Review by Bremen

Reviewed: 10/21/02 | Updated: 10/21/02

Out of nowhere...?

THE MARK OF KRI

Where did this game come from!? I picked this game up as a rental because I had a free game rental coupon and most everything else was out by the time I got there late one Friday evening. I was just hoping to squeeze out an hour or two of gameplay before shelving it and returning it to my local rental shop. Little did I know that I would spend the next couple of days trying to find time to play. This game is an outstanding game that pushes the envelope of the traditional action/adventure title.

GAMEPLAY
The gameplay is where this game really shines. The system is absolutely amazing and quite simple to use and pick up. Though it seems overwhelming during your first training session it really doesn't take that long to learn and use effectively. That's the beauty of it. The game has an extensive in-game tutorial system that is awesome. the basic control scheme uses the Right analog stick sends a laser-like beam out in the direction you are pushing and allows you to target up to 3 enemies at a time when the game first begins. The first enemy the beam touches gets and X ''Mark'' over his head, the second gets a Square, the third gets a Triangle. To attack the enemies you simply push the corresponding button. That's it. That's the basic gist of it. Simple right? This makes it easy to attacks large groups as your main character Rau will not need to turn and face the enemies to attack them. He can hit them from the side or even behind him while still facing the primary target. The addition of combos to the game also adds a cool element to combat. By only targeting one enemy or two, you can use the free buttons (Square & Triangle if only one enemy is targeted) to perform combo moves. I found myself throwing out combos throughout the game just because they looked cool.

And as if that's not enough they throw in the coolest method of killing as well...the stealth kill. Though at times it seemed as if they over-used the stealth kill, by the end of the game you will feel differently. I thought is was a perfect mix of action and stealth. Creeping up to someone around a corner and snapping their neck or pinning them up against a wall with your sword was just too cool. I couldn't believe the amount of blood they showed in this game. It was definitely shocking at first but slowly I became addicted to it and could wait to sneak up on the next unsuspecting victim.

The gameplay was fantastic.

GRAPHICS
Again, quite unique, the hand drawn and outstanding graphic style applied to everything gives the game a great life that draws you in. The cut scenes are done extremely well, the drawings that come to life right before your eyes, then fading flawlessly and almost unnoticeably into the actual game are alone worth picking up the game for. Coupled with the fantastic stealth kill animations and combo attack (slow motion at times) moves seal the deal. The graphics for the Mark of Kri are outstanding and genuinely unique for a game of it's genre.

SOUND
Excellent! Music was mostly non-existent, however the sound effects more than made up for it. Rau's voice was superbly done and the stealth attacks and enemies muffled death cries were fantastic. Well done....well done...

STORY
Could have been better but great considering it's genre. The story progresses nicely though it's linear and often times a little too transparent. Overall it was well done with good narration and depictions.

REPLAY VALUE
Decent replay value as you can go back through any of the levels at anytime and depending on how you complete your first run through you can use any weapon received later on in the game on all the previous levels as well. There are challenges, arenas, etc... that give the game good longevity despite it's initial lack in length. The 5-10 hours it might take you to complete the game once can easily extend beyond 20 hours depending on what you want to do.

OVERALL
Overall the Mark of Kri is an excellent game that revitalizes a dying breed of video games with it's intuitive and unique combat system, outstanding graphical flair, and engaging stealth system. Definitely give this game a go...it's worth it! The Mark of Kri caught me off-guard when it came...out of nowhere...

Rating: 8

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