Review by bungleinthjungle

Reviewed: 07/22/03 | Updated: 07/22/03

A decent action-adventure title worthy of your time.

If you love action/adventure games then you certainly won't have any bones to pick with The Mark Of Kri. This Zelda/Metal Gear Solid hybrid satisfys in the gameplay department -- although you certainly wouldn't assume so from the look of the cartoony graphics.

It's true -- this game looks like something that only Disney would create -- but nowhere as near spectacular and colorful. In fact, the graphics are pretty ''blah'', especially for a PS2 game. While some of the level backgrounds are nice more could have been done to spice it all up -- everything looks the same, especially in the multiple ''jungle''-themed levels that Rau traverses.

And speaking of Rau,the main character -- he is as stereotypical looking as they come; a broad-nosed jungle man,with typical animal skin attire. He lacks the level of depth of such previously mentioned mascots as Link and Solid Snake, and that is one of the biggest downfalls of this game -- you just never really feel much for Rau, you never really develope any concern for him or his problems. To put it simply, the plot is a complete bore. Very predictable, and very unexciting.

Also, this game is WAY too short,and while there are extras, it's still not enough to contend with the replay value of some of the better action/adventure games out there. You'll most likely play this game once or twice, unlock the extras and then never touch it again.
One of the biggest reasons for such a low replay value is due to the fact that the game is as linear as they come; you never get the chance to stray, to leave the path and explore on your own. When a mission is beaten you are sent right into the inn for the next one -- there are no decisions to be made, unless you feel like doing some training with Baumasu, and even then you are walked through step-by-step, until Baumasu finally finishes his lesson. However, training IS beneficial, and is highly recommended to gain some insight into Rau's weaponry -- his hands (for stealth),sword, bow, spear and axe all have their own advantages and disadvantages, and you'll find yourself using them strategically, to defeat your enemies by the best means possible.

I was truly amazed by the depth that is involved in taking out Rau's enemies. You can't just run up to most of them, otherwise there is a major threat of even MORE enemies being alerted and sent out for backup. You must use combinations of the weapons at your disposal, along with some quick thinking and stealth, to eliminate enemies in an appropriate manner. You must consider the placement of your enemies,their number,their armor (if any) and what weapons they are using. If you go into battle with the idea that this is a hack-n-slash title then I can guarantee that YOU WILL DIE QUICKLY in some of the later levels.

The real fun in this game lies within the actual gameplay. Using stealth, while seeming somewhat silly in use with such a large character as Rau, is still tons of fun. You can slide along walls, peak around corners and sneak up on your enemies. Once you have the enemy targeted and you press ''X'', Rau never ceases to amaze with the moves he can pull off to take down his foes. He impales, strangles, slams bodies into walls -- all with the press of a button.
However, I still managed to find some flaws within the controls -- sometimes they were just sluggish, sometimes unresponsive. I especially wasn't pleased when Rau would get ''stunned'' by an enemy and then would stand there,rubbing the back of his neck, while I hammered on the controller, cursing the entire time.

All in all though, The Mark of Kri is an enjoyable experience -- certainly not ground breaking, certainly not something that couldn't have been done on the PS1, but still a fun little journey, provided you're all about gameplay and not about story. So, if you're itching for a good action title for your PS2 collection, by all means at least rent The Mark of Kri, or buy if you can find it cheap enough (I bought mine used at Electronics Boutique for under $20). It should keep you busy for at least a day or two.

Pros --
1) great gameplay, especially the stealth bits
2) some unlockable extras spice things up
3) controls are unique
4) blood, dismemberment and cool kills

Cons --
1) soundtrack is forgettable
2) not enough to keep you coming back
3) way too linear
4) story was predictable and somewhat boring
5) controls can be frustrating
6) needs a more instrumental main character

Rating: 7

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