Rise from your grave!
The legions of undead samurai have crawled out of the ground again and this time,
they're headed for the Xbox. It's been almost a year since they first
stalked the PS2
, but these rotting corpses still know how to lay the smack
down on any would-be samurai hero's armored behind.
Genma Onimusha is the brand new Xbox version of the PS2's Onimusha
Warlords. It's got an extra area to explore, a few new enemies and a lot
more challenge, but for the most part, it's a sword forged from the same Capcom
You play the great Samanosuke Akechi, swordsman extraordinaire. Inabayama
Castle has been overrun by evil demons, zombies, and other monstrosities, so
naturally it's up to you to stop them. Good samurai help is sooo hard to find
So how does a simple guy like Samanosuke kill what's already dead, you ask?
Easy - with the power of Ogres! It seems that the Ogres and Demons had some
sort of falling out in the past and the Ogres are more than happy to help make
life difficult for the Demons. Samanosuke has been given a magical soul-sucking
gauntlet that will help exterminate the monsters for good. Talk about your great
Okay, so the plot sounds like a freaky Japanese B-movie, but while the story's
not one of the best, some top-notch gameplay surely makes up for it.
Onimusha may fall into the survival horror genre, but it actually has
the heart of an action game. You'll slash your way through hordes of demonic
underlings using several types of weapons, both melee and ranged. You'll also
use that magic gauntlet to capture the souls of your enemies once you have smashed
their mortal shells. These souls will enable you to further power up your weapons
and items, making our main character one bad mamma jamma.
The most interesting new feature of Genma Onimusha is the green soul
that's occasionally released by a freshly dispatched monster. Collect five of
these and you'll gain OGRE POWER! This mystical ogre aura will surround you
and provide temporary invincibility as well as a little bit of healing. It also
fights tartar and stops plaque.
The only problem is that the monsters want these special souls, too. If they
are allowed to absorb them, the monsters will turn red and freak out, becoming
more powerful and more aggressive. You'll have to be careful, because fighting
a zombie for green souls will leave you completely defenseless. Why can't they
just be satisfied with brains?
When you're not swinging your chosen instrument of martial mayhem, Onimusha
has the feel of Capcom's famous Resident
Evil series. You'll search out keys and various other items to help you
get closer to the heart of the problem. You'll occasionally need to solve a
straightforward box puzzle in order to gain said items.
It's obvious that Onimusha is based on the RE formula, and sometimes
the similarities are a bit annoying. You still use the infamous "green herb"
for health, search for items like cogs and key pieces, and are unable to walk
up a simple set of stairs without the push of a button. It's not a big deal,
but a little more creativity on this end would have been nice.
Some similarities are a good thing, though. Controlling Samanosuke is a breeze
thanks to the Resident Evil style control scheme. It's been tweaked to
be a bit more responsive for the faster paced action of Onimusha and
it won't take long for players to slash like a pro.
Don't think that Onimusha is just a button masher (though one could
certainly play that way), since a smart samurai will discover the secrets of
swordsmanship with a little practice. Dodging and slashing at the correct instance
can bring about a sweet one-hit kill and knowing when to block is crucial to
surviving the game. This is even more important in the Xbox version, since the
big bad boys come out and play a lot sooner than they did in the PS2 version.
To further augment the solid show of gameplay, Onimusha gives gamers
an awesome visual treat. Picture perfect CG and great looking scenarios do a
good job of showing off the Xbox capabilities. The details are a little better
than the PS2 version, but you probably won't notice the difference unless you
see them side by side.
Cheeseball English dubbing may be the norm, but fortunately for us, a smart
move was made at Capcom to provide the option for Japanese with English subtitles.
I can't begin to tell you how happy this makes me. Bad English dubbing in a
game like this should be illegal.
If you perform well enough, a mini-game called Oni Spirits will be unlocked,
which is essentially a timed survival mode. A nice touch of replay value, but
nothing to get excited about.
The only real letdown in Onimusha is its length. Despite having a few
new areas to run through, the game is still short. The first time through will
probably take around ten hours or so, provided you explore every nook and cranny
and run around like a lost soul. If you decide on another round to pick up other
things you may have missed, the game can be completed in less than three hours.
So little demons, so much time.
Still, Genma Onimusha is an extremely solid game. It retains the amazing
graphics and fun gameplay of the original and throws in a few new features for
good measure. Just watch out for that damn Japanese Chucky doll. I think it
has a crush on you.