Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad Review
Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad box art
System: X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Teamsoft 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: D3 Publisher 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb 10, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Sex, Blood, and Bad Design
by Robert VerBruggen

Comedian Chris Rock once commented that he loves hip-hop, but it's hard to defend the worst elements in that genre. That's the kind of queasy feeling Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad will evoke in video game lovers.

Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad screenshot

The game begins with a cutscene, in which one Samurai Squad member is watching TV in a schoolgirl outfit while the other takes a shower. A report of a zombie outbreak comes on the news, so naturally, the clothed one crawls toward the screen on all fours while the naked one runs out without even drying off. Soon thereafter, the girls writhe into their skimpy suits, in which their breasts jiggle even when they're standing still, and go to fight the zombies.

There's some text explaining the story. Basically, these young ladies have swords and know how to use them, and zombies are infesting their city. The player takes control and begins Chapter 1 in a third-person hack-and-slash adventure.

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It should be clear by now that the game is pointlessly demeaning, bordering on pornography. Can any of the gameplay elements make it worthwhile for anyone but 15-year-old boys without Internet access? Not likely. There are only two difficulties available when you first boot up the game, the harder being "Normal"; this corresponds to "Easy" or "Very Easy" on virtually any other game.

Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad screenshot

You have three attack buttons, a punch, a kick, and a sword swing, and you can create combos by pressing them in sequence. Periodically, your sword will get too bloody, and you'll need to shake it off so it doesn't get stuck in enemies. Also, if you get too much blood on yourself, you go into Rage Mode, meaning you'll deal more damage, but your health will slowly deplete. The only ways to get out of Rage Mode are to touch a statue, to pick up a piece of statue, or to finish the level.

There's a reason so many of the game mechanics revolve around blood: there are buckets of it. Every time you swipe at an enemy, a cascade of crimson falls across the screen. You'll slice zombies clean in half, and their legs will keep walking toward you. The game emphasizes the quantity of enemies over the difficulty of beating a single one, so you'll be facing tens of them at a time. What good are over-the-top, sexualized female leads if they don't produce over-the-top fountains of gore?

Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad screenshot

Even with so many enemies, there's virtually no challenge to be found in the 20 story-mode chapters, save for a few levels' cheap shots. You can dispatch just about any number of enemies without taking a single hit, so long as you make sure to keep shaking the blood off your sword, and many zombies drop power-ups. In fact, if you try to get killed, you’ll usually find it’s hard to. The bosses' attacks require a little avoiding, but even they are usually quite susceptible to the "run up and hack at them a bunch" strategy. The only real challenge you'll face is dealing with the ravages of Rage Mode, but the increase in power usually makes it possible to finish the level in time if you can't find a statue. You can't play the higher difficulties without beating Normal first, and while those difficulties can get quite hard, why waste time unlocking a worthwhile game when some other games are playable right out of the box?

Screenshots / Images
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