Windows - 2001
Description of Oni
Approximately three years ago, game developers realized that the unexpected success of the Tomb Raider series could be combined with the action of the console hit Goldeneye to create a new genre of game - the third-person action game. This new genre promised to take the tired first-person games into new territories. Developers envisioned John Woo two-fisted shooting with Jackie Chan jumps and rolls, all made possible through the use of a third-person perspective. Thus, Oni was conceived and born to bridge the gap between action and adventure.
What Don't You Know Already?
Oni features a futuristic cop named Konoko - you know that already. You won't know that she is supposed to single-handedly defeat the evil forces of chaos and destruction... unless you've ever played computer games before. You also won't know that she runs around warehouses stacked full of crates for the better part of the game... unless you've played the demo. You probably know that Oni is inspired by Japanese anime-style artwork. What you don't know is that there is only one cut-scene in the whole game that pays tribute to this. You also won't know how terribly tedious this game becomes in the later parts.
It is important to inform you up-front that Oni doesn't allow the player to save the game in progress. Instead, Oni notifies you that it has saved the game at various pre-determined points. On the plus side, you won't have to worry about forgetting to save your game. On the downside, the entirety of the game implodes because of this deliberate design flaw. The developers have chosen to build a game that relies too much on the console model rather than take advantage of the unique features of the PC; this is important because the rest of the game is irrevocably tainted by this design paradigm, as you will soon understand.
The most innovative feature of Oni is undoubtedly the hand-to-hand combat system. The third-person perspective allows the player to battle enemies with fluidity and grace. It's almost like playing Street Fighter from a Tomb Raider-esque perspective in that you can execute Hollywood style punches, kicks and throws with relative ease. In that respect, this is one truly innovative game.
In keeping with console-style thinking, however, Bungie failed to include any method for players to configure the keyboard or mouse controls. Sure, Bungie included a default WASD layout for right-handed players and even a left-handed layout, but they didn't take into account that PC players have grown accustomed to picking their own keyboard layouts. Those players are forced to come kicking and screaming to the keyboard configuration that Bungie has vainly declared standard. (OK, you can modify your keyboard layout by tweaking an undocumented configuration file in the install directory. Even this doesn't allow the player to adjust mouse sensitivity.)
This hand-to-hand combat innovation comes at a price. The game obviously showcases Konoko's advanced martial arts skills at the expense of other more traditional perks, such as cool weapons. New combat moves occasionally become available, so as you progress through the game, Konoko becomes more lethal. New combination attacks make Konoko more fun to watch and to play. Of course, if you are just now learning to use the WASD layout, these new moves may not be that easy to learn. Even players that practice these moves won't always find them useful. In later levels, when surrounded by four thugs and one on the rafters shooting at you, there is little time to execute any combination move or throw an opponent. That leaves only two choices: click the mouse with all the fury in your fingers or pull out a gun.
To be quite honest, you're better off without a gun. At least, that's what Bungie has decided. This is the first game that actually encourages players to ignore guns and other ranged weapons in favor of the less efficient five punches, three kicks and a jumping stomp. It appears there was one mandate when the level designers went to work: no ammo; no health; no guns. Compared with the very fun Heavy Metal: FAKK2, which allowed two-fisted gunfights and a variety of cool weapons, Oni features only two useful guns - the basic, inaccurate machine pistol and the rocket-launcher-like plasma rifle. The machine pistol is quite good for taking out a bad guy at close range but only holds enough ammo for one kill. The plasma rifle is quite difficult to use against moving targets but compensates with an extended range. Sadly, it too holds only enough ammunition for a single kill.
Though ammunition can be found on each level, only the stingiest of players could ever hoard more than two clips of spare ammo and energy cells. And frustrations are further compounded by the fact that Konoko is limited to carrying only one weapon! If you find an energy weapon, Konoko must discard the pistol to pick up the other weapon. Faced with the dilemma of two empty weapons, which one do you choose to carry with you? Let's say you pick the pistol. You run into the next room and find an energy cell. You run back to where you were to exchange the pistol for the plasma rifle only to discover that the rifle has melted into oblivion. Do you get the hint yet? They don't want you shooting at anything. This decision reaches darkly comical proportions when you finally find an incredibly cool weapon, such as the sniper rifle, only to discover it takes an entire energy cell for only two shots. Before long you'll adapt your thinking and charge headlong into battle armed with nothing more than your wits. You'll also find yourself sorely missing Quake and Unreal and their wealth of weapon choices.
