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Head 2 Head Review: MDK 2

The Match-Up:
Name: Tristinian (a.k.a. Commodus) e-mail me

Favorite Genres: RTS, RPG, Adventure, Action/FPS, Sims

Favorite Games: Baldur's Gate, Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, Red Alert, Jedi Knight.



Name: Remi LeBeau (a.k.a. Gambit) e-mail me
Favorite Genres: Action/FPS, RTS, RPG, Sims, Puzzles and anything else unique

Favorite Games:Quake 2, Quake 3, Armada, Red Alert and Starlancer

Tristinian: Alright, let me first ask you this-have you ever played the original MDK before?

Gambit: no, only seen it.

Tristinian: same here. So for two people that have never played the original game, i think we can give a fairly unbiased look at this latest Bioware creation. Now, before getting into the pure details, i have to say, this game is better than one of Interplay's most recent releases-Messiah-by a long shot.

Gambit: ok, don't even compare the two. it's almost an insult to MDK2. I mean Messiah was absolute GARBAGE and that's an understatement. You can compare Messiah to say, Daikatana. I mean this game has got everything that I would like in a game-well... at least most things. 

Tristinian: Well, i wouldn't go as far as to say Messiah is anything near Daikatana, because that is pretty low! But, i will tell you this, from the first time i installed MDK 2, the game was a blast. For those who don't know, MDK 2 is a 3rd person shooter, comic book spoof starring a unlikely hero/janitor, a mad scientist and his pet 6 legged dog. The plot is great, the graphics are great and the characters are extremely well done. What do you think? 

Gambit: It's funny you say that. because aside from the original comic book intro of the plot, I didn't even bother with the rest of the plot. I was sooooooo eager to start playing the game that I didn't even care about the plot. Which is not to say that the plot sucks, I was just so into the action and impatient to play the next level, I couldn't wait. But you're right, pretty much everything in this game is above par.

Tristinian: That was the exact next point i was going to make-concerning the action, it is VERY involving. You can sit down and play this game for hours because the action can get so thick and the environments...well...if i have ever seen beautiful environments in a game, it is certainly in this one. sharp, crisp and colorful. 

Unlike a lot of other action games, MDK 2 actually ventures into interesting territory by giving you a character who can't fight and has no weapons. Instead, when playing as the Scientist character, one must collect items on finds lying around in different places and then use them to invent devices that will serve to aid the quest. Have you ever heard of an Atomic Toaster firing explosive radioactive toast? The shot on the left shows the good scientist giving us a demonstration.
Gambit: Yup I agree. I played this on my P2-400 with a Riva TNT on 800x600 and even though it croaked sometimes, it still played pretty well, and looked REALLY good. 

Tristinian: Yeah, to say the least. Hell, on my P3-500, it ran PERFECTLY on my Banshee with full textures at 800x600 and i even had room to go up to 1024 with only a small loss in frames! And the install...not EVEN 300 megs! I was impressed with that-getting a gorgeous game with a small install is a huge upside for this title. 

Gambit: hehe. Well, fortunately for me space is not an issue, but you're right. It does make a difference. It shows that programmers were very efficient in making the game.

Tristinian: Indeed it does. Everything from the music (which is impressive and perfect for the stages) the gameplay, the story...all of it fit together very well and i can't imagine that the developers could have done a lot more with it-it is just that good. Even in the beginning, when the first main character you control, Kurt, is soaring towards Earth, it gets you right into the game's atmosphere (no pun int.). Did you find any down sides at all? 

Gambit: well, not really a downside. But as for the plot, I mean it's not that it sucks or anything, BUT it definitely didn't capture me at the beginning. I don't know much about the plot to start with other than what I believe it is: that you have to kill the bad guys and 'blah blah blah'. And I'm sure it gets MORE interesting, but I would have liked a better plot IF possible. But game still kicks ass!

Tristinian: Hell yeah! hehe, i have a few problems, although i should mention ahead of time that they take away NOTHING from this game. For one, some of the puzzles are a tad tedious and labourious-the types of the puzzles that make you turn off the game and try later on. There aren't a lot of these, but they DO lurk throughout the game. Also, as great as the music is, and as much as i love how it changes throughout the levels without stoppage of play, they start repeating older music here and there and it's kind of dry. As for the plot, i kind of like it....cute and comic book-like.

Gambit: Well, for me, it's actually the opposite. Plot's ok, but music is AMAZING. hasn't gotten boring for me yet.

Tristinian: Again i love the music, it just starts repeating around the 4th level and onward. But hey, as i said, this takes nothing away from the game-it rocks from top to bottom. By FAR the best 3rd person shooter of this year to this point and i would venture that it is up there with the best action games of this year-if not THE best so far. What do you think?

Gambit: I think it's definitely up there. It's for sure one of the best I've played this year and in a long while. But we'll have to wait until year-end to see if anything can beat it

Tristinian: true, true. Ok, so any final comments? marks?

Gambit:best shoot-em-up-blow-things-up-weapons-mania of the year. If there is one game you SHOULD buy, it's this one. Great graphics, amazing gameplay, beautiful music and a decent plot.

Tristinian:Well, i can't sum it up much better than that. Folks, if you are a 3rd person action fan this is must-have-HANDS DOWN. So, despite the tiny, tiny shortcomings i mentioned , i am impressed with the depth and feel of this game.

Tristinian's Mark
Tristinian's Final Words
Gambit's Final Words
Gambit's Mark
By FAR the best 3rd person shooter of this year to this point
best shoot em up blow things up weapons mania of the year

The Challenging:

What can often be the most challenging parts of the game are not the pure action portions, but some of the puzzles that require jumping reflexes and quick sniper shooting. Pictured above is one of the jumping puzzles that can make the game aggrevating at times but the challenge of the game in its entirety is completely awesome. Note Max the dog's (my) frustration with the task at hand as he (i) fires his guns aimlessly in anger. Oh yes, perhaps we didn't mention, Max DOES have 6 legs-that means 4 arms for wielding massive firearms-which in this game, is TOTALLY awesome. This is one of the few games that give you that action movie feel.


The Even MORE Challenging:

Think you can figure this trap out? Lucky for you, you're given 2 minutes to do it in. But do it wrong and you're toast. These are the types of problems that the less weapon-friendly professor has to face in his fight against alien crime-and trust me, this is only the FIRST problem you face...solve this one and they get WAY worse.


The "What More Need We Say?":

I told you the problems get way worse-you need close to seven minutes to solve THIS puzzle and there are even more after that. But, the reason we include this picture is to show you the sweetness of both the concept and the graphics of this game. The character in the picture is (believe it or not) the friendly and quirky scientist character doped up on Plutonium. Now, is that interesting stuff or what? Plus, this spiraling vault of a room is just a tiny example of the stellar graphics this game has to offer-the screenshot does it no justice.