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Onimusha: Warlords (2001) was the first game of the Onimusha series published by Capcom. Onimusha: Warlords is, essentially, an Action-Adventure game with elements of Survival Horror and feudal Japan as background. It was released for the PlayStation 2 in January of 2001, and later for the Xbox in January of 2002 under the title Genma Onimusha.

The story is set in Japan, during the Warring States period: ruthless fuedal lord Oda Nobunaga is felled by an arrow to the neck during the historical battle of Okehazama. Several months later, Samanosuke receives a letter from his childhood friend Princess Yuki of Inabayama: according to her, strange events are plagueing the castle, people are vanishing and she's deeply afraid. Samanosuke, with his loyal sidekick and love interest Kaede, arrives at the fortress, only to witness the appearence of monsters, which proceed to kidnap Yuki in front of his eyes and knock him out cold, proving impervious to his sword. However, Samanosuke is visited by the spirits of the Oni Clan, who bestow him the power of the Oni Gauntlet to slay demons and drain their souls. Armed with the power of the Oni Clan, Samanosuke must stop the Genma demons, who have taken over Inabayama, revived Nobunaga Oda and plan to turn him into a loyal, unstoppable vassal to take over Japan.


In a way similar to Resident Evil, this game has you explore a large castle with secret passages, traps, gardens and dungeons while solving puzzles, fighting demons and upgrading your weapons to explore every nook and cranny as you fight a variety of monstrous demons with both magic and weapons. Features returning in the following games would also be the setting (3D-rendered actors moving on a 2D scenery), Ink Suit Actors, sometimes narmy dialogues, Tank Controls and limited save points which you can also use to increase the power of your weapons.

Followed by Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny

A remaster of the game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam was released on January 15, 2019. It features many updates from the original, including upscaled visuals, a re-recorded soundtrack, an Easy mode available from the start, the ability to switch weapons without pausing the game, and a more modern control scheme including full analog stick support.


Onimusha: Warlords contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Kaede is a kunoichi who can take care of herself even against the demons.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Oni as a whole race are now benevolent beings with superior magic and technology who are at war with the cruel, human-devouring Genma.
  • After Boss Recovery: After you kill a boss you usually get a small cutscene, then a chance to absorb the generous amount of souls they release upon death.
  • All Swords Are the Same: Averted: Your weapons are a uchi-gatana, a fancier-looking, thunder enchanted katana, a massive fire broadsword, a dual-bladed wind naginata and a special longsword: each of these weapons have their own advantages, animations and flaws.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted, enemy archers hit hard with Arrows on Fire and usually can only be killed with arrows.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Journal was written by a man named Saimyou, a painter who tried to help a monk fighting the Genma and ended up as an insane, demon-worshipping cannibal, only to redeem himself by showing how to unlock the gate to the Demon World with his final painting.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The Ogre Armor, though only available in the special edition.
  • Asteroids Monster: Reynaldos will, if attacked with an horizontal slash, split in half and reform into two Reynaldos.
  • An Axe to Grind: The massive, minotaur-like Genma known as Oowassha/Barawassha are armed with humongous axes dealing lots of damage with each strike. Some variation of the former carry a throwable labrys along with an oversized cleaver.
  • Back from the Dead: The Genma do this to Oda Nobunaga for their own plans.
  • Bag of Sharing: Between Samanosuke and Kaede. Though certain objects are mutually exclusive and color-coded to let you know (Samanosuke's items are blue in Kaede's inventory, while Kaede-only items' names are orange).
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The giant wasp Genma Hecuba and her Sharaka babies, which are insectoid Genma with large pincers. Oddly enough, the latter seems to be hiding in waiting under the water of the castle's pond.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Samanosuke has stopped Fortinbras, but now he fears the powers of the Oni Gauntlet and Nobunaga is still at large, ready to take over the Genma.
  • Black Swords Are Better: The Bishamon Sword is black with red runes, and is the best sword the game has to offer.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Dark Realm, whose entrance can be found midway through the game in two different locations. It consist in a series of brutal fights against every type of enemy in game, but there are also treasures to be found, as well as Bishamon Ocarina, the key item to obtain the Infinity +1 Sword.
