Posted by drew10 on Jun 28, 2012
Lollipop Chainsaw – PS3 – Warner Bros Games

Lollipop Chainsaw – PS3 – Warner Bros Games

Games, they are all very similar these days. Once a formula is found to make money we see it replicated time and again. It is very rare for a company to come up with something original, something different, something… well insane. Welcome to Lollipop Chainsaw from celebrated game creator Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture and possibly one of the most insane games I have played in a long, long time.

You play Juliet Starling a lollipop-sucking high-school cheerleader. She is a young boys dream, dressed in a revealing cheer-leading outfit and ample in the places that boys find appealing. However there is more to this blonde bimbo than smacks you in the eye. Armed with her trusty chainsaw Juliet is also a zombie hunter.

The game begins when sad goth, Swan Vignette raises a load of zombies to reek his revenge on the school that shunned him. Juliet discovers his evil plan whilst on her way to meet boyfriend Nick. Slashing her way through the infestation, she finds that Nick has been bitten. In order to save his life she cuts off his head and straps it to her belt using magic to keep him alive. This now gives the game its two main protagonists, but Juliet is also able to use Nicks head as a weapon of various guises. I did mention this game was insane right? Okay, just checking.

Together Juliet and Nick have to battle hoards of zombies and evil zombie rock lords that end each level. As you progress you earn coins for kills and especially ‘sparkle kills’ (killing three or more zombies with one hit) and these can be traded in shops for new moves, energy, Nick tickets or other cool stuff. Nick tickets are used to activate Nicks special attacks.

Along the way you are also assisted by Juliet’s family, older sister Cordelia who helps out with her trusty sniper rifle; Rosalind, the younger sister and dad who make up the entire family of zombie hunters. All three make appearances from time to time within the story.

Okay so chopping zombies up with chainsaws isn’t anything new or inventive, yet the way Lollipop Chainsaw goes about it is so unique and bonkers that this game doesn’t so much as stand out from crowd as slices the crowd in half so you can clearly see its blood-splattered pigtails above the carnage. The way the game handles everything is just pure class, the graphics are excellent, the game-play quick and intuitive and the script funny and original. In fact the script was assisted by film-maker James Gunn (Super, Slither, Dawn of the Dead) who added much needed depth to the characters and no few laughs as well. The voice cast is of equal standing. Juliet is played by Tara Strong who recently played Harley Quinn in Batman Arkham City and Nick is voiced by Michael Rosenbaum, Lex Luthor in Smallville.

To add to the great voice acting is a soundtrack to rival any that I have heard in a game. The main score is supplied by a guy called Jimmy Urine (of Mindless Self Indulgence) and Grasshopper Manufacture Sound Director Akira Yamaoka. They have compiled the craziest mix of original music and songs I have ever heard. It ranges from Lollipop  by The Chordettes and Mickey by Toni Basil to Rock ‘N’ Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain) by Skrillex and The Way of the Fist – Five Finger Death Punch. It is madness yet it just works.

Okay so we know it is insane, we know it looks and plays well and we know the production values are excellent. Is there anything that lets Lollipop Chainsaw down? Well unfortunately yes. Firstly the hack and slash moves tend to feel quite limited, in fact once you learn one of the moves and realise its effectiveness you rarely use another. This reduces the gameplay to not much more that hitting a couple of buttons if you so desire. Thankfully, if you want to rack up the big scores and bonuses you need to vary your playing style. Making zombies dizzy before disembowelling them will give higher rewards. Also there is variation on the gameplay itself. Sometimes you need to shoot, using an add-on to your chainsaw and there are even little mini-games thrown in to add variety.

One of the most disappointing things though is the ease in which you can dispose of the level bosses. None really take much effort and I would suggest that if you are an experienced gamer that you start the game on a harder level so as to add some challenge. Also the old bugbear of overall game length raises its ugly head once more. The game is almost as short as Juliet’s skirt and feels over way too quickly.

When I first started playing this game I was expecting something designed to titillate young men and to some extent that is exactly what Juliet is. However the script and brilliant characterisation add a dimension that takes it way beyond that. The gameplay ranges from simplistic button-bashing to original set-pieces that add different dimensions. The addition of mini-games and wild variation in some of the levels stop Lollipop Chainsaw from being a one trick pony. In the end I simply loved every (admittedly short lived) minute of it. It is a mad ride that reminds us of one thing that is easily forgotten these days, games are meant to be fun. I suggest you wont have more fun playing a game this year.

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