Dead Rising 2: Case West (Xbox Live Arcade)
The undead butchering mayhem continues in this side-story/epilogue to the recent retail release Dead Rising 2. Chuck Greene encounters original Dead Rising protagonist Frank West on a rooftop in Fortune City and accompanies him to a sinister laboratory on the outskirts of the city. When the cutscenes are done, the demo lets you get to work killing zombies as Chuck with Frank as a capable AI controlled partner that you can issue weapons to and even dress in the various outfits you can find. Unfortunately, the demo does not allow for online co-op play for Frank. The gameplay isn’t all that different from the previous two Dead Rising 2 releases, save for a few new items (surgical tools and gurneys can be found in the area blocked off for the demo) and combo weapons. It should also be noted that the Katey Greene Zombrex timer is missing, though the single case file available in the demo can be completed in just a few minutes of concentrated work. Dead Rising 2: Case West should be considered for Dead Rising storyline completists only.
MicroBot (Xbox Live Arcade)
Take a ‘Fantastic Voyage’ in this top-down shooter that takes place inside the human body. The core dual thumb-stick gameplay (one to move, the other to aim/shoot), is greatly enhanced by some impressive ‘depth of field’ visuals that really sell the microscopic scale of the game. In the demo’s blood vessels intro stage, you fight against the flow of blood that pushes you along while you battle with enemy nanites and bound off of massive red blood cells. Your ship is equipped with a modular upgrade system that at special points you can use items you’ve collected to increase you attack power, armor or maneuverability. Secondary items, such as a grappling hook in the demo, can also be attached.
Raskulls (Xbox Live Arcade)
Bright, clean visuals enhance this side scrolling platformer that combines racing with a block-busting element from the arcade classic Mr. Driller. In the demo’s four stages, plus a prologue and a bonus stage, you help a ne’er-do-well walking skeleton in a dragon suit save a kingdom from rat pirates form outer space by racing though stages, breaking blocks and deploying pickups to increase your (or hampering your foes’) foot or drilling speed. Each stage is fast and cleverly constructed, allowing players to intuitively move though each with only the occasionally moment’s pause for thought on the possible consequences of your actions. If the mood set by the simple art and jolly music wasn’t light enough, puns and physical humor are abundant almost to the point of grating. The demo also allows access to one of the “GP” stages, a series of four short races against 3 AI characters.