Hello friends and gamers, I was just asking my best friend about old computer games we used to play back in the day. You know, 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 because you had to use one or the other with dial-up networks… So you would just resort to the old school pinball game that didn’t require an online connection while waiting on your mom or dad to get off work. That was me anyway.
When my parents finally obtained DSL (an internet network that ran faster than me on a hot day), I was able to explore and 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, however 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 Bungie also released another game earlier in the same year—Oni.
Oni is a third-person action brawler with a smidge of shooting. If I could describe Oni, I would say it’s a combination of a dystopian future, martial arts, anime (Ghost in the Shell vibes), cyberpunk, and self-discovery. Basically, 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.
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[TT] 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 Bungie in 2001, the same year of the release for both Oni and Halo. Sadly, there seems to be no reprise by Microsoft to turn the video game into a sequel or remake. 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.
Thursday On A Sunday
Oni is viable for a Throwback Thursday post since it was another game I hold dear to my childhood memories, but I just couldn’t wait that long! I loved the purple-haired female protagonist, the special moves, the exploration, the varied enemy types, and straight up nostalgia just thinking about moments from my childhood on this game!