Review by friendlydude
"Sometimes I think the reason I exist is to play shooting games"
MDK is one of those games that had a brief moment of popularity in the mid to late 90's and then pretty much fizzled out as the years went on. In other words, most people probably wouldn't remember the game today, but there *are* certain people who not only remember it, but respect it as a really good action/shooter adventure game.
While the Playstation version is probably a notch below the classic PC version (where most people have played MDK) there really isn't a whole lot about this version to complain about. The object of the game is to basically go around destroying everything you see to advance to the next area, while mainly making sure you locate the source of the constantly reappearing enemies and eliminate that first and foremost. These enemies will continue popping up until you find the source (called generators). Finding where the enemies are coming from is *extremely* important.
The graphics are really good overall, considering we're talking about a game released in 1997. The similarities to Earthworm Jim are noticeable too, with cows located in certain bonus areas, your blaster gun, and more. The enemies look quite fantastic as well, and when they die they explode into hundreds of little pieces which reminds me of Star Fox. Because many stages are packed with so many enemies, you'll no doubt be seeing your fair share of explosions, many of which are quite a spectacle to look at.
Each enemy you come across (or anything that needs destroyed) has a life bar. Drain the bar all the way down and the enemy dies. It's pretty simple, though sometimes you may face numerous enemies at the same time, and clearing out an entire area might take some time, and will probably drain some of your health in the process. Those giant tanks take a while to kill, for example.
The good news is that health and ammo is everywhere, especially on Easy Mode. You have 6 worlds in this game, and the challenge doesn't really pick up until halfway through World 4. World 5 is probably the hardest one in the game. Each world contains 9 or 10 mini levels. Expect each level to contain its own unique environment and ways to complete them. MDK has a lot of variety in the level design.
Enemies include flying ships, guards, giant tanks and other things. The game moves so fast you'll probably have most of these enemies destroyed by the time you even figure out what you're shooting at! MDK is actually pretty generous in that you can be standing a good distance away from an enemy, and they will *still* take damage from your gunfire. By the way, you have an infinite amount of gunfire so you never have to worry about running out of bullets.
One thing you need to know is that, when saving the game, you have to hit Start then Select. However, make sure you DON'T save the game in one of the later worlds with only a *little* bit of health left, because the game will actually save it. This means if, for example, you save the game with only 5% of health left, you will actually come back with only 5% health, and trying to make progress with such a small amount of health is almost impossible. The best way to deal with this problem is to keep going over certain levels until you can finally complete them with more than 50% health. That way, you'll have enough health for the next area. However, for the most part, MDK hardly ever provides much of a challenge for this to ever be a major concern. Just a couple levels in Stages 5 and 6.
Probably the only major problem with MDK is that, in the very beginning of the game, you're required to learn pretty much everything you need to know in order to play the game, which includes a Sniper Mode (confusing to understand for the first 20 minutes), what the Dummy Decoy does (allows enemies to shoot at that instead of you) and something called "The Worlds Smallest Nuclear Bomb" which you need to set off at the end of an area in order to open a passageway and gain access to the next area. It all sounds confusing, and trust me, for a little while it WILL be confusing. Give the game some time, and you'll find out how to play it. Despite all these wacky and unusual items, MDK is mainly about running around shooting stuff.
If I haven't mentioned it already, MDK is a 3rd person shooter, which means you can see the guy you're controlling walking around in an open 3D environment. Controlling him is a bit of a problem at first- you'll definitely need about 20-30 minutes learning how to jump on top of platforms and land safely without sliding off. You can also parachute down, which again reminds me of Earthworm Jim. You can tell the same company created both this and Earthworm Jim.
The music is amazing. At first, while spending a few minutes shooting guards and dodging their attacks, you won't even realize how memorable the music is. Really good, slow-building tracks dominate this game. Eventually you will find that the music really works and is HIGHLY enjoyable.
You know, there's a certain trick to dodging enemy attacks in this game. Keep hitting the L1 and R1 buttons to move back and forth, and 9 out of 10 times their laser beam and gunfire attacks will actually miss you! This is a trick that will definitely come in handy later.
Overall, MDK on the Playstation is probably a game that gets better and better the more you play it. It's a unique and entertaining platform shooter game that probably should be remembered by more people today. Give the play control time to click, and be patient with all the strange weapons and items, and the game will definitely satisfy your craving to shoot shoot shoot!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/13/07
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