This Japanese adaptation, a sequel to Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad (now available in the U.S.A. on Xbox 360), involves exactly what the subtitle describes in a third person perspective. You control two sisters, Aya and Saki, who have the morbid task of ridding the world of zombies and other unnatural creatures. In the beginning, slow moving subtitles, complete with the original Japanese version voice acting (spoken in Japanese), describe the “Baneful Blood” coursing through their veins, which gives them their strength and power. Without much backstory or character development, this game lives up to its title by focusing on the action and the girls’…um…aesthetic appeal.
You can unlock two more female characters, Misery and Reiko, who use a gun, and can play each of the four characters' storylines for more replayability. During battles, Aya and Saki can go into a special “rage mode” when they’re soaked with their victims’ blood. A meter shows you when you’re close, plus the girls start to get a bit sluggish in their movements. The rage mode increases the speed and attack while the health goes down a bit more, so make sure you’re stocked up on those little glowing balls, which you can pick up after slaying baddies mostly with slashing swords.
Using a Wii remote/nunchuk control combination, you can switch between two fighting styles (using the C button) and acquire a few powerups to upgrade characters. The fighting system also lets you lock on enemies with the Z-button – a vertical blue arrow above the target gives you a helpful visual amid waves of attackers. You can dodge attacks with the A button, which also provides some jumping while you move. The practice mode is an ideal arena to hone your skills and enjoy little extras like the zombie altering taunts.
The best part is the two player co-op option available for every mission in the game. The sounds and vibrations from the remote match the gory visuals quite well. Action fans will love little touches like flicking the blood and gore off your sword (flick holding the B button). Keep watching the lower left meter. When it’s full of red, clear off your weapon…or watch what happens when you don’t.
Some cutscenes and a costume change mode (though they are unlockable along with harder difficulties) were omitted from the original Japanese version, but you still get a nice, low stress incorporation of the Wii controls and considerable unlockable content to enjoy. The low quality zombie AI is not that difficult even on the harder difficulty settings. The navigation works well as you can always check the display, especially in dark areas, to see if you got everyone. Completing levels can be challenging. Moving through immediate maps is a breeze, but if you get stuck and have to access the scrolling overview maps in the menu, then you might have some problems. This map set doesn’t provide any helpful visuals showing that you’ve completed a section, so it’s hard to get unstuck.
This adaptation has an overall arcade feel with some effective realism thanks to the Wii motion controls. You won’t see much of a body count as slain zombie bodies are taken off the screen, but there’s a bordello of blood. There are several chapters to complete, but experienced players can finish the game in single digit hours. The unlockable content adds some appeal while the pop/rock/hip-hop music keeps things moving. The music and action scenarios echo the Dynasty Warriors (just add some extra jiggling) among others, but the combat system is satisfying enough for a solid recommendation for action/horror gamers, especially at a $30 suggested retail price. This game is adapted from the Japanese originals (which hit the PlayStation 2 and wireless phones), part of a large game series, which also spawned a feature film.
Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for blood and gore, suggestive themes and violence.