is the highly acclaimed PC game that was created by Dave Perry, he
of Earthworm Jim fame. It has finally been ported over to the
Playstation and this has to be the most ambitious project taken on
by a development team so far.
There is so much too say, yet so little time to say it so how
about a little background into the game.
Scientist Dr Hawkins, his assistant Kurt and Max the dog have
been conducting a secret weapons research program from an orbiting
space satellite for the last five years. Suddenly they receive news
from Earth that the planet is being invaded by alien forces. Cities
are being destroyed on a massive scale, defence forces have been
overwhelmed and the invaders are taking control.
Unaware to the aliens below, Dr Hawkins has created an array of
high-tech weapons of destruction including the most deadly and
accurate gun ever known. Earth has been taken over and they are the
final hope for mankind. Plans are drawn up and Kurt slips into his
skin-tight black combat suit that has the weirdest shaped helmet to
match. He is dropped from the satellite where he hurtles through the
atmosphere with his fingers crossed, hoping that his high-tech
parachute will slow his descent.
is a delighful, albeit short, third person perspective 3D
shoot-em-up from Shiny Entertainment that is set to blow all other
rivals away. There are 60 playing areas spread over 6 large levels
with each featuring graphical architecture of the highest quality.
PSX version of MDK was delayed so long due to the extreme challenges
the developers had to face in making a port of this game. The
sniper-mode requires items in the far, distant background to be
visible so as you may zoom-in and pick off targets up to 2 miles
away. Anyone that has played various racing or flight games knows
this is difficult to pull off on console machines therefore most
programmers will use fog or have items pop-up when they get close to
keep the graphics rendering fast. MDK uses extremely large, textured
polygons. The grounds, walls and ceilings are huge polygons that are
heavily textured when the Playstation is better suited at moving
lots of smaller polygons around. In my opinion the developers
deserve a pat on the back for this excellent PSX translation.
The futuristic level designs are truly jaw dropping. A lot of
the excitement generated during gameplay is to complete a level so
that you can LOOK AT the next area, never mind play it. Each level
begins with Kurt running through a confined tunnel. Occasionally he
will slow a little but this is only because the next area is
loading. That's correct, no boring loading times as MDK prepares the
next area while your character is on the move. At the end of each
tunnel is an opening where the fabulously detailed sets unfold
before your very eyes. Some of them are a work of art, literally.
Apparently there are over 32,000 colors on screen at once, which
gives a lot more vibrancy to the look of the game.
sound effects are tremendous, so full of humor. Enemies curse and
scream at you as they attack - 'kill the bugger, kill the bugger'.
Explosions and gunfire are accurately represented, while the
music.... well suffice to say I would be happy to purchase the CD
soundtrack on it's own merits.
we get onto the gameplay it is probably worth mentioning the
simplified control system. Now in my book shoot-em-ups usually make
it or break it on the controller configuration. I detest single
strafe buttons and too many dual button functions because in the
heat of a battle you simply don't have the time to glance down at
your joypad before filling an enemy full of lead. I don't care if
your character can perform a backwards flip or your craft can
execute a 360° manoeuvre - draw, aim, shoot and avoid incoming
fire is all that is needed. Thankfully Shiny have got it right. Two
responsive strafe buttons and a weapon select are on the shoulder
pad. A fire, jump and use button on the face pad. There is also a
rather useless look up/down button which is extremely difficult to
use while on the move. It's not essential so just forget it. Your
progress can be saved at any time during gameplay.
The player controls the main character Kurt, he of form-fitting
suit and bird beak-like helmet, who is viewed from the third person
perspective. Now why anyone would dress up in this manner for a
battle beats me, however there does appear to be a method in his
madness. The strange hooped contraption that unfolds when your
character jumps into the air is apparently a parachute. Well I'll be
darned. There's no way that I would trust this device to leap from
my bed let alone from the edge of a seemingly bottomless pit, but
nevertheless it appears to work for Kurt. The peculiar shaped hand
gun looks like he has unfortunately trapped his arm inside a traffic
cone, while that helmet.... well I'm sure that you've all seen
something similar on the Internet porn pages.
