Oni

aka: Aoni
Moby ID: 3242
Windows Specs
Buy on PlayStation 2
$20.00 used, $109.98 new on eBay
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Description official descriptions

It's 2032. The planet is now ruled by the World Coalition Government which annexed 80% of the countries, with the remaining quickly dragged into the WCG. While their official goal was to solve humankind's problems, it was about money. Massive spending bankrupted poorer countries, and soon all traces of individual government disappeared. For those who were poor, the situation didn't improved one bit, and for the richer, maintaining the status was done at the expense of their privacy and personal freedoms. To make things worse, life outside the major cities, far from the atmosphere processors is nearly impossible, as the so-called "Wilderness Preserves" are poisoned, and those who venture into them risk a painful death.

Konoko, fresh out from TCTF (Technology Crimes Task Force, a secret police to take cyber drugs and weapons from the streets, as well as explore the induced technophobia to operate and investigate on a blank check permission) academy is placed under the command of Terrance Griffin and Dr. Kerr and linked to a SLD - an android - called Shinatama, who is neurally linked to her. However, Konoko knows next to nothing about her past, other that she was orphaned at the age of three and felt "different" to other people while was being brought up under the wing of TCTF. After many years in training, she has finally the chance to prove herself to Griffin and the TCTF, and so, heads for a warehouse rumoured to be under the control of the Syndicate, a criminal organization which grew exponentially after a young man called "Boss Muro" climbed to the top of the organization.

Inspired by the classic Anime series Ghost in the Shell by Shirow Masamune, gameplay is a mix between generic third-person shooter and a classic beat'em up. While Konoko has at her disposal several hand-to-hand acrobatic moves (with more unlocked as the player advances), she can also find weapons in the levels, and the decision to go armed or bare-fisted is only up to the player. Each weapon either draws from ballistic or energy cell clips, the number of rounds in each clip depending on the weapon: a Black Adder (a short, one-hand machine gun like an Uzi) can get 30 rounds from a ballistic clip, while a Mercury Bow (a sniper railgun sans scope) only two. Combined with the limited availability of clips, this adds a strategic element to the game, as the player can only carry a weapon at a time, so if a powerful weapons runs out of ammo, the player must choose between keeping the weapon and fight hand to hand with the enemies until Konoko finds fresh ammo clips, or discard it for a lesser gun that uses different ammo. However, if the player runs out of ammo completely when facing a tough challenge, Konoko can "overdose" on hypo sprays (used to heal damage) by using them over her natural health bar, which provides her with faster movement and tougher blows.

Spellings

  • Они - Russian spelling
  • 奥妮 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

171 People (122 developers, 49 thanks) · View all

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Original Concept Art
Additional Concept Art
Particle System Art
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Cutscene Animation
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Object Modeling/Texturing
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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 72% (based on 60 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 84 ratings with 8 reviews)

Great potential, complete flop.

The Good
Oni could've been great, awesome even. Combining three crucial elements (being great graphics, fight moves and a voluptuous female), Oni should have been one of 2001's greatest games, but ultimately, it failed.

Regardless, Oni deserves recognition for being the first mainstream anime-based game for the PC. There have been a few anime games in the past, but none of them are actually widely known.

Also, it warrants some merit on the grounds of its terrific "animesque" 3D engine, which while isn't actually fast, isn't slow either, and definitely looks GORGEOUS. The scenes are definitely believable for an anime game, and the fight moves are very well performed.

The music, rare as it is, is pretty good never-the-less.

The Bad
Oni has two major shortcomings, which are enough to render a potentially great game into a complete mess.

The first is a completely inadequate control system. I consider myself a very able person when it comes to getting the hang of control systems in games (I've never had any troubles with games ranging from Doom to Alice to Unreal Tournament), but Oni's control mechnasims managed to completely baffle me. Difficult to learn as they are, it's nothing compared to how difficult they are to use in a furious combat sequence. This might not have been too bad in itself, but combined with the second problem, the game becomes extremely frustrating.

The second problem is save points. sigh Shouldn't the lesson have been learned over the years, especially after Daitakana, which was particularly criticized for its "save crystals" mechanism? This is not a playstation game, and I think that's what the programmers failed to realize - miserably so. Combined with a really unintuitive control system, the lack of quicksave/quickload option in this game makes it completely unbearable to play. A stupid mistake, such as falling off a bridge in the middle of combat (or alternatively overhead-throwing an opponent and falling after him) can, and in fact will, make you go through entire sections over and over and over again.

Bad controls + no quicksave = big no-no.

The Bottom Line
A real flop, a game which could've been made great but fails where it's most important: gameplay.

Windows · by Tomer Gabel (4536) · 2001

First game of this type that I ever finished.

