Lollipop Chainsaw is the latest video game by legendary developer Suda51 for Grasshopper Manufacture and Warner Bros. Interactive.
If you’ve played his other games – Killer 7, No More Heroes, and Shadows of the Damned – you know that this unconventional creator likes to take players on weird but memorable rides, sometimes with mixed results.
This time he teamed up with writer/director James Gunn – Dawn of the Dead remake (writer), Slither, and Super – to flesh out the crazy cast of characters and create a genuinely humorous script.
Lollipop Chainsaw, the love child of Suda51 and James Gunn, is chock full of quirky fun even if it doesn’t always hit the mark.
Systems: Playstation 3 [Reviewed], XBox 360
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publishers: Warner Bros. Interactive
Released: Jun 12, 2012
In Lollipop Chainsaw you play as Juliet Starling, a sexy high school cheerleader who just happens to come from a family of zombie hunters. The whole game takes place on her 18th birthday, and as you progress through the story mode you gain weapon upgrades in the form of presents from her mentor, two sisters, and her dad. It’s a pretty clever way for the developers to work the traditional game progression upgrades into the actual story.
As weird as the story was, it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the game. It never takes itself too seriously, but at the same time I found myself caring about Juliet and her boyfriend Nick, who happens to be a severed head kept alive by some sort of zombie slayer magic. As odd as that sentence sounds, it fits perfectly within the universe Suda51 and James Gunn created. Of course it wouldn’t have worked if the voice actors and the script couldn’t pull it off, but that brings me to my favorite aspect of Lollipop Chainsaw: Juliet and Nick’s banter.
Throughout the course of the game Juliet, voiced by Tara Strong (Batman: Arkham City’s Harley Quinn), and Nick, voiced by Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville’s Lex Luthor), constantly talk back and forth about either their relationship or the absurdness of the situation at hand. Michael Rosenbaum delivers his lines dry and sarcastically, usually making a joke about his current predicament. I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occasions at either James Gunn’s script or Michael Rosenbaum’s delivery.
Unfortunately, the gameplay isn’t as perfectly delivered as the story and dialogue. Beating up zombies with your pom poms and decapitating them with your chainsaw is always fun, but most stages are broken up with mini games that don’t always hit the mark. Fortunately, even though I didn’t always like the change of pace, I was never stuck for too long and was quickly back to fighting zombies. Boss fights were equally fun and I always looked forward to my next encounter, if only to see how insane the character would be.
Killing zombies gives Juliet gold coins that can be spent on character upgrades, new combos, ammo, and health. If you decapitate multiple opponents at once (called Sparkle Hunting) you get coveted platinum coins (plus even more gold coins than usual). The platinum ones are used to unlock extra costumes for Juliet, character art, and music for your in-game playlist. Needless to say this gives the completionist more reasons to go back and re-play stages for better rankings and more cash.
With a crazy cast of characters, memorable boss fights, a funny script, and perfectly delivered dialogue, Lollipop Chainsaw is definitely a unique experience. Killing zombies is a blast and gamers can perfect their combos to achieve maximum points for coveted leaderboard spots and cool unlockables. Unfortunately, Suda51 makes some missteps along the way in the form of some lame mini games that keep Lollipop Chainsaw from greatness.
In the end, I always found myself having fun while I was playing Lollipop Chainsaw, and isn’t that what video games are supposed to be? In that regard Lollipop Chainsaw certainly succeeds.
Juliet Starling definitely has a nice ass, and that’s a good thing because you, like her boyfriend Nick, will be looking at it for much of the game. But that’s not Juliet’s only standout feature, she has a great rack too and it just happens to sit on top of a tiny waist. Oh, lets not forget about her long legs and blonde hair.
…Ok you get the idea, Juliet basically has the body of an 18 year old porn star.
The character designers at Grasshopper Manufacture definitely went to great lengths to make Lollipop Chainsaw’s main character extremely sexual, a fact that isn’t lost on any of the characters in the game. Most of the students Juliet saves and bosses she fights make comments about jerking off to her or molesting her in some fashion. It’s as if the characters are just saying what was already on the player’s mind.
Even with all the hot unlockable costumes Juliet has access to in Lollipop Chainsaw, there isn’t much else in terms of eye candy. She has two other sisters that make appearances throughout the game, but neither of them are as scantly clad as Juliet. One of the boss zombies you fight is female, but even she’s not very sexy. Trust me, you can make a hot zombie. Look at Trash (Linnea Quigley) in Return of the Living Dead!
For a game that plays like an exploitation movie, there’s really only one character it exploits, Juliet Starling. I feel like there could have been more opportunities for tongue-in-cheek nudity or sex, but as it stands Lollipop Chainsaw is all about keeping the player’s wandering eye faithful to its protagonist.