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games > onimusha

onimusha

Can someone tell me what kind of bug crawled up the butt of the undead? I mean, they're always out causing trouble, resurrecting various evil entities or gnawing on the occasional human head for a late night snack. Some zombies, like Michael Jackson, have tried to go straight and make a decent life for themselves, but most end up on a quest to find the perfect brains du jour.

According to Capcom, feudal Japan was full of these evil dead guys. They just can't seem to kick that brain-eating habit and the intelligence of the locals are suffering because of it. Join the fight for humanity and play Onimusha Warlords!

You are the great Samanosuke Akechi, swordsman extraordinaire. Inabayama Castle has been overrun by evil Demons (ie. zombies) and, of course, it falls on your armored shoulders to stop them.

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 mess up things for the Demons.

Okay, so it sounds like an XFL game. 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 a 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.

When you're not swinging around your chosen instrument of martial mayhem, Onimusha has the feel of the Resident Evil series that Capcom is famous for. You'll search out keys and various other items that will help you get closer to the heart of the problem. You'll also need to occasionally 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. Very satisfying, indeed.

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 PS2's capabilities. There are also a few impressive instances where Samanosuke battles enemies in shallow water, complete with the appropriate water effects. Everyone should be glad this game got bumped from the N64 and original Playstation to the next generation.

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're lucky enough, a mini-game called Oni Spirits will be unlocked. A nice touch of replay value, but nothing to get excited over.

The only real letdown in Onimusha is its length. The first time through will probably take around ten hours or so, exploring every nook and cranny and running 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, Onimusha is an extremely solid game with not much to complain about. Its amazing graphics and fun gameplay make this one of those games that you need to experience. Just watch out for those damn zombies. You never can tell when they'll be in the mood for a samurai snack.

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