the option to save the boss you just defeated or let him roast. If you do choose to save him, he regains his sanity and joins you, even giving you Molotov cocktails as a bonus weapon later on.
In Chop Till You Drop, Cletus can be persuaded into becoming an ally.
Infant Immortality is technically averted by referencing and heavily, heavily implying the disturbing deaths of children (the opening cutscene, Cliff, Leah, Adam...). As for onscreen, Paul is 19? Not too hard to see. Jack is 23? A little more of a stretch. "B-But Daddy" Thomas is 20? Hm.
Hot-Blooded: Burt, one of the survivors, swears in every other sentence and attacks everything that moves. Even if he has to go out of his way to do it, making him a somewhat annoying escort.
Hot Scientist: Isabela is a competent pharmacist. She creates the first drug that delays zombification as well as a zombie repellant that allows her and Frank to safely navigate the underground tunnel near the end of Overtime Mode.
Idiot Ball: In the beginning of the game, Frank may bump into a old woman called Lindsay Harris, frantically searching for her dog Madonna. A few minutes later, she spots Madonna trapped outside with the zombies. What does she do? Overpower the dozens of men attempting to stop her and break the barricade, setting the zombies inside and single-handedly started the game. The kicker? The zombies didn't even show a single bit of interest in Madonna herself.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Averted. Frank, being a reporter, isn't familiar with firearms. The gun mechanics reflect this by having Frank feel very clunky while turning, and hitting faraway targets is naturally more difficult. He's competent enough with them without being useless.
Improbable Weapon User: One of your best ways of clearing a path for yourself involves a parasol or mall umbrella.
Improvised Weapon: Just about anything you can find. ANYTHING. A small sample of the more unlikely weapons- Paintings, LCD Televisions, Park Benches, Bowling Balls, Baking Flour, Ketchup, Fistfuls of Diamonds, Traffic Cones, 12-packs of Canned Soda, and Ice Augers.
Infant Immortality: Averted. The extra cutscene accessed by waiting on the opening screen ends with a mother and her young daughter trapped a car surrounded by zombies, and once inside the mall, Cliff went insane after watching zombies devour his granddaughter, it's implied Adam saw this happen to his entire audience, and one of the survivors will tell Frank that her baby was eaten.
A laser sword! With extend-o-hilt! The Real Mega Buster would also count, except that it's theoretically possible to get before completing any story missions, as long you don't mind spending an entire playthrough driving backwards and forwards through a tunnel first.
The small chainsaws. This overlaps with Disc One Nuke, but let's face it; The small chainsaw is much, much easier to get a hold of, you can carry more than one at a time, and if you triple-book it, it'll last a hell of a lot longer than the laser sword. King of weapons, hands down.
Insecurity Camera: Averted. The cameras all do their job well, both for advancing the overall plot and allowing Otis to spot any survivors (or psychopaths) hiding in the malls many stores.
Item Amplifier: Weapon durability can be extended from obtaining a certain book or magazine.
Jerkass: Frank seems to qualify at a few points. In the cutscene where you first meet the raincoat cult, he seemed perfectly content to sit in the back and take pictures of a survivor being sacrificed up until their leader points him out and they attack.
Joke Item: Several of the weirder items Frank can pick up, although the toy laser sword is at least useful as a flashlight at night.
Paul also, whenever he ups his own confidence by getting firepower at the ready. It counts as a Photo Op if you snap a picture of him hyena-laughing in the middle of a fight.
Frank himself tends to let out a rueful little laugh whenever he's right up against his breaking point.
Let's Split Up, Gang: One survivor will randomly decide that you are a terrible leader and demand to speak to you. If you don't return within a short time, he takes every survivor in the room with him and leaves, and the game registers them all as dead.
Injured or infirm survivors are unable to use weapons or run normally, and have to either be carried by Frank or left to limp around at ridiculously slow speed. While this is actually a benefit for solo escorts (Frank is much harder to hit by zombies when carrying a survivor), it can turn a group escort from manageable to TV-smashing frustrating as babysitting the injured survivor leaves you unable to defend the rest of the group.
Most female survivors are pretty much useless, being unable to use weapons, running slightly slower than normal survivors, and often prone to panic, making them even more of a chore to escort than normal. Some argue as to the extent to which this is Truth in Television, Unfortunate Implications or (given that the game is actually Japanese) Values Dissonance. For what it's worth, though, heavy-set or middle-aged women can use weapons and are generally capable combatants.
