Japan definitely tends to put out the stranger titles, its a wonder that some of them make it over seas to North America and Lollipop Chainsaw no doubt falls under the category of strange. From the minds of Suda51 and famed filmmaker James Gunn comes a zombie game unlike any other. You play as a cheerleader named Juliet Starling that attends San Romero High School and seems to be just like any other girl. However, her family is actually a family of Zombie Hunters. On the way to school on her 18th birthday, all hell breaks loose and a true zombie apocalypse begins. After fighting her way to her boyfriend, Nick, she discovers that he has just been bitten by one of the zombies. She springs into action, decapitating her boyfriend and through some weird ritual, saves his life although this leaves him as a living severed head (The usual for Suda51). You must then fight your way through hordes of zombies to find out who is behind this and try your hardest to stop this zombie apocalypse before it overtakes the world.
Lollipop Chainsaw has surprisingly good game play for a game that, at first glance, seems to be all about fan service. Most of the action is in the hack ‘n’ slash style but as opposed to just mashing two buttons over and over you use all of the face buttons to chain together fairly complex combos. A/X does a low chainsaw swing, Y/Triangle does a high swing, X/Box makes Juliet melee the zombies and B/O jumps is used for dodging and leap frogging over enemies. You also must complete several Quick Time Events throughout the game. There are also a few special moves that Juliet gains throughout the story including different strange ways to use Nick’s head as a weapon. There are also multiple boss fights in Lollipop Chainsaw. Each boss has its own musical theme as well, be it Punk Rock, Psychadelic or Death Metal. The bosses constantly keep you on your toes and, if your not watching what going on, can destroy you very quickly. Thankfully, the boss fights are not carbon copies of each other.
Along with the standard combat, there are also mini-games galore. One of my favorite is Zombie Basketball where you have to fight off zombies and you get points depending on where you kill them on the court. Zombie Baseball however worked my nerves because it was so hard. My favorite mini-game type thing though was a section where you drive a combine around mowing over zombies while Dead Or Alive’s “You Spin Me Right Round” plays in the background. As you progress through the levels, you will find random spots where you can access Chop2Shop.zom that allows you to purchase a plethora of things with the medals that you get from killing zombies. Gold medals are easy as they always drop but Platinum medals require you to defeat special zombies or kill 3 or more zombies at once. Gold medals are used for stat increases and new combos where as Platinum medals are used to unlock special things. The type of special things that Platinum medals unlock are tons of different costumes, new music tracks and concept art.
The dialogue is some of my favorite this year. I was laughing so hard while playing through the game that I had to pause it at points so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by zombies. The back and forth between Nick and Juliet during stages is especially humorous as she is calm and finding most of this fun and Nick is acting as if she’s insane and freaking out. Once again proving the formula of hero and disembodied companion works in the dialog department (See Paper Mario, Comic Jumper, etc). The fact that this game is not at all for kids cannot be stressed enough, though, as profanity and sexual innuendo runs rampant.
The game has a soundtrack that rock fans will love. Most of the tracks are some genre of rock/metal and include some license songs from some pretty big artists like Five Finger Death Punch, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Dragonforce. The music for the boss fights were done by Mindless Self Indulgence’s Jimmy Urine and are just as good as the rest of the soundtrack.
Lollipop Chainsaw is a fairly short title that can easily be finished within a day or two. The fun doesn’t end there, though. After you finish a stage, you can then play it again in Ranked Mode where you will record your high scores so that you can always go back and try to do better. Along with that, there are 4 different difficulties, the last being unlocked after finishing the game. Lollipop Chainsaw combines great humor with good game play and a even has a story that isn’t dull. Between all of the costumes, combos and power up you can unlock and the Ranked Mode, there is plenty of replayability in this title. While the game has profanity and sexual innuendo galore and is definitely not for minors, I have not had this much pure fun with a game in a long time. However, if you’re not a big fan of Hack ‘n’ Slash titles, your mileage may vary.
- Great combat system
- Completely hilarious dialogue
- Pretty high replay value
- If you’re looking for a clean game, stay far away
- You may be turned off if you are not a fan of Hack ‘n’ Slash titles
- Story isn’t bad but isn’t really great either.