Game Over Online ~ MDK 2

GameOver Game Reviews - MDK 2 (c) Interplay, Reviewed by - Tweeder

Game & Publisher MDK 2 (c) Interplay
System Requirements Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 300MB HDD, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 93%
Date Published Wednesday, June 7th, 2000 at 02:37 PM

Divider Left By: Tweeder Divider Right

Before this review starts, I invite you all to take a ride in my magical time machine. The year is 1997 and Quake, Diablo, King's Quest 18 top the charts, along with Myst for its 476th consecutive week. News of Quake 2 and Unreal rule the Internet, and every time a new screenshot is released the entire Internet is slowed to a crawl. Lots of other stuff happened in 1997 too, I think, maybe. But of all the games, of all the news, of all the worldwide sporting events and many court trials, by far, the most important thing to happen that year was the release of MDK.

Okay, maybe MDK wasn't the most important thing in the world that year, but it damn sure changed a lot of games, and gamers' opinions. People became bored of the normal shooter with the same boring guns and levels. Rocket Launchers, Grenade Launchers and Chainguns, oh my! Click here, click there, flip a switch, and click again. It got old. That's where MDK came in. The one game that was the perfect blend of action and thinking that any gamer (except for old people) could totally dig. There was a certain odd humor to the game; something between carefully scripted comedy, and the just plain weird that added much to the already incredible atmosphere. You played as Kurt, a janitor who was Earth's only chance of survival. Equipped with a sniper rifle helmet, a shitload of guns and ammo, and a six-legged dog (to bomb the crap out of enemies when needed), you single-handedly saved the planet from those bastard aliens. Until....

Step out of the magical time machine, open your eyes, make sure all your limbs are attached since the machine has a few bugs (we took the Daikatana style of building this machine, years and years of development for a product that just don't work quite right) and look at the present. 2000, the millennium, and finally, after 3 years of being on the edge of my seat, MDK 2 is out. Okay, now to the review.

MDK 2 contains the same basic elements as the original. You run, you see alien, you shoot alien, maybe solve a puzzle, maybe shoot some more. Or maybe that's just one way of accomplishing what you're trying to do. While this may sound like your normal tried-and-true cookie cutter action game, I assure you, it is not. For one thing, shooting isn't always the answer. Since you are no longer limited to playing as Kurt, but may also play as two other characters, Max and the Doc, there are 3 times as many items and weapons and levels, and 3 times the fun. As Kurt, you do what he does best. Snipe. Sure he gets big guns and grenades, but shooting the off an alien's head from 300 yards and watching him suck in the air that kills him, well that's something that every person on this planet should experience in their life, along with drunken bowling. As Max, the aforementioned six-legged dog, you shoot, but not with your standard action gun, no, no. As Max, you have a wide selection of handguns, uzis, shotguns and chainguns, and best of all, you can hold up to 4 at a time.

And then there's Doc. From what I've read on Interplay's message forum, most people detest the Doc. He doesn't really get weapons, so to speak. Instead, he picks up random items, such as a toaster or duct tape, and uses them not only in the surrounding environment, but also, sometimes, as weapons. Come on, what other game gives you an atomic toaster as a weapon, answer me that. But alas, Doc is not the action hero type. No movies will be launched about the Doc, and the normal shooter junkies will be disappointed, but if you like to think about how to solve something, rather than just what body part to aim for, then you will love the Doc, as I do. Or, on certain levels, you can just grab some Plutonium (available at a Wal-Mart near you) and turn into an Incredible Hulkish Doc where you can bash the crap out of enemies.

Unfortunately, you don't get to choose who to play as. You play one (long) level as Kurt, then as Max, then to the Doc. Lather, rinse, repeat. While I didn't like this idea at first it grew on me very quickly, as it gives you a chance to play as someone you may not have gone back and played after you beat the game once. And even if you don't like one character's first level, the next is different.

While graphics are a major part of today's games, with more and more emphasis on making games prettier rather than making them better, looking at screenshots of MDK 2 before the game was released, I was a little worried. Why, you may ask yourself, was I worried about such a pretty game? I thought it was going to suck, that's why! Riven, Quake 3 (I'm a UT kinda guy), C&C2, are all prettier sequels, and are all crappier. But some games do get the mix of incredible visual style and great gameplay just right, and MDK 2 is one of the few. Resolutions up to 1280x1024 are available, provided you have the hardware to run it, and if you use the highest texture quality, you're in for a visual treat. 32 bit color, mipmapping and hardware T&A, err T&L (again, provided you have the card .. aka, GeForce) make a great game even better. Bright colors are used instead of the drab palettes of most shooters, especially in Doc's levels. Enemies and architecture are top notch too, and a few of the bosses, while slightly humorous looking, are modeled exquisitely.

So how does it sound? Great. Sorry, that was the best adjective I could think of, you just have to hear this. EAX support adds to the game nicely, but I actually had the most fun playing this with my headphones. I'm just weird like that. Shell out the cash for the Live and the speaker set and I use headphones, go figure. But anyway, great sound effects and voice acting, and some really cool and appropriate music top the game off. And while the music is very well done and fits in nicely with the game,. I don't know why, but I just love playing this to the sound of the Gladiator soundtrack (available right next to the Plutonium, at your local Wal-Mart), again, that's just me.

Really, the only negative thing I can find is the interface, and even that isn't horribly bad. The main menu is fine, but I have few minor gripes about the control setup. For one, you can't simply reverse a setting you didn't mean to set, such as accidentally set mouse 1 to do 8 things at once, instead, you have to re-map the key you want to use, and also a second key, to delete the Mouse 1 setting. While I know this is just a minor thing to bitch about, it can get annoying if you don't catch it right away. This can end up putting you in situations where, while you only meant jump out of the way, you also end up firing your last 8 lasers, throwing a grenade and switching to sniper mode. Of course, most people are smart enough not to do that in the first place but it was 4am on a Friday night, Cinemax was on and I wasn't paying much attention to the game.

All in all, MDK 2 is one hell of a game. Another reason I was a little skeptical was because it's sort of a port from a console, and ports haven't had the greatest track record. But this is one of the few that was done right, adding full keyboard support (which should be a given when porting games), and save-anywhere capability, among other gameplay enhancements. If you like to have fun playing games, and even if you like to laugh, there are a few parts in MDK 2 that are simply FUNNY, not the normal supposed-to-be-funny crap that you see in a lot of games, but clever humour, something that is generally very rare. So go buy this game, now!

[ 18/20 ] Graphics
[ 13/15 ] Sound
[ 29/30 ] Gameplay
[ 19/20 ] Fun Factor
[ 05/05 ] Storyline
[ 09/10 ] Overall Impression


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