Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers
(D3 Publisher for Wii)
By Mike Delano
Onechanbara is supposed to be outrageous. It has women in bikinis and schoolgirl outfits attacking zombies with samurai swords. For a game that owes its existence to the inherent yuks in that concept, though, it’s a rather pedestrian one when stacked against the gonzo narratives we’re used to in the gaming world. Our icon is an Italian plumber who kills mushrooms. We don’t bat an eye when a space marine from the future speaks in early ’90’s street slang. The villain in Metal Gear Solid 4, the supposed paragon of storytelling in games, is possessed by an evil hand. We gamers know weird, so Onechanbara can only get so much mileage out of its campy premise. Thankfully, Bikini Zombie Slayers has some solid fundamentals under the hood. Its hack-and-slash action and zombie dismemberment delivers visceral thrills similar to Ninja Gaiden II or the recent Afro Samurai, and the combat has far more depth than would be expected from a bargain bin title. Don’t get too excited: This is still a quick-and-dirty import curiosity that is a mess visually and technically, and will only hold your interest for a short while. But while we know why Onechanbara doesn’t have the gloss of its A-list counterparts, why aren’t all A-list games this fun to play?