The Good
The number of moves and stunts this game allows you to perform while playing is quite thorough. This is the first game I found where it is possible to sneak up on someone and then break their back, for example. Another example you can run full tilt, then slide along the ground, pick up a gun laying there, and then shoot an enemy. Mastering these types of maneuvers can be very satisfying.

Some complain about the control system that Oni uses, but I found it quite good, and I'm usually VERY bad with games like this (Mortal Kombat, OMF2097). I was able to pull off most of the moves consistently in battle. Some moves are meant to be difficult to execute so that the game doesn't become too easy.

I personally think the save system in the game was appropriate, because in other games where the player can save at will, I have a tendency to abuse this feature. Oni's save system only forces you to MASTER the control of your female protagonist, which is what you want for a fighting/action game like this anyway.

An enemy in the game had to either spot you or hear you before attacking, this made for very interesting game play since at times sneaking around was necessary. Some enemies would taunt you while fighting, although a bit repetitive after awhile, this still added some interest to the flow of the game.

Some levels were huge, and the game engine seemed to handle indoor and outdoor scenes flawlessly. The level design was usually quite good, and provided a variety of environments to explore.

The Bad
My biggest complaint would have to be the drab graphics on the first few levels; although, the first level IS a warehouse, so what do you expect? It's true that some levels could have used more detail, it's also true that you're too busy fighting to really be bothered with the color and size of the game designer's choice in textures.

Some opponents in the game where REALLY tough to beat and required up to 10-15 retries before finally beating them (although I really consider this just part of the game and not a huge turn-off).

The Bottom Line
I finished this game at the normal level of difficulty and I rarely finish action games of any type. This game was fun and addictive, although admittedly a bit frustrating in some spots.

If you are not patient or easily bored with having to replay parts of a game because you got killed, this game may not be for you. You will occasionally have to replay some parts of a given level many times before moving on.

Overall I found the integration of various gaming styles to be well done, and there were no problems that I noticed which could prevent someone from finishing this game without cheating.

Windows · by jlebel (2190) · 2004

Oni, while not as great as it could have been, is a very good game

The Good
I completely disagree with the criticism of this game on the Featured Game column. The criticism states that Oni looks great but plays poorly. I claim the reverse is true. Oni's graphics were drab and disappointing (except for the smooth and varied animation), but its hand to hand combat system created a playing experience that is both unique and superior to most other 3d action games. Intuitive controls (after a short adjustment period), a great range of effective movements and intelligent enemies combined to create some of the most thrilling fights i ever had in an action game, 1st or 3rd person. the save system works perfectly most of the time, with the duration between saves short enough not to frustrate, long enough to be challenging.

The Bad
I expected much more from the story, which was left underdeveloped and cliched. the game's environments were its weakest point - repetitive, underwhelming, with very little interaction.

The Bottom Line
no game is like Oni, no computer combat is like going 1 on 3 in Oni and throwing your opponents left and right, and no gun toting two bit hero can equal heroine konoko's combat fury and finesse. the game does not live up to its full potential, but it is a remainder that new gameplay experiences can still be created if designers stop thinking by the formula. if you're tired of aiming and shooting, strafing and blasting, get Oni and teach those goons a thing or two about female power.

Windows · by ududy (57) · 2001

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Trivia

Comics

A three-part comic miniseries based on Oni was published by Dark Horse Comics in early 2001. A special #0 preview issue was included with the March issues of GamePro and Gamer's Republic magazines.

Development

Oni was originally intended to be multiplayer, but the designers dropped this when they couldn't get the game engine to perform fast enough over a net connection. There are remnants of the lost multiplayer option in the finished version. The manual still describes the other characters' various strengths and special moves, and once the player has beaten the game (or hacked a certain file), they can play as characters other than Konoko.

Gathering of Goodness

In the American edition of Oni, mailing back the registration card entitled the player to receive a Gathering of Goodness CD that contained patches, demos and movies of upcoming Gathering of Developers games plus a bunch of special god games content.

Title

"Oni" is Japanese for ghost or demon.

Information also contributed by Roger Wilco, Terok Nor and Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe.

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Related Sites +

  • Official Webpage (Mac)
    The official product page for the Mac version of Oni on the publisher's website, which provides a trailer, a profile of the game, a demo, and purchasing information, among other such such particulars.
  • Oni
    Official game website
  • Oni Central
    The bungie.org Oni site.
  • Oni Online
    Comprehensive site about Oni.
  • Wikipedia: Oni
    Information about Oni at Wikipedia
  • ZDNet GameSpot
    Game review.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 3242
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

PlayStation 2 added by Jonathon Howard. Macintosh added by Ace of Sevens.

Additional contributors: Tomer Gabel, nullnullnull, Terok Nor, Kic'N, Unicorn Lynx, Apogee IV, Antti Salminen, Zeppin, Klaster_1, DreinIX, Cantillon.

Game added January 31, 2001. Last modified March 23, 2024.