Aaron, who you meet relatively early on, gets a special mention as he seems to have a unique "spastic coward" A.I. setting. He has a bizarre running animation that can only be described as mentally challenged, and even though he can be equipped with weapons, he rarely uses them and instead cowers, cries, or runs in circles when zombies approach him. He also tends to get separated from the group or stuck in one spot more often than normal. On top of all that, his AI actually prioritizes "run over to Burt, the not-entirely-incompetent NPC" above "follow Frank, the highly-competent Player Character".
Some NPCs become more self-sufficient and aggressive depending on which weapon you give them.
Magikarp Power: Jewelry, plates, CDs, and cases of soda are fairly useless when you first start out. It's when you gain some levels and up Frank's attack stat that you all of a sudden have a plentiful supply of deadly ranged weapons. This rises to Boom, Headshot levels once you've maxed out your attack stat.
A: Complete all cases, talk to Isabela at 10 PM on the last day, and be at the helipad when time runs out. Ed shows up to rescue Frank, but there's a zombie in the copter, which causes him to crash, stranding Frank in the mall and unlocking Overtime mode.
True ending: Complete Overtime mode. Frank escapes from the mall with Isabela, and breaks the story to the public. They care, but only a little.
The 2011/2012 IDW tie-in comic, Dead Rising: Road to Fortune, extends the true ending slightly and expounds on how Frank escaped Williamette.
B: Fail to complete all cases, but be at the helipad when time runs out. Frank escapes the mall with any survivors he rescued, but his story is missing the most important parts. Eventually, other cities fall victim to similar zombie outbreaks.
C: Solve all cases, but don't meet the other requirements for ending A. Ed lands the copter, but gets eaten by a zombie. Willamette is lost to the zombies, and nobody ever finds out what happened.
D: Be in Special Forces custody when time runs out. Given the conditions, you can imagine where this ending goes.
E: Don't be at the helipad when time runs out. Brad and Jessie evacuate the survivors Frank rescued, but they have to leave without Frank. He may or may not have survived.
F: Fail case 7-2. Carlito's bombs go off, destroying the mall and spreading the zombie parasites through pretty much the whole country.
My God, What Have I Done?: Steven Chapman seems to have a moment of this just before he dies, when he realizes that his STOOOOORE doesn't have much purpose when he's killed all of his customers.
Never Split the Party: If Frank puts too much distance between himself and any of the survivors he's escorting when he moves into a different area of the mall, their life bar will slowly drain until they die.
New Game+: The game is practically dependent on it. If you game over at any point in the game, you are given the option of starting over at the level you currently are. You might as well just use this tactic to level up past 20 before you tackle the storyline.
Older Than They Look: Just about everyone short of being middle-aged, check the profiles. The Hall brothers are 23 and 20 but look as though they were actually designed to be about 14 and 17, but were bumped up to a different age because in video games, it's against regulations to show children die violent deaths onscreen or something along those lines.
One-Man Army: Actually averted. Despite all you can do, there are very few situations where you can just take on the zombies in your way (the cars being one of them).
One Size Fits All: Averted. While Frank can try on clothes from any shop (including children's shops) the clothes sometimes don't fit him properly, which only adds to the surrealism.
One Steve Limit: Conveniently, no survivors share names for easy identification.
Only a Flesh Wound: Brad and Isabela are both seriously wounded by gunfire, and recover almost completely over the course of about 5 or 6 hours. Carlito gains about 10 pounds over the weekend which is JUST bullets, but skips around the mall for nearly 3 days before succumbing to possibly-unrelated wounds after being abducted by Larry. And then there's the time when Carlito was strung up on a meathook through his ankles.
Only Sane Man: They do exist among the Psychopaths. Isabela could count, and Thomas Hall isn't exactly comfortable with it when his dad orders him to shoot the clearly non-zombie Frank in the face unprovoked. Paul is also willing to be saved and can become a survivor if you choose to do so.
Our Zombies Are Different: Zombies in this franchise are more or less pretty close to standard zombies, with two exceptions: Their eyes glow red at night, and the cause of zombieism isn't a virus; it's wasp larvae. This isn't too far from Truth in Television as far as some of the hideous things certain wasps do to their victims.
