2 Interactive £29.99 PC CD-ROM
Out Friday 26th January
Pentium 2 266 or better
32MB of RAM
4MB graphics/video card
players usually don't come across beat-em-up games very often and a martial
arts beat-em-up is not the usual kind of game that we look forward to. However
with Oni this might just be about to change. As the official press release tells
us 'Oni tells the story of Konoko, an elite cop and one-woman SWAT team whose
approach to fighting crime is a devastating combination of rational calculation
and fighting fury.'
Konoko is actually more of a Bruce Lee than a SWAT team officer and the martial art moves are a far better weapon than any of the guns. Konoko is part of the Tech Crimes Task Force and the whole game plays out like an anime movie. The animation is wonderful and looks as impressive on an average PC as it does on the PS2. Another favourable thing to say about this game is that it will run on most PC's with no problem at all. It ran as well on a Celeron 466 as it did on an Athlon 900 (upto 800x600).
The controls are the famed WASD keys that are popular within FPS circles. The mouse changes your view and the mouse buttons are used to fire weapons and kick and punch. The game may look like a Tomb Raider clone but with this style of movement it feels closer to a First Person Shooter than a 3rd person action adventure, that is until you come to the weapons. Whilst Konoko is using her martial art moves everything seems fine and instantly playable. However when trying to use the weapons the control seems fiddly and console like, which makes you want to avoid using them. Another annoyance regarding the weapons is the inability to hold more than one weapon at a time. If you have a weapon and you pick another up your original weapon is placed upon the floor. This is silly as it doesn't allow you to use any kind of strategy with the different weapons. It is also silly that Konoko isn't allowed to carry over any weapons or ammo etc from one level to another but these characteristics are just niggles rather than problems.
Click the pics for a larger screenshot. Click here for a desktop theme. (thanks Clive)
Another 'console' feature is the inability to save games when you want to. Instead the game has save points that are individually stored so you can return to any that you wish. This might sound frustrating but to be honest I didn't mind it that much. If you were killed the game didn't back track too much. The end of level bosses/challenges I found very entertaining and even after getting killed plenty of times, I found myself still wanting another go (which is always a good sign).
The general interface is good and I particularly liked the indicator that shows you if you are approaching your object goal, a yellow arc that increases in size (as you get nearer) as well as an up and down arrow, as it prevented me from running round in circles (like I tend to do in Tomb Raider). The tutorial is excellent and informs you textually of everything you need to know. If you ever forget what the controls are pressing the F1 key will inform you of everything you could wish to know from objectives to key commands. If I have one moan about this game, as a deaf gamer, it is the size of the subtitles. At 800x600 resolution the text is small and sometimes disappears too quickly. This is a shame because otherwise this game is very enjoyable for the deaf gamer and on the whole is highly recommendable.
Overall Game Rating: 8.5/10
Quality of text: 8/10 Very Good. This mark would have been 2 marks higher if the subtitles had been bigger and remained on screen a little longer.
Graphics: 8/10 Very nice graphics. Not the best seen on a PC but very nice all the same.
Interface: 9/10 Nice and informative, what more could a deaf gamer ask.
Gameplay: 9/10 Nice and refreshing. It is not perfect (the handling of the weapons is awkward) but it is free flowing and enjoyable.