Review by jin366

Reviewed: 08/04/02 | Updated: 08/04/02

The Mark of Kri Bears the Mark of Excellence .

I have to begin by saying that I was pleasantly surprised when I p/u my preordered copy of The Mark of Kri . I had seen the demo on one of the OPM discs and was automatically hooked. I mean , who doesn't want to play a game where you have to kill everyone .....with style . The minute I booted the game up it felt like I had just put on an animated feature ...something by Bluth or Walt Disney .......But with an NC-17 rating . Let's move on to my review ( Be gentle...this is my first one . )

STORY : 8 / 10
Terrific. This is one of the most entertaining tales I have played in a long time. The story , although thin , is obviously well thought out and gave me one more thing to keep my interest on the game besides the hacking. It is the tale of a warrior named Rau , who after having been adopted along with his sister by a man named Baumusu , is trained in the ways of combat by Baumusu and after becoming an adult , decides to make a name for himself as a warrior . He begins by taking offers from patrons of an inn and after a couple of these offers have been fulfilled he meets up with a dark stranger who offers him riches if he can get him an old parchment , hidden in an ancient temple. So begins the journey of discovery for Rau , as he learns what his purpose in life is and what destiny truly holds in store for him . Along the way to completing these missions , there is plenty of action to keep you busy . I won't say anymore since I don't want to ruin any surprises for anyone .

Graphics : 9 /10
The graphics for The Mark of Kri are some of the best on The PS2 to date . Although the characters and environments have an obvious cartoon influence , they are crisp ,lush and just downright beautiful to look at . The textures are excellent , the water , although not interactive , is beautiful and the jungles and settings are near perfect . The character models , although deceptively simple are detailed and animated as well as the best Disney or Bluth have to offer . The detail in Rau's backpack is fantastic , as you can see every weapon he has earned sticking out of it and the sheath for his sword belted on behind him. As I said before , the character animations are fantastic , as you can see Rau's brow rise and fall as he acknowledges what's being said to him . Some of the other characters feature nice details in animation , such as bouncing bellies , breakaway armor and the kill animations are so good that I found myself shouting shocked expletives at the t.v since I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

Gameplay : 9 / 10
This game features some of the tightest controls I have ever experienced in a game . That's a good thing since the action in this game gets so intense that you need to able to shift from an attack to a block on the fly so much you can't afford to be dealing with sluggish controls . The gameplay and controls , although original , are simple . Through the course of the game , you fight your way through each level using the right analog stick to target your enemies and the Square , X and Circle buttons to attack . The right stick assigns any of the three previously mentioned buttons to your enemies and you attack the enemies according to the button they are assigned. There are several sets of combos that can be used and they apply to the various weapons , except for the bow of course. This is a new targeting and attack setup , and although I had some reservations when I heard about it , let me now say that it is in my opinion excellent and user friendly . No wonder Sony copyrighted the setup . The levels are layed out in a very straight forward fashion with some , but few branching paths that open the game up to some slight exploring . If there is one complaint I have about this game is that it was a little too linear . But that didn't keep me from enjoying the game. Also , and this is a good part of the gameplay as far as Rau is concerned , You use his familiar Kuzo , a magical ancient bird to scout out areas and activate out of reach levers and switches . You can scout out the terrain for enemies and plan your attacks accordingly . This game uses a stealth system that in my opinion rivals the best that MGS2 had to offer . I found myself enjoying the use of the stealth in this game more than in MGS2 and that say's a lot since I loved the stealth in MGS2 .

MUSIC : 9 / 10
Although the music in this game is appropriate and sets the mood nicely during combat , I found that it didn't really stand out all that much . The sound effects , as far as the clashing of weapons and the sounds of bodies being impaled is second to none . One of my favorite effects is the sound of the enemies weapons hitting against Rau's spear .you get that solid sound of wood being hit . It just sounds cool . The game sounded great on my surround system .

Replay : 9 /10
this game has plenty of extras to offer and should keep you interested for a while . As you progress through the game , completed levels can be accessed in arena mode where Time Attack , Body Count and arena challenges yield more extras as the challenges are completed . You can open up extra costumes for Rau , cheat codes , movies and art and access to levels so that they can be replayed for fun or finding missed objects . Overall, I have to say that this game is worth the $40 bucks that Sony is charging for it . Actually , for $40 bucks , I think it's a steal considering how much garbage companies are selling for 50 bucks at a pop .

Overall , I think that The Mark of Kri will please the fans of games like Devil May Cry and Metal Gear Solid 2. It has a combination of stealth and action that makes it loads of fun to play . Although I should mention that there are only six story levels , they do get harder as you progress through them . Sometimes ridiculously hard . But not impossible to beat . Also , since there are quite a few extras to unlock , you will find yourself playing this game for more than just the story . It's nice to see a game that had such obvious care and attention to detail showered on it by it's designers . This game shows what happens when all the design elements come together and are not compromised for the sake of making a deadline . Hats off to the folks who created this game. Thanks for a fun time . And I will be visiting the inn every now and then to see what the sage has to offer. The Mark of Kri now holds a special place in my collection along with Onimusha , Ico , Devil May Cry , Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X . If you ask me , that's some pretty good company to be keeping .

Rating: 9

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