  • Bookcase Passage: As Kaede, you must go through one to obtain the Silver Plate, but first she must find the gear requred to make it work.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Samanosuke fights with a series of magical swords plus a bow, later replaced with a matchlock.
  • Bowdlerise: In the NA version of the game, Hecuba's transformation sequence is censored. The remastered version leaves this scene uncensored if you choose to play with Japanese audio.
  • Bullfight Boss: One of Osric's attacks is an easily-avoidable charge which may stun him, allowing you to kick his ass while he's trying to recover.
  • Ceiling Cling: The first Reynaldo is encountered while hanging from the ceiling, curled up until Guildenstern awakes him.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The three Dragon Orbs (Purple for Thunder, Red for Fire, Green for Wind) and the Genma Souls (Yellow to restore health, Blue to restore Magic, Red to obtain Experience and enhace items).
  • Convection Schmonvection: One of Kaede's leves take place in a burning room: both her and the Genma are perfectly safe as long as they do not touch the fire (in which case, they immediately burst into flames while taking damage).
  • Creepily Long Arms: The aptly named "Longarms" are towering, growling samurai-looking Genmas with exposed skin and overly-long arm they can throttle you with.
  • Creepy Doll: Ayame from Genma Onimusha: a possessed, bell-ringing doll which can suddenly sprout a demonic visage and huge scissor-like claws to eviscerate you.
  • Damsel in Distress: Princess Yuki, right from the beginning when Osric takes her away. She's almost rescued by Kaede halfway through, but Guildenstern steps in.
  • Degraded Boss: Reynaldo and Bolchimando go from unique mini-bosses fought by Samanosuke and Kaede to common encounters.
  • Demon King Nobunaga: Nobunaga is resurrected by the Demons to serve as their vassal on Earth, though he doesn't appear directly... this time.
  • Dirty Coward: Tokichiro Kinoshita will pick up a fight with young boys and girls, but the instant Samanosuke steps in he tries to woo him instead and offers him a place in service of the Oda, only to jump out of the way when the samurai, obviously, refuse.
  • Drowning Pit: One segment has Samanosuke trapped into a room which is slowly filled with water. Kaede must solve a block-moving puzzle to save him before he drowns.
  • Dumb Muscle: According to Guildenstern's notes, Low-level and Medium-level Genma are actually this, powerful but mindless drones. The latter can speak, but mostly in gibberish.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: A series of elements from this game do not return in future titles or do not match the background story. Namely:
    • Each Oni Weapon comes with a separated Dragon Orb which must be enchanted separately and influences the magic.
    • You can also wear different armors (rather than enhance yours), enhance herbs and arrows to make medicine or flaming arrows.
    • In the English dub, Oni and Genma are instead called "Ogres" and Demons.
    • Guildenstern states that he and Fortinbras are the only Top-Level Genma, despite the presence of other high-ranking, sentient Genma in the rest of the series. (though probably he was being the Insufferable Genius he is).
    • It's only game where the secondary character's sequences leave you unable to absorb souls at all.
    • In a few sequences, you can actually use the enviroment to dispatch your enemies (like tricking them into walking over fire, use a catapult to squash them or cutting the ropes of a bridge with them still on.)
    • This is the only game of the series to take place entirely in one location (Inabayama Castle), while future games have multiple areas to explore during the course of the game.
    • This is aslo the only game that portrays Issen as a special ability of a character (Samanosuke). In later games it's part of general mechanic and can be used by everyone.
  • Elaborate Equals Effective: Best seen when you power up your weapons, orbs and the gauntlet itself. Even Marcellus gets a makeover with body painting, different armor, different sword and a giant bloody eye in his chest to show that he got stronger.
  • Elemental Powers: The power of the Oni Clan manifests through a series of weapons giving you power over the elements. Each weapon has a different Element, magic attack and use.
