Videogame: Lollipop Chainsaw Review – 360, PS3

Wrapping up my thoughts on this game is extremely difficult so in the words of whatever movie White Zombie sampled, “perhaps you had better start from the beginning”.  Lollipop Chainsaw is a videogame and does not hide this fact.  It has the likes of James Gunn, Suda 51, Akira Yamaoka, and Jimmy Urine on its credits.  To describe Grasshopper (the developer) as a “punk rock” game developer may be appropriate but like many social stigmas, how in the hell do you define that?  Evidently with sparkles, zombies, and a chainsaw.

There’s always a star and a backstory and this one is rather simple.  Scantily clad cheerleader Juliet Starling is part of a monster hunting family and has a football playing boyfriend who happens to be voiced by Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum).  Emo goth kid gets depressed, summons zombies, and wackiness ensues.  The less you hear about the actual events in the game the better since the story and craziness of the world are the reasons to play the game, not unlike a Saints Row sequel.  Honestly there are several things in Lollipop Chainsaw that made me squint and saw, you got that from Saints Row the Third didn’t you?  But in all reality coming out under a year later than Saints Row the Third, they probably didn’t have time to actually design in homage.

Mechanically speaking the game is a beat ’em up.  Sure its more complicated than say Scott Pilgrim vs the World but its no Devil May Cry.  It is easy to get stuck on one combo that does you good in the game but I really advise trying them all out.  Get coins from killing zombies and buy combos.  Engage in sparkle hunting (killing more than 3 zombies with one blow) and receive silver coins that can be traded for outfits, music, sketches, etc.   I’m sure you’ve heard by now that all shopping is done to the 1958 hit song “Lollipop” made famous by the Chordettes.

That’s the thing about a Suda 51 game.  Its one giant satire and raw tribute to pop culture in the most obscene way.  If you have never experienced Shadows of the Damned, No More Heroes, Killer 7, or the like then Lollipop Chainsaw is going to be down right amazing.  The amount of style that goes into a Grasshopper game is amazing and puts other games to shame.  The menu artwork for Lollipop Chainsaw will remind many of the old Misfit album covers.  Sure the gameplay isn’t doing anything new but not every game can be a Portal.  Honestly I’m a bit jealous of those whose first experience with a Suda game is Lollipop Chainsaw because its going to be a gateway drug.  And Lollipop Chainsaw is to marijuana as the other games are to crack.

I suppose I should mention something of the sexuality and its portrayal of the female lead.  Normally an over sexualized female lead is a good way to turn me off to a game but Lollipop is a bit of a joke on that front.  Sure you can pan the camera down to get a shot up her skirt and she’ll try and cover herself up and sure a lot of the cut scenes have underwear shots.  The game is so overtly aware of the lines it crosses its hard to hold a grudge.  Top that off with the fact that Juliet Starling is in charge of every situation she encounters.  She is never the damsel in distress and her primary weakness is the player.  She’s a ditz but oddly not stupid.  I’m sure people will still drool over her and draw fan fic all the same, but it is done in the name of satire.  You could say this game is targeted at men but the people I know in real life who love this game the most are women.  Whether that’s the sign of something bigger wrong with society or something wrong with how society interprets the portrayal of human beings is not in the scope of this review.

You probably already know if you’re going to like this game or not.  Cheerleader chainsaws zombies and turns them into sparkles all with the company of her boyfriend’s head.  The big dividing line is going to be the whole have you played a Suda 51 game before.  If yes, the game is going to please but its not going to be as good as its predecessors.  If you haven’t the game is going to blow you away and then you’re going to go back and play the rest of Suda 51’s catalog which will blow you even harder.  It would be easier to recommend this game if it was $40 though but eh, I’m sure we’ve all paid more for less hours of entertainment other places (like going to the movies if you’re a couple or family).  But I mean overall, chainsaws are the way to my heart.  And while zombies got old a long time ago, they’re still good for the occasional joke.  Want proof of that?  I bet Sean of the Dead or Zombie Land are the two zombie movies most people are willing to still watch.


About MusiM
Musician, writer, Gundam model hobbyist, video game lover, host of The Carousel Podcast, and all with a day job.

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