Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Lollipop Chainsaw - Killing zombies with lollipop power

Lollipop Chainsaw has been out for nearly a good month and a half now, so no doubt a good few of you have picked up this already and had a good playthrough of it, much like myself. It's a pretty interesting style of game, and of course, pretty wacky, but coming from Grasshopper Manufacture, that doesn't even surprise me anymore, considering the other titles they've released(No More Heroes, for example). What got to me with this was, how underrated it's actually been. So is it actually as bad as some say?

Let's start with the basics, Lollipop Chainsaw at it's core is a hack n slash zombie game where you play as birthday girl Juliet, a cheerleader for the San Romero Knights...who just so happens to have her boyfriends head attached to her waist(there are worse ways to go, gotta say). The high school gets hit by this weird ritual in which zombies take over and you, being the badass cheerleader with a chainsaw, have to clear them out, essentially. Story wise, it's there, but nothing you need to rattle your brain over. It's basic in style, but that's all it needed to be for this game.

Combat is fairly clunky at the beginning. You start off with a series of basic combos, chainsaw attacks, pom pom attacks and your low attacks. That's about it. Don't attempt to guard either, since there is no way to do so. Fear not however, as you progress and collect zombie tokens either littered around everywhere or by killing them zombies, you can purchase new combos which improves the feel of the combat as well as makes it far more interesting as well. Health, strength, lock-on and recovery upgrades are available as well, but i'd suggest getting the combos first, as you'll be needing them more at the beginning. Getting good combo chains in as well as well aimed attacks can get you a flashy multi-kill animation where you get bonuses to your gold and platinum tokens(used for music, artwork and all the costumes) which fell pretty damn satisfying. My only gripe with them is that, after a while, they can be a little repetitive, but they don't remove from the flow of combat i found, surprisingly. You'd have thought that slowing everything down to show you 3-7 zombies heads flying off with rainbows spouting out of them would cause disruptions but there we go. Also, it's worth mentioning the Sparkle power, which is the meter at the bottom left which, when filled, makes chainsaw attacks insta-kill and you invincible, and the nick attacks. You fire Nicks head at enemies to stun them and make them vulnerable to your chainsaw attacks.

There are other upgrades you will get via story progression, the chainsaw blaster which is your gun, easy to use but i do recommend you turn off auto-aim, it makes it a lot easier, and the chainsaw dash. Chainsaw Blaster is annoying in a couple ways, one to get used to it, the second is that everytime you choose to use it, Juliet shouts "Chainsaw Blaster". granted there is enough variation in how she says it, but really? I think once every so often would've been a bit better.

The best thing i found about Lollipop Chainsaw was the aesthetic of the game. My god is it fantastic. Each level is designed with a different genre in mind, and it ensures the music follows suit to. One stage will have you listening to Dragonforce as you work your way to the punk rock boss, the next you'll be listening to viking metal whilst trying to get atop a flying viking ship. Also, i can't leave this section without mentioning how fantastic the music in stage 3 is. When you reach a certain section of the game where you need to kill hundreds of zombies to progress, you'll know what i mean. Fit so perfectly. The soundtrack was superb, well thought out and there isn't a song that is out of place within it.

Finally, the main other thing i feel needs mentioning is the voice acting. Tara Strong does a fantastic job as Juliet Starling, even if the "chainsaw blaster" line gets repeated way to often, but the praise has to be handed to Nicks voice actor the most; Micheal Rosenbaum. When i first heard he'd be voicing Nick in this, i wonder what the hell to expect. When i think of him at all, i think of Lex Luthor from Smallville, and just can't imagine him in more of a comical role, but he nails it, and in many ways, carries the game with it. Yeah, all the voice acting is pretty good, but he does stand out atop the rest.

Overall, i very much enjoyed Lollipop Chainsaw to the fullest, and go back to it often enough when i feel like killing with all that lollipop power. Sure, it starts off a little slow in terms of combat, and the story is basic, but it's not about a extremely deep and though provoking storyline. It's about a cheerleader zombie hunter equipped with a chainsaw massacring many a zombie in an attempting zombie apocalypse, with well placed humour and a fantastic soundtrack. It needed nothing else, and does exactly what it needed to, entertain.

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