Though this isn't much of a hindrance during the early stages of the game, it becomes a critical flaw later on. Keep in mind that you can't save the game. Now add the fact that sometimes you can't complete a level unless you die. That's right - you need to die and restart to finish the level. I found two broken levels that couldn't be completed until I restarted. The first game that punishes you for not dying.
Heck, for that matter, the game punishes you for finishing a level. Even if you hoard your hypos (health packs) and your ammunition, it is all taken away from you when you start a new level. They send poor Konoko to take on a platoon of bad guys but don't even bother to give her a gun, ammunition, a hypo or even a force shield - even though I finished the previous level relatively quite well equipped. I played by their rules and fought with my fists instead of my gun. I stealthily avoided confrontation when possible to conserve my hypos and health and then had all of it taken away from me.
In the later parts of the game - the parts that may take 20-30 minutes to complete (without a save game feature), you will face up to five thugs at once. This wouldn't be so bad if you could take out two or three from a distance, or even if you could whip out the pistol and shoot your way through a tough area. Combine this impossible situation with the fact that you'll probably have to replay this level 5-10 times and the game suddenly doesn't seem like that much fun.
Considering all the work that went into the game engine, the level design appears rather elementary. If you've played the demo, then you've seen a typical level - sparse, barren, boring and square. I haven't seen this many right angles since Doom. The levels are among the least memorable of any action game in the past couple of years. Compared with Heavy Metal: FAKK2, Tomb Raider and Quake III, these levels don't come across as the work of paid professionals. The entire game -- yes, the entire game -- consists of running from room to room looking for a computer to unlock the next door. No inventive or ingenious solutions such as flooding a room and swimming out a ventilation shaft or jumping on a conveyer belt to take a shortcut around the bad guys. You can envision the line of thinking: "Obtuse angles get in the way of her punching and kicking. Caves and castles get in the way of that, too. We need warehouses to maximize the hand-to-hand combat potential. Get rid of that ammo and add another unarmed soldier for Konoko to fistfight. Perfect. Do that again for all 19 levels."
On the positive side, the character animations are among the best in any game. Konoko doesn't simply run, she runs like an anime character - leaning far forward with sharp accentuated movements exactly as expected. Konoko's combat moves are fluid and smooth without any unrealistic snapping and warping. The audio is quite good and the music score fits perfectly with the game. Graphics performance ranks among the best for smooth framerates and consistent performance.
Oni sells itself as an innovative action game featuring hand-to-hand combat. In those words, the game succeeds. But Oni also sells itself as fun. To say that Oni succeeds in this attempt would be an overstatement, for the developers threw too many kinks into the equation and they just don't add up. Oni would be an above-average game if Bungie hadn't blown the in-game save feature. That one decision, though not fatal in itself, becomes critical when combined with the ever-increasing difficulty and the overt bias against guns, ammo and health. A patch could help turn the game around, but don't hold your breath -- Bungie's primary focus on consoles is evidenced by the entire design of Oni.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
SOME MANDALORE GAMING SIMPER 2022-08-27 0 point
It kinds of annoy me the fact that due to Mandy, Civvie11 and Gmanlives review of Shogo Mobile Armor Division, now must gamers thinks that one is THE Faux Anime game. This. This one should be the one diserving that title.
Oni is way less of a parody and more of a love letter. I don't think Monolith Productions hated Anime/Manga or something, is just that they had always a very sarcastic and edgy (Remember Fear 2) way of doing things (With exceptions like Captain Claw, I guess. The only edge in that one was the MC sword). So it ended less of a an appreciation of the japanese Science-Fiction has intended and more of a mockery.
