The story behind MDK revolves tightly around streams of energy. These are electrical discharge paths, spanning the universe like an intergalactic freeway. These ballistic freeways allow evil beings known as "Stream Riders" to travel anywhere they please at near infinite speeds. After these beings wreak havoc on Earth, three loyal compadres band together to see what they can do to help humanity. Their names are:
Max, Dr. Fluke Hawkins and Kurt (MDK?). Considering Shiny's reputation for quality products, it already has something many others are lacking. It's no wonder it has grabbed players' attention as much as it did before it even hit the market.
Shiny Entertainment's soon-to-be-released PC game, MDK, has sparked plenty of interest in the gaming community. This high-tech third-person, 3-D shooter boasts many innovations in design and artificial intelligence. Ever since Shiny first showed the game earlier this year at E3, we wondered if MDK would make it over to the gaming consoles. Wonder no more. EGM got a sneak peek at the PlayStation version of MDK, and the game has a lot of potential. Although the concept of MDK was born at Shiny and the company is developing the game for the PC (their first foray in the PC market), the PlayStation port is being handled by Neversoft Entertainment, the producers of Skeleton Warriors on the PS and Saturn.
The MDK universe takes place on Earth (and partially in outer space) in the year 1999. Dr. Fluke Hawkins and his protege, Kurt Hectic, have rocketed from Earth on a five-day mission into space to study the source of some flange orbits. While in space, alien beings known as Stream Riders invade Earth and force the entire human race into slavery. The Stream Riders are now busy creating massive mobile mining cities that strip-mine the surface of the planet by the ton, destroying any sign of civilization in its path.
It is Kurt's mission (the player), to return to Earth and destroy the leader (or driver) of these mobile mining cities and prevent them from wreaking further mayhem on our beloved planet. Dr. Hawkins will remain on the ship researching and inventing new ways and weapons to assist the player in his/her efforts to continue destroying the aliens and saving planet Earth.
MDK has 60 levels spread out over six different mobile mining cities. Kurt's weapons consist of 1) a form-fitting suit of blast-proof material that allows the player to take a hit (but not indefinitely and not without power-ups); 2) a high-tech composite reusable parachute that allows players to float during escapes and attacks and 3) a helmet-mounted sniper rifle and vision goggles that train on an enemy up to two miles away. This allows players to zoom in and pick off enemies from long distances.
One of the features that makes MDK so unique is that the game has a completely reactive environment. Each enemy has its own distinctive personality and artificial intelligence. Some may react to the player's actions aggressively, while others might be more passive. What's even more unique is the fact that the environment will react to the player's level of activity and respond accordingly. A Dirty Harry technique will draw a lot of heat, while a stealthier approach won't alert security forces and might permit a player through an area without firing a shot.
Neversoft has gone to great lengths to ensure that the PS version of MDK captures the look and feel of its PC brother. At this point, the two games look almost identical. Overall, the graphics in MDK have a dark and evil sci-fi feel, and although the game is still very early, what we saw looked impressive. MDK is a third-person shooter (the first-person Sniper Mode is the exception), with a viewpoint similar to the one found in Mario 64, Tomb Raider and Fade to Black. The ability to zoom in from a mile away within the Sniper Mode is remarkable. All the enemies and the environment are completely polygonal.
MDK, one of the most anticipated games for the PC is also heading to a PlayStation near you. As you may or may not already know. MDK is the creation of Shiny Entertainment, although Neversoft Entertainment is handling the PS conversion.
Due out in May, MDK. the game that couldn't be done on the PlayStation is coming along quite swimmingly at the moment. The game will include all the weapons, power-ups, enemies, gameplay and levels of the PC game. Graphically,
MDK is nearly identical to the PC original. Although the PlayStation version is only about 60 percent complete. MDK already runs fairly smooth, features good-looking texture maps and not much polygon pop-up was evident...keep in mind, this game is incomplete and is bound to improve even further. The developers at Neversoft insist MDK will be nearly indistinguishable from its PC brethren and judging from what we saw. we have no good reason to doubt them. Acclaimed video game musician Tommy Tallarico is producing the musical score for the PlayStation version of MDK, so great things are expected from this game in the sound department. MDK is a unique game in that it is fully 3-D and incorporates some traditional action/platform elementsfa la Mario 64 and Tomb Raider) plus it includes the shoot-shoot-run-run activity and intensity of a first-person shooting game (which cannot be said in the case of either TR or SM64). Look for more coverage on this hot title in a future issue of EGM.
