It’s that time again. Time for me to talk about a Suda game. Suda games are usually a hit or a miss between audiences. They can become cult classics like No More Heroes and Killer7, or they can be completely forgotten like Diabolical Pitch. His games are only really considered by people who enjoy his style of storytelling and over-the-top gameplay. So it’s no surprise that I enjoy a good portion of his games. And one that I will be talking about today is the overly colorful and bubbly zombie hack n’ slash game, Lollipop Chainsaw
Lollipop Chainsaw is a game that follows the young, attractive, and thankfully eighteen-years-old Juliet Starling, captain of the cheerleading squad and also from a family of zombie killers. Equipped with her chainsaw and the living decapitated-head of her boyfriend Nick, Juliet is on a mission to stop the schools outcast, Swan, from destroying the world with the help of the five Dark Purveyors, punk rock, loudmouth Zed, death metal viking Vikke, the hyperdelic hippie Mariska, the funk rock, auto-tuned Josey, and the classic rock-and-roll zombie with an elephant motorcycle, Lewis Legend, all representing a sort of genre of rock music. Along the way, Juliet gets help from her two sister, Cordelia, a take-no-shit sniper, and Rosalind, a hyper teenager, and even gets help from her father, Gideon, who is just every action movie hero you can think of. With the help of her family, her cynical boyfriend, and perverted sensei Morikawa, she has to stop Swan’s plan for destruction. And let me just throw this out there, this game is dumb. This game is really, really, REALLY dumb. And I love it!
Lollipop Chainsaw is a game that is filled with really dumb moments. After all, this is a game that has a cheerleader cutting apart zombies with a chainsaw while sucking on lollipops as she cuts their heads off with rainbows and sparkles shooting out while Hey Mickey plays. And yet I love that. Granted, the tutorial level isn’t too great with it’s combat. You have a stun attack and a kill attack. And that’s it. But let me tell you, once you buy the first set of upgrades in the first level, that is when the game starts to pick up, and get real good, in that classic Suda51 fashion. New combos, styles of attacking zombies, and methods of dodging out of an attack and delivering a follow up attack just feel so satisfying once you start to get the hang of it. Having to clear hordes and hordes of zombies with these moves can prove to be real satisfying, as you manage to stun a whole army of them and then cut their heads off, granting you a ton of points and medals. Oh, also, this game is just as much a highscore racking game as it is a normal hack n’ slash game. Sure, points may seem like a whole nothing thing for this game, but when you see that there are points, and you take yourself out of the hack n’ slash mindset and put yourself in an arcade kind of mindset, you’ll see just how much fun it is. Not to mention, Beating Dad’s Score (That’s what it’s called in the game) will grant you a ton of medals that you can use to buy new upgrades, trait boosts, uniforms, and music that you can listen to when playing through the game.
Other things you can do in the combat is enter a sparkle mode where you just start cutting apart zombies like crazy, one hit killing them, and getting more points for it. It’s fun, but only for a limited time. Another thing is the Nick Roulette, where you use a ticket to use any ability of Nick, from Nick Toss, where you swing his head around to kill zombies, Nick Shake where you shake his head to get more money, Nick Popper, where you shoot Nicks head to stun the enemies for multi-kills, and Nick Throw, where you roll his head to kill groups of zombies. While the combat is certainly good, there are some sequences that mix up the combat, with some mini-games. Some of them are okay, like driving around in a tractor while slicing apart zombies while listening to You Spin Me Around by Dead or Alive. Other ones, like Zombie Basketball or the Chainsaw Dash sequences are okay, nothing spectacular. Zombie Basketball leaves as soon as it came, and Chainsaw Dash has a very odd, almost stiff feel to it that keeps it from being perfect. And that scaffolding mini-game and Zombie Baseball can go rot in hell. The scaffolding mini-game throws constant, almost hard to spot crap at you, and if you get hit by one thing, it’s an instant kill and you have to restart the whole thing. Zombie Baseball has a terrible auto-lock with the Chainsaw Blaster, a gun for the Chainsaw, that only sticks on the zombie to aim at, but never stays on them when they move, so it starts to make you feel like everything’s out of control. It doesn’t help that Nick has to cheer every time he passes a base, making more zombies rush at him. Thankfully, most of these are one and done, unlike most games that would have these awful sequences and make you do them several times.
