Lollipop Chainsaw has gore and skimpy cheerleaders.
When Lollipop Chainsaw orientates the player on how to control heroine Juliet Starling, a pop-up box instructs how to move the camera (right stick, obviously) while simultaneously chiding them for the eventual inevitability they'll use it to look up her teeny weenie cheerleader skirt.
Business as normal for Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture, then. Juliet is such an anatomical extreme you'd probably confuse her for an hourglass if you had your contacts out, and the truth of the matter is you don't even need to try very hard to get the upskirt view - Lollipop Chainsaw makes sure you'll get a flash of her meticulously modelled behind with virtually every hop, leap, and jump.
Dangling from Juliet's belt is Nick, a wise-cracking disembodied head whose exact specifics - such as 'why is there a talking disembodied head?' - are yet to be revealed. What Grasshopper is currently letting us know, however, is that Nick will take a more active role in combat as the game progresses, though at this early stage he jingles around and quips away in pleasingly frequent intervals.
The game shows an exaggerated vision of a hyperbolic world, which is pretty much to be expected from Suda 51. Since the days of Killer 7 people have learnt what to expect from the cult developer - punk, some wacky humour, geysers of gore, and buckets of blood, and in Lollipop Chainsaw Juliet fends off an unscheduled zombie invasion at San Romero high school.
With the first level, then, zombies flood the classrooms, locker halls, and corridors. The game's gore-heavy combat revolves around mixing up your pom pom attacks, which do very little damage but stun and knock enemies, with swipes of your chainsaw to deliver the exaggerated killing blow. The trick is to combine these, along with the ever-useful dodge, to create massive flowing combos with enough ultraviolence to make even Bret Easton Ellis a little squeamish.
Some of them really do hit the spot, too, with Juliet dancing around and embedding chainsaws in torsos, heads, and even through the entire body from the groin up.
What elevates Lollipop Chainsaw from the regular zombie gore-porn, at least aesthetically, is the garish clash between Suda 51's usual swathes of crimson bloodshed and the delicate artistic touch of 1950s romance comics, along with gleaming rainbows, stars, and happy twinkly noises. There's a touch of cel-shading to the visuals, and the overall panoply of various American pop-culture visual cues shouldn't work - in theory it's like mixing all the colours together and getting a mucky brown - but, surprisingly, it really really does.
Then there's a boss battle against former-teacher (now undead nightmare) Mr Fitzgibbon, who introduces himself with the eruditely apt "I'm Fitzgibbon, bitch" before upending a table and running out the door. Or a later encounter with Zed, a mohawked punk rocker who literally attacks with words - words such as 'slag' and 'cocksucker'.
Whether it's got more style than it does substance remains to be seen, but provided the game can keep the combat interesting and the premise entertaining we might just be looking at yet another insane Grasshopper Manufacture title that has to be seen to be believed.
Lollipop Chainsaw is scheduled for release on Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2012.