- MANUFACTURER - Playmates
- THEME - Action
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
This heavily hyped shooter/platform hybrid is ' intense, fun, funny, over the top--and over way too soon. What's ironic is that the game's ultrafrenetic pace is what sets you up for a disappointing finale. Every level forces you to hustle or be vaporized by an army of some of the goofiest-looking goons ever assembled out of polygons. You're kept moving throughout the entire game, whether you're on foot or launching napalm death from a bomber or darting down a gully on a snowboard (game-play variety is one of MDK's strengths). Then, just as things are getting interesting, you beat the final Boss and that's it. Despite the addition of a few warp areas not found in the PC version, you can easily whip through this sucker in a weekend--especially since MDK's not particularly difficult. As long as you keep moving and shooting, you'll do fine. The game's a blast while it lasts, though. Neversoft has packed this port with all the style and humor of Dave Perry's PC original. You get all the wacky weapons (including your inflatable-doll decoy and an explosive simply called "The World's Most Interesting Bomb"). And then there's the Sniper Mode. Used mainly for taking out Bosses and solving puzzles, this mode is useless 80 percent of the time, but it looks great and is fun to use. MDK has all the right .stuff. It's just too short, too easy.
Yeah, the Sniper Mode is cool...blah, blah, blah, but what about the rest of the game? It can be summed up like this: MDK could've been great. It's a very unique action game with very original ideas. In fact, I kept wanting to go on to see what the next stage had to offer. I can't help but think, however, that MDK was rushed. The poor control, polygon break-ups and (some) awkward level designs take away from what should've been a great game.
Visually MDK's graphics show an impressive array of transparency, reflection and all-around polygons. Accompanying these techniques are equally innovative and action-packed game-play. This PC port has retained everything and even added the warp rooms per each level. With all these attributes, this was heading for a top spot on my list until it was over so quickly. The rooms are rather linear and the whole experience is over way too soon.
Whenever a game comes along that breaks the mold (or at least cracks it a bit), I stop to take a look. MDK is one of those games. Even with its uniqueness, it still retains its fun factor. The main thing that I didn't like about the game is the graphics. I found them to be dirty-looking and crude. The whole idea behind the game is pretty damn weird, but I liked it. MDK may not be as original as Abe's Oddysee, but it can stand its own ground.
Unlike many highly publicized games before it, MDK easily lives up to all its rampant hype, delivering one of the year's most creative, engrossing, and just plain fun games. Replete with a humorous flair, eye-popping graphics, and intense, varied action, MDK's a blockbuster that every PC gamer should play.
Murder Death Kill
Once again, aliens are ravaging Earth--this time they're traipsing across the continents in six mammoth mobile cities called Minecrawlers. Humanity's only hope lies in an orbiting research station, where an inventor/genius clads his assistant, Kurt, in an armored stealth suit and sends him out to save the world.
It's none too original as far as stories go, but more importantly, the tale creates a rock-solid backdrop for MDK's gripping gameplay. Each Mine-crawler makes up one of the game's vast levels, and at the start of each, Kurt parachutes into the Minecrawlerto shut it down. Once he lands, he must penetrate and destroy the Mine-crawler's nerve center, playing mostly from a highly effective floating third-person view.
Kurt's equipped with somev seriously smokin' armaments. His sleek suit sports a sniper helmet and a reusable parachute that enables him to glide. The awesome sniper helmet adds a whole new dimension to the action, enabling Kurt to zoom across large distances and plunk a round directly through an enemy's eye from a first-person perspective. Power-ups augmerit the helmet with fierce firepower like mortars, sniper grenades, homing bullets, and more. Kurt also packs a less accurate but potent gun in the third-person view, and he can collect cool extras like grenades and dummy decoys.
Shiny Entertainment (MDK's developer and the creator of the classic Earthworm Jim) took advantage of this open-ended setting with impressive creativity, fashioning enormous levels with widely diverse looks and equally diverse styles of gameplay. You tackle everything from gunning through hordes of aliens to crawling inside an enemy droid to sneak past your foes. Some levels even pose challenges like going on bombing runs or snowboarding across a Minecrawler while blazing away at aliens. A few areas focus too much on the stuff of standard platform adventuring (long series of unnecessarily tricky jumps and the like), but on the balance, MDK keeps the surprises and the fun coming at an unrelenting pace.
The sniper helmet adds another layer of intensity and depth because in many situations, it's smarter to hide in the shadows and snipe away until you're no longer outnumbered. Never fear, though--MDK serves up enough tension-ridden combat to quell any action junkie's battle frenzy.
Throughout it all, the controls handle with intuitive ease. Kurt moves and shoots smoothly, and the sniper helmet's not only easy to use but it's a blast, too. Flying with the parachute is so fun that you'll probably spend a few hours just gliding around.
