Undead poodles? Zombie parrots? Yup, this is Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop

This Winter, Wii owners will finally be able to feed their zombie-slaughtering jones with Capcom’s Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop. A “port” of the title that originally graced the Xbox 360 over two years ago (really, it’s been that long), the game sees reporter Frank West trapped inside a shopping mall filled with ravenous undead. 

I put “port” in quotes, because while it’s based on the Xbox 360 game, it’s not quite the same game. The Wii version sees a number of obvious changes, including support for Wii motion controls. But as a fan of the original game, I spotted more than a few tweaks — some potentially bad, some good — with my hands-on time at Nintendo’s Media Summit.

Hit the jump for some details and impressions of an early build of Chop Till You Drop

Visually, Chop Till You Drop is no slouch, but not surprisingly, it doesn’t quite stand up to the original. The textures are a bit “muddier,” and the zombie hordes were noticeably thinner in this early build of the title. In this particular build, there was far less gore — we didn’t once see a zombie leg, arm, or head lopped off, even when using the katana weapon.

Still, the playable area of the mall we were tossed into had all of the character, look, and feel of the original, with most of the familiar areas exactly where I’d expect them. It’s interesting to note that Chop Till You Drop is built on the same engine Capcom used for Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition, with many of that game’s elements held over, including glowing items and on-screen Wii Remote indicators.

Gameplay-wise, it seems as if Capcom is trying to focus more on combat — particularly shooting — this time around. By pulling the Wii remote’s B button, the game goes in to an over-the-shoulder aiming mode; anyone familiar with Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition will feel right at home. Aiming with the Wii Remote felt OK, and was definitely seems like an improvement over the 360 version’s clunkier aiming mechanics.

One of the things that made Dead Rising great was the ability to use objects strewn throughout the mall to make the undead, well, deader. That returns in in Chop Till You Drop, just on a much smaller scale. By pressing the A and B buttons together, you’re able to pick up items like bats, benches, and swords. You have two options for melee controls — waggle the crap out of the Wii Remote, or simply press A; both yield the same results. (When asked about not making the motion control mandatory, Capcom’s Chris Kramer noted that apparently the Japanese aren’t huge fans of waggle, citing that reason as to why the Wii version of Okami was never released in Japan.) 

As far as the number of usable items, it seems like there’s going to be fewer to choose from in the Wii version of Dead Rising. In the build, you couldn’t pick up diamonds from the jewelery store or CDs from the music store to toss at the undead. In fact, it seems like everything in Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop has been simplified for the Wii, for better or for worse. 

The roaming “power-up” magazine mechanic of the original is gone, for instance. In this particular build, there was no way to make Frank jump, either. You can’t take pictures in Chop Till You Drop. The mission structure is a bit different as well, and sounds like it’s going to be more linear, and with no running time limit for completing each task. 

Chop Till You Drop does contain a number of improvements for the Wii. Capcom is saying the save system has been overhauled and will be less frustrating than the 360 version. When pressed as to what that actually meant, they wouldn’t give specifics, other than that there would be more save points that simply the mall’s bathrooms.

The game also features some new enemies — exclusive to the Wii — including an undead poodle, a zombie parrot that will swoop from out of nowhere and attack Frank, and a shambling security guard complete with tazers. 

For whatever reason, the build Capcom brought to Nintendo’s Media Summit was the same that they were showing off at Leipzig Game Convention last month. Clearly, the game isn’t complete, and there’s plenty of room for additions and game improvements before it ships. We’re told there will be a newer, updated build at Tokyo Game Show, which we’ll be checking out later this week.

Check back for updated impressions of Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, straight from Japan.

Nick Chester