Now thanks to Mandy "Bungies Mac Age retrospective" I can see how much Bungie Studios were already the peak of gamer culture before Halo. And the kind of gamers that have a lot of love for the medium with minimum toxicity. They even questioned the so famous quote from John Carmack with politeness. But then again, you dual wield shaw-off shotguns in Marathon 2 and Infinity and in this game you're a Major Kusanagi-like that pummels hordes of enemies. A good story can make a game legend (When the is story is GOOD. Not when it is pretentious), but good gameplay is what makes it a great game. The quote stands, is just we shouldn't forget the importance of gameplay or at least interactivity.
... Would be great that Mandy review this and/or the Myth trilogy after his last videos. I have this uncanny feeling he is thinking about doing a Halo retrospective.
bridgestonetired 2022-05-01 -3 points
this is the myth: the fallen lords myth II: soulblighter discord
the game is still alive with organized tourneys happened every quarter.
the 3rd party server Gate of Storms (gateofstorms.net) is where you can go to get a login
join the discord to learn more
Pandawatch 2021-09-29 2 points
Halo Nerd here looking to revisit a game I only played on a friends ps2 100 years ago.
Elruna 2021-06-20 2 points
I don't know why I didn't search for this game earlier.
I remember finding a CD with Oni demo on it as a kid and being surprised at how smooth and varied the combat was. Until ONI, I was used to playing first person shooter like Half-Life or rpgs that didn't have cqc combat.
I wish more games these days had that top center 3rd person instead of the side. (God, I sounded old)
16aven840083 2021-03-07 1 point
I have been addicted to this till now. the problem i have is to find a computer because of a large increase in the use of laptops. why doesn't oni work on laptops is there any specific reason. please help it is getting harder to find computers these days..
Wait what 2020-12-05 6 points
Downloaded the game and the AE and the game opens, but when I try to play, any movement of the mouse sends me spinning in clockwise circles and I can't look around. Any tips?
Grubbin7 2020-11-09 2 points
What an awesome find! I remember playing this game many, many years ago and was happy to find this link to download it! Installed it on Windows 10 platform and game had trouble starting. Installed the anniversary edition located below in the comments and happily after installing it ran like a charm!
khashiola 2020-10-22 3 points
After 20 years year by year I compared every game experience with ONI, no one ever matched, I do not understand why this game never became popular? this game is still excellent because it gives you many possibilities ( hand to hand combat with tons of acrobatics combined with guns ! ) so it wont become boring! it burns your brain with Dopamin !!! sweet memory and pleasure of this game has deeply bonded with my childhood...colorful days
Greasy 2020-07-04 3 points
I loved this game so much. I especially loved using the cheat that let you play as enemy characters. I'm surprised that this game has been forgotten, so here's hoping I can make it work.
Blade 2020-03-10 7 points
Is this a legit copy of the game? Should it with with the anniversary edition just fine? Etc? And where can i get a legit copy of Myth 1 and 2? I wish they would make these games digital on Steam or GoG.
ilyes zaara 2020-02-04 0 point
i like this lien because i can install oni in this page and thank u very much and now i leave this page and bay
Draken 2019-10-14 -2 points
I used to see this game on PC Accellerator and such magazines and always wanted to play it. but, I am getting this browser Error when i try to download.
Shredder 2019-10-05 -1 point
Ay, ive played many games, since my first memories starting with doom - quake 2 and action quake 2 mod but without a doubt this game is one of the best ive ever found, i think on limewire one day i clicked games one day and clicked Oni.iso.. it never had sound but i played through the ENTIRE campaign checking every room and corner learning each move and yea... best game ever :S
Garrus Vakarian 2019-06-22 11 points
Download the Anniversary Edition from here:
And install it after you have installed the original version from here. You won't be able to run the game on newer operating systems without it.
Aung 2019-05-27 1 point
Anyone has tips on how to run this game on Window 10. It crashes after launching the game. Any help is much appreciated.
Aung 2019-05-27 1 point
I"m very happy to play this game since year 2000+,
Luckily found back to play again.
thanks.Hope to play officially for full version.
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Various files to help you run Oni, apply patches, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.