- Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
- Publisher: Warner Bros. (WW), Kadokawa (JP)
- Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Release Date: June 12, 2012 (US)
- MSRP: $14.99
Zombies have been done to death (get it!) in the 21st century. Whether it be Hollywood or video games, zombies are everywhere. We can’t get enough zombies. Lollipop Chainsaw is yet another zombie game, but that description doesn’t do it justice. This game is very stupid, violent, and sexual. Lollipop Chainsaw is everything the news media hates about video games and its bloody brilliant. The game never takes itself seriously and nor should you. On the surface, Lollipop Chainsaw looks like a sexually exploitive game, covering up its uninspiring gameplay to serve as spank material for horny teenagers. Look beyond the surface and you will find a fantastic game. Lollipop Chainsaw is the brainchild of famed game designer Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture, known for games such as Killer 7 and No More Heroes. Lollipop Chainsaw was released in 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and sold roughly 1 million copies. Let’s find out what Lollipop Chainsaw has to offer!
Lollipop Chainsaw stars Juliet Starling, a high school student (and yes, she’s 18) with a secret. She’s from a family of zombie hunters! Juliet is your stereotypically dumb blonde found in many early 2000s teen movies, constantly complaining about her big butt and other girl stuff. I wish I could have the words to do this story justice, but it’s better to experience it for yourself. It takes place in a typical American suburb. On her 18th birthday, Juliet is heading to school only to find the entire town overrun by zombies. Juliet will fight through hordes of the undead while trying to save fellow students. As said earlier, there’s no way to effectively describe the story.
Lollipop Chainsaw has some of the funniest dialogue in a video game. Its dripping in sexual innuendo and immaturity. Lollipop Chainsaw’s story is so stupid yet brilliant. Written by Hollywood writer James Gunn (Dawn of the Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy), it seems straight out of a parody film. I would describe it as a mashup of Dawn of the Dead and Not Another Teen Movie. If you enjoy juvenile humor, which I do, then you will love Lollipop Chainsaw.
The characters are completely insane. Juliet is very bubbly despite the morbid things she says. Her boyfriend, Nick, gets bitten by a zombie, then Juliet decapitates him but keeps him alive through some satanic ritual. Now he’s attached to her waist getting knocked around by her ass. Nick acts as the game’s straight man. Then we have Morikawa-Sensei, who looks like Fred Durst as an old man. He is Juliet’s “sensei” and is a Master Roshi like perverted martial arts master. Then you have the bosses but we’ll get to that later.
Lollipop Chainsaw is a humorous game but there is much more to this game than shits and giggles. One word to describe the gameplay would be fun. Lollipop Chainsaw is an arcade style hack and slash game. Its reminiscent of beat’em ups from the 80s and 90s. Each level takes place in various locations around town such as the high school and a farm. Juliet attacks hordes of zombies with her over-sized chainsaw and pom-poms. The chainsaw has a heavy attack and quick attack. The pom-poms are used to make zombies groggy, which makes them easier to kill. Your final score will be better based on how well these abilities are utilized. Higher scores will give you more zombie coins. New abilities and combos can be unlocked by collecting zombie coins and spending them at the upgrade store. Some examples include Juliet tumbling through the air and slashing with the chainsaw and butt slamming zombies to make them groggy. I wouldn’t mind getting butt slammed by Juliet (wait that sounds like I meant something else…).
Later, you will get the chainsaw blaster, an add-on for Juliet’s chainsaw which allows for her to fire bullets. Another upgrade for the chainsaw is the chainsaw dash, which allows Juliet to go fast. With this ability, you can plow through zombies at the speed of sound, Sonic style! Lollipop Chainsaw gives players a variety of ways to attack and rack up combos.
One of Lollipop Chainsaw’s biggest strengths was the boss battles. These were incredible. The bosses follow a musical theme and their personalities will leave an impression on the player. I found myself laughing along with the villains. Almost makes me feel bad for killing them. You have a punk rock singer (voiced by Jimmy Urine of the punk band, Mindless Self Indulgence) who has a microphone stand gun-sword that shoots insults at the player. There is also a Viking metal drummer who attacks with killer drum solos and a hippie girl who envelopes you in LSD hallucination. Each boss battle is intense and left me feeling satisfied with myself. Just how a boss battle should be.
Some may complain about the short length of the game, taking roughly 6 hours to beat, or that it’s too linear. I do not view this as a problem. Lollipop Chainsaw is a throwback to arcade beat’em ups of the past. It’s meant to be played repeatedly and get your score up. Repeated playthroughs of each stage allow for the player to unlock new combos, costumes, music and weapon upgrades. If you failed to get the good ending, you go back to previous levels and make sure all the students are saved. This gives the game considerable replay value. To me, a game has replay value when the game is fun to play. Linear isn’t a dirty word. Plenty of linear games have replay value. If the game is good, you’ll keep playing. Would a bad non-linear game have replay value? Of course not! You’d toss that fucker aside. Lollipop Chainsaw has replay value because it is fun, the most important quality a game should have.
Lollipop Chainsaw is not one of the best-looking games. I played the PlayStation 3 version so it was probably not as good as the Xbox 360 version. The lip synching was not very good. Lollipop Chainsaw’s weakest aspect is the graphics.
The music was incredible in this game. It combined licensed songs with an original soundtrack. The previously mentioned Jimmy Urine composed most of the OST. Most of tracks heard are hard rock/metal and punk. All music I really enjoy. It’s fitting music for an action-packed game. Licensed tracks include songs by Five Finger Death Punch, Joan Jett, Skrillex, and others. Perhaps my favorite song is Mickey by Toni Basil, which plays when Juliet is invincible. It always gets a chuckle out of me.
The voice acting combined with the writing made for one of the funniest games I’ve ever played. Tara Strong delivers an impressive performance as Juliet. She nails the ditzy blond stereotype. Michael Rosenbaum plays Nick’s “sick of this shit” attitude perfectly. Jimmy Urine’s over the top performance as Zed the undead punk singer had me on the floor. Good performances all around.
Lollipop Chainsaw is very camp, sexual, and violent. But my god, is it a blast to play. I laughed a lot while playing. There were several moments that had me say, “Fuck yeah! This is awesome.” If you have a juvenile sense of humor like me, you’ll have a fun time. Some might view it as sexist, but I would disagree. Lollipop Chainsaw is satire on the zombie and teen movie genres. It’s poking fun at the overused tropes in said movies. Its classic arcade style beat’em up gameplay lends itself to replayability. The boss battles are creative and intense, with great music to go with it. Pure fun is what Lollipop Chainsaw strives for. This is certainly achieved.