Some people might not know whom I am about to talk about. I am going to talk about a very wonderful and passionate voice actress named Tara Strong. She is probably the best female voice actor of all time. She has such a charm and passion for what she does. Plus, she is EVERYWHERE in today’s entertainment media. She has been voice acting for years and she is just amazing at it. She has been in shows like Powerpuff Girls, Drawn Together, My Little Pony, Teen Titans, and many other shows that I could mention, but this opening paragraph would be 500 pages long. She has even done amazingly well in video games like Psychonaughts, Final Fantasy 10, Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, No More Heroes 2, Batman Arkham City, Ratchet and Clank Future Tools of Destruction, Eternal Sonata, and Asura’s Wrath. Man, if I could, I would marry her because I just love how talented she is! Well then, why am I talking about her you may ask? It is because she is the main voice actress and main hero of today’s review, Lollipop Chainsaw for the PS3 and 360.
Let’s get started with the story then! Tara Strong plays Juliet Starling, one of three daughters of the Starling family, lover of lollipops, and local zombie hunter at San Romero High (the school she used to attend). One day, a goth punk named Swan, voiced by Sean Gunn, shows up at the school. He has decided to bring Hell to Earth and revive a group of rock zombie lords to conquer the world! Juliet, along with her head of a boyfriend, Nick, voiced by Michael Rosenbaum and with the help of her zombie hunting family, must stop Swan from bringing Hell to Earth and conquering this realm! Let’s be honest here, the story is grungy, stupid, crude, rude, sexy, and blood-filled, and…THAT’S WHY IT’S AWESOME! It is so enjoyable, so crude, rude, sexy, and freaking hilarious! If you take this game seriously, STOP IT! JUST STOP IT! The characters are enjoyable, the bad guys are enjoyable, and everything just hits it in all of the right spots. It does use profanity just to use profanity, and yeah, some of the lines can be rather outrageous, but you know what? Enjoy it.
The game play is a hack-and-slash action game with some platforming, QTE’s, and mini-games thrown in to keep you on your feet and break up the game. The main meat of the game is going through linear levels chopping down zombies, eating lollipops, eating fat-filled snacks to increase your health bar, and at the end of each level, take down one of the zombie rock and roll lords. Your main weapons that you will be using are your chainsaw and pompoms. Instead of being a straight up hack-and-slash style of game, there is a bit of strategy and score-making to be had here. Your pompoms are your light attacks, and your chainsaw is your heavy attack. It’s recommended you make the zombies bundle up to each other using your pompoms and then use your chainsaw to decapitate them. You can use just your chainsaw, but you can gain more coins, points, and medals when you kill a bunch of zombies at once. Throughout the game, you will be gaining upgrades and new weapons to add onto your chainsaw. You will get stuff like a huge revolver, a super dash attack, and attacks involving your boyfriend’s head! Oh yeah, I should explain that. Early in the game’s story, Juliet chops off Nick’s head to prevent him from becoming a zombie, and it can be used in many different attacks. You can even put his head on a zombie’s body to solve minor puzzles with. From time to time, you will have to use QTE sequences, but they are not that bad. Plus, we shouldn’t be surprised that games use them now. There are different mini-games thrown in throughout the entire game to break up the action. They range from lopping off zombie heads into basketball hoops, zombie baseball, riding a wheat-harvesting machine to run over zombies with, and even tributes to games like Pacman and Elevator Action. Throughout the game, you can gain items ranging from upgrades, music, different outfits, and concept art. Everything is pretty dang pricey so it helps to score as many coins and medals as possible. You get an exciting, over-the-top, and fun package, even if the game is a bit on the short side, though that doesn’t matter because the game is fun, funny, and enjoyable.
The graphics fit the game perfectly! Gritty, colorful, and well-detailed. Sure, some people can say that it looks rough, but that’s the point of it. It’s like an over-the-top grindhouse flick. Not everything has to look like the Final Fantasy games or Heavy Rain. In an industry that is afraid to make every game a shooter and not look unique, Lollipop Chainsaw looks amazing and unique amongst the games of this year. The voice acting is wonderful. Do I even need to say how amazing Tara Strong is as the role of Juliet? She is perfect. All of the other voice actors are also putting in so much emotion and are just having a lot of fun with their characters. This is how voice acting should be in a game. It shouldn’t be as dull and boring as Inversion, it needs to be lively, like this game and many of Suda 51’s work! The music fits the game. Among having some of the best songs to come out of the 80’s and some recent stuff, the original music for the game is great. It’s composed by Silent Hill composer, Akira Yamaoka, and Mindless Self Indulgence lead singer Jimmy Urine. There is just something to be said when you fight the first part of the final boss with Dragonforce playing in the background, or hearing that extremely catchy lollipop song in the store menu.
With such a unique set-up, simple-yet-fun combat, and perfect voice acting, music, and humor, what is wrong with this game? Well, during the beginning of the game, Juliet’s controls feel a bit tank-like. Granted, it’s not Eternal Darkness or old Resident Evil-style tank controls, but you can’t move around as fluently as in Bayonetta or God of War. I adjusted to the controls, but it was a bit awkward at first. I also found some of the levels to be a bit long. I guess I would have liked shorter levels with more bosses, since each level can take about 40 minutes or so to beat. I also found a lot of the upgrades to get rather expensive since some upgrades take normal money and others take silver medals and they can take forever to get. I also found some minor glitches, but they didn’t break the game or make it crash so they get a pass. I also found the rule of dying if you failed a mini-game to be tedious since sometimes the mini-games can be rather unpolished like zombie baseball, and I kept dying over and over again, but that could have been personally my fault. Still, why couldn’t I just have the score I got and continue the level instead of having the start the whole dang mini-game over?
Overall, this is one of my personal favorite games of 2012 so far. I LOVE IT. I love that it’s an original game amongst mediocre shooters. Not only is it a new IP, it’s actually good! I mean it, too. In an industry that is afraid not to make a shooter and won’t step into making a more creative game, I am happy to see games like Lollipop Chainsaw exist. If you are hesitant about picking this game up, depending on your experience with Shadows of the Damned, I would highly recommend renting it. If you are a super fan of Suda 51 and James Gunn, buy it. It is definitely worth your time. If only more companies could have more fun and really run with a fun idea for a video game. Platinum Games does it, Twisted Pixel does it, why don’t you, game industry?
This game gets a 7 out of 10