Review: Juliet of "Lollipop Chainsaw" wields a hefty and powerful chain saw that makes mincemeat of the undead.
Female characterization in video games is a touchy subject. My wife and female friends will sometimes decry the oversexualization of women in games, the "buxom damsel in distress" scenario that permeates so many adventure titles. In the few instances where women are the protagonists, it holds true that the heroine be more in the Lara Croft vein. Nancy Drew has little chance of showing up on an E3 billboard.
Thus enters Juliet of "Lollipop Chainsaw." She's quite the character: a curvaceous and somewhat foulmouthed high-school cheerleader thrust into a scenario where zombies are overtaking her town. Yet Juliet is not to be trifled with. She wields a hefty and powerful chain saw that makes mincemeat of the undead.
It isn't the most technically proficient game ever released. The hype on "Lollipop" pertains to over-the-top theatrics regarding gender politics. One moment, she plays to type in a cut scene that would make any father cringe, yet in a later boss battle she defends herself against hateful, misogynistic words being thrown at her. The game never commits Juliet as someone to loathe or cheer for, and this might rub gamers the wrong way.
The game's camera sticks in weird places, causing the fights to unravel into a button-mashing exercise. When the game fires on all cylinders, the inclusion of arcade elements with super-gory eviscerations makes for fun playing. This is especially true once Juliet's father arrives and the dialogue involving her, her father and her boyfriend (whose severed head is kept alive and clipped to her waist) crackles with witty one-liners and campy comebacks.
Even if you couldn't care less about the portrayal of women in games, "Lollipop Chainsaw" browbeats one into at least noticing and thinking about it. It won't draw the conclusions for you, but you should play this game and decide for yourself.