Oni Review by Al Giovetti
By Al Giovetti
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OniReview by Al Giovetti
Summary * History * Company Line * Game Play * Plot * Graphics * Animation * Voice Actors * Music Score * Sound Effects * Utilities * Multi-player Features * Cheats, Hints, and Walkthrough * Journalists * References * Letters
Everyone had high expectations for Oni. The box even has some unreserved editorial testimonials on it that is tough to retract at the time the articles are written. But while Oni has bright spots, “great fighting action and awesome sounds and music, Oni fails on many levels.
The inner child is reassured by repetition. The adult finds some repetition boring and inane. Oni has the latter repetition for its otherwise remarkably wonderful fighting action.
The repetition comes in part from the steep learning curve and the inability to save your game at key points in the action, and finally the death Nell is the lack of difficulty settings to make it easier to learn the combat. So in the final analysis, the player finds him or herself doing the same exact combat sequence over and over again ad nauseum.
Why no save at key points in the action? There are no in-game saves. Oni was redesigned as a Playstation game, which can only save at very few points in the game according to PSX designers. Do most PSX players like inane repetition? Perhaps this was one time a more sensible PSX save system needed implementation?
One of the nice aspects of the game is that non-player characters ask for and get help from surrounding mobs. So that fights quickly escalate from one opponent to as many as five. You need to stay focused and eliminate the lesser threats quickly before the tougher ones.
Weapons are really nice. This is a martial arts fighting game with some of the high-techest weapons we have seen. The fighting is something like Star Wars on steroids. On one hand you have martial arts moves like the devil spin kick and on the other hand you have weapons like the screaming cannon and laser sights. The cannon's slow moving screaming projectile makes good use of sound and graphics.
The moves are the best that can be seen today and are without competition. The spinning round kick is pretty and satisfying when it solidly connects in graphic and sound based pyrotechnics. Colors radiate from a connected hit that tell you the remaining health of the opponent.
Not only can you do a variety of martial arts moves that are brilliantly animated on the screen, but also you can run, jump, tumble, roll and crawl as needed in the game. These abilities are not used enough in the game. Perhaps climbing and other skills would have allowed the designers to give you more obstacles than tons of pits to jump over, miss and reload your game back at the last save about three or four or five fights back.
The enemy artificial intelligence has its problems. These ninjas, thugs and terrorists are either stupid or brilliant. The enemies cannot use explosives while their aim with projectile weapons is perfect. Several mobs are very stupid while others are extremely smart. The AI is spotty.
Keys, keys and more keys make up plenty of your time searching for the keys to unlock single, double, and triple locked doors. And when you are not searching for lost keys and NPCs to battle, you are getting ready to jump yet another pit in the plain white floor.
At the end of the game you find yourself wondering about many of the loose ends of the plot. Illogical inconsistencies will plague you and defy all logic. Konoko, the female protagonist in the game is left with no motivation for killing all these NPCs. English seems to be a problem in the writing of the plot, but then it may be simply an emulation of Japanese Anime where such problems are common.
Konoko keeps a diary, which is very helpful in explaining new moves and other parts of the plot. Konoko's diary is very helpful in early parts of the game, and then it disappears and does not come back for a long period, leaving the game player stranded and alone. The use of this diary could have explained much.
The bare hallways with white floors and black walls make up miles and miles of nothing from one battle to the other. You get the feel you are in a hospital that has no patients, nurses, or doctors. More detail would have been appreciated.
Mouths in Japanese movies and often Anime do not move in sync with the words. In the animations for this game, the mouths never move. The characters in some scenes in Anime do not move but are still pictures. Oni has a more Anime feel due to this "feature."
If you like a pounding beat backed up by rocking techno music you will love this sound track.
The sound effects really rock especially on a THX sound system from Lucas Arts.
Controllers: You can play with the mouse but there are no game options to adjust the mouse. You cannot play with a gamepad. You cannot reconfigure the controls by normal means. You need to open the controller configuration file to change the key configuration layout.
There is no multiplayer or skirmish mode in the game. This type of game would have benefited from multiplayer play on the internet or local area network.
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