  • Eleventh Hour Super Power: In the final FMV video, Samanosuke turns into the Onimusha and slays Fortinbras.
  • Essence Drop: Enemies killed by Samanosuke drops "souls" which can be collected to heal yourself or enhance your weapons and magic. You can find a special rare talisman that forcibly extracts the souls of Genmas in a restricted circular area.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Guildenstern is introduced digging with excitement into the dissected abdomen of a poor sod, enjoying some Black Comedy ("And what's this? Ooooh, a liver!")
    • Tokichiro bullies Yumemaru, only to try to hire Samanosuke for his cause.
  • Evil Knock Off: Stylado, a deadringer of Samanosuke who cannot use Oni Magic but attacks with a sword and purple fire instead.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Most of the male demons such as Osric, Fortinbras and Guildenstern's Japanese voice.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The final dungeon, the Genma Realm, is one where the ceremony is held. Unlike most examples though you'll have to enter from the top and descend to the bottom.
  • Evolving Weapon: By feeding your weapons/orbs souls, you can increase their stats and magic.
  • Eye Scream: How Samanosuke, in his Onimusha form, kills Fortinbras.
  • Fan Disservice: Hecuba transforms from an average woman into her busty but disgusting wasp form, including her abdomen rising from between her legs.
  • Fantastic Racism: Genma, namely Guildenstern, costantly refers to humans as nothing more than "animals" or vermins, useful only as food or research material.
  • Final Boss: Fortinbras, the Genma Demon King and the Man Behind the Man for Nobunaga.
  • Five-Man Band: The game has this:
    • Big Bad: Technically Oda Nobunaga, with Fortinbras as the Man Behind the Man or Greater-Scope Villain.
    • The Dragon/Dragon-in-Chief: Tokichiro Kinoshita to Nobunaga as the Dragon-in-Chief. Stylado is also implied to have a similar role.
    • The Brute: Osric (who's tasked with kidnapping Yuki) and Marcellus (Who serves as Guildenstern's personal bodyguard) are the musclebound fighters of the group.
    • The Evil Genius: Guildenstern, the mad scientist Genma responsible for the monsters and responding directly to Fortinbras.
    • The Dark Chick: Hecuba, only female member, lasts longer than the others and uses a mixture of trickery and direct force to achieve her goals. Also, quite remembered for her transformation sequence.
  • Flunky Boss: Hecuba spaws several Genma bugs to help her in combat.
  • The Four Gods: Present in the form of four Oni books which holds their story and allows you to solve a series of rewarding puzzles.
  • Fragile Speedster: Kaede is faster than Samanosuke and, like Jill, can unlock doors, but she's weaker and cannot extract souls from her enemies.
  • Gainaxing: On Kaede, subtle but it's there: just watch her chest closely after performing a sudden backstep or dash forward.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: By the time Kaede is tricked by Stylado in game, it's possible to have Samanosuke wear the golden Holy Armor, while Stylado always appears with the red Armor, and Kaede doesn't notice until is too late.
  • Giant Mook: Longarms and Oowassha are larger than usual, slow and powerful. Thankfully, they can become an easy prey to Issen and leave much more souls when defeated.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Averted with the Matchlock: it may not be a Magic sword, but it's priceless when fighting Hecuba.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the backstory, the mummified monk in the Underground Shrine did this to prevent the Genma from harassing the humans and to protect the Shiden Orb. Alas, it's seemingly a Senseless Sacrifice.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Kaede wears an orange minidress which is easy to spot. The Three Eyes may count too, given that their eyes glow in the dark.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The game does this to various conquerors who sided with the Genma to obtain power, including Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and, obviously, Oda Nobunaga.
  • Human Resources: While most Genma eat humans, some of them use corpses for experiments or to breed more Genma.
  • Human Sacrifice: Fortinbras' Evil Plan is a dark ceremony to empower Nobunaga which will turn Yuki into this. First, they'll sacrifice Yumemaru, her beloved adoptive brother, in front of her, to make her sorrow grow before the ceremony.
