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Simple 2000 vol. 101: The Oneechanpon (PlayStation 2) artwork

Simple 2000 vol. 101: The Oneechanpon (PlayStation 2) review


"In this sequel to the popular Oneechanpuruu, you assume the role of a hot Japanese babe in a bikini who carves up the walking dead with her bloodthirsty katana. Besides providing a little insight into the Oneechanbara series’ selling power, this may lead you to conclude that The Oneechanpon features more of the same. You’d be pretty much dead on, too – except that virtually every facet of the original has been improved upon."




In this sequel to the popular Oneechanpuruu, you assume the role of a hot Japanese babe in a bikini who carves up the walking dead with her bloodthirsty katana. Besides providing a little insight into the Oneechanbara series’ selling power, this may lead you to conclude that The Oneechanpon features more of the same. You’d be pretty much dead on, too – except that virtually every facet of the original has been improved upon. This is a much stronger production all around; Tamsoft even sprang for a cheesy opening FMV to set the stage for another gore-splattered round of
SEXY ZOMBIE APPOCALYPSE!

Once again slipping into the barely-there string bikini of samurai/cowgirl Aya, you’ll find that she’s looking better than ever: long brown hair, one lacy stocking, and a huge cowboy hat slung over her face, not to mention a cross dangling against that quivering bosom. With long feather boa fluttering in the breeze as she sashays towards her next victim with a lithe little strut and her chest wobbling like jello every time a zombie tastes Japanese steel, it’s too bad the undead aren’t able to appreciate her obvious charms. Of course this is all very believable – it’s a well known fact that the defensive abilities of your average warrior woman directly correlate to how little she has on, except our heroine has also traded in those sensible leather boots for a pair of red high heels. Now that’s just ridiculous.

Saki, Aya’s villainous sibling, has likewise returned, this time as a fully playable character: she’s a pigtailed schoolgirl whose cute appearance might be more convincing if her short-skirted school uniform wasn’t stained with all that blood, and if it didn’t match her crimson irises. But our katana-hefting hotties aren’t the only one sporting a revamped look – the rotting hordes surrounding them have been given a major facelift as well. This time there’s actually a decent variety of lurking horrors: skittering spiders with misshapen heads poking out from under their legs, leaping leech monkeys, giant crows that swoop in and knock you down when you’re otherwise occupied, Hugo from Street Fighter III, and of course oozing Tarmen plucked straight out of Return of the Living Dead.

But the biggest change is a newfound focus on hot tag-team action – you can instantly swap between two zombie-busting babes at any time both to recover from damage or in situations that call for a different strategy. This new system is surprisingly well implemented: roughly half the health you lose from an attack will turn blue and gradually refill if you tag out, so you’ll be switching back and forth quite often, especially since each character features her own unique array of moves and combinations. Aya’s strikes are the fastest by far; she can land the highest number of hits in a single chain, quickly spring towards an enemy with a mighty lunge, or fling tiny throwing blades into them from a distance, while ironically little sis Saki is very much the opposite. Wielding a nodachi that’s longer than she is, Saki offers increased power and range at the cost of speed. She also retains her beam attack that takes a few seconds to wind up but can rip the midsections off anything foolish enough to stand in the way, and possesses a new move that can even destroy a Tarman – she charges at her target with a snarl before knocking its head clean off or possibly just wrenching one of its arms free complete with a loud tearing sound, though a smaller foe will be forced beneath her heel and simply smashed into paste. Newcomer Reiko is a biker chick completely decked out in tight black leather and a visored helmet that obscures her features; her sword fighting skills are slower than the other two, but she’s packing a nice variety of combos in addition to a shotgun that can quickly wipe out entire groups of enemies from afar.