Power-Up Food: Food and drink replenish your health.... but if you take certain foods, put them in the completely working blenders/microwave, their health benefits double and garner status effects!
Psycho Lesbian: Jo Slade comes across this way, with an added dose of terror.
Quicksand Box: Many people complained about the structure of the game making it hard to tell what to do next. The game also has a tendency to punish you for sandboxing. If you attempt to ignore the plot on your first playthrough, you're left with a very weak Frank and most of the shortcuts shut off from you.
Redemption Demotion: Paul is significantly less capable as a survivor than he was as a psychopath, given that he loses all of his special attacks and enhanced speed and A.I., trading it for the regular dumb-as-rocks survivor A.I.
Respawning Enemies: The zombies, cultists, and spec ops forces. Also, the gang of convicts in the jeep respawn once per day. Contrary to popular belief, destroying their car does nothing to stop this. Most annoyingly, zombies will respawn on the same map, as soon as you get more than about 100-200 feet away from their starting location (you can even see them appear out of nowhere in larger areas). This can often result in a horde of zombies spawning right on top of your escorted survivors should you run too far ahead of them.
Sarcasm Mode: Frank laughs bitterly upon Isabella's revealing of Carlito's plan to bomb the entire mall - "Oh, great!"
Say My Name: The Halls do this for each other as you take them down.
Scenery Porn: A very overlooked aspect of the game is the detail in the mall. Gamers just think the zombie count pushes the system, but the environments are some of the most varied of any video game. And unlike the areas in typical sandbox games, it's all in one area, although not without some streaming.
Shell-Shocked Senior: One of the bosses is a Vietnam veteran who reverts when he sees his granddaughter eaten. He thinks you're Viet Cong. A fight ensues.
Shirtless Scene: For whatever reason, enemies that capture Frank love to strip him to his skivvies.
Soundtrack Dissonance: During the mall's opening hours, you can hack away at the zombie hordes with cheery muzak being piped in over the speakers, as well as pre-recorded advertisements to many of the mall's special offers.
Sprint Shoes: The skateboards, and the "quickstep" blend of drinks.
The Stinger: Steven provides a particularly hilarious one.
Suicide Attack: The Cultists will from time to time attempt to grab or pounce on Frank while holding a lit stick of dynamite.
Take Your Time: Mostly averted. The game is brutal with time limits but it's possible for Carlito and Brad to engage in a two day long gun fight while you wander about.
Taking You with Me: Carlito's plan B in case of being rendered incapable of carrying out his scheme as planned? Blowing up the entire mall, the blast sending zombie parasites all over America.
Television Geography: Averted, the terrain and city you fly over looks a hell of a lot like western Colorado. The only thing blowing the illusion is that the game is set in late September but the sporting goods stores do not stock any skis.
Term Confusion: The Special Forces Soldier's main weapon is called a "Machinegun", which is wrong for two reasons. One, the weapon is clearly an AR-15 type assault rifle. Two, they spell it "Machinegun" instead of "Machine Gun".
Throwaway Guns: You can't actually reload your guns after they run out of ammo; you can only drop them and find another. Not in the Wii version, however.
Timed Mission: The game is one long timed mission, often on very tight schedules to make it between Scoops and Missions without failure.
Too Dumb to Live: Early on, things seem to be under control - some of the survivors have successfully barricaded the mall entrance, and no zombies are getting in. However, when the hysterical old woman sees her pet poodle who appears to be a zombie outside surrounded by other zombies, she takes down part of the barricade and opens the door to get the dog - not only becoming overwhelmed by zombies, but letting them at everyone else, too. Granted, with the psychopaths - and Carlito - on the prowl, they probably would have gotten in eventually, but that doesn't excuse letting the zombies in before the survivors could cluster in a safe locale.
Took a Level in Badass: Frank West eventually learns how to disembowel people with his bare hands. Multipletimes, usually with no fatalities to non-zombies, and infinitesimal damage dealt.
Trigger Happy: On the 3rd day, you will find 3 rednecks (one who looks a lot like Francis if not for the fact that this game came first) holed up in the gun store. They shoot first and ask questions later. Once you walk in, they open fire from three directions. If you manage to make your way back out of the store, one of them walks up and asks if you're still alive. Trying to go back into the store makes them open fire again, so you have to somehow persuade them to follow you back to the security room from the door.
Trust Me, I'm an X: After Larry Chiang sticks Carlito on a meathook, he assures to Frank, "Trust me, I'm a butcher."
