Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
I Know Something You Don't Know, nyaah, nyaah nyaah nya-nyaah-nyaah. I know what the initials MDK stand for. It isn't 'Murder Death Kill', as was previously reported. And it isn't 'Make Diana King' or 'Model Dates Kipper' or any of the other slogans they've used in the ads. It's something else, and I know what it is. Okay, as far as privileged information goes, it's hardly on a par with knowing what Alistair Stewart gets up to in bed, or which soap star pays call-girls to beat him with sticks, or the name of an underground club where you can see the pair of them doing these things live on stage; but it is something that I know, and that most people do not. Since I'm a bit slow and simple, this kind of thing doesn't happen very often. Usually. I'm the last to hear about anything. Why, I had no idea that Leslie Crowther was dead until the other day: I'd booked him to entertain at my sister's wedding reception and, let me tell you, it really upset the little ones when they wheeled him in.
So, for once in my life, I know something you don't know. And I'm going to string it out for as long as I can. by not telling you the answer until the end of this review. Sheesh. Life really doesn't get much more exciting than this...
Mice Drink Ketchup
Space is tight, so let's skip the traditional storyline explanation bit, shall we? Rest assured, the plot makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The upshot is that you're controlling this young bloke called Kurt, who is faced with the daunting task of infiltrating a bunch of gigantic alien cities, then exploring his way through them, while wasting anyone or anything that gets in his way. Kurt isn't entirely alone because he has two dedicated friends who step in now and again to lend a helping hand. First, there's a dog called Bones who will pop up on occasion to help out with an impromptu bombing raid. And the second friend is Doctor Fluke Hawkins, the mad scientist type back at home, who supplies the odd mid-game weaponry upgrade (and 'odd' is the right word when we're talking about MDKs weaponry).
So far, so simple - the whole shebang is, on first glance, a drop-dead gorgeous 3D platform game cum shoot 'em up, with a leading character who looks as if he's just shimmied off the pages of Skin Two magazine. But there's more to it than that. A straightforward arcade game this is not. At any moment you're just as likely to find yourself snowboarding through a sheet of ice as you are jumping from one ledge to another. Shiny have packed as many imaginative little twists into the game as possible, leaving us with a sprawling great chunk of continually surprising entertainment.
Anyone approaching MDK with the usual preconceptions about arcade games foremost in their mind is likely to be frustrated, maybe even disappointed, with what they find. It's no good letting your brain slip into neutral, because you'll often need to formulate strategies to survive. Without giving too much away, there are many occasions where you will find yourself faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem - a problem that can be solved only by applying a quick dose of lateral thinking. Well, it certainly took me by surprise: an arcade game where you have to think? "Duncan's horses did turn and eat each other". It just goes against all the pre-written laws of nature.
Malevolent Defecation King
The graphics really are something else. MDK looks quite unlike any other PC game out there. It's a bit like playing your way through a particularly well-drawn 2000AD comic strip - right down to the way it mixes stylised sci-fi visuals with quirky humorous touches. The 'true 3D' graphics are wonderfully smooth. Incidentally, it's funny how the phrase 'true 3D' keeps popping up in computer mags, despite the fact that anything that exists exclusively upon a 2D screen clearly can't be truly 3D at all - proof that the average 'puter geek really does need to get out more. Although Kurt himself looks a little out of place at times - why Shiny decided to use a sprite, when all the enemies and scenery are made from polygons is beyond me.
The sound also deserves a mention - especially the choice and quality of the music. None of it is spooled from the CD. so while the quality is a little 'fuzzy, there's no CD-aecess pauses to get in the way of the action. Best of all, Shiny have acquired the rights to some instantly recognisable themes, such as the James Bond action score, which crop up occasionally to lend some atmospheric weight to the proceedings. A very nice touch. Anyway, all in all, it's certainly worthy of your attention. As far as action games go, it's no Quake or Carmageddon, but it is defiantly original - and, more important, it's damn good fun to play.
Oh. yeah - and before I go - the title stands for Mission: Deliver Kindness.
Meet Dishy Kurt
Kurt the lead character, is a remarkably versatile chap. I Whereas most young men of his age are content with AKI wasting their days sprawled across a threadbare sofa, shovelling endless handfuls of floppy, glistening pizza into their fat ugly mouths and idly ping-ponging between Sky Sports and a 'Film With Some Tits In It' on the Movie Channel, chewing with their mouths open and scratching their sweat-embalmed testicles until the inevitable coronary carts them off to the great rubbish tip in the sky, Kurt is made of sterner stuff. His muscular, angled physique suggests a lifetime spent in the testing department of Abdominizer Inc. ("It's the only abdominal product that locks you on target'); combine that with the kinky rubber outfit (or 'coil suit') and you have a package that drives the chicks wild.
But it's not just the beefy physique and sexy togs that make Kurt what he is. There's also the equipment to consider. Supplied by Dr Fluke Hawkins. Kurt's inventor mentor, all manner of big boy's toys are on offer and are just waiting to be picked up and fiddled with...
Let's face it, if Kurt were to land awkwardly and twist his ankle after five minutes, he'd make a pretty lame superhero (literally). Thank your lucky stars for the ribbon chute. Simply leap from a great height, hold down the jump button, and voild! You're gliding through the air with the greatest of ease, like some kind of rubber-encrusted dove. Apart from preventing embarrassing ankle-twisting incidents, the chute also allows you to reach otherwise inaccessible parts of the landscape. Quite how the hell this thing is supposed to keep you airborne is beyond me - surely a normal, lo-fi parachute would have done the trick - but who really cares when it looks as cool as this?
As a walking stick is to a gammy leg, as a cup of mouthwash and condom are to a prostitute, so is a rapid-fire chaingun to a pent-up sense of rage. Let fly with your handheld bullet-spewer whenever you see fit - not only will it make you feel better, but it'll show those alien ne'er-do-wells who's boss, and no mistake.
Running around spraying everyone and everything in sight with bullets is superb fun - for a while. But there soon comes a time when even the most carefree gun-toting lunatic yearns for something a little more precise. Well, yearn no more, because in MDK, you can bolt that hand-held chaingun to your face and turn it into a super-accurate sniping gun instead. Simply hit the spacebar and there you are, peering through the telescopic sights and fantasising that you're Edward Fox in Day Of The Jackal.
The range on the thing is quite incredible: it's possible to zoom in on an enemy who's perched atop a building on the other side of town, then shoot his foot off. Furthermore, it comes with its own range of wacky artillery, from homing bullets to heavy duty mortar bombs. If there was an award for Neatest In-Game Gizmo at the videogaming 'Oscars', then this would win.
Apart from the aforementioned hardware, there are additional bits of kit that become available later in the game. Down they float, dangling from their little rubber parachutes like kinky S&M offerings from the gods. Half the fun lies in working out just what in the Sam Hill half of these power-ups actually do, but the names speak volumes: 'The World's Most Interesting Bomb' and 'The World's Smallest Nuclear Explosion' are exactly what you think they are.
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