No self-respecting B-grade horror movie can go on without a sequel and that fact of life transfers over to the world of games. Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers is the sequel to the Xbox 360’s Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad; continuing the saga of half-sisters, Aya and Saki, and the Baneful Blood running through their veins. Of course, there’s little clothing involved, buckets of gore and more zombies than you can waggle a Wii remote at. Is it worth the price of admission or should this one stay on the shelf? Read on, sailor.
Being a sequel, the meat of what’s found in Bikini Samurai Squad makes a little journey over to Bikini Zombie Slayers. The head-scratching story, character leveling, blood and combat systems return to the fold with Wii-centric refinements and tweaks to the overall experience of its predecessor. Some for better and some for worse.
Combat is handled almost entirely by motion control. You shake the Wii remote to attack, you shake the Nunchuk to attack some more and pull off special moves like Saki’s zombie throwing or Aya’s dual-wielding shenanigans. What this means is your arm sees more action than a lonely Friday night and will without doubt become tired during longer play sessions. That being said, it’s actually a lot of fun cutting up all manner of nasties in this fashion and a big part of it is because of the responsiveness of the Wii remote and Nunchuk registering attacks rather accurately, allowing for combo chains with ease. It can be so easy in fact that the game’s Cool Combo system which is supposedly all about timing, can be pulled off by flicking the Wii remote rapidly. Flailing like a mad man: 1, Precision: 0.
It isn’t all fun and games with the Wii controls, however. Camera controls are mapped to + and -, pause to the 2 button and special attack to the 1 button which just feels awkward, especially when you’re low on health and need to go to the pause menu to access whatever items are on hand in a pinch. The setup takes some getting used to and really never becomes second nature. To further complicate matters, the camera can be downright frustrating at times and with no auto-centering, will require lots of thumb stretching – mapping them to the d-pad would’ve been a better maneuver.
One of the better features in Bikini Zombie Slayers is everything gets explained in-game with help screens at the beginning of chapters. Everything from basic attacks, the combo system, Rampage mode and tips on taking down enemies is given to you. It may not seem like a big deal, but when certain enemies can only be defeated in a certain way, knowing how a combo system works and how to pull it off is absolutely key.
Graphically, the game looks like something from PS2, which is a shame since Wii is capable of much more (16×9 please). The characters have decent detail though, with some really nice animations and really cool blood effects while ripping the undead to shreds. Body parts fly all about in a hilariously awful manner while the red stuff drips from pretty much everything and when that stops being a crowd pleaser I’ll cry.
There are only a handful of environments you’ll see throughout the adventure made up of graveyard, church, subway, street, hospital and mountains. The textures are flat, lacking detail and full of enough jaggies to put out an eye. However, despite any graphical woes, the action moves smooth as silk. The characters flip, jump and dice a screen full of zombies; blood and appendages flying with nary a hit to the framerate.
With all the mayhem and gore, you’re going to get bloody. Too much blood on your sword will make it useless in combat and causes it to become lodged in an enemy’s torso while its compadres come to take a bite. Cleaning the sword is as easy as holding B and flicking the Wii remote, which is one of those silly, but fun things that makes you feel a little like a badass (just a little) and can be thrown in as part of a combo if one chooses. If too much blood gets on the character, it’s a whole different bag of hammers that triggers: Rampage mode.
While in Rampage, you deal double damage but also take double damage from monster attacks and your health is constantly ticking down. The only ways to get out of this mode are to either use a Goddess Head item or find a Goddess Statue scattered about the map to cleanse you. Each level has at least one statue which makes slipping into Rampage not a particularly deadly move.
Story mode is the major focus of the game featuring a separate story for each of the 4 characters (2 available at the start, 2 unlocked) which can be played through in roughly 2-3 hours per. Characters can be leveled up by collecting yellow orbs that act as experience from downed enemies. Any upgrades made to stats allowing for longer combo chains, more health, stronger attacks and a wider attack area carry over to the game’s other modes (Free Play and Survival) as well.
Both Free Play and Survival can be played co-op with a vertically-split screen using the leveled up characters from Story mode. Free Play lets you hop into any chapter from Story mode either solo or with a friend; Survival is the pure essence of Onechanbara boiled down to you, or you and a friend, fighting wave upon wave of zombies in an open area. The downside to co-op is the viewing area becomes cut in half and with a camera that’s not so great to begin with – becoming more of a pain when trying to get a handle on it in tight quarters.
Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers is one of those games you never expect to like. It’s extremely shallow, has an absurd story, isn’t very nice to look at and has plenty of technical issues. However, it’s a game that despite its many flaws, if you give it a chance, the fun and stupid charm comes to the surface. It’s definitely not for everyone and the constant use of motion control for combat will no doubt turn a lot of people off, but for $30 you could do a whole lot worse.
- Zombies, zombies, zombies
- Responsive controls
- Separate story modes for each character
- Not the prettiest girl on the block
- Awkward camera and button mapping
- Combat almost entirely motion control