Although MDK has often been called by the press "Murder, Death, Kill", there
are no indications of what these three letters really stand for. The obvious
choice would be "Max, Dr. Fluke and Kurt", the three protagonists of the
game, but again, it could be anything else. Only Shiny Entertainment knows the
answer, if there is an answer. One thing is certain though, you will read these
three letters on players' lips for a while!
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If MDK is in keeping with the current trend of the 3D games, it has yet that
difference which separates it from the rest of the games, exactly like Tomb
Raider did in its time. Built in a 3D world that easily out beats the other 3D
titles on the market in beauty and complexity, MDK features
outstanding graphics coupled with a fantastic game play that will keep players
out of breath from the beginning until the end.
Unlike most 3D action games, except a few such as Tomb Raider, there is a
story behind MDK, the story of a strange scientist known as Dr. Fluke. From
his vessel in orbit around Earth, he has discovered that something is coming
towards Earth. Although warned by the scientist, Earth was not prepared for
the invasion by the Streamriders, whose strategy is apparently to target
mining cities throughout Earth, and strip all the energy contained in the
deposits, leaving a burnt and black ground behind them. No one else than Kurt
can liberate Earth from the Streamriders' threat. Armed with revolutionary
weapons and useful gadgets designed by the creative mind of Dr. Fluke, Kurt
will be confronted to a horde of alien robots and creatures throughout
the inextricable galleries and levels of the alien mine crawlers.
Even if there are only six different levels in the game, each one located in
a particular city, MDK features an incredible diversity in terms of
graphics and game play. Not only do textures change from one level to
another, and even within the same level, but also the architecture which is
a wonder of imagination. One time plunging the player into vast and wide open
spaces with enormous structures, another time, bringing the player into
narrow bowels, then later putting the player in a situation where only agility
and dexterity will count for surviving. The other variety of the game is the
number of different modes it offers. Besides the 3rd person perspective view
(which is what you will play with during most of the game), there will be
several other views you will need to get used to. The first is the Sniper mode.
At any time during the game, pressing the Space Bar will enter you in this
particular mode that allows you to make a precision shot at a great distance.
With the help of a powerful zoom feature, you can kill an enemy without him
noticing you by simply targeting his head. Or you can choose to shoot at his eyes
to literally blind him, fire in his arms to stop him from firing at you, or even
in the legs so that he won't be able to move. There is so much more in MDK
than just shooting at will, which would have undeniably resumed the game play
to another Doom or Duke Nukem. You won't be able to use the other modes otherwise
than when offered the possibility by the game, which includes bombing sequences
with a top down view from a spaceship and glides on some kind of snowboard
through tunnels. Additionally, before entering each level, Kurt will need
to fall down from Dr. Fluke's vessel to the mining crawler through the air,
and avoid being detected by the enemy radars, which in itself is a different
If there is something certain about MDK, it is that you will never find
yourself wandering around with no threats. Like the sword of Damocles, there
will always be a danger lurking around, whether it is from your enemies or
the place you are exploring. Shiny Entertainment made sure that the enemies
won't act like stampeding beasts, moving straightforward in front of you, waiting
to be shot. Instead they were given a surprising artificial intelligence
so that you can't always predict their behavior. Moreover, as told by the company,
each robot and creature is able to see within a certain range and field of
vision, and communicate between them. You can of course lay your path in the game
as if they were plain dumb adversaries, but my advice is to always check whether
there is another possible solution than the direct assault, which will often
lead you to a certain death. Killing a sentry before it triggers the alarm is
for example much wiser, as you will discover for yourself. Hundreds of enemies
await you in MDK, and thanks to Dr. Fluke's weapons and other power-ups,
you will hopefully get rid of them. Among the power-ups you use are the
world's smallest nuclear explosion to open sealed doors, a mortar to be used with
the sniper mode, grenades, ammunition, a giant hammer, the fabulous tornado,
and more, including health restoration. One particular power-up will have Max,
the six legged dog genetically created by Dr. Fluke, drop a load of bombs on
the target of your choice. Really amusing!
As you understood, MDK is firstly an action game, but it also requires strategy
skills to reach victory, but that's not all. Several times during the game
will you have to solve a few problems. No mind-bending puzzles though, but rather
a simple visual analysis of the surrounding environment should help you to
figure out how to exit. Most of the time in these situations, you will only
need to use the special parachute created by Dr. Fluke. This parachute will
allow you to jump, or to fly should you be able to take advantage of
differences in height or ascending currents. But Kurt can also run, strafe on left
and right, and look up and down.
The sound effects and the explosive soundtrack are a great addition to the
game. Rarely has there been such a quality in a 3D game (except once more for Tomb
Raider). From the weapons' characteristic noise to the alien growlings, everything
has been thought of so that the player's senses are always kept awake, imposing
an omnipresent tension, often enhanced by the gloomy ambiance of the various
Without 3D accelerators, MDK's graphics are already astonishing, but if you
play with the Direct 3D patch released by Shiny Entertainment, you won't
believe your eyes. Unfortunately, the Direct 3D patch can only be used when you
install the Windows 95 version, but Shiny Entertainment announced that other
patches will be released to support DOS versions as well, at least for the
3DFX chip-based cards. Another patch will allow European customers to save
their game at any time, which for North American players won't be a problem
since the US version has this built-in feature.
So far, MDK is the greatest game of 1997. Original, humoristic, graphically
brilliant with a frenetic game play, it has everything to charm action
players who thought that Tomb Raider was not brutal enough, and those who
thought that Quake was just another 3D shooter. Shiny Entertainment is a leading
game developer of the industry, but unlike many who claim the same, they
show it with MDK!
Written by Frederick Claude
Click here for screen shots.
Pentium 60MHz or higher (Pentium 90Mhz recommended),
Windows 95 or DOS,
Min 16MB memory,
Hard disk with 17Mb free space or more,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
SVGA video graphic card,
Adlib Gold, Gravis UltraSound/UltraSound Max, Roland, Soundblaster and
Shiny Entertainment, Inc.,
The Laguna Design Center,
1088 North Coast Highway,
Laguna Beach, CA 92651-1338.
Web site: Shiny Entertainment
In North America:
Playmates Interactive Entertainment.
Web site: Playmates Interactive
Interplay Productions Ltd.,
Marlow, Bucks, SL7 2DX.
Internet Support: Interplay Europe Technical
Distributed by Acclaim Entertainment.
Rest of the world:
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