Lollipop Chainsaw – Zombie Massacre Game
Not just another School Day
From renowned game developer Suda51 – the mind behind classic games like Killer7 and No More Heroes, Lollipop Chainsaw is an over-the-top action game that will have players fighting the hordes of the undead while solving the cause of the outbreak that took the once peaceful town of San Romero. You play the role of a spunky high school cheerleader named Juliet Starling. Our heroine might look like your average girl-next-door, but she has a secret that even her boyfriend Nick, does not know. When an outbreak of zombies occurs at her local high school, Juliet reveals to Nick that she is part of a family of zombie hunters. Together with her father and her two siblings, they fight to protect the world from zombies and other evil creatures.
Join Juliet as she fights her way through hordes of the undead while solving the mystery behind this sudden outbreak. Wielding a pair of pom-poms and her trusty chainsaw, together with Nick and her zombie hunting kin; can our heroine save the people of San Romero and defeat the evil mastermind behind the catastrophe?
The Sight of the Undead
Lollipops Chainsaw’s visuals uses a cell-shaded style to give the game an anime feel – which fits pretty good since the designs of the characters are anime inspired. The game takes place in a three dimensional environment like other action games of this genre. The different locations used in the game are represented quite well and really immerses the player in Juliet’s world, from the school to the local arcades, each location was rendered with enough textures and polygons to make them look believable. Since areas are cut into sections to prevent graphic pop-ups and for gameplay mechanics, load times tend to appear more often than other action games such as God of War – it’s a good thing the loading is fast.
Enemies in Lollipop Chainsaw are varied and plentiful. From your typical civilian zombie to zombie football players – the location pretty much dictates what type of undead denizens Juliet will encounter. Each enemy found in the game is rendered with a good amount of polygons and textures to make them look gruesome and dangerous, especially the bosses. While there are some wacky enemy designs such as the old couple – grandma even has a shopping cart in tow, they never look out of place, thanks to the game’s B-movie presentation. We really liked the fact that there are so many types of zombies in the game, since this gives the player the feel of how massive the outbreak is. While most of the zombies share animations and movements, there are unique zombies in the game that moves and attacks differently so players must always be on their toes.
Juliet, Nick and her family of zombie hunters all look amazing. With the artist’s designs and the games in-game rendering, they obviously made sure that our heroes look the part they are playing in the game, while looking their best. Players will definitely notice Juliet’s animation since she incorporates a lot of gymnastic skills in her movements, which we are quite sure, is motion-captured. Watching Juliet in motion, especially in the hands of a skilled player, with all her combos and moves, is poetry in motion.
Songs from the Grave
The game’s music is epic to say the least, since each stage is inspired by a different kind of music. From a punk, jazz to rock music – each type can be heard from the stages that Juliet ventures to, since the bosses our heroines faces pretty much personifies a music genre. Together with tons of licensed songs from both Western and Japanese song artists, Lollipop Chainsaw’s soundtrack is massive. Plus, did we mention that you can customize you own play list of music that plays on each level? Music unlocked and collected through out the game can be assigned on a play list for each of the stage available, giving the game a unique audio experience every time you play it. Player’s will be surprised at just how many licensed songs they will hear in this game – which was really something we enjoyed through out the game.
Sound Effects in Lollipop Chainsaw are good and well distributed in the game. Everything from Juliet’s chainsaw to the sound of breaking school lockers sounds authentic and adds that much needed depth and immersion to the game. Lollipop Chainsaw is a fully voiced game, from Juliet’s girly comments to a zombie’s funny dying words – they do say funny things before they kick the bucket, everyone and everything has a voice in this game. Though some zombie comments might not be suitable for very young audience, players should be advised on the game’s rating before letting their younger siblings watch them play.
The game is a 3D action game that plays similar to games like God of War and Devil May Cry. While not as fast as Dante or as overpowering like Kratos; Juliet moves with the ease and finesse – like any champion cheerleader, despite wielding a heavy chainsaw. Combos are done by pressing a series of buttons, each comprising of different attacks, such as pom-pom bashes and chainsaw swipes. Mixing combos and evasive maneuvers – such as jumps and leap-frogs on enemies, are crucial while facing multiple enemies at the same time. Movements might seem a bit stiff at the beginning sometimes, but this is actually due to fact that Juliet is wielding a heavy chainsaw and she does not have the strength of an enhanced human or the speed and agility of a super ninja like in other games. The stiffness of gameplay is also due to the lack of moves and combos earlier in the game – which is normal when you start a new game, once you learn new combos and other abilities the game becomes smooth as silk – well, for us it did.
Sparkle Hunting is the term given to Lollipop Chainsaw’s reward system from accomplishing multiple enemy kills on a single attack, which awards platinum zombie medals – that are used to purchase costumes, music, art and other goodies. It might sound easy to do, but believe us when we say that part of the game’s challenge is getting as much Sparkle Hunting moments while trying to get as many kills in one session. The amount of platinum zombies medals awarded depends on how many zombies where killed per Sparkle Hunting moment, which triggers when three or more zombies are decapitated on a single a chainsaw strike. Getting more kills multiplies the amount of platinum zombie medals awarded to the player.
Upgrading Juliet’s moves and stats, such as health and damage are done by using regular zombie medals – not the silver ones you get from Sparkle Hunting. There are no fixed paths in enhancing Juliet’s character status; it all comes down to the player’s preferences. The learnable combos and other evasive moves are readily available, as long as you have the medals to purchase them. While there are certain combos and special moves that are only accessed later in the game, these are not secrets but in fact were just inaccessible at the beginning for gameplay balance.
Additional items, game modes and difficulty levels are unlocked once stages are cleared. Game modes unlocked, such as ranking, time trial and medals/points modes are separate from the main story mode so medals and items acquired in these game modes do not carry over to the main story mode. Score and ranking achieved are sent online to a leader board where player’s can compare and compete with other Lollipop Chainsaw players around the world.
The Grave Digger’s Verdict
Lollipop Chainsaw is a throwback to old school action gaming – a rather bizzare game featuring zombies, where gameplay is the focus and not the presentation. The graphics might not be on par with visual juggernauts like God of War or Ninja Gaiden. Still, the game has its own visual style, which for us worked pretty well with the designs and settings of the game, especially since the game just happens in a small rural town. While some player’s might argue that the gameplay is a bit sluggish and not as fast or as “evolved” as other action games of this generation, it is still pretty fun once you have adapted to the gameplay designs and mechanics, since we would rather have a fun old school action game than a modern one that took it too far and lost it’s way (Yes, we are looking at you Ninja Gaiden 3). Another thing Lollipop Chainsaw has over other action games is the high replay value. With tons of unlockable costumes, music, art and game modes, people will be playing the game for quite awhile before they can complete everything, not to mention the achievements/trophies for the game and online leader boards. We highly recommend Lollipop Chainsaw to action game fans and even to gamers who are not fond of the genre. The game is simple and fun and has enough content to keep you busy for days. Truly, a gem amongst the stones.