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Lollipop Chainsaw review

One cheerleader battles the undead, but the gameplay isn't as inventive as the concept

We may fault Lollipop Chainsaw for its monotonous zombie-slaying combat and bland level design, but it's ahead of the pack in other elements, thanks to the incredibly well-done script. Written with the help of James Gunn -- Hollywood screenwriter behind 2004's Dawn of the Dead remake along with under-appreciated horror gem Slither -- the script offers up his skewed take on the incredibly twisted world and situation the characters find themselves in. Plus the writing doesn't just flash brilliance in the cutscenes; we found ourselves continually smirking at the silly exchanges between Juliet and Nick as they run through the halls of San Romero High.

The great writing helps establish the characters, a move that helps retail interest throughout the weakest elements of the game. No area improves more thanks to the witty dialogue than boss fights against the rock 'n roll zombie lords that are causing all the trouble. Voiced by quality film actors (though they may not be world famous), each gave some extra oomph to level-ending encounters that were -- for the most part -- fun but fairly stock. Don't expect the same level of inventiveness from this game's the boss battles that you saw in Shadows of the Damned or No More Heroes, but the humor enhances rather rote encounters.

For a single player game that's not as long as we wish it was, Lollipop at least tries to add some replay value in interesting ways. The game has an economy that drives you to score higher and purchase some of the dozens of items to unlock, whether it's new combos, special attacks, skimpy costumes, or music (LC's soundtrack is one of its strongest assets, featuring classic songs of the 1980s alongside new music from superstar composer Akira Yamaoka). The game encourages you to try for high scores whether you want to beat a friend on the leaderboards or get Achievements/Trophies, which at least gives it some replay value.

Lollipop Chainsaw intentionally embraces everything that's fun about the trashy horror films of years gone by, so it's hard to fault it for aping the style of a B-movie. However, B-games aren't as blissfully enjoyable as B-movies, and Lollipop Chainsaw's production values and gameplay are more of a chore to experience than sitting through 90 minutes of grindhouse gold. If you expect groundbreaking insanity and innovative gameplay based on Grasshopper's legacy, Lollipop Chainsaw falls short of expectations. If you can successfully curb those expectations, then you've got yourself something quirky for a simple weekend playthrough, even if it's a game with some ups and some real downs.

More info

DescriptionGrasshopper Interactive takes its weird premise to entertaining places, but the core zomibe-killing gameplay gets far too repetitive for a game as short as this.
Platform"Xbox 360","PS3"
US censor rating"Mature",""
UK censor rating"",""
Henry moved from the suburbs of northern Florida to work at GR+, and hasn't looked back once in seven years. When not collecting Mario toys, you can find him constantly checking his Twitter.