"I remembered it as if it happened a few hours ago. Because it actually happened a few hours ago. My character was in a dark room, all alone... then, suddenly, it happened. A zombie walked out from the left side of the screen, then another, and two more after that. Of course, I just couldn't stand around and do nothing, so I took control of my character and guided her towards the undead. With her sword already drawn, she sliced through them like it was nothing. The threat was over... but not for ..."
I remembered it as if it happened a few hours ago. Because it actually happened a few hours ago. My character was in a dark room, all alone... then, suddenly, it happened. A zombie walked out from the left side of the screen, then another, and two more after that. Of course, I just couldn't stand around and do nothing, so I took control of my character and guided her towards the undead. With her sword already drawn, she sliced through them like it was nothing. The threat was over... but not for long. Three more zombies appeared, and again she cut them into nothingness, but before she could make the final kill, a dozen zombies rushed on screen. Panicking, I tried to kill all of them, but unfortunately, some made it pass her. I couldn't even run after them, because at this point, an even bigger group of zombies appeared, this one with a giant in the middle. I mashed the X button like crazy, taking down as many as I could. It was madness.
Then something crazy happened.
As I was in the middle of my zombie killing spree, the screen faded to black.
It was over...
However, I knew I couldn't dwell on that loading screen mini-game, so I continued to hack and slash my way through Onechanbara's story mode.
As you may have noticed from that riveting opening paragraph, this game is about zombies. You're probably thinking that's neat and all, but you're also probably pondering what makes this zombie game stand out from the rest. Basically, the main character, Aya, kills zombies with her sword, while, pay attention here, wearing a cowboy hat, boots, and a bikini... Your mind has just been blown. If you happen to be a ten year old boy, that is. Amazingly, she managed to defy the odds of not having gigantic boobs that were dying to come out. My theory behind this? The artist is an ass man. Still, that didn't stop the developers from programming them to jiggle every time she moves an inch. If, by some strange reason you're not into her, you also have the option of picking Aya's younger sister, Saki, who also wields a sword, but wears a school uniform, and the gun-toting, big-boobed Annna, who reminds me of the original actress who played Dr. Weir on Stargate SG-1.
But, if you take away all the fanservice, all the odd quirks that makes this game, this series, what it is, is there an actual, solid, playing experience underneath?
Now, I knew coming into Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad, that it would just be, more or less, a simple action title. And it is. However, problems just kept getting in the way of my enjoyment. One of the biggest annoyances is how I'll be running down a tight corridor, cutting through hordes of zombies, zombies with chainsaws, zombies with guns, zombie monkeys, Andore/Hugo zombies, and weird zombie spider things, and then I'll make it into a wide area, and upon stepping foot inside this area, I automatically know what's going to happen. And hate it. Spikes will pop out of the ground all around my character, covering every exit, and I'll be forced to kill every zombie that pops out. There's almost never one wave, too; there's usually two or three waves of zombies that have to be dealt with. It happens way too often, and is a cheap tactic for lengthening each stage. This is painfully obvious when you come across the final trapped area late in the game, where you're stuck fighting zombies for almost 30 minutes.
Another strike against this title is how unnecessarily long it is. There is absolutely no reason for a game like this to have twenty stages. I mean, if I have trouble completing a beat 'em up after thirty minutes of repetition, a similar game, where you continually kill zombies over the span of three or four days, is not an improvement... To be fair, Onechanbara had me going until around the end of chapter seven, after that cool, yet very tough, boss fight against seven clones (you're screwed if you don't have any health items). After that, however, I started wondering how many stages were left, which is always a bad sign. If you're going for a lengthy title, at least attempt to add some actual variety, instead of just shoving in a very, very short motorcycle stage and a killer whale boss fight. Hell, I almost gave up when I realized the developers were intentionally trying to drag the game out for as long as they could towards the end, when the three playable characters were split up from each other in a cave. But, after letting off some steam by playing the brutally honest and straight-forward survival mode, I went back to finish what was left of the story mode...
Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad could have been a really fun action title, but the flaws just held it back. Hopefully, in the sequel, they focused more on gameplay, and less on silly things like fanservice and a Dress Up mode.
Community review by pickhut (February 18, 2009)
Honestly don't want remakes of any of the terrible Alex Kidd sequels unless they're made DRASTICALLY better. Can you imagine a good High-Tech World or Enchanted Castle?
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