411mania gives a rundown on this week's game releases. Highlights include Retro Game Challenge, Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad/Bikini Zombie Slayers, X-Blades, and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection.
Retro Game Challenge (DS)
The challenges do not require you to finish each game. However, all of the games are complete, so you can if you want to. They can take up to eight hours or longer to beat and are not what I would consider shovelware - there is some depth to all of them. One of the action games, for example, has its own power-up screen where you can use certain items you've collected to improve your character. Abilities such as jumping higher and throwing more projectiles are essential for getting further in the game. Another example is how one of the racing games has a very cool drifting mechanic which makes it much more interesting than most of the others that I played in the 80s. So, at the very least, some of the games offered here rival those that were actually released back in the day.
Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad (360) / Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers (Wii)
This week's releases of Bikini Samurai Squad and Bikini Zombie Slayers mark Onechanbara's first official appearance in the US. It originally started out as one of D3's Simple Series games in Japan. History lesson: The Simple Series is made up of mostly budget titles that rip off other successful games. The low-budgetness isn't always a bad thing though, as it gave the developers some freedom to experiment, which is probably how Onechanabara was born. I mean, where else would they have gotten the idea for zombie-hunting bikini-and-cowboy-hat-wearing girls with swords? Somehow, Onechanbara was popular enough to break away from its Simple Series roots and has spawned quite a few sequels.
X-Blades (PC, PS3, 360)
After playing the retail version I can safely say that this game is fun for a hack-and-slasher. There isn't anything new or groundbreaking except for the fact that you get magic points for constantly attacking. It's similar to a fighting game in that you can fill your meter by rushing your opponent down instead of turtling. The upgrade system is also nice and helps to break up the monotony by constantly introducing new types of attacks. The targeting system and camera control could use some work though. Also, some areas throw way too many waves of enemies at you. And even though the developers were shooting for a game that emphasizes constant movement and action, they probably should have added a block button.
Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3, 360)
This is one of the best Genesis collections that Sega has put out, but there are some notable omissions (Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD anyone?). And honestly, if Sega really wanted to make this collection special, it should have reached a deal with Disney to bring in all the Genesis' Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck platformers. Moonwalker would have been nice as well. Maybe next time...