mikeinsc's Lollipop Chainsaw (Xbox 360) review

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Empty, Goofy Fun

Looking at reviews, this game has some WIDELY disparate reviews. Some love it, some loathe it. Some think the combat is weak, some think the combat is functional. Some love the writing, some find it grating.

I will not deny that I love this game. I can see all of the faults, but I do enjoy the game immensely.

You play Juliet Starling, a high school cheerleader from a family of zombie hunters. Your boyfriend is Nick, who is a sarcastic high school boy who tolerates Juliet's faults but seems to recognize that she has a lot of faults. Juliet's world is turned upside down when her school is overtaken by evil and zombies kidnap many of her classmates. You must fight the zombie threat alongside your two sisters and Elvis-esque father. Nick is THE star of this game for me as he is, easily, the best written character in it. Juliet is a very dim-witted girl whose idiocy makes her more adorable than sexy (she actually is a strong female lead in the same vain as Bayonetta --- a girl who is supposed to be sexy but seems to overcome it nicely). Her sisters are barely flushed out as characters, nor is her father --- but her boyfriend is the superstar here.

After having his life saved and becoming a detached head attached to her hip (that they don't attempt to explain why outside of "magic" is golden), Nick's sarcasm is brilliant. His dialogue is well-worth listening to and the interaction between Juliet and he spice up a game that can drag on in spots.

The combat seems to be an issue for many, but I found it functional. It wasn't mind-blowing, but it worked fine and her skills improve as the game goes on. The combat is fairly easy (dodge, dropkick, decapitate) but, again, it is functional. Her combos become more and more useful in combat and she eventually becomes a bit of a bad-ass, instead of somebody who has to defensively handle situations.

The story is, as usual for Grasshopper Games, extremely odd. The bosses are all weird in their assorted ways. The game embraces its weirdness, not explaining why things like killing multiple zombies at once is termed "Sparkle Hunting" or why you play basketball by slicing off zombie heads and they fly off into a basketball hoop. How holding a chainsaw a certain way allows one to fly across levels at breakneck speeds. How Nick can dispense coins and lollipops from his neck hole. None of this is explained at it actually makes the game a better playthrough.

Now, the repetitive part of the game is the music. Lollipop plays, on a loop, in the menus. When you enter Soul Spirit mode, you hear "Mickie" by Toni Basil. Yes, they do get really irritating. However, those are the only two things that I found incredibly irritating. The rest is fine. Yes, you frequently have to kill a certain number of enemies to advance in a level, which happens to be a mechanic in basically every game on the market. It seems to be a bit silly to criticize Lollipop for doing something that basically every single action game ever made does.

This game is not going to appeal to everybody, but it is one of the more enjoyable experiences of the year. A GOTY? Definitely no. But fun and well worth playing.

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