Gamescom 2011: Lollipop Chainsaw Preview - Blood and Bubblegum
Written Friday, August 26, 2011 By Lee AbrahamsView author's profile
Suda 51 is rapidly becoming “that guy” in gaming circles thanks to his outlandish take on a variety of genres. So it's nice to see him take a step back into something a little more mellow once in a while. His latest title is a laid back story about a small town girl, just making her way through day to day challenges and really buckling down with community work. Oh – and she kills a shitload of zombies too. That part is kind of important.
Displaying all the restraint of the proverbial male cow in the fine dining section, Lollipop Chainsaw is liable to be another balls to the wall assault on your senses and certainly not one for the kiddies either. It focuses on the efforts of Juliet Starling, ace cheerleader and birthday girl, to rid her town of San Romero (in a nice nod to the king of zombie cinema) of the rather undead hordes that have invaded it.
Of course, even a zombie slaying cheerleader needs help every now and again, so it makes sense that she would carry her trusty chainsaw around with her in order to lop off a few heads. Talking of heads she also his the rather odd sight of a head, namely Nick, being attached to her belt as a constant companion. The creators where tight lipped about his overall purpose but he spent the demo spouting helpful hints, the odd insult and a few pleasantries. Come the final product his usefulness may well be a touch more obvious than the vague allusions to collectibles that would unlock certain attributes for him.
The basic gameplay is straightforward enough, with Juliet having a range of light attacks based on cheerleader style moves that she uses to stun and disorient her brain loving foes. Once they are ripe for the slaughter she can rev up her signature chainsaw and really go to town, severing limbs and unleashing a range of execution style finishers as a coup de grace. However, no need for all of this violence to get you down as each grisly demise is followed by pink clouds and vivid rainbows to brighten your mood, plus the odd star or two if you're especially awesome. Racking up stars will help fill up Juliet’s special move meter, at which point she can go into a pink fuelled overdrive.
Along the way Juliet has the chance to save her fellow classmates from a fate worse than death, or undeath, or something. Should she fail to rescue people from the horde though, they will undergo a bit of a shift in perspective from, “Hey, it’s that hot cheerleader!” to “Hey, it’s that hot cheerleader, let’s eat her brains!”. These zombies are a touch more souped up than the regular flavour but still pose no threat to our fearless heroine and her overzealous techniques. When one of the basic controls is labeled as a Crotch Attack, then you just know that you aren’t going to let anything stand in your way.
The first boss was Zed, a punk rocker with a bad attitude and a potty mouth. His special attacks involve forming giant letter attacks from his profane lyrics, and when the words “Fuckin’ bitch!” are hurtling towards you then it's time to think fast. Dodging plummeting speakers, and high speed melee attacks leaves little room for maneuver but the plucky blonde does a bit of slicing and dicing to emerge victorious. Though the horror of button bashing quick time events did rear their head at various stages of the fight.
With such an interesting premise, the promise of an epic score and multiple routes through the game and choices to make, this is shaping up to be very interesting indeed. However, the same could have been said of Shadows of the Damned which, despite critical praise, failed to make much of an impact with gamers. The lead character also has a similar style, and lollipop fetish, as a certain Umbra witch which is a tough comparison to live up to. And when you throw the impending arrival of action titles like Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden into the mix as well, then it could be a tough year for this quirky action title. Despite all of that though, we remain amazingly optimistic that Lollipop Chainsaw will hit all the right notes (and a few zombies) when it lands, so keep your chainsaws ready and a beady eye on the horizon.
Assuming that the madcap shenanigans come together in suitable style - and why wouldn’t they? - then you can expect to be singing “Lollipop, lollipop, oh lolly, lolly, lolly Lollipop……chainsaw” come 2012.