Vision of Violence
Visually, MDK's flat-out breathtaking. Designed with a lithe, futuristic look, Kurt moves through the levels with liquid grace. Gorgeous backgrounds really make the game fascinating to explore--one area even dazzles the eyes with mirrored terrain that reflects all the action. The comical enemies moon and taunt you when you miss but erupt with gore when you connect.
On the sound side, the enemies keep up the taunts by jeering and hooting, while superior weapons sounds make your speakers rattle. Nicely themed music paces the action.
Run Don't Walk
MDK's one of those landmark games that instantly ensnares you--there are fresh, innovative surprises around every corner, and playing through them is always a blast. Snap it up the moment it hits store shelves. You'll be parked in front of your PC for weeks!
- When entering a new area, always stick to the shadows and use the sniper helmet both to scout ahead and to take out enemies until you're spotted.
- Always focus on destroying these structures as soon as you come across them--they create new aliens rapidly.
- On bombing runs, concentrate your fire on large tough-to-destroy targets.
- When plummeting into the start of each level, it's generally worth taking some damage to collect the power-ups as they often provide a key edge.
- The parachute halts your fall even if you open it an instant before you land. Use this to surprise enemies by jumping in fast Or glide in slowly while firing steadily from above.
- When facing stationary targets, shoot continually while quickly alternating between running toward and away from the target. When timed correctly, you'll duck underneath the incoming fire.
- When encountering crowds of mobile enemies, shoot continually but use the Strafe key to circle around them and stay ahead of their fire.
As MDK opens, aliens are using six gigantic mobile cities to strip-mine the Earth. You play as humanity's only hope of shutting them down: Kurt Hectic, a super soldier decked out with some of the coolest weapons ever. Kurt's sniper helmet enables you to zoom across incredible distances to spy or to unleash shots precise enough to sever an enemy's arm or send a round through their eye. Three additional cameras trail behind your shots, providing further spying opportunities.
A potent handgun and a solid array of cool power-ups round out your firepower, while a reusable parachute enables you to glide through the levels. Spectacular graphics heighten the effect with a captivating, sleekly futuristic style.
MDK separates itself from the Doom of the world by layering an intriguing strategic element into the shooting. Sure, there are plenty of enemies to mow down, and buckets of gore splash across the screen when you do. However. MDK balances that by implementing the need for stealth: If you storm through the front door, guns blazing, you'll get wasted in a heartbeat. But if you stick to the shadows, move silently, and use the sniper helmet wisely, you'll survive.
The action never gets tame as you'll inevitably turn the corner and find a roomful of enemies.
Such deep gameplay will surely send hordes of gamers in MDK's direction--this scorching-hot prospect is worth waiting for.
It 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 GameFabrique'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.
Of 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.
This 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.
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.
Aliens invaded the earth, but fortunately for the rest of humanity you happened to be on an extended "holiday," floating through space with your eccentric inventor father and a six armed, bio-engineered, super-intelligent dog. You personally had been bored and in need of some excitement, having been along on this sabbatical not entirely of your own free will (as kids often are), so it would seem a perfect opportunity for the earth to be saved.
The aliens ride across the surface of the planet, pillaging Earth's natural resources and destroying populations in their gigantic, city-sized mining machines. Of course, as is usually the case when the earth is invaded, you are our only hope against this terrible thing. Dad is inventing some weapons and building you a keen black suit of space armor, which (he's sorta sure) should protect you as you dive through space and into the mine-crawler to destroy the invaders. There's a firearm (and in this case that's a literal term) built into the suit which is mostly adequate, but you'll need more. He'll parachute supplies down to you as soon as he can invent and build them.
Given that MDK is, basically, a 3D shoot-'em-up like Tomb Raider, it starts with something of a surprise -- instead of being in a room, a field, or a flat surface of any kind, you're hurtling towards the earth, free falling in the direction of the mine-crawler. You have to avoid the radar or else you'll get zapped. The game has a few more moments like this -- if you lose your footing while walking down an air shaft, for instance, you'll start to slide out of control and have to maneuver the length of the shaft while on your back. Or you might find yourself on a makeshift surfboard, shooting it out at high speeds, anti-gravity style.
There might be, generally speaking, a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the controls. While it isn't the first game with a sniper option (although I haven't seen one this cool before), the capacity to jump, or a parachute, you do have to do these things pretty often in MDK, while in most other games they're "special" and not required with regularity or in such rapid succession. Once you have the hang of it, though, it's a blast. You can use the sniper mode to take out the big cannon at the back of the room, then leap through the air and parachute to the ground -- raining death on all the aliens below.
Unfortunately, the game occasionally falls into the same trap so many of its kind have in the past: Where's the damn door?!?! Everybody's dead but me, and I'd like to leave now, pleeeaazzeee! This is rare, though, and as far as I'm concerned, a disagreeable side affect of 3D shoot-'em-ups to which I am resigned.
