Eyes-On With Lollipop Chainsaw And Juliet The Overly Chipper Zombie Slayer

Juliet Starling is a dangerous high school girl in trouble. She's the star of Lollipop Chainsaw, the rainbow-bright zombie game and maybe the first to employ foul language as a physical weapon.

Grasshopper Manufacture, the people who make weird but beloved games like No More Heroes and Shadows of the Damned, are responsible for 2012's Lollipop Chainsaw, a game that pits a peppy, lollipop-loving cheerleader against teenage zombies.

Publisher Warner Bros brought Grasshopper's Lollipop Chainsaw to Gamescom, giving us our first look at the bloody, beautiful action game in action.

Here's the set up: you'll play as blonde, blue-eyed high school student Juliet Starling, a cheerleader for the San Romero Knights. On her 18th birthday, her school is overrun by zombies that infect students and teachers alike. Only Juliet, armed with pompoms, limber thighs and a powerful chainsaw, can put an end to this undead infestation.

Lollipop Chainsaw's Gamescom demo played out in two parts. The first opened in a San Romero High classroom filled with the walking dead. A teacher-turned-zombie, Mr. Fitzgibbons, hurled insults at our heroine while she laid waste to low level zombie hordes with a combination of light attacks (pompoms and split kicks) and heavy attacks (limb-lopping swipes of her chainsaw). The lithe Juliet can leapfrog over zombies and push them around for crowd control purposes, lining up a handful of undead for group kills.

While the action is gory, full of blood and beheadings, Lollipop Chainsaw's style of zombie slaying is overly bright and cheery, thanks to its chipper protagonist, cel-shaded comic book look and undead that explode into glitter and streams of rainbow coloured light. (The language, however, is very harsh. More on that later.)

Juliet has a few allies at San Romero. Her boyfriend, Nick, is always by her side. He's the disembodied head that Juliet hangs on her hip. He's capable of helping Juliet in still unexplained ways. The game's loading screen teased an action called "Nick's Roulette," which requires a "Nick Ticket" to employ apparently, but reps for the developer didn't go into detail on Nick's role in the game.

Lollipop Chainsaw's heroine can also choose to save her fellow classmates—the ones that haven't been turned into zombies yet -- for various rewards. Save a student from a zombie attack and they may shower her with coins and stars. The former collectible was not detailed during our demo, but the game's stars are used to fill up Juliet's Star Meter, which powers a devastating, candy coloured super attack.

After dispatching a few dozen undead, Juliet had a confrontation with the previously mentioned Mr Fitzgibbons. He's one of Lollipop Chainsaw's zombie sub-bosses, a powerful enemy who uses a teacher's desk as both shield and weapon. Unlike the rest of the chainsaw fodder, Fitzgibbons required a little more strategy -- but not too much, as Juliet simply needed to leapfrog behind him to attack him from the back.

One of Lollipop Chainsaw top-level bosses, one of the "Zombie Rock Lords" responsible for the game's zombie outbreak, was far more demanding. He was the second half of Warner Bros's Gamescom demonstration.

We were introduced to Zed, a punk rock zombie with an affection for the music of Black Flag and the torture of small animals. Sporting a bright mohawk and spiked microphone stand as a weapon, Zed verbally abused Juliet. "Words hurt," our demonstrator said, just before Zed shouted "Stupid cooze!" at Julia. His words took physical form, his glimmering insult hurled at Juliet. She shattered it with a pompom attack, hacking away at Zed until she eventually split him in half from noggin to navel.

But Zed was resilient, pushing his two halves back together, mocking Juliet ("You think that hurts me? I just came a little!"). The punk rock zombie returned stronger, sprinting around our heroine in a colourful blur, dropping massive stacks of amplifiers down upon the stage on which they fought. "Fuckin' bitch!" he shouted from atop a stack. Again, those words took physical form, deadly letters flying at Juliet.

After she sliced through the biggest amp with her rainbow chainsaw, Zed shouted in a last ditch effort, a scream-as-letters filling the screen in a spread. One more slice with the chainsaw, a cut that split the very screen in half, finished of Zed, his body slices slowly slipping apart.

And with that, Zed's dead.

Our first look at Lollipop Chainsaw was short, but sickeningly sweet, full of the same hyper-violent, quirky action for which Grasshopper Manufacture is well-known and highly regarded. We'll see more of the game next year, when Lollipop Chainsaw is expected to hit the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.


Comments

    So: their target market is teenage cheerleaders who love talking dirty and working with chainsaws?

      Who cares, I'm Sold! :D

        Ditto, although i am curious as to her backstory, is she like Buffy (being chosen) or just pure chance she finds a magic chainsaw to slice zombies in 1/2

          Here's my hypothesis: she's actually just a crazy person, and that's just what you need in the Zapoc. This sequence of events is completely off the top of my head, but it fits what we know abut the game so far:
          Juliet sees her beloved boyfriend Nick get mostly eaten by the zombie hordes. Her fragile adolescent mind breaks and she snatches up his head and keeps it with her, talking to it and imagining that it talks back (in his voice of course).
          Her cheerleading training has made her quite strong and acrobatic, she's been driven crazy by the trauma and now she has an undying hatred for all of zombie kind. Put it all together and you have a person capable of those feats of superhuman "desperation" strength that get on the news sometimes (like a Mum lifting a car of her child).
          Her brain rewards her for each satisfying zombie kill with sparkles and rainbows - the graphics are what she actually sees in her insane head, just like she hears Nick's voice from his disembodied head.

          Also Suda 51

      Yep, just like plumbers who love mushrooms was the target market for Super Mario Bros...

    After playing Shadows of the Damned I'm pretty much planning to buy every game Grasshopper makes

      You're a little late to the party, but not too late to catch up. First things first, killer7. You can get Rain, sun and flower (something like that) on DS, but it's actually a sequel and we never got the first game. You also need to get the No more heroes games and if you're vaguely interested, Fatal frame 4 (Zero 4) had Suda 51 as one of the main contributors.

      About the game, looks awesome. I'll need to get it.

    What the hell are we supposed to use man? Harsh language?

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