Onimusha (鬼武者, literally "Oni Warrior") is a series of PlayStation 2 history and fantasy themed developed by Capcom. The series makes use of the historic figures that shaped Japan's history, retelling their stories with supernatural elements. Most of the games are of the action-adventure game genre, a combination of third person combat and puzzle solving, where the protagonist wields the power of the Oni enabling them to fight the Genma, the main enemy of the series.
A more recent game, titled Onimusha Soul, was developed for mobile phones.
Games in the Series Edit
- Onimusha: Warlords - (2001)
- Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny - (2002)
- Onimusha 3: Demon Siege - (2004)
- Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams - (2006)
- Onimusha Tactics - (2003)
- Onimusha Blade Warriors - (2003)
- Jissen Pachi-Slot Hisshouhou! Onimusha 3 - (2005 - Japan only) - a Pachi-Slot game developed by Sammy Studios and published by Sega.
- Onimusha Soul - (2012)
The gameplay in the most of the Onimusha series is roughly based off of the mechanics from Capcom's horror survival franchise, Resident Evil. Even though the protagonist changes in every Onimusha title, he is always a skilled swordsman who embarks on a set mission and journey, which involves slaying demons and fearsome enemies during the waning years of the Warring States period in feudal Japan. In each game, the protagonist has the ability to absorb Genma souls from defeated enemies, which helps to restore health, infuse power within weapons and armor, and provide power for the elemental attacks of special weapons.
The control scheme of Onimusha resembles that found in the Resident Evil series. The player controls their character using the D-Pad (although later games such as Onimusha 3: Demon Siege and Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams introduced analog stick control) and travels in a fairly linear method, able to rotate slowly with the input of an opposing direction. Characters tend to move slowly and can only slightly increase their speed with the dash maneuver by tapping twice in any direction. What may frustrate some gamers is that Onimusha's characters cannot perform basic actions that have been taken for granted in other action-oriented titles, such as jumping, grabbing, and climbing over obstacles.
Unlike the Resident Evil series (with the exception of Resident Evil 4, and possibly Resident Evil 3: Nemesis), Onimusha is very action-oriented with a heavy emphasis on combat. This tends to force the franchise out from the survival horror genre, as it is more along the lines of an action-adventure with only a few horror-inspired elements. The player takes on the role of the hunter and uses a various arsenal of destructive weaponry, ranging from regular katana to elemental-based broadswords. The player does, however, possess a limited supply of spiritual energy which can be used for magical attacks. These magical attacks, which vary depending on what weapon is equipped and other offensive attributes, can be raised throughout the game by accumulation of souls from defeated enemies or certain items or trinkets.
Oni Gauntlet Edit
Central to the first three major chapters of the Onimusha franchise (and to a lesser extent, the fourth chapter) is what is known as the Oni Gauntlet. This is the Gauntlet that was given to Samanosuke in Onimusha: Warlords and was created by the power of the council of the twelve Oni Gods. It absorbs souls (see Nature of Souls), gives power to Samanosuke's weapons and changes the color of the orb in its center to match with that of the corresponding weapon, allows him to achieve an Oni Awakening, and is capable of functioning with other Oni items such as the Oni Army Orb.
Jubei Yagyu's mystical parentage through Takajou enabled him to use Oni power without the need for the Gauntlet. This was also repeated with Sōki, who was revealed to be the reincarnated Oni God of Darkness. On the other hand, while Samanosuke and Jacques both had Oni Gauntlets, only Samanosuke could become the Ultimate Onimusha. It is likely that Samanosuke was chosen by the twelve Oni gods enabling this, while Jacques was granted power by only one of them, because of this he was only able to transform into one form. Additionally, Jacques' gauntlet began with a red sheen, turning to gold as it gained more power.
In the third game, Samanosuke had been sent to modern Paris and thus his Gauntlet had reverted back to its original bluish color and all of his previous weapons (Raizan, Enryuu and Shippu) were lost since he was in a different timeline. However, he was able to restore his Gauntlet to its true potential by reabsorbing more souls, regaining new weapons (namely Tenso, Kuga and Chigo). Later, he was able to fuse the power of his Gauntlet with the Gauntlet of his alternate deceased self when he returned to a slightly alternate timeline. This gave him two gauntlets, thus allowing him to achieve his Ultimate Onimusha form.
After defeating Nobunaga, he absorbed the Genma Lord's souls. Unlike the souls of other Genma, these were a dark-hollow, green color that gave the Gauntlet and its gem a dark red sheen. This symbolized that the gauntlet had sealed away the essence of the Genma Lord. This was also the reason he had to seal the Gauntlet away. Years later, as the God of Darkness was reincarnated as Sōki, Samanosuke lost most of his power as the Onimusha and thus the Oni Gauntlet lost all its potential, turning his hair grey within a short period of time after losing part of the Oni Mystic Power. The only power that remained in the Oni Gauntlet was the sole power of the Genma Lord retained from Nobunaga.
In the fourth game, Tenkai, later to be revealed as Samanosuke, utilized this power against the Genma Army and even achieved an Oni Awakening with it, before it was transferred to Sōki. At that point, Nobunaga's power was unsealed in the final duel against the resurrected Fortinbras. This Oni Awakening was a result of the Genma Lord's power since that was the only power left in the Gauntlet, explaining why he wasn't able to use the same moves or the same weapons that he did in the previous games.
Onimusha vs. the Genma Lord Edit
Another central theme to the series involves the main protagonist as the Onimusha fighting against the forces of the Genma Lord. Both personages are polar opposites of each other and represent the unending struggle between the Genma and the Oni Clan.
In the fourth game, it was revealed that the God of Light had created the Genma and the God of Darkness for the Oni. The God of Light, Fortinbras, was the Genma Lord and the main villain of Onimusha: Warlords, with Nobunaga playing a more peripheral role. After Fortinbras' defeat, his essence was passed to Nobunaga, becoming the new Genma Lord. After Nobunaga's defeat, Hideyoshi was used as a vessel for the reincarnation of Fortinbras. The God of Darkness was the first Onimusha and each subsequent Onimusha is a being who channels his power.
In the second game, Jubei Yagyu was able to use five special orbs created by the Oni to transform himself into the next Onimusha. When Jubei underwent an Oni Awakening, he was able to shoot beams of light. These abilities were transferred to his Onimusha form as Jubei used the arm cannon formed on his left hand.
In the third game, it was revealed that two gauntlets were needed for Samanosuke to become the next Onimusha. This is why a second gauntlet was given to Jacques. However, Jacques' gauntlet was consumed as it was used to resurrect Jacques' son who died during the events of Onimusha 3: Demon Siege. However, Samanosuke was spirited away by the Oni following the death of his alternate self at the hands of Nobunaga. By combining the gauntlet of his alternate self from the other timeline, he was able to become the next Onimusha. This version of the Onimusha had a gauntlet on each of his hands and absorbed souls through an orb on his chest.
In the fourth game, it is revealed that Sōki, unlike the other Onimusha, was a reincarnation of the Omnipotent God of Darkness. Hence his title "Black Oni". In order for him to achieve his Ultimate Onimusha Mode, he awakened the sealed power of Nobunaga, the deceased Genma Lord’s power which was held within Tenkai's Oni Gauntlet. In his Onimusha Mode, Sōki wears shining armor with dark colors beneath it while flying in combat to attack Fortinbras (who in his true form has a human appearance and wears merely a white Western suit).
- Several Genma from the Onimusha series are named after characters from the plays of William Shakespeare: Marcellus, Osric, Guildenstern and Fortinbras, to name a few.