At D3 Publisher’s press event they had a demo station of Onechanbara vorteX for the Xbox 360. The Japanese version was on display and people could play through the levels of the zombie slashing game. The Onechanbara series is known for the cowboy hat wearing, katana wielding heroine, Aya, who hacks her way through zombies wearing a bikini. The gameplay is a lot like Dynasty Warriors where you run from point a to point b slashing your way through everything in sight. Zombies explode into pools of blood after being hacked into pieces and this tainted zombie blood covers Aya. After being covered in so much tainted blood Aya can go into rage mode and deal extra damage. At the end of the first stage you fight against a giant glob monster who can knock your character across the screen. The huge blob takes more than a couple of hits to kill and this is one of the first places you can execute a three hit combo without your target falling into pieces. Besides Onechanbara’s mascot you can play as other characters by hitting the left trigger to switch. Anna, the police officer, is one of the new secondary characters. She has two pistols instead of a sword. Her ranged attacks make the first boss fight ridiculously easy, so there’s some benefit to picking different characters. One problem that the Xbox 360 build at the event had was terrible loading times. The Onechanbara vorteX loads the entire level before you play, which takes over a minute. Instead of staring at a loading screen, you play a stripped down 2D version of the game where zombies pop up from the left side of the screen. It’s a clever way to mask load times, but hopefully these will be fixed in the final release.
Tamsoft’s Onechanbara series has gained a cult following in Japan and a smaller fanbase in UK where 505 Gamestreet released the Playstation 2 version as Zombie Zone. Now there is a chance that is coming to North America, seriously. D3 Publisher expressed interest in bringing Onechanbara vorteX for the Xbox 360 over to North America in 2007… if there is enough support for the title. Anyone want to see bikini clad, bloody zombie battles?