You won't find many M-rated games on Nintendo's squeaky clean console, but of the few, you will find that Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers is a doozie. This raunchy blood-spewing romp is set immediately after the events of the simultaneously released Xbox 360 title (Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad). Here we follow not only sisters Aya and Saki as they attempt to unravel the secret of the Baneful Blood, but also the travels of two more unlockable characters, Misery and Reiko, former enemies from the Xbox game.
On your way to enlightenment, you'll plow through eight chapters of story mode for each of the four characters, totaling roughly eight hours of gameplay altogether. Each chapter offers little in the way of level design. Most chapters are linear bore-fests stuffed to the gills with barely ambulatory zombies that are content to stand around waiting to be disemboweled. At the end of each chapter you'll take on a familiar cast of bosses, mainly because they are also the playable characters Aya, Saki, Misery and Reiko. After defeating each one you'll be subjected to some drawn-out, scrolling text explaining each character's origin, all mostly involving bio-labs and therapy. Beyond that you have free-play and survival modes, which are mostly rehashes of the above story mode.
Sadly, the first casualty of downsizing to the Wii is visuals. Character models are blocky and jaggy and most of the cheeky cutscenes from the Xbox version are gone, though we can't say if this is due to hardware or content considerations. The combat in Bikini Zombie Slayers also suffers. Constant hack-and-slashers like these should map perfectly to one or two buttons on a gamepad. Bikini Zombie Slayers, however, uses motion controls exclusively. Here, you're forced to swing the Wii-mote endlessly to keep those katana blades whirling. Executing specialized moves is infuriating due to the inaccuracy of the motion controls and we would have quite honestly killed for an option to configure a classic or GameCube controller.
As in other Onechanbara games, the sisters’ interface includes a gore meter that increases the more zombie blood you spill. Once it tops off, the sisters enter rampage mode, which increases speed and damage at the cost of a few health per tick. There is some gunplay with Reiko, which is a bit improved with Wii-mote aiming, but it's still much easier to just lock on enemies with the Z-button.
From top to bottom, Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers feels like a complete mismatch for the Wii. All of the redeeming qualities we found on the Xbox and PS2 games have been lost in translation. What little mature fun was to be had, including the cutscenes and dress-up mode are now nowhere to be found and the motion controls utterly wreck what should just be mindless zombie-goring fun.
Feb 20, 2009