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Review: Crude 'Lollipop Chainsaw' delivers blood, guts, pompoms and nonstop laughter
Blood, guts and pompoms. Immature sex jokes. Profanity and violence. Nonstop laughter.
Japanese developer Grasshopper Manufacture and its creative director, Goichi Suda, are at it again with the shallow but wildly entertaining "Lollipop Chainsaw" (Warner Bros., for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, $59.99).
While it doesn't reach the depraved heights of Grasshopper's previous game, 2011's "Shadows of the Damned" ' which I recommend to any horror movie fan ' "Lollipop Chainsaw" comes close with its crude humor and frenetic action.
The story stars Juliet Starling, a San Romero High School cheerleader who belongs to a family of zombie hunters. Her chain saw may unleash some serious damage, but the best accessory Juliet carries ' and the one that provides the humor ' is the disembodied head of her personal Romeo, Nick. Strapped around Juliet's waist and voiced with panache by Michael Rosenbaum (best known as Lex Luthor on "Smallville"), Nick provides most of the vulgar banter while Juliet slays her way through her high school and hometown.
Juliet's arsenal features pompom attacks and, of course, her chain saw. The combat is smooth, and throughout the game you earn medals that can be used to purchase items, stat upgrades and new combos. There are even a few times when you can spin Juliet around a stripper pole to decapitate an attacking horde. Did I mention how immature this game is?
With each stage, Juliet's chain saw is upgraded in amusing ways that are put to good use in several sections that break up the zombie battles. If you've ever thought a wheat thresher would be a great weapon in the coming zombie apocalypse, you're in for a treat.
You can also use Nick's head in various ways. You can slap it on top of a headless zombie to start a minigame that opens new pathways or cash in a "Nick ticket" to use him as a weapon.
Gamers who love music will get a kick out of the bosses, who are designed around punk, heavy metal, folk, funk and rockabilly stereotypes. One stage contains a brilliant homage to the golden age of Pac-Man and the final boss will make you appreciate Elvis Presley in a whole new way.
The dialogue by Hollywood screenwriter James Gunn is hilarious, particularly the lines shouted by the undead as they perish. My favorite: "I can't get this Katy Perry song out of my head. What a way to die!"
You're not in for a long experience with "Lollipop Chainsaw," but a game this ridiculous would get tiresome after a while. I finished it on normal difficulty in less than seven hours, but with online leaderboards and collectibles there's enough reason to return for more.
And the more you play, the more racy outfits you can unlock for Juliet, if that's your thing. Parents should be aware of the well-deserved Mature rating.
If you're seeking substance and a coherent story, look elsewhere. But if titillating action games like "Shadows of the Damned" and "Bayonetta" are in your collection, you will absolutely love "Lollipop Chainsaw."
Now, will someone please explain to me the Japanese fascination with butt-kicking high school girls? Two and a half stars out of four.