Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Hack and Slash
June 12th, 2012
Juliet Starling is just a cheerleader wanting to live her life. She’s in love with her boyfriend Nick, adores her family, and aspires for her squad to win at nationals. However, zombies decide to ruin her day (which also just so happens to be her 18th birthday), and we learn that Juliet and her family aren’t exactly as normal as they appear. The Starling Family are zombie hunters, and now is Juliet’s time to shine. Fan service. Zombies. Innuendo. Gratuitous violence. Crass jokes. This game offers zombie slaughtering with flair and sparkly rainbows. Lots and lots of sparkly rainbows.
Be prepared to be dazzled by the bright, cheerful colors as you proceed along with your zombie hunting. Shredding zombies results in a bit of blood and a lot of rainbows and flower petals. The game’s colorful aesthetic adds to the over the top feel. Each level has its own unique feel that creates a nice sense of passage throughout the game, and enemies have a varied design to them as well. The boss zombies are uniquely designed based on different stereotypes (punk rockers, hippies, Elvis), and offset Juliet’s style perfectly. Juliet has a wide variety of costumes to unlock, allowing for a nice change whenever you feel like giving her a new look. Her outfits range from her family members, original outfits, and cosplaying popular anime characters.
At times the loading for the Playstation 3 seemed to drag on a slight bit, and I couldn’t help noticing a few sections where the graphics did not seem to render/register properly. After completing the game and restarting the prologue to see what I unlocked (first I needed to trek through the level to the Chop2Shop stand), Juliet had a greenish tint to her until the actual gameplay initiated. There were also times when smoke/blood/petals came out looking blocky and not fully loaded. While these issues did not slow down or hinder the game in any way, they were at least noticeable enough to make mention. At one point during the fifth stage, Juliet glitched through the entire level. I believe she was supposed to spin down from the top floor where she was to the bottom via pole, instead she simply jumped out of the map. I’m happy to report that after a moment she simply fell back through to the proper place and no gameplay was interrupted. Somewhat long loading times are passed by comic styled artwork. You'll see them frequently, but the artwork is nice on the eyes.
The soundtrack to the game is utterly amazing with catchy music you’ll find yourself humming along to, and with compositions by Akira Yamaoka and Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence, you’re certainly going to have a blast. Many other modern day tracks have found their way into the game’s soundtracks. Be prepared to hear “Lollipop” and “Mickey” because these two tracks will play frequently throughout your playthrough.
The game is filled with pop culture references and modern slang, with dialogue that is certainly not for kids. With well-placed one-liners and quips however, the game is full of humor. Between Juliet’s airheaded remarks, Nick’s sarcastic but sometimes down to earth retorts, and the random jibes from enemies and civilians, you’ll enjoy a few snickers. Make sure any kiddies or anyone easily offended aren’t within earshot, however. Some may not take kindly to such quotes like “I never thought I’d be rescued by someone with such great tits!” or “I’ll masturbate to you tonight Juliet!”
Juliet uses the skills she’s been honing her body for. As a cheerleader, she attacks with her licks and pom-poms, vaulting over dazed foes and flipping out of danger when necessary. She also just so happens to be packing a (fashionably cute) chainsaw for heavier strikes against foes. Dazing an enemy with pom-pom attacks will make things easier when it’s time to lop off limbs with the chainsaw. Combos with her quick attacks and her heavier chainsaw blows create a dynamic way to battle enemies, especially once you unlock more for Juliet to use. Some combos are more useful and quicker to use than others, proving to be fairly devastating against all type of zombies. Medals are rewarding for clearing various tasks ranging from saving civilians to slaughtering hordes of the undead. Initiating sparkle mode without a full meter (executing three or more zombies at once) provides more medals including platinum medals. Sparkle Mode allows Juliet’s chainsaw to gain extra power to kill almost all zombies in one swipe; the more zombies killed in one go, the more medals the player receives. The meter easily maxes out as long as you kill all zombies, which is usually necessary in order to progress the stage anyway.
At times Juliet will face quick little challenges such as zombie basketball and baseball. These are time based sections where you must either decapitate a certain number of zombies or protect Nick as he runs bases. Other times Juliet can pole dance with her chainsaw to slaughter her foes, or bounce off zombies’ heads to insta-kill them (providing you timed your jumps/button combos correctly). These sections are brief, and only found a few times within the game. It would have been nicer to see them appear more often.
Juliet’s chainsaw gains some special tricks as the game progresses. These extras can be used in the level they are given and onwards, but replaying levels will cause the extras to be locked again. Nick may just be a head, but he comes in handy as well. With a Nick Ticket, Juliet’s decapitated boyfriend can assist in battle in a variety of ways from acting as a pick me up should Juliet fall in combat to more offensive tasks such as being used as a projectile or simply bashing enemies around. At certain points in the game, Juliet can use her cheering skills and Nick’s head on specific zombie bodies, allowing the player to take control of Nick in a quick button matching game. These segments are usually very short, coming into play whenever a special task (i.e. clearing a boulder out of the way) crops up.
has great potential for replayability. Per usual there are trophies/achievements to hunt for, loads of collectables to unlock, high scores to beat, and multiple difficulties to test yourself on. However, the game is also short, so even with everything to do accomplished players will probably clear everything relatively quickly. Score attack modes and higher difficulties may add some extra playtime on to the game, but such tasks like scoring the best ending, which requires saving all of Juliet’s classmates, can easily be accomplished on the first run through the game on normal.
If you’re coming to Lollipop Chainsaw
looking for a deep, sophisticated story, you’re looking in the wrong place. The plot is meant to be outrageously juvenile and light hearted. The humor is raunchy and certainly reflects the immaturity of stereotypical high school life, but that feels right at home with a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. You’re meant to have fun and enjoy a few laughs. A potential certainly remains for any possible DLC should the developers ever consider it. Juliet mentions other zombie/monster hunting she has done in the past, and such additions would certainly add to the replay value should they ever come about.