Half the appeal of the Onechanbara hack-‘n'-slash games on PS2 was the price. With that gone, all you've got is the other half – the one with the boobs.
Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers for the Wii retails for $29.99 while Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad will set you back $39.99. The Wii game is supposedly a sequel to the 360 game – although I doubt that matters since the "plot" in these games is a secondary concern. All you need to know is ladies wear bikinis, sport swords and kill a lot of zombies.
The D3 event, "Dorks, Dealers and Double-Ds," only had Zombie Slayers on display. Nintendo's smut-radar seems to be aimed elsewhere – a year ago, we never would have had so much skin in a Wii game. The controls are mapped for the Nunchuck-Wiimote combo and involve a lot of flailing to pull off dismembering combos. There's a lock-on function which I am eternally grateful for and no less than three costumes per protagonist.
I started out with a white-haired chick named Misery. I went with her mostly because her miniskirt costume was about as modest as the game gets (Saki's schoolgirl uniform notwithstanding). Turns out she's a villain and from the looks of the pre-saved boss battle I was dumped into, her biggest ambition in life is to put Saki and her big sister Aya "inside of" her.
Gross? Kinky? Whatever – she carries a giant cleaver with a serrated edge. Most of her combos were strings of slow hacking motions, but a quick mash on the A button allowed me to roll away from Saki's super-fast attacks pretty easily. I get the feeling this save was over-leveled because the boss battle with Saki was over almost before it started and the game credits started to roll.
Feeling deprived of the "chanbara" part of the game, I went back to the start screen and loaded up a save as Aya. Her pre-save was much earlier in the game where all of the levels are linear paths through graveyards and other places where zombies hang out. Pulling off combos in these settings was way more satisfying both because Aya moves more quickly than Misery and because most of the zombies split in half in one hit.
As with any run-and-gun or hack-‘n'-slash, the danger of the game is monotony. I assume that's what the outrageous costumes are there for, and why all of the previous games have been so cheap. But with this price hike, I have to wonder if the game will still hold together as the sexist, cheesy slash-fest it's meant to be; or if Onechanbara will turn out to be less than the sum of its lady parts.
Bikini Zombie Slayers and Bikini Samurai Squad are out February 10. See if you can tell the 360 screens apart from the Wii screens: