STAFF REVIEW of Genma Onimusha (Xbox)
Capcom does some tweaking and brings one of the PS2's most
successful action/survival-horror title, Genma Onimusha to the Xbox. By
tweaking this title Capcom has giving Genma, new areas, enemies, costumes, cutscenes, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, and the ablity to have more
enemies onscreen at a time. As you begin to play you are treated to a breath taking movie that sets the mode of the game. The setting is Eiroku 1560 AD, the powerful warload of Surga, Yoshimoto Imagawa, heads up a war party towards Kyoto. While on the march they set up camp for the night, only to be defeated by Nobunaga Oda, a rival warlord of Owari and his 2000 men. But, Oda's victory is cut short, an arrow from one of Yoshimoto's men pierces his adam's apple, a shot that William Tell would be proud of. Now a year has past, strange things are happening in the Inabayama Castle. Mysteriously the inhaditant of the castle are disappering into thin air. Troubled by what is going on, Princess Yuki sends word to her friend Samanosuke to come to her aid. But as Samanosuke arrives to the castle he finds out that he is to late the princess has been kidnapped. Now with the help of Kaede, Samanosuke's female ninja partner, Samanosuke must save the princess and defeat Nobunaga and his army of demons.
I must say this was a tuff game, my hat goes off to ever who can play this game on the normal setting and I hope I can be like that person when I grow up. You take control of
Samanosuke Akechi, a lone samurai who is hell bent on destroying the gang of
demons that have kidnapped the beloved princess. To help Samanosuke complete
his task at hand, he recieves a magical gauntlet from a group orges, that
when a demon is defeated it sucks the soul of that demon, which in turn
gives our hero special powers. THere are 4 different kinds of souls that a demon will release when defeated. First, is the red souls which enhances the Orge's Gaunlet on your arm. They can be use to upgrade regular arrows into fire arrows or change herbs that only give a little heath to medicne which refills your whole life meter. Second, is the blue souls that increase Samanosuke's magic meter (which is used for special attacks), when you have an empty magic meter you have big problems. Next we have yellow souls, these give our hero life after a long day slashing demons to shreds. Lastly we have the green souls, which are an updated perk that the PS2 version did not have. Green souls are very special in that when Samanosuke aquires five green souls he has the ablity to become invinicible for a short period of time. Sounds easy doesn't it? Well it's not. Demons also want green souls so that they can become stronger. Now the stuggle begins as you must either fight for the green souls by rapidly hitting the (A) button to acquire them, or let the enemies gain the soul to reach beserk mode in order for them to release more souls when they're defeated to give you more health.
Now that you understand what you need to do, let's talk about the camera and controls of Genma. Let me put it to you this way, if you have ever played Resident Evil you can play Genma Onimusha. The camera and controls between the two are all most indentical. To control Samanosuke you must use the D-pad, at first I didn't like that at first but in time it became second nature and to be honest the controls are very smooth and responsive. Another added bonus is that your character targets the closest enemy automatically which can make tearing through demon flesh very quick and decisive. Your controls are made up of attack, special attack, kick, and block. You have to pick your fight wisely because some of the larger demons have attacks that are unblockable, but they move like slugs so you should have no problem bypassing them. If you do knock down a demon to the ground, you can serve up a very nice finishing move that will send it straight back from the hell it was spawned from, all though doing this move will leave your guard down, so use with caution.
Visually the game is beautiful. As soon as you watch the opening credits you almost forget you are about to play a game, instead you want to go to the kitchen, pop a bag of popcorn and get comfortable on the couch. The backgrounds are lush and full of color which really helped set the mood. Ranging from buildings, falling soldiers, deep thick forests and the underworld, well all I have say you will have to see it to believe it. Character detail was also well done, all of the demons had their own look, fighting style and cool weapons. A prime example would be, that Ogres would rely on shear brute force, while on the other hand the Three-Eye Demons depend on their blinding speed to eliminate our hero. The fighting moves themselves were equally impressive with lots of sword swinging action and the lighting for the spell effects throughout the game were breathe taking. Overall Genma is visually a nice game to look at even though it is a port from the PS2.
Sound was right on the money. You just can't beat hearing metal clashing against metal or your cold steel ripping through flesh in Dolby 5.1. It was easy to know just where a demon was by either hearing a growl or hissing sound. The one sound that sticks in mind and still gives me nightmares would have to be the laughter and bell ringing of Ayame, a small blood sucking doll that has the choice of either slicing and dicing you or latch on to you like a parasite and suck away almost all of your health. Sadly you can't kill her, so this gives her the right to toy (no pun intended) with you all though out the game. My pulse rate would shoot straight through the roof every time I would hear that !&%$@#* doll. There's also nice option that will surely please those hardcore Japanese enthusiast and that option is to play the game with Japanese dialogue instead of English, so you can hear the game in it's true form. But since I'm not that kind of enthusiast I thought the English version was just fine.
Please give us a health meter for the demons or at least for the bosses. It was hard to set up a form of attack, when you try something and you have no idea what kind of damage was dished out. Also give us the option to use our analog joystick.
Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10