Written by Twisted Ideas
Suda 51 is creator of Killer 7 and No More Heroes is back with his latest game Lollipop Chainsaw. It seems in popular culture you can’t turn you head and see something about zombies. Again zombies have invaded our video games along with gratuitous amounts of blood and sex appeal. Suda 51 has always been about a unique sense of style but is a game about zombies and cheerleaders have it or is this better left for the dead?
Juliet Starling is a cheerleader at San Romero High and is dating her high school sweetheart Nick Caryle. On her birthday she makes her way to school only to discover that her schoolmates have turned into zombies. Juliet is unfazed because in secret she and her family are zombie hunters and Juliet came prepared with her trusty chainsaw. Nick is bitten protecting Juliet and is about to turn. The stubborn Juliet cuts Nick’s head off and performs a ritual keep his decapitated head alive. Juliet, Nick and her family have to find the source of the zombies and cut it off at the source.
Lollipop Chainsaw is a third-person hack and slash game. Juliet has three main attacks, chainsaw attacks, low chainsaw attacks and pompom bash. Pompom bash are hand to hand attacks that can home onto nearby zombies and are faster than the chainsaw albeit less powerful. You can make zombies groggy with pompom attacks allowing them to be killed with a single chainsaw attack. Juliet is able to dodge zombies freely to get out of tight situations. While dodging you can perform high attacks, a downward stab or a dropkick and dodging while next to a zombie allows you to leapfrog over. You can dodge immediately after attacks to save you from being surrounded.
As you progress through the stages your chainsaw will gain upgrades. The chainsaw dash is used to cover jumps and short distances and the chainsaw blaster allows you to shoot zombies and hazardous objects. Nick can aid Juliet in battle at the cost of a Nick Ticket. A Nick Ticket will start a roulette through all his abilities which you have to manually stop. Nick also has the ability to possess decapitated zombie bodies that leads into a minigame to help you progress.
You gain medals from zombies you kill which are used to buy new skills, power-ups, collectibles and consumables. Some items in the store can only be bought by using platinum medals that are obtained by killing three or more zombies in a single attack or killing stronger or named zombies (identified by health bars).
The game is divided into linear stages and after the prologue each stage will have a boss fight. In most cases, you progress by clearing the immediate area of zombies. Most zombies are rather weak but due to their health and resistance to being knocked back it is easy for them to hit you and knock you down. At certain parts of a level your classmates will be in danger and in need of rescue. Be warned that if you fail then they will turn into a powerful zombie. Lollipops found throughout the game are used to restore your health. The higher the difficulty the less lollipops you are able to hold. Some stages are broken up with minigames like zombie basket ball or a display or athletics to vary the gameplay. After completing the stage you can participate in Ranking Mode to have your score posted online against the community.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics are nothing special but with all of the dark greys and blacks you would normally associate with a zombie themed game there is a lot of bright and flashy colors.
What zombies have been missing, rainbows.
The game’s soundtrack is customizable with tracks that you hear through the game and some are unlocked as you beat levels and ones you buy in the store. The soundtrack is heavily composed of rock. Most tracks are original compositions but there are several licensed songs as well.
Suda 51 has a nack for making some of the best average games. Killer 7, No More Heroes, Shadows of the Damned all have great style and vision but if divorced from those then they would be frustrating bargain bin games. Lollipop Chainsaw falls under this curse except now the I can’t tell what the vision is supposed to be. I thought that the game would either have copious amounts of fan service or a satire or parody of zombies in popular culture. Neither of these are all that present in Lollipop Chainsaw.
Lollipop Chainsaw is most similar to No More Heroes but is shorter and less compelling. Lollipop Chainsaw does standout from anything in the growing and over-saturated zombie culture. The fact that they can talk sets up entertaining dialogue especially from the game’s bosses but at the end of the day it’s forgettable. The game can be finished in less than a weekend due to the short amount of levels but the game feels longer because of each their lengths. The levels are also broken up into several areas so you will see a lot of quite long loading screens. The game has multiple difficulties but the higher ones just highlight how dull and broken the combat is in the game.
Even for fans of Suda 51 your better off saving your money. I respect his visions in games but he needs to collaborate with developers who are known for action.