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Lollipop Chainsaw (2012)

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Lollipop Chainsaw by Thomas Balgairies

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Where to even begin with this game, the premise is ridiculous, the characters are outrageous and the jokes are way way way weird. So this is the latest outing by eccentric game creator Suda 51 (Shadows of the Damned, No More Heroes) and his production house Grasshopper Manufacture. If you’ve ever seen any videos of his previous work you know that Lollipop Chainsaw had to come from the same brain. The story goes like this; Juliet Starling is an 18 year old cheerleader from San Romero High. She starts off by realizing that she is late to meet her boyfriend Nick. She leaves her home in a rush only to find that that her school has been overrun by zombies. From here on you fight your way to Nick only to have to cut his head off to save him, and you find some guy (never caught his name) who summons five super zombies that you have to kill. Oh, I forgot to mention you’re a chainsaw wielding zombie hunter…

Might as well start with the positive, this is a really neat looking game with a  comic book styling mixed in with My Little Pony style rainbows every so often, yeah it’s going to be that kind of ride… The humor can sometimes leave you laughing to the point of tears, but more often than not you end up groaning in discomfort or just being grossed out. Most of the good dialogue comes about from the conversations between Juliet and her beheaded boyfriend Nick. Their banter is definitely the wittiest and funniest of the bunch. Juliet also has some very interesting choices for catch phrases, my personal favorite being, “What the dick?”

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By far the greatest thing about this game is the soundtrack. Honestly if the soundtrack wasn’t there I probably would have played this game on mute. There is a good mix of pop, some heavy rock and even some really weird experimental music in some levels. I can safely say that no other game will get you singing Toni Basil’s Mickey, trust me, and I’m a guy so it kind of weirds me out at times. This is a beat’em up style a game where you go from area to area cutting up zombies with great ease. You have shops at various parts of every level where you can spend the medals that you amass throughout the levels on things like health, damage, and new moves. So, in this type of game you would expect the game’s combat to be stellar, well it’s alright but not great. Juliet has a good move pool which grows as you go and buy upgrades, but during combat you often feel a small amount of unresponsiveness from the combat which is slightly disheartening. Also, another issue that comes about with this type of game is that players by nature will come to rely on a small group of moves. I’m happy to say that for me this game does not fall under this trap. I used every move that I was able to afford almost all the time. This is because they just look so cool. With every slash you get funny rainbow effect and with every pompom smack you get a little burst of stars, and the combos take great advantage of this. Another cool moment that you will come across often is what the game calls Sparkle Hunting. This is when you are able to kill three or more zombies in one strike. In this mode the game moves into a slow mo space like environment where the zombies explode into joyful sparkles. This rewards you with a big boost in medals and gives you an elusive platinum medal.

Now Suda 51 is known for his ridiculous bosses, and I regret to inform you guys that Chainsaw Lollipop is pretty hit and miss when it comes to the bosses. Some are really cool and some are just plain annoying, especially the first boss, which for me is supposed to set the tone. This game does appeal to fan of collectibles, because this game has that in spades. We’re talking: costumes, art, mp3, zombie bios, phone calls, and just items in general. An added feature is the online. Now don’t get to excited you won’t be chopping zombies to bits with a friend, all you get is a variety of modes like, time attack, score attack, and coin collection modes where you compete for spots on an online leader board. This may be disappointing to some but I didn’t expect this game to have any online functionality so any is a plus.

Overall Lollipop chainsaw is a fun ride if you can stomach some of its flaws. It may not be worth the sixty dollar admission price that it commands now but it is an experience that I think everyone should at least check out.

6.5 out of 10

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