Other things that this game does well is the style of humor. Let me tell you, this game had no right to be super serious and dramatic like No More Heroes 2 or Killer 7, so naturally, it took all serious situations and threw them out the window. This game is full blown insanity and it just goes along with it. This game gives me a similar feeling that Saints Row IV did. Constant banters between Juliet and Nick about fetishes and music references. And the hilarious descriptions of the zombies you find. This is not a game you should play if you are not used to vulgar slang. The characters swear every minute, and zombies will say vulgar trash just for fun. This game feels like a huge parody filled with sex jokes and references. Shit, this game gives me some Panty and Stocking feeling. Shame they didn’t have a PSG costume in the game. The costumes in this game are pretty good. Sure, you have the typical sexy uniforms, but then you get ones like a full bunny costume, a Japanese maid, and some based on anime. There is one from Deadman Wonderland, the edgiest anime of the 2000s. Not one, but two Highschool of the Dead uniforms, proof that it truly is the best anime. And a uniform from this shit anime called Is This a Zombie, a series that people want me to review when they realize that I will never review that trash. The different things you can buy really give this game more replay value, just so you can see what else you can buy if you put the time into it.
A lot of people say that this game is far too short for the price it has on it, and while I would agree, especially at full retail price, I don’t see the short gameplay being a factor. Hell, I see it as being a benefit to this game. The short campaign that is about five to six hours works in the favor of replay. You wanna get to a section because you screwed up on saving one survivor, just skip to that section and save him. Wanna beat Dad’s Score in one area, done. This works in the favor of frequent playthroughs and I don’t have a problem with it. I do have a problem with this game being charged with more than what it’s really worth. Seriously, thirty bucks, at the least! But one thing that is always a staple in Suda games is the boss fights. The boss fights with the Dark Purveyors is some of the best I’ve seen in video games, as is common for Suda games. Having to deal with Zed throwing slang at you that can actually physically harm you to having to fight off Lewis as his motorcycle always changes no matter how much damage is done to it. These bosses add so much creativity to them and just make them stand out more than most hack and slash bosses. No one will remember shit boss #5 from Devil May Cry 2, but I think everyone will remember the first boss of Lollipop Chainsaw… assuming people bought the game in the first place.
After Juliet manages to kill off the last of the Dark Purveyors, it’s found out that this was all part of Swan’s plan, as the Dark Purveyors were actually a sacrifice to a much more evil creature. Swan then blows his head off and thus, transforms into the Zombie of All Zombies, Killabilly, a fat, bloated Elvis-looking giant that can shoot lasers, attack you with his long tongue, create a whirlwind to send zombies at you, control cars to run you over, and just in general, make you feel sick just by looking at him. I mean, this is one of the most disgusting bosses I’ve seen, but not too bad. I heard a lot of people say that Lewis was a much more fun boss fight than Killabilly, and I do agree, but I thought that this boss was fine. There’s probably some symbolic bullshit in here somewhere. Suda’s good at doing that. After Gideon sacrifices himself in an explosion from a motorcycle covered in dynamite and grenades to open a hole in Killabilly, Juliet makes her way to the heart of Killabilly to destroy him, but the only way to destroy the heart is for Nick to sacrifice himself and destroy the heart. With a tearful goodbye, Juliet escapes the body of Killabilly, and Nick sacrifices himself to destroy him. But because of his nobel sacrifice, Nick is given a chance to return to earth, but with a new body. I could spoil this, but it’s too funny for me to do that, so you’ll just have to play the game for yourself to find the joke. After that, Nick and Juliet are reunited, and Gideon is also still alive, and the family go home. Now, depending on if you saved all the classmates, you’ll either get the good ending or the bad ending. Knowing me… I got the bad ending. But details.
Despite the fact that Lollipop Chainsaw was a game that had mixed reception, it still, somehow, became Grasshopper Manufacturer’s highest selling game of all time. Yes, more than No More Heroes, which everyone claims is Suda’s magnum opus (Well, that or Killer 7, but nobody bought Killer 7). Despite falling into obscurity, Lollipop Chainsaw still lives on, with the cosplay community dressing as Juliet in conventions worldwide. Truly a great way to remember a franchise.
I don’t care what anyone says, I love this game so much. It’s dumb, it’s stupid, it’s borderline retarded, but it’s great. It has fun combat, funny writing, and just an enjoyable game all around. It’s a quick game that you can pick up and play, really giving it that arcade feel, and it’s just a game that I can’t help but come back to time and time again. It may not be Suda’s best game, but it sure as hell is a good game. The minigames may be bad, and it may be short, but it’s still good to me. With that, I give this game the rank of Excavation Worthy.