Lollipop Chainsaw--Zombie Killing Cheerleaders
Have you ever wondered, when you’re playing a standard modern shooter, why you’re not, say, a high school teenager in uniform destroying boatloads of zombies with a chainsaw instead?
Games are meant to tap into fantasy, and apparently most fantasies either involve orcs and elves or shooting up the enemy of the week in a grey-brown environment. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes, I want some good B-Horror movie action that would make Quentin Tarantino giddy like a schoolgirl.
In Lollipop Chainsaw you play as Juliet, a high school cheerleader with a secret from her boyfriend—she’s a zombie hunter. The game regularly plays on all the tropes of the B-movies it relates to—she’s a cheerleader, sucks constantly on lollipops, set in Southern California and she has a varsity jacket wearing boyfriend. As a pigtailed blonde, Juliet is half-naked and clueless.
She’s also one of the more empowered female characters I’ve encountered in video games.
Her sexuality is often played for kicks—every time Juliet opens a door with her chainsaw, you get a shot up her skirt for example, but out of everyone in the game, Juliet is the only character who seems to know what is going on. She’s freakishly strong, incredibly deadly, and her attacks may involve sparkles, rainbows, and pom-poms, but she also carries a chainsaw.
The game is like someone combined one of those horribly gendered little girls games and Resident Evil. It’s also genuinely funny—especially the relationship between Juliet and her boyfriend Nick. You might recognize the voice actress (Tara Strong a la Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls) and her delivery is absolutely perfect. The game is incredibly cinematic, with action being consistently interrupted, but never in a way that hurts the flow of the story or gameplay. The plot is patently ridiculous, but with tongue firmly in cheek, so you get to laugh alongside the game.
That said, seeing up Juliet’s skirt every couple of seconds was a bit obnoxious if you’re not super interested in her lady bits, and the game can be quite unforgiving on save points. If you fail to beat back the zombies in the first scene (which features most of the tutorial as well as sizable fight scene), the game starts over, and the spacing between save points could definitely have been more tailored.
The game has been out for almost a year now, and that means you can pick it up on the cheap at your local GameStop and I would suggest you do so. Despite the issues, the game is a great deal of fun. It’s available on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.