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Most schoolgirls would be traumatised by having to chainsaw the head off their boyfriend, but eighteen-year-old Juliet Starling is taking it in her stride. In fact she's still got his noggin attached to her belt: he's part sweetheart companion, part fashion accessory. Sometimes she even slams him onto the corpses of her zombie cheerleader foes and makes him dance around. This is a very odd game.
With Lollipop Chainsaw Suda51 (eccentric creator of Killer7 and Shadows of the Damned) has the likes of Buffy firmly in his sights with a bloody journey through a school packed with zombies, mayhem and rainbows. Combat is based around Juliet's high-kicking Cheerleader attacks, which herd her foes together before she lets rip with her chainsaw to cascade the battlefield with combo bonuses, blood and glitter. Every kill is rewarded with a shower of golden coins that, in turn, goeson to fund the unlock of ever-more ridiculous combos and move-sets.
DANCE OF DEATH
The game isn't all locker rooms and math class. Our recent attempt to rescue Juliet's sister Rosalyn took place on the dancefloors of the Fulci Fun Centre. As you pirouette and leap around its gaming arcades the action is vaguely hypnotic - even if this brand of walking dead can take an awful lot of punishment, and is rather good at knocking you over onto your delicate cheerleading arse.
Once the dead have been dismembered, however, part of Juliet's mission can be to beam herself into the retro games around her, hilariously musing "This is great! I'm such a game geek!" as she does so. This triggers some strange minigames that underline both the game's eccentricity and its wild, veering tone. One minute you're playing a Pac-Man clone, the next you're engaging in some neon 2D combat as Juliet scales a building. These are all unnecessary distractions from the task at hand, and universally less fun than pummelling jock zombies armed with deadhead-invigorating ghetto blasters...
The level comes to an end with a face off against a chap called Josey - who looks more than a little like The Mighty Boosh's Spirit of Jazz. He zips around on a UFO with two skull-faced bikini ladies while wielding a keytar (like you do), and Juliet's more occasionally-used chain gun ability has to come out to play to take him down. All set, of course, to some glorious funk music.
There's a real danger that Lollipop Chainsaw might be something of a scrappy affair, and the visuals don't exactly sing. But it's built on solid combat and a somewhat endearing puerility. Juliet could still be (two, four, six, eight) someone we appreciate.