This time out at GGUK, we are going to be reviewing one of the oddest and wackiest games to hit shelves this year. With its hack and slash gameplay, will it bring anything new to the already over crowded market? The game we’re reviewing is none other than Lollipop Chainsaw, which is developed by Grasshopper Manufacture for both the Xbox360 and PS3 and is straight for the mind of Suda 51. Has he crafted an all-star line back? Or is it just another high school wash out?
(Right let’s get the elephant in the room out the way. You play as an 18 year old cheerleader. Yes, she has a short skirt and yes, there is a shower scene and yes, it’s a bit questionable at times. But this stereotype isn’t what the whole game is about. Just wanted to air that right away before we get stuck into the review).
Lollipop Chainsaw sees you fill the very short skirt of Juliet Starling, who at first looks like the standard vision of a high school cheerleader, and the game begins with it being her 18th birthday and with her heading off to meet her boyfriend Nick Carlyle. But soon after leaving her house things change for the worst and what follows is a crazy tale that could only have come from the mind of Suda 51.
As Juliet is about to meet Nick, she is attacked by zombies and it soon comes to light that she is not just some blonde bimbo, but there’s more to her than meets the eye. Before long she is fighting off the undead hordes that are trying to get to Nick.
When she makes it to Nick, she discovers him fighting off the zombies himself. Just as she gets to him, he jumps in front of her to save her from a zombie who was just about to bite her. But in saving Juliet, Nick has sacrificed himself as the zombie sinks its teeth into him. Realizing he has been bitten and soon will be turned in a zombie, Juliet does the only thing she could do and decapitates him, saving his head. Now this is just the start of the weirdness in the game, as at this point Juliet reveals that she is a zombie hunter and so are her family who will play a part throughout the game. The core story is shaped around Juliet stopping the dark forces that have unleashed the undead hordes. They have been unleashed because someone wants to merge the real world with the rotten world and in doing so, they have awakened five zombie demons. It is up to the player to stop the zombie demons to save the world, save Nick and make it home for your birthday.
One of the most over-looked features of the game are the graphics, which are an outstanding blend of bright colours and aesthetically pleasing design with every level having a feel and look of its own.
As for sound, the game has a great soundtrack with a real mix of songs which fit the style of the game, from Dead or Alive classic hits to Toni Basil’s Mickey, their retro songs always brings a smile to your face. On top of that, the game has some of the best and funniest voice acting in a game this year. With Juliet being voiced by Tara Strong and Nick being voiced by Michael Rosenbaum of Smallville fame, who steals the show with his quick one liners and sharp wit, very much like Johnson from Shadow of the Dammed. The whole game has a flavour of Shadow of the Damned in fact, and this is by no means a bad thing.
Lollipop Chainsaw gameplay is mostly hack and slash based, seeing you working on building up combos to get medals which you can spend in the game to unlock new costumes and moves for Juliet. But it is not as fluid a system as that seen in God of War or Bayonetta, with it being very stop-start. Add to that a poor camera which isn’t the best at tracking the action and it may take a few hours to get into the style of fighting. The game keeps things fresh though by not just focusing on the chainsaw and pompoms, but you’ll get to play some great mini games, as is the style with most Grasshopper games, seeing you driving, playing arcade games and dancing.
The core fighting sees Juliet fight the hordes with a mix of light and heavy attacks. Light are often pompom attacks, with heavy attacks focusing on Juliet’s weapon of choice which is of course her pink and gold, heart encrusted, seven foot long chainsaw (which also doubles as her phone). when you stun enough zombies with an attack you can perform a sparkle attack which fills the screen with rainbows and colour and sees you lob off the heads of the zombies – cute but deadly.
The campaign is made up of around 8 stages and will take you around the 10 hour mark to complete. The game also has a score attack mode and medal hunter mode which adds a bit of replayability to the game, though you will just be playing through the same stages as the main campaign. One of the standout features of the game is that no stage is the same and you’ll find you’re fighting on a farm, in an arcade and of course at the school. Most stages take on the flavour of the boss which awaits you at the end. The Bosses you’ll face in the game range from a punk rock zombie to hippy chick zombie. Each one has their own style and you’ll have to work out just how to kill them.
When it comes to multiplayer there is online leaderboards where you can fight it out with friends or the world to get the best rank on each stage of the game. As well as this, there are plans to bring DLC to the game, though most of this will just be new outfits for Juliet.
Overall Lollipop Chainsaw is a fun, enjoyable game with great depth if you want to spend a lot of time in the world. It is also great for a dirty weekend of fun if you’re looking to rent it. It may be not as good as some other Suda 51 games, like Shadow of the Dammed, because of a few issues in combat and with the camera. But it’s well worth a look and a must buy for Suda fans.
Did she just shake her pompoms at me?