Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 03/19/03 | Updated: 03/19/03

Rau the Barbarian

Button flailing combat games are something that come a dime a dozen and when you think of games like Mark of Kri, then the first thing you think is mindless brawler. Having seen this game in the local video store, I picked it up for the weekend and found that I was pleasantly entertained by both a deep story and impressive game play. Featuring a combat system that is both orderly and fun at the same time and with some pretty intense battle sequences, Mark of Kri is one of the top games in the genre of its type save for a few minor problems. Although I’ve played games like this in the past, there is a certain amount of praise that should be given to something that tries to be a step above the rest of the pack.

Your story starts with a young warrior by the name Rau who had been adopted and raised with his sister by an older man named Baumusu. As Rau grows older with time, he is trained in all of the warrior arts by his adopted father and soon sets out to make a name for himself on the trail by doing favors for local people. His name grows large and his skills improve when a mysterious man who is offering a huge reward for the recovery of an ancient document from a mythical temple approaches him. Setting out on a quest that will enlighten him and apparently make him wealthy beyond his dreams and so the plot is set for the Mark of Kri.

Some of the games in the past have tried to work on the hero saving the world story line with baseless combat and mindless melee battles. Some of the features that this game has to offer is the way that you can sneak around in the field and the way that you can combat multiple enemies on how you want them to be dispatched. With elements of choice and the element of stealth that you can work with throughout the six stages is something that should be noticed from the start of the game. While this title is very short with only six stages in all, there is plenty of action for mostly linear game play that you have at your disposal.

One of the key points to the game play is that you can mark your enemies with different buttons depending on what it is that you want to accomplish. As your attacking line meets up with an enemy, you’ll be able to assign a different button configuration to what enemy you want it to be. When the buttons are set, it’s a simple matter of tapping the corresponding button to the enemy and having the attacks come off in that order, or being able to attack multiple enemies on a whim. Another feature that the game offers up to you is the ability to use other objects as distractions so you can sneak up and whack your target without having a major conflict in the process.

When you do get into battle, if all of the buttons aren’t assigned to a particular enemy in your line of sight, you’ll be able to unleash a variety of combinations that will usually end up in your enemy getting serious beaten. Most of these attacks are geared towards eliminating your enemy completely from the field and you’ll be able to kill your enemies in some of the most violent ways possible. The different weapons that you have at your disposal will keep the action fresh, though you might find that sniping the far off enemies with the bow is your best bet until you become proficient with the sword and the different combinations.

While not the most realistic looking game in the world, Mark of Kri does have some good attributes attached to it in the form of attacks and enemy designs. Your character and the characters around him look almost as though they’ve been taken and redrawn from a cartoon of some sort. Although there is a kid aspect here that you might see in the beginning, when the blood starts to fly and that violence kicks into high gear, there is not escaping the fact that this is an adult game. Blood, gore, heavy handed violence and plenty of vicious attacks will keep you blinking as well as the interesting and well done interval scenes between the stages.

A moody drumbeat follows you throughout the game and you’ll find that it matches the theme and overall tone of the game in a good way. There are some points in the game that the music seems to fade out in and there really isn’t much that you’ll remember though you might be tapping your feet with the steady line after a while. Sound effects are what really shine here and you’ll hear some impressive battle sounds such as weapons clashing together and the battle cry of Rau as he starts going Conan on some enemy. With a good audio setup, it almost sounds like you’re sitting in the middle of a Conan movie and you’ll find that the story is very well told complete with a mysterious and raspy voice.

Mark of Kri really isn’t a bad game and you’ll see that there is plenty here that makes it a step above your average brawler. If you can get into the innovative and impressive battle system and you enjoy the killing and mindless death that comes along with this title, then you’ll find it to be damn near perfect. The visuals are a little too cartoon-like for my liking and a little more realism would have been nice in the way that the game was presented. The blood and the gore more than make up for it as well as the stealthy way that you can move around the stage and your enemies without causing instant battles. A rental choice if there was ever a reason to, Mark of Kri is a short romp that is great for a weekend of Conan…er….Rau the Barbarian.

Rating: 8

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