Oni video game
Image: Bungie West

Hello friends and gamers,

I asked my best friend about old computer games we used to play back in the day. We talked about the video game, Oni. Speaking about old computers, that’s when getting online actually required dial-up. For those unaware, dial-up used to be our internet connection network. Only it was so terribly slow that you could go around the world in 80 days and still be waiting for a connection. If someone was on the telephone (the home phone, cell phones weren’t that popular yet), you’d be out of luck. You had to use one or the other with dial-up networks.

When my parents finally obtained DSL (an internet network that ran faster than me on a hot day), I was so happy. A chance to experience video games on a console that would change technology and gaming forever. I played some amazing online video games in the new realm of PC gaming. But, I really want to reflect on a single-player game that I fondly remember. Many gamers will know Bungie, the game studio that developed the famous Halo starring the now-legendary Master Chief. Halo released in November 2001 and sparked a video game series for generations. But did you know this? Bungie also released another video game earlier in the same year, Oni.

Oni Game Overview

Oni is a third-person action brawler with a smidge of shooting. Describing Oni, I would say it’s a combination of a dystopian future, martial arts, anime (Ghost in the Shell vibes), cyberpunk, and self-discovery. The video game takes place in the year 2032. The dystopian world has formed a single totalitarian government. You play as Konoko (later known as Mai Hasegawa), who is an agent of the police force for the government. That is until she learns the government hides a deep dark secret about her and her family. While battling the police force and an evil crime organization called the Syndicate, Oni learns about her family history and saves a portion of humanity by stopping the Syndicate from blowing up air-treatment plants that keep the world population alive.

Oni Gameplay

As great as the plot sounds, I barely remember any of that. What I do remember is playing almost every day, forgetting the controls each time, and dying for about 10 minutes before I figured out how to beat up some baddies. Oni was mostly hand-to-hand combat due to being able to carry only one weapon at a time. Oni reminded me of The Bouncer because you could punch, kick, throw enemies, and level up to unlock combos and more move sets!

There are over 15 special hand-to-hand moves you can perform and 10 different ranged weapons to use, though you rarely used them because of limited ammo. One thing different about Oni compared to The Bouncer was the missions gave you freedom to explore the areas of the map. The Bouncer shoved the fighters into small arenas for battle. Oni allowed the player to fight enemies in wider areas, one of which included an entire building. I think the exploration is partially why I played the game so often after coming home from school.

My Personal Remake Potential

Microsoft acquired the video game company Bungie in 2001, the same year of the release for both Oni and Halo. [Updated] Sony has confirmed an acquisition and will know have Bungie under its care. Sadly, there was no reprise by Microsoft to turn the video game into a sequel or remake. Maybe Sony will venture into the unknowns with Oni.

I would imagine a remake to envision the art style of Mirror’s Edge fused with exploration and combo-mechanics from the Devil May Cry series. Maybe a hint of Enter The Matrix too, with slow-motion for action moves and enemy takedowns. In Japanese folklore, Oni are depicted as spirits, supernatural creatures, demons, ogres, or trolls. I think it would be awesome to incorporate some supernatural elements into a remake to add an extra layer of complexity. So, also like Shadow Warrior, I guess. I loved the purple-haired female protagonist, the special moves, the exploration, the varied enemy types. Mhm, straight up nostalgia just thinking about moments from my childhood on this game!

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