‘Hey perv, don’t be looking up my skirt!’ admonishes Juliette to a crawling, bleeding zombie whilst doing a back flip and giving me the best view of her panties possible without sitting on my face. Surely the most ‘arcade’ game to hit consoles in years, Lollipop Chainsaw throws realism out of the window and explodes onto the screen in a riot of rainbows, zombies and collectible gold coins.
Enemies and objects vanish when destroyed in a puff of sparkles, characters spout ‘amusing’ one liners and the way forward is subtly signposted with gigantic bouncing yellow arrows. Transport the game back to the 1990’s, slap it in to a SEGA arcade cabinet and no one would bat an eyelid.
A bizarre combination of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, My Little Pony and a third person beat ’em up, the game finds perky cheerleader Juliette in the centre of the zombie apocalypse when a dimensional tear pours evil gas over her high school, a situation I’m sure you’re all familiar with.
Armed only with her trusty chainsaw and pom poms Juliette goes in search of her beloved boyfriend Nick Carlyle, finds him, then cuts his head off and keeps him as a talking trophy dangling from a chain attached to her skirt. Conveniently this means every time we have cut scene in which Nick speaks the camera has to focus on Juliette’s rear end.[drop]To destroy the zombie menace our heroine can use her cheerleading flair to stun the zombies and finish them off with a chainsaw to the crotch.
There are a limited number of combos at the start of the game, but more can be purchased using the medals gained by defeating enemies and rescuing class mates.
Sadly the combat is rather clunky with annoying pauses at the end of combos that leave Juliette vulnerable to attack. It is all to easy to get surrounded by a horde of zombies and be continually knocked to the floor, whilst some of the enemy attacks (such as the cops who fire guns) seem to be unblockable. The combat improves when enough coins have been collected to unlock new moves but at the start of the game it is rather like chainsawing through treacle.
That said, whilst the slashing through the undead gets boring rather quickly, the game breaks up the combat with the occasional bout of zombie basketball, baseball or some quick time events.
The second act also bestows Juliette with a ‘chainsaw dash’ move which sees her flying over ramps and picking up fuel whilst following trails of large gold coins – I was quite suprised Juliette does not wear a blue hedgehog costume for that sequence.
Lollipop Chainsaw runs off the Unreal engine and whilst quite colourful and inventive it’s not the best looking game and there are plenty of generic alleys and rooftops. Other bugs include occasional screen tearing and once I had to reset my PlayStation after Juliette died and the game refused to display the game over screen, leaving me spinning the camera over her lifeless corpse.
The game also takes an age to load and there instances when the game will load a cutscene, play for ten seconds, then load another cutscene. The checkpoints are rather sparse and combined with the lengthy pauses the game can test your pateince.
The AI is pretty much non existent with zombies running straight for Juliette and onto the end of her chainsaw. Lazy programming or accurate zombie behavior, I’ll let you decide.[drop2]The most bizarre aspect of the game (and bear in mind this is game in which you can castrate linebackers with a chainsaw between the legs) is that at certain points you cannot pause. Press the button and a small icon flashes on screen with the word ‘Pause’ crossed out. That’s just weird, I can’t think of any other game that refuses to let you pause.
The game is packed full of pop tunes and pretty much any song from the last fifty years containing the word ‘Lollipop’ is featured. When Juliette goes ‘Sparkle hunting’ you get a blast of Toni Basil’s classic cheerleading tune, “Hey Mickey” and there is a borderline genius pairing of a combine harvester and Dead Or Alive’s “You Spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)”
But hey, enough about the gameplay lets talk tits, arse and swearing.
Lollipop Chainsaw features some of the crudest language ever heard on a video game, barely a moment goes buy without an insult being flung and this is perfectly demonstrated by the first boss battle. Zed, a punk rocker who attacks by uttering curse words which then appear on screen in huge letters and rush towards Juliette.
You can literally be killed by the word ‘Cocksucker’.
I don’t have a problem with swearing and the countless upskirt shots (swerving the camera underneath Jullliete for a good look results in a trophy, for example) – from the very first trailer we knew what type of game to expect, however I do have a problem with repetition.
When Juliette meets her Sensai the cutscene ends with him landing face down in her cleavage. It’s not exactly amusing but raised a smirk, that is until moments later he is flung across the courtyard and ends up – yes you guessed it – face down in her cleavage again.
Much like People Can Fly’s sweary shooter Bulletstorm, Lollipop Chainsaw could do with a decent script editor. If you hear a swearword too many times it loses any impact and after the hundredth ‘cocksucking bastard whore’ I began to wish there was a mute button for the zombies.
The script has been created to amuse and shock but actually does neither, the only time I raised an eyebrow was when a Fireman zombie informed Juliette ‘I’m going to fist my arse with your head’, kudos to the writers for that particularly inventive and vulgar image.
- Old school gameplay
- Great music
- Long loading times
Such is the fickle world of gaming that the game can be found – one week after release – for £19.99. At that price, despite its flaws, the game is well worth a look, so the score’s a cleavage heaving, upskirt looking, foul mouthed…
(PS3 version reviewed)