Review: Lollipop Chainsaw Carves Up Grindhouse-Style Fun (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

Conservative types may want to look elsewhere. This is a delicious morsel of M-rated goodness.

When producer Suda 51 works on a game, the last thing you should really come to expect is normalcy.  For years, he’s been adding some crazy touches to his games, whether it was wielding the “Big Boner” in Shadows of the Damned or slicing an enemy in half with a lightsaber in No More Heroes before performing a peculiar sexual motion to recharge it.  Now we have Lollipop Chainsaw, his latest effort, one in which he teams up with Super director James Gunn to deliver a game experience so far tongue in cheek, it practically rips through the other side.  But, relax, that’s a good thing.

In the game, you’re Juliet Starling, a cheerleader who isn’t afraid to show off her sexual side in her skimpy outfit.  She finds herself in a peculiar situation when, on her way to meet her boyfriend, she gets into a battle with zombie rock gods who want to take over her town.  With customized chainsaw in hand (and plenty of over-the-top, blood spilling cheer), Juliet fights back as only she can.

 

The game mostly consists of hack and slash combat, as you use your chainsaw high and low to cut off limbs and behead a few undead guys.  But there are also some interesting segments to break up this gameplay, including a peculiar Pac-Man mini game where you outrun virtual choppers, and even a quick bike ride, where you score a few bonus points for running over a zombie or two (or five).

 

That doesn’t completely solve the repetitiveness of the game, as the combat situations, closed in to virtual arenas, can be a bit on the stale side if you’re surrounded by more than ten.  Luckily, the combat really opens up as you unlock new techniques and combos, turning Juliet more into the stylish killer she really is.  It’s also nice to have her cheers enter into the fray on occasion, with rainbows coming out of nowhere as decapitated bodies collapse in the foreground.

 

The graphics in Lollipop Chainsaw aren’t likely to win any awards, as they’re noticeably B-grade design compared to other multi-million dollar efforts.  That said, they’re still fun to watch, from the carnage you produce killing dozens of deadites to the cool little effects Juliet produces during combat.  And of course, there are suggestive sexual overtones everywhere, like when Juliet bends over to carve open a door (but with a heart in the right place to prevent a peek up-skirt – how opportune).  The level design could’ve been a little better, but with all the madness happening, we really have no room to complain.