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Review by: Shawn Quigley
Published: May 23, 1997
M …other’s ?
D …ay ?
K …isses ?
It all starts in the year 1999. The world as we know it today has ceased to exist. The universe is now made of streams. These streams, giant electrical tubes, span across the universe. The people that are left on earth have been forced into slavery by evil beings known as “Stream Riders.” These Stream Riders, led by Gunter Glut, use the streams to travel and invade Earth. The planet Earth, now covered by giant mobile mining cities, is slowly turning into ruin. While all this was happening, Doctor Fluke Hawkins and Kurt Hectic have been away on a 5 year mission, only to return to their worst nightmare. It is up to Kurt to save the Earth from these aliens. With the help of the Doctor’s inventions, Kurt puts on his bullet proof sniper suit and heads out to save the planet.
MDK takes place in a 3D world like one we have never seen. The game consists of huge environments to explore. All the graphics run at 640×480 and feature motion captured animations. There are two different environments to playing MDK. The first environment is from a floating top down view of Kurt, much like the ones used in Tomb Raider and Alone in the Dark. From this view you have the ability to navigate around the vast environment that makes up the game. You can run, jump, parachute (using the parachute built into your sniper suit), and use different weapons from this point of view. Where the game really shines is in the second environment, the sniper view. By pressing on the spacebar your view is changed to sniper mode. The sniper mode is a first person view from which you can fire at your targets. There are three camera windows, located at the top of the screen, that track your shots. There also is a cross-hair located in the center of the screen and a zoom level readout on the right. From this view you have the ability to zoom in on targets and shoot them from far distances. The detail is incredible from this view. In most other 3D games as you get closer to objects they tend to lose detail, not with MDK. One of the other unique features of MDK is the built in parachute. By using this parachute you can soar from building to building, high above the ground. At other times you may use your parachute in wind drafts to soar up into the air.
The game-play of MDK is purely action oriented, although there is a lot of strategy mixed into that. Depending on what part of the game you are in, you will have to make certain strategic decisions. One of the examples that Shiny Entertainment gives is how to kill two guards, do you, “kneecap one, and when the other rushes to his aid, knock him off as well?” Each character in the game has a script of commands that they will follow under certain circumstances, allowing for more intelligent enemies during game-play. This is evident in many of the levels in MDK. There are times when you will enter a corridor for example, where you have to decide how to get to the other side. Do you run at full speed and ambush everyone or do you take on a more tactful route by slowly taking out the enemy through sniper mode?
By being able to set up different strategies MDK gives more depth to its playability. Every gamer out there may play the game different. The enemies in MDK are often replenished by mechanisms that generate new ones. To be able to take over certain areas, it becomes critical that you take out these regeneration units, or they will keep generating aliens making your life more difficult.
The full version of the game is quite vast compared to the small sample that the demo gives you. When the game starts out, you are flying down to the ground trying to avoid enemy radar, after getting to the ground you start out where the demo of MDK begins. From there you travel to different and bizarre settings that make up the vast world of MDK.
To make it through the different parts of the game you will have to use different weapons and items. You have the ability to use the sniper mode, throw grenades, detonate nuclear bombs (the smallest one known to man), fly on bombing runs, commence air-strikes, and navigate through different lands. The environment in MDK consists of huge mining cities (including catwalks, alleys, trains and tunnels) that are non-linear, meaning you have the ability to roam freely around them. MDK is not a typical run around and shoot ‘em up game, there are definitely strategy elements to the game.
MDK also supports 3D acceleration for those out there that have a 3D card. When running in 3D accelerated mode the graphics are noticeably sharper and faster than that of SVGA mode. What is amazing though is that you really don’t need a 3D card to enjoy MDK. MDK in SVGA mode is very sharp, and even comes close to the look of the 3D accelerated modes. The major difference between the two is that the SVGA mode does not support some of the effect the a 3D card can handle, like transparency and smoothing.
MDK is a promising addition to the already popular 3D gaming world. It adds a new level of humor to 3D games, taking off of where Duke left off. With its original style and game-play, MDK looks like it will be one of the more entertaining games of ’97.
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