And you’ll need all these abilities, as the AI has been beefed up to be more aggressive, and right from the beginning you’ll be sure to notice a lot more rifle-toting officers blasting indiscriminately into the crowd in rapid succession, making it much more important to know what’s going on around you. Therefore it’s a good thing you can now freely control the camera with the right thumbstick, as well as zoom in and out to get a better view of the action (or some tightly-toned buttocks). The zombies are also arranged further apart instead of in tightly-packed groups, so you’ll actually have to lock onto them with the targeting button this time, which also lets you cartwheel around their attacks or backflip away from the numerous dangers now surrounding you.

As before you can chain together regular attacks for simple combinations or interrupt them with the analog pad to launch your opponents into the air with an upward slice or clear the area with a massive horizontal arc that sends everyone flying. However timing your swings properly will link your attacks into faster, more powerful combos, so it’s not just mindless button mashing. This is important as inventory items aren’t just found lying around anymore; they usually only appear if you rack up large numbers of kills without stopping for more than a second or two, so you want to keep them going as long as possible. Naturally your already decomposing opponents start quickly falling apart under your assaults, so don’t be surprised if find yourself being kicked from behind by an angry torso.

Both your sword and your character will still become soaked with gore as you cleave your way through each area, but at a considerably slower pace than in the original. Not only won’t you have to constantly stop and snap your blade clean in the thick of battle, but thanks to the tagging system you can even store away a character who erupts into Blood Rage without all her health draining away, briefly leaping back in when needed to tear apart a crowd of ghouls and snatch any red orbs left behind to refill some health. Speaking of blood, instead of chunky red clouds of gore, you’ll note that it now shoots out of your foes’ shredded husks in long, thin steams that audibly splash onto the ground. Oh, and it’s kind of purple. I don’t know if that’s due to censorship (the earlier games got slapped with an 18+ rating) or as a homage to low-budget B-movies, but it’s still kind of purple.

Unfortunately the developers didn’t work nearly as hard to strengthen the biggest problem with their previous efforts: there are still only six stages, and half of them are still expanded retreads. They’re pretty similar to the old levels as well: instead of a city, a hospital, and a cave you’ll battle through a different city, the local shopping mall and a tomb, and a lot of the rooms still involve being locked in while multiple waves of enemies rise from the ground until a key appears. At least they’re better designed, taking you through parking garages, across bridges, and into various stores instead of just winding, mazelike corridors like before. In fact you can now view a map of the entire level at the touch of a button, marking not only your current position but your next objective, so you can always get right to the killing rather than wandering around aimlessly looking for another key. While you’re prancing through the killing fields you’ll even be able to enjoy the music, as it’s a hell of a lot better in a cheesy sort of way. The first stage kicks things off with overtly sexual lyrics in which the female vocalist coos things like “give it to me good” and “push it” while moaning suggestively, in addition to heavy rock for the bosses and a drastically improved remix of the original game’s one song.

Much like Oneechanpuruu was to the original, this game is a minor upgrade of Oneechanbara 2 and similarly tosses D3 idol Riho Futaba into the mix. But instead of being essentially just another outfit for Aya like before, Riho also has her own distinct moves and the soundtrack changes into ridiculous J-pop songs while you rend your enemies with graceful slices and by striking sexy poses that drop everything around you. There’s a few more characters and a horde of additional costumes to unlock as well; the only question is whether you’ll stick around long enough to see them all, particularly on the brutal higher difficulty settings.

These games can never ultimately conceal the fact that they’re budget titles, mostly due to the lack of variety, but then their main appeal has always been the whole “nearly naked amazon hacks apart zombies while gore splashes all over her” premise. Its predecessor was already decent enough in the gameplay department, but this sequel builds enough on that foundation and even tosses in quality visuals to actually make a pretty good game, albeit a short one. It’s cheeky as all hell and doesn’t stand up to prolonged play, but for the price The Oneechanpon is definitely worth picking up if you have a Japanese PS2. I know, I can’t believe it either.


Rating: 7/10

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Staff review by Sho (August 10, 2007)

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