  • Karma Houdini: Tokichiro, Nobunaga and Guildenstern walk away unscathed from this game. They'll eventually pay for their crimes later.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Subverted, Samanosuke's starting katana is a weak weapon, and both Enryuu and Bishamon Sword, which look like western swords, are stronger. Most enemies, most notably the Longarms and Stylado, have one though.
  • King Mook: Barawassha for the Oowassha: he's the same, only much bigger, red and much more aggressive, not to mention that he can tank several magic attacks and survive.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Bishamon Sword, obtained by clearing the Dark World and obtaining the Bishamon Ocarina. It's found before the Final Boss, but can one-shot note  everything not named Fortinbras.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Samanosuke and Kaede for their respective voice actors. The tradition is kept for future games before Shin.
  • Invisible Monster: Bolchimandos can turn invisible (and invulnerable) only when they're moving around, and must turn solid again to attack.
  • Lightning Bruiser: What Marcellus becomes after being powered up by Guildenstern in his phase 2, aptly called "Speed Marcellus". He's fast enough to leave afterimages behind.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me:
    • Armored Longarms can parry most of your attacks with a rectangular shield, which will fall apart after sustaining a certain amount of damage.
    • Marcellus' basic form has a round shield he can defend himself with, or attack with.
  • Mad Scientist: Guildenstern, a literal monster who treats humans like vermins and is willing to perform sick experiments for the Genma's wellbeing.
  • Meat Moss: A few underground rooms have meat-like stuff covering the wall. The Dark Realm looks organic. Genma employs tumor-like entities called "Mazin", which lock doors and can be bypassed with the right Orb, which causes them to wither. The final dungeon even has a gigantic, sphincter-like growth on a wall which periodically spawsn a Genma.
  • The Mole: Hecuba, under the guise of a maid from Princess Yuki's entourage, appears to Samanosuke and Kaede to wait the perfect momemnt to kidnap Yumemaru.
  • Morph Weapon: Not really dwelt upon, but it's implied (as the cinematic opening of Onimusha 3: Demon Siege shows) that Samanosuke actually transform his standard katana into the Oni Weapons using the Orbs in the gauntlet.
  • Mundane Utility: One puzzle involves using Enryuu's magic to light some candles, so that you can locate the exit from the room. Then again, is kinda unwise to move blindly in a room which you know it may contain deadly traps.
  • Nice Girl: Yuki is sweet and adorable. When Kaede tries to lockpick her cell and injures herself with a needle, Yuki spontaneously tries to clean her wound with a napkin.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The basic Genma are undead soldiers with skull-like faces, armed with either swords or bows.
  • Ninja: Kaede is a Kunoichi from the Iga clan, while the Genma have the Three-Eyes, nimble ninja triclops with Blade Below the Shoulder and stronger counterparts known as Dark Crows and Dark Spiders.
  • No Kill Like Overkill:
    • Hecuba is fought by Samanosuke, falls into a water basin, survives a crumbling tower and is finally killed by an explosion.
    • If Fortinbras grabs Samanosuke he will squeeze him to death before breathing fire over him.
  • Non-Action Guy: Guildenstern is more than content to appear, have a chat with you and then unleash his latest pet against you.
  • Not Quite Dead: Applies to Hecuba (tries to kill Samanosuke but dies in the following cutscene), Marcellus (is forcibly revived and modified by Guildenstern) and Fortinbras (Just in time for Onimusha!Samanosuke to finish him off.
  • Oddly Shaped Sword: Downplayed with Raizan (at level 3 grows a massive, spiked hilt) and Enryuu (the blade gets spiked and bifurcates at level 3), more present with Shippu (not only the blades become barbed and hooked, but they both face the same side, which could make them even harder to use). The game also features a seven-branched sword meant to be used as a key to open the gate to the Water Garden.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Issen mechanic: if Samanosuke attacks an attacking enemy at the right moment he will release a deadly Diagonal Cut that not only kills the victim, but also nets more souls. The Bishamon Sword's attack work like an Issen against any opponent.
