Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad

Aya

Being a fan of video games, I’m used to having to stomach some vile dreck every now and again. You know the stuff I’m talking about: barely pubescent player avatars fighting tanks and demons, hapless arm-candy masquerading as “empowered” female role-models, games designed to appeal to an adolescent male’s burgeoning sex drive...

Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad makes these look like Mozart.

Here’s the plot: The world is suffering a zombie outbreak. I think. We’re never really told if they’re zombies or demons that possess humans. Our heroines, Aya and Saki, are cursed with Baneful Blood, which is not only powerful and destructive, but also highly prized by Evil shadow organizations. They spend their days hacking through city blocks full of the damned with their samurai swords, dressed like something from the Big Book of Anime Fan Sexual Cliches. Along the way, they meet policecop Annna (the extra “n” is for naughty), to round out the Bikini Samurai Squad – Annna doesn't wear a bikini and she isn’t a samurai, but she gets in because she’s got infinite reload guns. This all leads towards an epic showdown, but there’s almost no chance you’ll ever make it that far because the game is an exercise in mediocrity.

Controls are covered in a thick, syrupy molasses that takes the fun out of zombie-killing. There’s a combo system, but it’s based on the horrifically arcane timing of pressing ‘X’ instead of something mildly amusing. Graphics are horrendously bland with a criminally uninventive reuse of art assets. Pathfinding is confusing and unintuitive. Soundwise, the publisher didn’t spend any time to build an English language track into the game. Considering the quality of the rest of project, this might actually be a blessing in disguise. Even the cutscenes aren’t safe from the D-level quality that plagues the game, as the pre-rendered scenes somehow visually tear on your screen. (How does that happen? Was it rendered on a Pentium II? Did no one check the video before they stuck it into the game?)

I suppose you can issue points for the two original ideas the designers built into the game. As Aya and Saki dispose of the undead, their blades are coated with ooze. Let too much of it accumulate and the swords will stick inside the bodies of your foes, leaving the two girls vulnerable. That’s not all! If too much blood splashes on your character, the girl will enter a crazed state. Extra damage will be dealt, but the health meter will slowly drain. As far as I could know, there’s no way to stop this once it’s occurred – the game doesn’t seem very fond of telling you how to do things.

These two gameplay tweaks aren’t much to get excited about. They’re more hindrances than anything, and there’s a good chance the novelty of them will wear thin before the second level is done. Honestly, it’s hard to vocalize exactly why this is such a frustrating experience. There are just so many things wrong with the game that it all blends together in a sea of grey textures and piddling setpieces. Its greatest offence is likely the notion that someone thought this would appeal to gamers. It’s pretty clear that this was hashed out on premise alone, with resources funneled into breasts, blood and swords instead of quality.

Thankfully, there’s an included dress-up mode that rewards your progress. Clear stages with sufficient Style Points and you can unlock new hats or underwear for the girls! KAWAII!

It’s a bit of a shame, though. With the proper studio, “bikini samurai girls fighting zombies” could have easily been a God Hand-style farce. Instead, we’re stuck with an overly serious, wonky piece of bargain-bin fodder that doesn’t even qualify as a rental title.

Unless this pops up as a $1.00 deal-of-the-day, stay far, far away.

Comments

That's a shame, the whole Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball genre is just ripe for a good parody.

Picked this up recently. I've played through the first couple of levels. I had no idea the reason your sword got stuck in the zombies was because of excess blood. Otherwise, this is the best Dreamcast game I've ever played!

Actually, I found the combos to be fairly interesting gameplay-wise once I figured out what was going on and tried some training stuff with them. Pity that they're tied to such a bizarrely raunchy title.

PyromanFO wrote:

That's a shame, the whole Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball genre is just ripe for a good parody.

Having poured a good forty hours into each of those games, I can assure you that they're parodies already. They know exactly how ridiculous they are and make no effort to be anything but silly.

PyromanFO wrote:

That's a shame, the whole Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball genre is just ripe for a good parody.

Isn't the idea of a game that encourages teenage males to play swimsuit dress-up with virtual volleyball-playing dolls a parody of itself?

Hey there is a movie based on this game.

I actually liked this game for what it is. I can't say with a straight face that it's a good game, but I don't think it's really that bad either - it's exploitative and very, very cheap, and maybe you have a hard time imagining why you would want to play something like that... but I don't know, sometimes I intentionally watch bad movies, too. Onechanbara scratches that itch.

In a few more words, this is what I wrote upon completing the game.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

Hey there is a movie based on this game.

Surprisingly, the movie isn't very much good, either.

Or maybe I expect more out of Bikini Zombie killing chicks than the average joe?

This is apparently part of a long line of games, most of which we didn't get in the U.S., for what it's worth.

I was hoping for this to be "so bad it's good" and picked it up when it was fairly new. It didn't do much for me, but I did like the idea of selling budget new games for $40.

I do like playing dress-up in games though. Even if it's not creepy objectification of females; my male avatars, when they do have clothing options (see: Bully and Alpha Protocol, for example), frequently hit the closet throughout the game. Kawaii indeed!

This game out over a year ago, right? Like, almost a year and a half ago, right?

You can get it used on Amazon for less than $8 (less than $7 for the 360!) but I'd be worried the disc might be "coated in ooze."

Still, this game came out quite a while back.

It's been out even longer in Japan, as Beeporama alluded to.

But yes, it's kind of an older title. You may be seeing a lot more of that in the near future. GameFly is great for that kind of stuff. And they might be things people can pick up on a discount, so I figure that's reason enough for a quick peek.

So what's the reason for different titles between the Wii and Box versions?

Mister Magnus wrote:

So what's the reason for different titles between the Wii and Box versions?

They're different games. The 360 game (Bikini Samurai Squad) is actually a port of an old PlayStation 2 game. The Wii game (Bikini Zombie Slayers) is a localization of the newer Japanese game made specifically for the Wii.

I was thinking of dropping this into my pile game next month. I picked it up new in a clearance sale for $10, and I have fairly low expectations for it.

I watched the movie, and thought that was suitably B grade, so I think this will be entertaining. NOT ground breaking, but entertaining nonetheless.