Review by arcane havoc

Reviewed: 12/15/02 | Updated: 12/15/02

A Short, But Memorable, Experience

The Mark of Kri is an excellent game with lots of action, color, and gore. This is a game every adult gamer should try BECAUSE of the the graphic mahem, which is quite enjoyable, and the logical extension of any sword-fighting action game.

Graphics: Here there might be some squabbling. The characters are all drawn in a colorful, albiet blockish, cartoon-like manner. Fresh and innovative, it fits the theme and in no way mars the presentation. I liked it, but I can readily believe that others wouldn't. There are ''jaggies'' galore, and some moments where the view is a little aggravating, but overall graphics are good. I give them an eight.

Story: Who's kidding who? There is no real story here, merely some well-worn cliche motives for setting out on gruesome quests. Story isn't the point of the game, though it is well-done. The Mark Of Kri is the point behind the game, afterall, and telling us about the mark in little blurbs throughout the level kept me somewhat interested. I give it a seven.

Sound: Good job with the music. Tribal drums, eerie flutes out of the Kung Fu television series, and let's not forget the gasping, gurgling, wheezing sounds of the dying! The startled natives' reactions when one of their comrades is lifted up and impaled, or split in half with an axe, is a gratifying reward for pulling off a combo in the midst of a melee. The voices for the characters, particulary the trainer and the bird, Kuzo, who is also narrating, is excellent. I give the sound a nine. A wider variety of music and dying/dismemberment sounds would have earned it a ten.

Gameplay: Here I have to give it a eight, though I wanted to drop it lower.

First, the controls. The controls are very easy to navigate, and the training system for learning the controls, and allowing for practice (as long as you like) is to be commended. The trainer, an old warrior, has a great voice, and his hints and advice are not to be ignored!! The button and targeting system are awkward for maybe five minutes, then the whole thing is a breeze. I found this to be one of the easier systems of multiple combo attacks and targeting that I've ever played. This doesn't mean that the game makes it easy to whip out awesome attacks. No, the enemies will choose that very moment to attack and disrupt your effort, and of course there are many places where the terrain is not in your favor, being too cramped for adequate gymnastic impaling/decapitation efforts. But that's not my point. The thing is, MoK makes it easy to learn and easy to use the controller to allow maximum enjoyment of the game, and not rob the player by unneccesarily complicating things. I love that!! The practice yard was a great way/place to hone my skills. It made the game a tad more realistic and fun, as setting out on an adventure, unsure of how to proceed, would have been very frustrating otherwise. After the training, it was much easier and I could then concentrate on the objectives.

BUT... all that aside, the game was just too short and in the end, began to become too repetitive. Kinda like Onimusha, Warlords. Yes, there are little ''challenges'' to overcome. You meet a set of challenges and you are rewarded with another outfit, a new arena in which to rack up high body counts, etc. You're also allowed to review the cut-scenes and some neat art. I like that fine; well-done to the programmers for that! However, there's a point in time where you have to ask yourself: ''How many times do I want to hear/watch this barbarian decapitate a sentry?'' Sure, the stealth thing is okay. There's strategy involved in playing; muscling your way through will only get you dead in a hurry. Still, it was repetitive and it's all over within 10 hours, so what do we have here? Going back through the game's six levels is boring after the second or third time through each. The AI doesn't get better and the enemy are all situated in exactly the same places. The last level is pure hack and slice, but you can enter an arena and get the same thing, with rewards... of a sort. I give the gameplay a reluctant eight, though the brevity and repetition make me lean towards a seven. The training mode and easy controls push it up the last notch.

For the price (I picked mine up on the net for $32 and change, including shipping and handling) it's a fair bargain. For most players, though, I'm wondering if a rental might not seem like the better way to go. If I had rented it, I don't know that I would have bought it. I have under 20 hours on the game and have unlocked almost everything, and I'm growing a little bored with it already. That's a rental week right there. It doesn't matter, really. Rent or buy or borrow, it's definitely a game worth playing!!! Keeping it is another matter, but playing, yes, EVERYONE (over 18) should try it.

Rating: 8

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