A little while back,gave you a preview of the bubbly blonde boob-a-licious bloodbath that was Lollipop Chainsaw. The preview promised gory fun complete with a blonde cheerleader that had a foul mouth and a penchant for power tools. It has taken me a while to get my hands on the finished version, but I finally have had the chance to play it. While the game is a little rough around the edges and probably won’t appeal to everyone, it offers something that is rarely seen in video games these days: originality.
Juliet is soon faced with a horde of the undead and her boyfriend finds himself suffering from a rather unusual problem
As was promised in the preview, Lollipop Chainsaw puts you in the cheerleading sneakers of Juliet Starling, a cheerleader with The San Romero Knights, on the morning of her 18th birthday on her way to meet her boyfriend, Nick. Due to events that are later explained, but in true campy fashion, never really make any sense, Juliet is soon faced with a horde of the undead and her boyfriend finds himself suffering from a rather unusual problem. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the story is full of crass and vulgar humor that only gets more outrageous as the game goes on. It’s clear from the get go that this game doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s what gives Lollipop Chainsaw it’s signature character and charm and make it such a joy to play.
Controlling Juliet in her adventure is pretty simple. One control stick moves Juliet while the other stick controls the free form camera. The camera design is very well done and never obtrusive, always giving you a clear view of the action. You have a face button dedicated to dodging and jumping while the other three face buttons give you various chainsaw attacks. While you only start with a few attacks in your arsenal, killing zombies and saving survivors will net you gold coins and platinum medals which can be spent in the games store to unlock new chainsaw combos, upgrade your health and strength of your attacks, and you can even buy Juliet new outfits for…well, I’m pretty sure you can imagine what the outfits are for.
The game puts you in different stages, each of which has a unique setting, from an automotive junkyard to the city streets of San Romero to a dark and spooky cathedral, and at one point the game even puts you on a farm where the cows are undead and they aren’t just growing corn and wheat. The gameplay itself is pretty simple: you run on a pre-determined path where you either slice up or shoot through all the zombies in your path until you get to the level’s boss, in which you’ll usually fight the boss in several different stages until you are victorious. There are also mini games sprinkled about each level which range from everything to driving a tractor, playing a throwback platformer arcade game, and several reactionary mini games where you have to press the button that appears on screen. If it sounds a lot like some of the Nintendo and Sega games of yore, you would be correct, and it’s things like this along with several little arcade style mini-games that almost serve as a nod to games of the past which are sprinkled in along with other little winks and nods to pop culture as well, one of the coolest of which is an achievement titled, “Zed’s Dead Baby. Zed’s Dead”.
As cool as the game is, it does have a couple of flaws. First off, the game is short. My first time through, I took my time to try and rescue as many survivors as I could and find all the little hidden goodies and secrets, and it still only took me about 9 hours to complete, and once you are ready to play the game through again to further upgrade abilities and powers, it probably won’t even take you that long to finish. Also, while the graphics serve their purpose and the locales and character design are colorful and well thought out, when you look at a character up close you can start to notice some jagged edges and pixelation, and the zombies move a little stiffly, even for zombies. Also, the game can get a little repetitive near the end. But perhaps the biggest potential drawback is the overall tone and sense of humor in the game. It is extremely quirky and vulgar, and if you don’t “get it” within the first 10 minutes of playing, it is probably going to seem like a nonsensical mess.
For me, the positive points of the game far outweigh the few shortcomings it has. What Lollipop Chainsaw lacks in innovation or revolutionary gameplay, it more than makes up for it with something that is rarely seen in video games these days, and that is originality. Suda 51 has created a hyper-violent, sexually saturated hack and slash experience that is full of humor, pop culture nods, and is just downright fun to play. If you don’t mind a little repetition and want a truly unforgettable experience, give Lollipop Chainsaw a chance.