What do you get if you cross Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Greece? The answer is Lollipop Chainsaw from Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture. It’s a crazy supernatural tale in the same vein as Shadows of the Damned but this time you play as a cheerleader called Juliet Starling with her decapitated boyfriend Nick along for the ride instead of a flaming skull.
The story is pretty simple. Zombies have invaded the town of San Romero (see what they did there horror fans?) and it just so turns out you and your entire family are zombie hunters so off you go with chainsaw in hand to give them a good seeing to. And if you were offended by that innuendo don’t play this game as this one is full of it. It’s actually a bit crude to begin with just like the combat but soon the humour and action warms up into a very funny and satisfying game.
At first, things just feel a bit awkward. Collision detection isn’t great, the camera zooms in too much, the lock-on is pretty much pointless and moves are limited but as you progress you can upgrade your moves at ‘shop2chop’ machines using medals you find as currency and can even take advantage of Nick’s head to deal even more damage. Things are varied up further with quicktime events, mini games and shooting sections that mix things up and keep the action fresh. Each area also ends with a good old-fashioned boss battle. Just remember, when things appear dead – they usually just get up again even stronger!
Presentation also improves as the game goes on. To begin with you may think you’re playing a Sega game on the Dreamcast but character models are actually very detailed up close. Have a little peek you-know-where and you’ll even get an achievement!
The soundtrack is also great featuring hits from the 50s and 80s with punk rock and metal tunes punctuating most of the action. This really is quite a ride. Couple the main story mode with extra-curricular challenges and online leader boards once you’ve saved your classmates, plenty of items to collect and moves to unlock and you’ve got a game that warrants a definite extra play through which is a godsend seeing as the game itself is actually quite short. I’m also a sucker for alternate outfits so I’ll definitely be playing through again just to see what else Miss Starling has to wear.
It’s crude but also a blast so it just about edges an 8 out of 10.
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Related: Shadows of the Damned, Zombies, Lollipop Chainsaw review on Youtube