Before each level can begin you must guide our hero's parachute
past the aliens air defence system while collecting power-ups on
your way down to Earth. On reaching the surface Kurt will begin his
mission to take out the enemy forces. As you progress Dr Hawkins
will parachute down some of the most impressive weapons ever seen in
a shoot up, while Max will be at your disposal to disrupt enemy
targets that you have selected.
It's 'that helmet' which offers so many interesting
possibilities. On entering a new terrain all around remains quiet
until you trigger off a response therefore it is advisable to
attempt a spot of reconnaissance work before you launch an all out
assault. Activate Sniper Mode and pick out a target who may first
appear as a speck on the horizon, then zoom right in, so close that
you can place the cross-hair right between his eyes. Now watch the
turtle like creatures carefully and you will be amazed to see them
performing their daily chores. Some of the troops are even sleeping
while on guard duty. You can watch a group of aliens from far away
and anticipate their ambush without them knowing. Using an extremely
sophisticated collision detection system, MDK will allow you to pick
off an alien's arm, or leg, or head. Also, the in-helmet view
supports multiple screens. When you fire off a bullet, it will take
a camera with it, allowing you to see the destruction up close. Go
on, take a few shots and watch the chaos that erupts. You'll find
they begin arguing to one another, running back and forth in
confusion and dragging the sad wounded carcasses across the
The enemies are wide, varied and impudent to match. They have a
high AI that will see them taunting you as they try to draw you out
from your cover by giving you the V-sign and flashing their bums in
your general direction. No matter how many times you lay them to
rest, more and more keep appearing. On closer investigation you will
see that they are constantly being regenerated from a glowing
cylinder and it is this contraption which must be destroyed before
taking out the individual troops. Don't be fooled into thinking that
the aliens will remain on the ground as they have tanks and aircraft
at their disposal which constantly bombard you from every direction.
Virtually everything that moves can be destroyed and items that
don't move may as well be rubbed out as it will probably come to
Standard weapons include a machine gun with unlimited bullets.
This can be powered up to a super chain gun which will tear the
enemy forces apart in a matter of seconds. Your sniper gun can also
be boosted by collecting homing bullets, sniper grenades and
mortars. You will occasionally come across special weapons that can
be thrown at the enemy. Tornadoes will whip up a whirlwind and suck
up anything in the vicinity. A giant slammer will pulverize anyone
who gets too close. The Worlds Smallest Nuclear Weapon is at your
disposal which will blast away obstacles in your path creating an
explosion that leaves a mini mushroom cloud fallout that destroys
all in its path. There is a neat decoy at your disposal in the form
of an Inflatable Kurt, so you can draw out the enemy and then pick
them off from a safe distance. How about a pick-up that showers the
area with exploding cows? Or releasing a crate full of 'homing
seals' that chase the enemy and detonate on contact. Weird!
Health power ups are available but there is a slight catch...
you have to capture them. That's correct, the darn things have legs
and will run away when you approach them, screaming like a
Completion of an area differs from zone to zone. Sometimes you
are required to destroy all of the enemies which ranges from one
extremely tricky bugger to dozens of annoying mechanical twits,
while on others you must simply survive until you discover the exit.
You face a variety of end-bosses in gorgeous sequences that
typically rely less on raw firepower and more on a good aim and
being able to quickly figure out the working of a mechanism.
only major gripe I have with MDK is the lastability. If you have a
trained eye for these type of shoot-em-ups I would recommend that
you go straight for the hard mode as I completed the entire game on
medium setting in about 14hours. On saying that there are an
abundance of secret areas to discover which give this game an fair
amount of replay value. Leave them begging for more seems to be the
policy of Shiny, and that I was.
has to be the most diverse, bizarre and yet strangely original video
game that I have ever experienced. I don't know what Shiny had in
their minds when they set out to produce MDK but what they came up
with is pretty damn cool. When you engage sniper mode the screen
will change to Kurt's eye view which can be zoomed in to such a
degree that allows you to pick out a point between the aliens eyes
while you are nestling in the hills on the city outskirts. This
gives the game a more assassination feel to it rather than rushing
in blindly with all guns a-blazing.