The evildoers and bad guys all have nice, fluid movement, and zooming in on them in sniper mode is especially impressive and fun. While the usual blockiness of 3D games is present, it seems less noticeable here than in many other recent games, and the overall impression of the environments certainly isn't one of an alien ship constructed of gloomy Legos. In fact (speaking of gloomy), the game uses a wide variety of colors and concepts to design its spaces. Ranging from harsh to zany to downright creepy, the use of color in MDK is a welcome relief after so many games that seem afraid to go beyond one or two color schemes because they might compromise the game's "personality." I went from beige and light red to sharp primary colors to lush blues and purples, and never forgot what I was playing.
Both the music and the effects are, in a word, fantastic. I can't think of a game in which the musical accompaniment seemed so notably well-designed -- at turns adventurous, suspenseful or fantastical, and perfectly appropriate to the setting. Also, when you enter a new room or (more impressively) open a saved game, the first thing you hear is the ambience of the room -- machines rumbling in the distance, wind from a tunnel, and so on. Then, at the first peak of suspense or mayhem, the music fades in -- a rhythmic pulse with a simple gliding melody or a one-two-three punch of synthesized horns. All in all, the music compliments the action in an extraordinarily rare fashion, and it's a tremendous treat.
As if that weren't enough, the sound effect design, complete with a nearly subliminal "dog and cat" motif, is great, too. The assortment of alien noises is interesting and, unlike some other games, manages not to become irritating after having been heard over a thousand times.
There are some thirty pages of back story included, and more than enough instruction on how to move, shoot, and so on (including a "quick start" guide on the back of the disk packaging), but details concerning the weaponry and aliens are intentionally sparse. This is by design, of course, and doesn't hinder gameplay at all. (Remember -- your equipment is being conceived and constructed on the fly, and the bad guys and evildoers you're trying to destroy are new to this planet. What's more, you're alone in your efforts, so there's no network of scientists or military to supply you with information.)
Recommended: Pentium 90, SVGA video card, 100% SoundBlaster compatible sound card, 16 MB RAM
Reviewed on: Pentium 150, SVGA video card,100% SoundBlaster compatible sound card ,24 MB RAM
As far as I'm concerned, advances in technology -- including game engines, graphics and stuff like that -- are a given, and don't really impress me. The folks at Shiny could probably have made a fair amount of money on this title while taking longer lunches, scrimping on design and contracting second-rate music, but they didn't. They worked for a living, and it shows.
Umber up that bigger finger--oh, and don't forget your thinking oap! MDK, one of the most original PC games of the year, is getting ready to revolutionize 3D action/adventure gaming on the PlayStation.
Brains and Brawn
MDK also challenges the player with a strong puzzle element. Not exactly Myst-like enigmas or complex brain-benders, but things like figuring out how to get past a seemingly impenetrable wall, or how to grab a grenade power-up floating high above. Almost right from the game's opening sequence, you'll find yourself stumped with frustrating--though rewarding--regularity. Graphically, MDK lacks a bit of the sharpness of its PC predecessor, and the booming orchestral score is also absent from the latest version we played, but the control is lightning quick and precise. From the looks of things, MDK is shaping up to be one of the premier 3D action/adventure games of the season.
Lara, Meet Kurt
Not since Tomb Raider has the PlayStation seen an action/ad-venture title this groundbreaking, this ingenious, and this much tun to play. Although largely overlooked by the PC community since its release earlier this year, Playmates' explosive MDK will no doubt bring 3D gaming on the PlayStation to a new level.
Despite the tired aliens-have-taken-over-the-world plot, MDK offers a truly unique gaming experience. Set in a dark, shadowy, Blade Runner-esque environment, MDK gives you complete control of Kurt Hectic, a gun-toting, mortar-hurling, grenadelaunching young warrior thrilled at the prospect of wiping out an alien race. In addition to a hearty stash of weapons, Kurt also comes equipped with a built-in parachute and an innovative "sniper helmet" that lets you zoom in and target an enemy from up to two miles away with pinpoint accuracy.
You've heard the hype in the pages of "PC GamePro" (see February; watch for the "PC GamePro" review in the June issue). Now PSX owners can also rejoice!
MDK for the PlayStation is due in May! MDK is probably the most innovative, funniest, and original PC port to entertain gamers in a long time. An action game played from multiple views, it combines accurate shooting, quick thinking, and thoughtful strategy. What you get for your trouble is a wild ride from the very creative mind of David Perry (of Earthworm Jim fame), who is overseeing the project with the dictum that if the PlayStation version of MDK isn't as good as the PC original, then heads will roll. Although the PlayStation game was less than two weeks into production at press time, these early screens show a work in progress that'll certainly come close.