When gamers hear the name Suda 51, we think of cult classic games that are a bi twisted and on the darker side like Killer 7. We think of games that are a bit out there in terms of humor like the No More Heroes series, which feature unforgettable characters like Travis Touchdown. That said, no one would be surprised that good ol’ Goichi decided to fully release his inner pervert and give us a title like Lollipop Chainsaw. Here we meet the lovely Juliet Starling, who fits the Suda 51 mold like a glove. If you are ready for a B-movie romp through an eighties-style end of the world scenario, then this is your hot game to start the summer. Ahead lie rainbows, stripper poles and rock n roll, not to mention lollipops and chainsaws; you have been warned.
“ZOMBIES, TASTE MY CHAINSAW DEATH!” This is one of many quotes from adolescent hero, Juliet Starling, a big-breasted, barely legal bubblehead of a high school cheerleader. According to her, she had the perfect life before she woke up on her eighteenth birthday: a loving family (of zombie hunters), great friends and the perfect boyfriend, Nick Carlyle (voiced by the awesome Michael Rosenbaum). We see her rush off to school as she is late meeting with Nick, only to see the school being overrun by zombies that used to be her classmates and teachers. She literally cleaves through them hoping that Nick is alright, only to see him get bitten in an attempt to save her. A chop and a magic spell later, he is literally her sidekick (see cover). Together, they discover an emo douchebag plot to destroy the school and ruin her birthday. Someone definitely picked the wrong cheerleader to mess with.
SPARKLE HUNTING ALL DAY! Despite her silly and sexy demeanor, Juliet is a well trained martial artist. . . who mixes cheerleading and kung-fu with a chainsaw. Bosses notwithstanding, the average zombie stands no chance against this girl armed with her custom chainsaw. To balance the game out, her combos work like Street Fighter moves in the sense that when a move ends, there is usually a one or two second delay before you can move and that leaves you vulnerable. You have to be somewhat smart about your attacks and cannot just run into a crowd of zombies or Juliet will die repeatedly. Careful combos and meticulous item collection are rewarded with various super moves. In the lower left, there is a meter that lets Juliet kill all regular enemies with a single swing of the chainsaw when activated. You have to fill it up and it takes a while, so it should be used appropriately. There are also scattered “Nick tickets” that allow you to play “Nick roulette.” If you win, Juliet grabs her decapitated boyfriend, kisses him and does random moves which either stun or kill your enemies in bulk. Either special attack sets zombies up to be sparkle hunted, the ultimate group kill in the game. Sparkle hunting requires you to behead at least three zombies at once and it is important to do this whenever possible as it gives you special bonuses needed to buy upgrades. Despite the morbid situation she faces, it’s all about candy, kisses and rainbows for this girl.
OH-EM-GEE! I warn you to stay far away from this game if you have any kind of phobia or allergy to the color pink. It’s everywhere, sometimes even the blood is pink. The graphics in this game are super stylized and have several different phases. Load screens sometimes look like the random scribble drawings of a high school teenaged girl and other times look like a page out of a comic book. The comic style is also used to introduce new characters. During combat, you have moments reminiscent of grindhouse flicks where heads pop off and blood shoots into the air. You also have the sparkle hunting screens that look like a My Little Pony nightmare.The game is visually just as campy as its humor and really needs to be seen. Everything about the game screams fun; prepare to take your eyes for a joyride.
PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE In her intro, Juliet lets you know that her whole family is in the business of zombie hunting. As you play through the game, each level you complete can be replayed in ranking mode. This is where you try to beat your father’s score on the level and rank as high as possible on the worldwide leaderboard. This is the only online interaction the game has, other than maybe bragging to your friends that you have an achievement/trophy they do not. Despite the missing online component, completionists will have plenty to do. Getting a platinum trophy will involve filling all of Juliet’s collection lists and beating all of her dad’s scores. It’s no RPG, but there is definitely fifteen plus hours of gameplay in this title to complete it.
There is nothing to not like here. Lollipop Chainsaw hooked me in from the first trailer and it just kept going. How can you not like a game where you get to stylistically kill zombies while listening to the classic, “Mickey?” Don’t even get me started on the original score that Little Jimmy Urine composed for this game because (no pun intended) it rocks. Unlike a lot of button mashers, Juliet’s array of moves are pretty useful and you will want to use them. Either that, or you will want to Lollipop Split every single zombie in the game as that scene never gets tired. The comedy is raunchy and fantastic. Just the fact that the boss Zed shouts things like “FUCKING BITCH!” and the letters of said comment attack you makes this game worth playing. Lollipop Chainsaw is funny and lighthearted enough for family fun, if the family does not have small children. It’s not like any other game gives you an achievement for peeking up the main character’s skirt, while she is asking you to not do it. Even if summer did not mean video game drought, you should still be laughing your ass off playing this game, end of story.