The twisted mind of Suda51 is prepping to strike again and shortly after last night’s official announcement of Lollipop Chainsaw’s release of June 12th here in North America, several of us in the gaming community were allowed to go hands on with the most involved demo yet of this highly anticipated tongue-in-cheek zombie slasher. And if I was excited before, my anticipation has easily hit a new peak after playing through what is expected to be the fourth level of the game.
Still in pursuit of her kidnapped sister, Juliet follows the trail to the local arcade, a massive structure built to resemble an old-school arcade cabinet. The Fulgi Fun Center though holds more than a bunch of Atari classics as a bevy of new horrors for Juliet to face, including dorky zombies who are happy to waste their undead eternity at the arcade’s cabinets when not feeding on human flesh, await her inside. With the help of her newly introduced father, a tough, but loving individual whose motorcycle helps Juliet get around the town, Juliet must storm the arcade and save her sister from the zombie horde.
The first thing you take note of is the fact that this demo took place completely outside of the high school we’ve seen up to this point, and we also caught a glimpse of a game map highlighting six areas so far: the Fulgi Fun Center, Parking Lot, Cathedral, High School, O’Bannon Farm, and Stadium. This means that Juliet will have a lot of ground to cover and is not confined to the school grounds as some might have thought from the limited game play we had seen up to now.
We also got a look at the upgrade system. As Juliet kills zombies, she collects coins, similar to Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes. She then can use the coins to purchase dumbbells to increase her attacking power, new sneakers for increasing her speed, and various health and combo upgrades as well. And speaking of the combos, I was impressed that after investing only a few hundred coins, I was able to enhance Juliet’s repertoire significantly.
Whereas many games like this would see players easily fall into the pattern of mashing the same attack button over and over again, the combos here actually have a much bigger payoff and encourages you to try to link your moves together. Often, you won’t only get a spectacular light show for a successful combo, but you’ll also dispatch even the toughest of zombies much, much more quickly and this was very satisfying.
But onto the level itself. After disposing of a horde of Molotov cocktail chucking zombies, Juliet is compelled by a mysterious voice to play a game. She is instantly digitized and transformed into a pink avatar of herself. Here, she must work her way through a bevy of spoofed arcade classics including Pac-Man and Pong levels in order to advance through the arcade. Moving back and forth through her world and the digital one, Juliet must work her way towards the mysterious voice that she knows is the one currently holding her sister.
And keeping with the late 70s theme of many of the games inside the game that you must conquer, after working your way to the roof of the Fulgi Fun Center, you soon come upon the nefarious Josey, a disco zombie who reminds you way too much of Baron Samedi from the James Bond movie Live and Let Die. Josey and his disco loving UFO with undead babes draped on it is your classic two form battle where you must first dismount Josey from his smaller UFO before he abducts himself onto a much larger and much more dangerous UFO where a countdown clock starts, forcing you to race against time to power down Josey’s disco derby of destruction or Juliet will lose her sister forever!
Very much keeping in with the themes of the music based undead we saw in our PAX Prime demo last year where we took on the metalhead Zed, combined with some hysterical one-liners we saw both in cut scenes and during game play, and some surprisingly tight controls has me thinking that Lollipop Chainsaw looks like a game that could easily break the chains of its B-Movie premise and make a killing in the mainstream.
And if you’d like to hear a bit more about the game from the man himself, check out Eric L. Patterson’s brief interview with Suda51 by clicking here!