PS3: Lollipop Chainsaw Review
Published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developed by Grasshopper Manufacture
Rated M for Mature
Got a thing for cheerleaders? How about zombies? Maybe you’re a chainsaw enthusiast? If you answered yes to any of these questions, or if by some dumb luck all three, boy do I have a game for you. From a collaboration of Goichi Suda and James Gun comes a game with so much violence, sex, and rock and roll that it practically assaults all of your senses every time you press start.
The story begins with our heroine, Juliet, in her room getting dressed so that she can meet up with her boyfriend Nick for her birthday. Nick, in the meantime, is at the park waiting for Juliet when the undead invasion begins. Unbeknown to Nick, he made a wise choice in dating Juliet as it turns out her and her family are trained in the arts of zombie killing and the supernatural. So your story begins as Juliet races to meet up with Nick, killing dozens of zombies along the way. She gets there only to find out that Nick has been already bit. In order to save his life she cuts off his head and performs a ritual to keep him alive as a fashionable accessory.
As ridiculous as this sounds, and in playing… it is even more so, Lollipop Chainsaw at its core is a basic old school beat’em-up. With 5 stages total, each stage is broken up into sections with various check points. Using your pom-pom attacks you weaken and and then stun zombies until the time is right for you to unleash your chainsaw to finish them off. Setting up groups of zombies and killing them all at once will earn you a higher score and more zombie coins, using these coins will buy you combo upgrades for Juliet and new attacks for Nick. Yup that’s right your bodiless boyfriend Nick plays a part in you beating down of the undead. Attaching Nick to a headless zombie will set a mini-game in motion in which he usually opens a previously locked area. You can also purchase or find Nick Cards throughout the game which will let you play another game called Nick Roulette. Landing on a specific icon will give you either a special attack that uses your bodiless boyfriend or it will give you the opportunity to receive health items and coins. As you can see, this game in no way takes itself seriously.
In regards to gameplay, Lollipop Chainsaw is a straight forward beat’em-up. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel. You will fight your way through a stage while upgrading your character’s abilities, defeat the boss, rinse and repeat. This is Lollipop Chainsaw’s biggest strength and its biggest weakness. While the combos are interesting in how they link together, you do start with only a basic attack and you have to purchase them before the gameplay begins to shine. Killing zombies will also give you stars so that you may use your incredibly cheerful Sparkle Hunting mode where you can take out many more zombies all at once. While the mini-games and quirky boss battles can be fun and it does keep things fresh, this is not a genre redefining game.
What makes this game unique is the fact that it thrives on being campy. It takes over the top violence to a whole new level, but not in a realistic way what-so-ever. The over-sexualized main character isn’t intended to be there to drool over; she’s there to laugh at. The game pulls from a series of clichéd zombie flicks and pop culture references. Crude humor, stripper pole chainsaw fighting and unlockable risqué outfits are there for the laugh factor and laugh you will…especially at some of the more memorable lines in the game.
Sound is a complete mixed blessing throughout Lollipop Chainsaw. With boss battle music provided by Mindless Self Indulgence and the rest of the music obviously inspired by the electro-punk style. The music is a breath of fresh air for what in many beat’em-ups can be repetitive boring fair. On top of a fresh and already available soundtrack, you can also set up a personalized soundtrack from music acquired in the game. Sound effects overall are really good and while the one-liners are fantastic, they can get repetitive after a while and you do start to tune them out.
Graphically this game is full of vivid color and views that make you feel as though you are in a B-Movie. The character models and animation are smooth and fun to look at. My only complaint is that there isn’t enough if a variety of enemies. I would like to have seen many more different types of zombies, even if it meant that they all died the same way, a variety would make some of the combo-ing a little more fun. While a lot of time was put into the starring cast I felt that the enemies, outside of the fun and personality filled bosses, were a little one dimensional and bland.
Overall this game is just plain fun. While you can just pound through the game in a quick 6 hours, the game is designed for you to perfect your skills, upping your combs and score in order to climb online and offline leader boards. While Lollipop Chainsaw’s humor is not for everyone and especially is not for kids. In all seriousness I don’t play this game while my children are up and most undoubtedly deserves the M rating. I had, and am having, a complete blast playing it. There are parts I laugh at, cringe at and some that just make me smile. Lollipop Chainsaw doesn’t reinvent the wheel but there are plenty of good times to be had as long as you are not offended and just like to have fun. Seriously what other game gives you a trophy for looking up a cheerleader’s skirt?