February 1, 2002
Overall score:  80 MDK (PSX)
by Playmates Interactive Entertainment  Reviewed by: Mark Skorupa

ScreenshotIt seems like ages since I first heard about MDK. I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival on the Playstation for months. Strangely enough, the game hit the PC scene 3 or 4 months earlier and due to Gamezilla's stellar review from the PC side of the house, my impatience only grew. The day has finally come that I can play MDK in the comfort of my PSX gaming chair. Was it worth the wait? Hard to say.

The story of MDK is quite involved and detailed so I will summarize. You play as Kurt, the assistant of Dr. Fluke. You and the doctor have been in outer space looking for something or another when you notice that there are several "streams" shooting from space to the earth. You come to find out that these streams are from an alien race called the "Streamriders" who use these streams to attack worlds and deplete them of mineral and metal deposits. It is up to you, as Kurt, to save the earth. The only thing you have going for you is a special suit and a few weapons designed by the doctor, and as usual, the world is resting on your shoulders.

MDK is one of the more unique games I have played. The strange thing about it is that everything has a very familiar feeling even though the combined parts of MDK are unique. This game is a cross between a third-person shooter, first-person shooter, and an action adventure game. All of these genres fit together nicely, but the levels did drag out a bit.

The coolest part about MDK is definitely the Sniper Mode. The Sniper Mode is what makes this game resemble a first person shooter. The idea of the Sniper Mode is that you can attach your chain gun to your faceplate and it turns into a long range weapon. This gun gives you the ability to zoom in on enemies that are far in the distance. All you have to do is zoom in close, aim the gun and watch the enemy drop. I have never seen anything like this before in a game, and it adds tremendously to the action.

ScreenshotOf course the Sniper Mode does have its problems. Since your are zoomed in on such a specific area or target, you can't see anything else that is going on around you. It always seemed like when I went to the Sniper Mode, a bunch of new enemies would appear nearby and pummel me while I was trying to shoot the one bad guy in the distance. I guess this was good because it kept you from sitting back and picking off enemies in the distance without really much effort.

The normal view in MDK is the typical 3rd person perspective. You will use this view to navigate your way around the worlds and shoot close range enemies. There is plenty of territory to explore and many items you must find in order to progress through the levels. For example, you must find the world smallest nuclear weapon to blast open an otherwise unmovable door.

Now let's talk about weapons for a minute. You already know that you have your Sniper gun and the worlds smallest nuclear weapon, but what else do you get to wreak havoc with? You have your standard Chain Gun which fires off round after round of bullets, and you'll find many different types of pick-ups along the way, including bombs, an earthquake-causing hammer, and even a decoy of yourself. These are just a few of the basic items you will use, and believe me, there are plenty more to be found.

The main thing that I did not like about the game was that the levels just got a bit boring after playing for awhile. I would have liked to see the levels a bit shorter because they were designed well but just started to drag. I will say the training screens that appeared during the gameplay were quite helpful, but it still did not help the drag.

ScreenshotThis is the other area of MDK that disappointed me some. The overall tone of the graphics was dark. It was not dark in a mood-setting way either—they were just dark. There were times where I could not tell for sure what object were or where I needed to go. When you zoomed up close to an enemy in the Sniper Mode, the graphics were decent-looking and it was cool to see the bad guys up so close. Overall, I wish the graphics were a bit lighter and more polished around the edges.

Bottom Line:
MDK is a pretty good game that has definitely come up with some new and inventive game ideas. The Sniper Mode is one of the coolest things I have seen in a game in a long time. I think this game gets caught in the longer-is-better type of thinking. But this is not always the case. If the missions were a bit shorter, and the graphics a little sharper, this would be a great game. As it stands, it is a good game that shooter fans will enjoy.

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