Twisted Ankle: Jessie gets one early on, which is why the reporter is the one running around slaughtering zombies and not the government agent.
Tyke Bomb: It turns out Carlito is responsible for organizing adoptions for orphans with temporarily dormant infections all over America.
Unlockable Content: Completing various feats unlocks costumes and weapons in the safe room.
The Voiceless: Otis, a surviving mall security guard, never speaks during cutscenes, in fact, the only time you do hear what his voice may sound like is when you kill him in Infinity Mode and hear his one-of-a-kind death scream.
Weld The Lock: When you and a few survivors first barricade yourselves in the Security Room, Otis welds the entrance door shut.
Wide Open Sandbox: While the game tries to nudge you to meet plot requirements or rescue hapless people stranded about the mall, you can choose the ignore everything even vaguely resembling a story and just find inventive ways to cave in zombie skulls or take on psychopaths. There's a catch, however; not following the plot prevents you from getting the best endings.
Wrestler in All of Us: You'd be surprised how effective a German Suplex is when cornered by a bunch of zombies.
You ALL Look Familiar: Those two people in the intro, where Frank and Ed are flying over Willamette? Take a close look at them. The one on the white car is Rich (one of the three people that was held hostage by Cliff), and the one of the building is Michelle (one of the five people held prisoner by the cult). And speaking of Cliff, the little girl in the very first intro is the same girl that's on Cliff's family photo.
For most of the zombies, though there are exceptions, such as the occasional zombie sprinter.
This was one of the unlockable abilities. It allowed Frank to shuffle his way through the hordes undetected, a la Shaun of the Dead. It's severely disadvantageous, however, as Frank's zombie shuffle is (necessarily) extremely slow, so it's usually much faster, if not necessarily easier, to just slaughter your way through them.
Zombie Infectee: Repeatedly. One survivor will kill himself if you give him a gun. One will take his own life if he has a gun with him and loses all his life from the zombies, and another will refuse to follow unless you can prove that you can cure The Virus. Frank himself becomes one at the end, and using kids as Zombie Bombs was Carlito's whole plan.
Bittersweet Ending: The standard ending. Shin is dead and both Mary and George are infected, but they've found a massive supply of Zombrex.
Death by Irony: Takahashi told his girlfriend she was here "to give him head". After George did some serious damage to him and flees away, he ran into his zombified girlfriend who gave him a "zombie blowjob".
The Determinator: Mary. Who has been bitten several times by the zombies and been tortured by Takahashi and Dan.
Downer Ending: The Extended Ending. Mary dies from her wounds. Then, George, who is finally able to find the strength to use his legs to a degree (and fight!), gets shot in the head by Dan as he's escaping the warehouse.
Everybody Laughs Ending: After fighting their way through zombies and George's wheelchair getting destroyed in the process, George and Mary finally found the zombrex and instead of injecting themselves with the zombrex immediately they start laughing happily knowing that they will survive. The End. Seriously, that's how the movie ends.
Foreshadowing: When George imagines how he will die at the hands of the psychopaths, he pictures a gunshot wound in his forehead. In the Extended Ending, Dan, on the rooftop, puts one through his head and he ends up with an exit wound in his forehead.
Handicapped Badass: After George becomes brave and creates his zombie-fighting modified wheelchair, he beats Takahashi by drilling his right ear off, burning his face with a blowtorch, and cutting his ankles with blades that appears under his wheelchair.
Heroic BSOD: When George realizes he should not rely on others to help him.
Heroic Sacrifice: Shin, George's brother, got himself killed by the psychopath thugs in order for George to get away from them.
Karmic Death: Takahashi suffers this after getting beaten into humiliation, coupled up with a painful expression with a burnt face.
P.O.V. Cam: Some of the movie is taken place through George's eyes.
Shout-Out: Considering this movie is directed by Keiji Inafune, who worked on a lot of Capcom games, you will expect to see some of them in the movie.
In episode 1, George is playing Dead Rising 2 in the beginning and the overweight thug is wearing a shirt that has a Servbot on it.
The "Goblin Mask" is a mask of Blanka from Street Fighter.
Super Wheel Chair: George's wheelchair is modified with a blow torch, a drill, blades (on the side and bottom of the chair), a shell that prevent him from getting shot, and he uses a chainsaw to move himself forward in his chair.