A Brief Overview
Comic book games have not made the
limelight for sometime now. Games like Batman, Superman could never
actually reach the point where they could fuse into the heart of a gamer.
Well there are exceptions but as a whole there was rarely a comic book
inspired game that really got going, but Shiny Entertainment came up with
a game that actually made a difference. Difference being, they designed a
game that could easily inspire a comic book. The game unfolds like
something that just jumped right out of a four-color panel to your 32-bit
computer monitor. A game that was given a comic book feel, that can make,
anyone who doesn't know about MDK, to believe that a comic book influenced
it. The game is MDK2, descendent of MDK from Shiny Entertainment, which
was again a game that was really ahead of its time. An epic tale of a hero
named Kurt, all dressed up in a coil suit fighting to save Earth from
stream-riding aliens. A common plot but the game's unique gameplay got
itself a deserved place in the hall of fame of games. But when gamers
heard that Shiny had nothing to do with the sequel and Bioware is making
the sequel, they were concerned… Will Bioware be able to retain the
originality of the game? Will the action-adventure-comic gameplay still
prevail? Well, with the release of the sequel all the questions were
answered and boy did the game meet all the requirements. It actually
exceeded the 1st game by some huge margin. The game didn't run on my
Windows ME operating system and I had to change it back to Win 98, and
that meant a full format of my entire HDD and believe me it wasn't a walk
in the park. But the game was very much worth all the trouble!!! Read on
to find out more about the sequel.
MDK2 takes up from where MDK left off. The heroes have just finished
butt-kicking the aliens from Earth and are enjoying some celebrating time
on board The Jim Dandy, spaceship of Dr Fluke Hawkins. But a hero's work
is never done, the aliens decide to attack Earth on a return leg, and our
mild behaved hero Kurt is sent to make short work of the aliens.
The story unfolds in the form of a comic
book and it gives you brief flashback of the first game. The loading
screen feature a comic book cover corresponding to the loading level. It's
a pity cause you cannot take a screenshot of this very well done comic
book covers. However the game starts and the game kicks of with a
mini-game of Kurt dodging the rockets and lasers from an alien
mine-crawler (recall the original game's starting). On board the
mine-crawler, Kurt is given a brief direction of how to use his coil suit.
And the gamers are on their way to excitement world. Most of the level
starts off with a mini-game and they are really well done.
The game features three characters all from the original game- Dr.
Fluke Hawkins, Kurt Hectic and the six-legged canine, Max. In MDK the
players just got the chance to play as Kurt, while Max provided occasional
help and the doctor provided the directions. But in this game the players
get the opportunity to play with all the characters. It is decided
beforehand which character to be played with in a certain level, and the
players can only choose their character in the last level according to the
player's gaming abilities.
Kurt retains his sniping abilities,
the ribbon chute and the chain-gun, all the characteristics of his coil
suit from the 1st game. He relies on stealth and precision to take out the
enemies. Max on the other hand downloaded an action hero personality into
his program and now is a cigar smoking, gun-wielding canine. He can wield
four guns in his four legs, leaving out the two legs he uses to get about.
He relies on pure firepower to eliminate his adversaries, and Dr Hawkins
is a man of science. He has his brain to take him through the levels.
His ageing legs doesn't provide him with the energy that it used to but he
makes up for that by making the weirdest but most effective gadgets and
gizmos out of normal household things he finds along his way. The game
thus provides a variety of gameplay to satisfy different types of gamers.
The game is a 3rd person shooter but in the Kurt level the sniping mode
allow a 1st person shooter feel. You cannot move about while sniping,
though. The choice of the character in the final stage actually reflects a
gamer's preference in gaming- whether he is an action lover, or prefers
stealth as the weapon or is strategic about his about his approach. The
game requires a lot of puzzle solving, whoever you play with. The guys at
Bioware tried their level best to make the player's life a living hell, as
some of the puzzles takes you several hours to figure out, and when you
know what to do it takes around half an hour to finish. I specially
remember one in level 8, it left me with the wish to bang my head with the
Bioware developers. It took me a whole day to figure out what to do and
when I did figure out it took me another hour and half to get past the
puzzle. Let me tell you this requires a lot of patience, as it can get
really annoying at times. The game is tremendously difficult even in the
easy mode. The game provides different ending for different characters,
and that is really great, giving the game some replay value. The game plot
is really engaging and its difficult to foretell what is to come. There
are a huge variety of enemies, lots of new ones and they have great AI.
The boss AI is also great and one has to do some puzzle-solving to get
past these baddies. Players will need to use the stage resources to the
fullest, while fighting the bosses. The save anywhere feature helps the
gameplay, but gamers will tend to choose the trial and reload method to
solve some of the puzzles.
Graphics, Game Controls
Now for the graphics, it's absolutely fabulous. There were times when I
stopped playing just to look at the beautiful level design, specially the
levels where the players have to travel to Swizzle Firma, the alien home
planet. The game uses its 3D engine to the full capacity. All the levels
are well done. The graphics is pretty dark and that adds up to the mystery
of the game. The player and enemy details are fabulous and they blend with
the environment with great perfection. The boss designing is exceptional,
especially that of Shwang Shwing and the evil Emperor Zizzy Ballooba. The
cut scenes are made using the game engine and it helps to keep the
uniformity of the game. The sound effects are really cool, the voice
acting deserves a big hand and the music is also great. Bioware guys
really know how to get people hooked to a game. The game performs well
with a 16MB S3 Savage4 3D card (that's the one I have) and gives an
appreciable framerate throughout. I had to suffer minor screen losses, but
ran smoothly on a computer with a 32MB Riva TNT 2 Value. Players will
prefer to turn up their speaker volume to get the total action. The
mouse-keyboard combo is the ideal choice for the game, it being a 3rd
person shooter. The controls are easy to perform, most of them common for
all the three characters. There are a few special controls for each of
them. Like the sniping controls for Kurt, jetpack throttle for Max and
item combine for the Doc.
This game certainly lives up to its predecessor. Already crowned as
the best action game of the year 2K by many game sites and established
game magazines this game has won the heart of the gamers with its unique
style of gameplay. All thanks to Bioware and they most certainly deserve a
pat on the back. This is a must play game for all the gamers out there.