Oni Review by Al Giovetti


By Al Giovetti
Genre:Action Fighting Game
Developer: Bungie (http://oni.bungie.com)
Lead Artist:
ESRB Rating: Teen (13+)
Publisher: Gathering of Developers , Take2
Public Relations: Matthew Burton, TCI Communications Website:
Requirements:Pentium-II 200MHz, 32MB RAM
Recommended:Pentium-II 300MHz, Voodoo 3 card or better, 64MB RAM 3D Support: Direct3D

Support The Computer Show and get paid to surf the web. Click on this Big Bang ad!


Review 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.

Company Line

Game Play

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."

Voice Actors

Music Score

If you like a pounding beat backed up by rocking techno music you will love this sound track.

Sound Effects

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.

Multi-player Features

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.


Put your review right here by emailing us the text.


  1. Alex Handy, “O-No!,” Computer Gaming World, issue 201, April, 2001, page 88-89, 2.5 out of 5.0 stars (50%), cons: “repetitive fighting action, stupid save system, simple game play, empty environments, general half-assedness.”
  2. Jim Preston, Oni, PC Gamer, volume 8, number 4, April, 2001, pages 96-97, 72%, “a fun martial arts romp that could have been a multiplayer classic.”


  1. From: silt silt@maine.rr.com, Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2001 7:06 AM Have you played Oni? It's a decent game, and quite enjoyable, but is at best a second tier title. The world is graphically bland and the player is almost totally unable to interact with what does appear. The story is strictly code-by-Kanji-numbers. Yes, the twitch fighter aspect is a nice addition to style of game (though it's astonishing Oni doesn't include support for useful key customization), but after playing, say, Deus Ex, Oni feels like the demo skeleton of an engine in testing, totally proof of concept stuff. (Why on earth does the demo skip over the second chapter without even bothering to notify the player? Ridiculous stuff.) Next time, in review or preview, a little less adulatory hand-waving and a lot more criticism. Software reviews have always been too soft, but the site's (p)review of Oni was a press release.

    PC Game Center

    Issues Reviews Previews News
    Walkthroughs Hints Cheats Archives
    Interviews Yellowpages

    Please send us your comments and suggestions.
    FastCounter by bCentral