Review by horror_spooky
"Rainbows, skirts, and decapitated heads"
Suda51 is known for making off the wall games that appeal mostly only to a niche crowd. In the past, he has put out products such as Killer7, the Wii hit No More Heroes, and other games like the crazy Shadows of the Damned. In Lollipop Chainsaw, Suda51 and the folks at Grasshopper stay true to their roots by creating a game that is absurd, shocking, but perhaps, also really brilliant at the same time. So, put on a skirt, grab your chainsaw, and suck on a lollipop because Lollipop Chainsaw is one of the strangest, but also one of the better games, that you'll ever play.
The game stars Juliet Starling, a cheerleader at San Romero High School (get it?) that is really your typical teenage girl. She worries about her looks, she frets over whether her boyfriend thinks her ass is big or not, and she frantically rushes to school when she wakes up late. However, she has a pretty big secret, and that is, she's also a zombie hunter. In fact, she's from an entire family of zombie hunters! Juliet rushes to school, and wouldn't ya know it, the school is overrun by zombies and her boyfriend is missing. She does the logical thing by pulling out her trusty chainsaw and going to town on the swarm of undead enemies.
You know, with all the zombie games we get on what seems like a monthly basis, I figured that there really was no more room for an original, unique zombie game. Lollipop Chainsaw definitely proved me wrong there. Juliet kills hordes of zombies using a variety of combos with her chainsaw and pompoms, often resulting in zombie limbs falling off in a explosion of sparkly rainbow colors. She can collect lollipops to regenerate her health, as well as purchase new, equally revealing outfits to change into throughout the course of the game. Occasionally Juliet will get a phone call from her family, and she'll literally stab the chainsaw into the ground in the middle of a fight, and pick up the phone that is attached to it to listen to the conversation. What? Your chainsaw doesn't have a phone? Man, you're missing out.
Combat in the game is, unfortunately, one of the weaker points. It works, but I feel like it's too limited. Extreme action games have been released in the past with characters having a ton of different attacks and combos, which makes Lollipop Chainsaw look less complete by comparison. Don't get me wrong, the combat is satisfying in its own goofy way, but there's really none of the experimentation like you'd find in games like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. Instead, all there is to do is button mash and repeat the same combos over and over again.
It's only during boss battles that the combat finally switches up, and in true Suda51 fashion, the boss fights in Lollipop Chainsaw are awesome. Each boss requires an entirely different strategy to defeat, with puzzles being thrown mid-boss battle at some points to confuse you, as well as typical platforming and hack and slashing that makes up the rest of the game. Every time that Juliet defeats a boss, she gains a new ability that is used to travel throughout the game world, opening the door for new platforming sections and giving more variety to the game's combat. I looked forward to each boss battle because of these elements, and they are probably some of the best boss fights in gaming period. Suda51 is always outdoing himself in this department.
To break up the monotony of the rest of the combat, however, is a surprising amount of gameplay variety. At one moment I was playing zombie basketball, and the next I was running over the undead in a field with a combine. These moments are like mini-games, but they are extremely welcome after going through screen after screen of simply killing enemies. They are clever, engaging, and most importantly of all, they're very fun to play.
Basically, Lollipop Chainsaw hits all of Suda51's trademark design elements. The game is downright goofy at times, it features ridiculous boss battles, as well as hilarious mini-games that somehow fit right in to the crazy world cooked up by Grasshopper. In that regard, it also has a respectable presentation. While a lot of the environments look generic, the character models are very well done, there is no lagging or slow load times or any of that, and the animation is hilarious. Dominating the soundtrack are songs that are just so perfect for this game as well. Songs like "Hey Mickey!" and "Lollipop" fit like a puzzle piece with the rest of the game. It's a good thing that the musical soundtrack is so good though, because while the voice acting is also topnotch, characters have a tendency to repeat lines over and over again.
A lot of people are going to knock on Lollipop Chainsaw for being a little on the short side, but this is a game that was made to be replayed. There are multiple difficulty settings, plus the motivation to go back and beat high scores on all the different levels. If any of your Xbox Live or PSN friends have the game, their high scores will be posted in your game as well, so a little competition can give the game quite a boost in replayability. Achievements in the games are somewhat amusing at points, plus there's the collection of lollipops for the perfectionists out there.
Lollipop Chainsaw is by no means a game that you're going to dump a significant amount of your time into, but it's a game that will make you remember it long after the credits roll. The story is genuinely funny, cool, and touching when it needs to be. Character development in the game is way better than you'd expect for a game about a cheerleader killing zombies, and the presentation is really spectacular in true Suda51 fashion. Unfortunately, there are few areas here and there where Lollipop Chainsaw doesn't reach the same heights, most notably when it comes to the combat. That being said, Lollipop Chainsaw is a memorable adventure that I definitely don't regret playing.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/22/12
Game Release: Lollipop Chainsaw (US, 06/12/12)
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