  • One-Winged Angel: Marcellus is brought back to life by Guildenstern and can grow massive blades in lieu of hands to fight.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Both Nobunaga and Fortinbras are nowhere to be seen until the finale.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Genma are an evil and powerful race of technologically advanced monsters who made a deal with humans to barter technology for human sacrifices. They come in a huge variety of forms and shapes, but most of them are implied to be artificially-created.
  • People Jars: In the Underground Keep, in a corridor where Longarms are bred. A few of said jars will suddenly break to release the Longarm inside.
  • Pet the Dog: Samanosuke taking some time to confort Yumemaru and telling him about the vast world outside Japan.
  • Pitiful Worms: How most Genma see humans. Osric even express disbelief when Samanosuke cuts him down, and Guildenstern is outraged when Samanosuke dares to talk back to him.
  • Point of No Return: After Samanosuke enters the door sealed by the demon crest, the gate to the dark realm appears and most of the castle keep becomes inaccessible, meaning any items or files you failed to get are now permanently beyond your reach.
    • Another Point of No Return is actually opening the gate itself. Once you use the Great Bow and Great Arrow to unseal it, a cutscene will play and Samanosuke will automatically go through. The gate will close behind you, and you will be unable to go back.
  • Rank Inflation: After beating the game, you'll be ranked based on the time spent, souls obtained, enemies killed and flourites collected. Getting the best one (S) unlocks a new outfit for kaede.
  • Red Is Heroic: Samanosuke's armor is engine red at first. You can later equip a golden armor and finally the deep crinsom Great Armor.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: The setting of the first duel against Marcellus. Includes a Disney Villain Death for him.
  • Sacred Bow and Arrows: The second half of the game involves a quest for the Great Bow and Great Arrow needed to break the seal on the Demon World's gate.
  • Silliness Switch: Unlockable costumes include the Panda suit for Samanosuke and red devil costume for Kaede.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Marcellus, as a Genma soldier, wields a massive, curved-tipped sword as his weapon.
  • Skull Cups: The ritual to turn Nobunaga into the Genma's champion involves using Yuki's skull as a chalice to drink her blood.
  • Smug Snake: Tokichiro Kinoshita, big time. Sadly he walks away unarmed from the game, to be a smug ass again in other titles.
  • Spikes of Doom: Used as a trap: there's a chessboard-like floor with both + and X symbols: walking on one of these tiles blocks the player with bars and also causes all the tiles in a + or X formation to crumble, revealing a pit with spikes underneath. The trick is to have one of the two characters (Kaede or Samanosuke) reach the O tile at the end without dropping the partner to his death.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: While Samanosuke is stuck fighting Hecuba in her sanctuary, Kaede uses some gunpowder barrels to make preparations and blow up the entire building after Samanosuke's done with the boss.
  • Talking to the Dead: When you obtain the Communion Rosary you're able to talk to the corpses scattered around Inabayama Castle.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works:
    • Oowassha will sometimes throws their humongous axes and draw the cleavers on their back to fight.
    • Bolchimandos, in a unique variation, bend their Whip Sword into a chakram before throwing them.
  • The Unfought: Guildenstern, Nobunaga and Tokichiro. You'll have to wait for the sequels to deal with these guys.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The game's ending reveals the fate of the main cast.
    • After her family is overthrown by Nobunaga, Princess Yuki and Yumemaru go to stay with a family friend in another province, but leave after less than a month to travel the world together.
    • Kaede never sees Samanosuke again, but is employed by his uncle, Mitsuhide, until she dies in a war 14 years later. However, according to an interview with Keiji Inafune and Blade Warriors, Kaede does eventually reunite with Samanosuke, but is Killed Offscreen by Gargant, the Genma Samanosuke kills in Demon Siege's opening cutscene.
    • As for Samanosuke himself, nobody knows what happened to him after Fortinbras' throne room collapsed, but in The Stinger, he's seen alive and well on a cliff overlooking Inabayama Castle before he departs.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: A dialogue-only variation appears in the spirited speech Samanosuke gives to Yumemaru.