MDK: Murder Death Kill
Preview by Al Giovetti, 11/24/96
Genre: 3D action adventure - shooter
Release: March 1997
Developer: Shiny Entertainment, www.shiny.com
Producer: David Perry (Earthworm Jim)
Programmer: Andy Astor and Martin Brownlow
Producer: Mark Teal and Scott Herrington
Art: Nick Bruty and Bob Stevenson
Animation: Shawn Nelson
Design: Tim Williams
Music: Tommy Tellarico
Publisher: Playmates Interactive Entertainment
Requirements: Win95, Win 3.1, and MSDOS 16MB of RAM CD-ROM drive, Pentium grade system
Company line: The year, 1999. The universe is loaded with streams, giant electrical tubes spanning the Universe like an inter-galactic freeway, delivering up pure evil beings known as "Stream Riders".
Gunter Glüt is one such "Stream Rider", and has assigned his horde of minions to raid the planet via this universal highway, and forced the entire human race into slavery. Giant mobile mining cities crawl across the face of the planet, mining the surface of the Earth. These roving strip mines soon wreak havoc as many of Earth's cities are inadvertently "run over" by these great hulking monstrosities. The remaining free people of Earth go into hiding...
Years earlier, inventor extraordinaire, Doctor Fluke Hawkins, rocketed off on a 5 day mission and was never heard from again. He and his two companions, Max, an over zealous genetically engineered dog; and Kurt Hectic, the Doctor's young protégé, were presumed dead. The unlikely threesome stuck in a 5 day, turned 5 year orbit, became the only hope of saving the Earth and the entire human race from extinction…
The goings on below don't go unspotted by Max. Their worst nightmares have come true: some unimaginable aliens have invaded the Earth through the Stream and have taken over. The Doctor issues his orders, "O.K. Max, I want you to…" Before another word is said, off speeds Max eager to do the Doctor's bidding. Except, of course, for the fact that no "bidding" has been given yet.
The Doctor grabs Hectic and they head for the Invention Lab. The Doctor has made inventions of all shapes and sizes, but no time to browse, they need to act fast. Ah, here it is! A suit designed to repel bullets -- just the type of outfit Hectic needs to take on Glüt's security forces! And there's more where that came from. The Doctor can't hide his excitement – now is his chance to test all his inventions created while adrift, and Hectic is the perfect guinea pig! With an unerring confidence, and slight glint of insanity, the Doctor sends Hectic off to save the day…
History: Shiny Entertainment is known for Earthworm Jim. Company president David Perry has high goals for his company. MDK represents the first game for Shiny for the PC. Shiny is known for smooth and simple interfaces.
The name MDK, may be mistaken by many for the Demolition Man jargon for Murder Death Kill. The company claims MDK stands for Max, Dr. Fluke Hawkins and Kurt. Put your own words to the acronym since there is a lot of disagreement as to what MDK means even amoung the design team of the game.
Plot: The heros name is Kurt Hectic. Kurt Hectic is a scientist, working for or apprenticed to Dr. Fluke Hawkins. Max, Kurt, and Fluke get lost in space.
While the trio is gone, planet Earth finds an abundant free source of energy flowing through space near earth, called energy streams. The planet earth is invaded by aliens stream riders, who have caused the entire population of the planet to disappear into hiding or some more sinister fate, due to the eight immense alien cities that the stream riders brought with them from the energy streams.
Max, a genetically engineered dog goes off without a by your leave and leaves Fluke and Kurt hectic to get rid of the nasty aliens named Gluts. (Or was that the fluke of Hawkins and Hectic? -Ed.) The good Doctor has come up with a plethora (Would you believe a large number? - Ed.) of inventions which, it just so happens, are just the thing to murder, maim, and maul an amoral alien army.
One of the best inventions is the living bio-battle-suit which repels bullets. You walk around and you blast the heck out of everything that moves. Does that sound like Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, or Quake? According to Shiny Entertainment, the game will require more than just mindless blasting of unending hordes of monsters.
Kurt has to master some of the tongue and cheek game gadgets. The lock picking device uses controlled nuclear explosion to open the lock. The anti radar spray paint make you easier to see with the naked eye but makes you invisible to radar. Others include the human mortar, and the world’s most interesting bomb.
Game play: David Perry had this to say about game play: "The gameplay really feels different to other PC titles. It is clearly a different style of game greatly influenced by our console heritage. The player aslo has many play styles, with snowboarding, hoverboarding, sliding down tubes, parachuting, base jumping, stream riding, and freefalling. The player can push, climb, run, jump, etc. You name it."
Enemies and artificial intelligence: Kurt fights an endless stream of baddies, including some that are ten times his size. The enemy has sentries that stand on high buildings and direct all the other aliens to your location. Aliens can have a mind of their own and if they are wounded and near death, they will run away.
Vehicles: Parachuting, snowboarding, vortex chasing, hoverboarding, sliding on his butt. You name it, Kurt has to do it in MDK to get the job done.
Weapons: The bloodfest equipment includes gattling gun, dumdim gatling, sniper, diamond tipped sniper, homing sniper, and bullet camera. The hero’s battlesuit has a zooming gunsight and gun strapped to Kurt’s head. The gunsight allows you to zoom in on enemies until you see the whites of their eyes. You can shoot accurately when all you can see is a one pixel head, because when you zoom you will be able to see them in all their gross detail, before and after you shoot them. Since you have an accurate scope that allows you to aim accurately to a fraction of an inch, firing the weapon will be a fast moving pixel hunt for the vulnerable spot.
Locations: There are over 60 battle arenas set in eight alien cities on the Earth’s surface.
Interface: Third person perspective allows you to see your character get hurt. The Shiny Admiral game engine keeps the three dimensional action rolling along in stunning smoothness.
Graphics: The graphics are dark and foreboding with brilliant flashes of white light. The artists have grunged up the normally shiny three dimensional graphic surfaces so that they look more realistic. The graphics are high resolution, high detail, full color, with special effects like phong shading.
David Perry commented on the graphics: " The graphics are high-resolution only, they are full color not just scales of gray. The texture maps are very highly detailed and hold up really well when ‘zoomed’ in. New graphics keep getting loaded invisibly from the disk as you run around. This makes a level ‘Feel’ immense and very very graphically rich."
Animation: The animation speed is reported to be 30 frames per second which is 6 frames per second faster than movies. The graphic details adjust automatically to keep the animation fast and smooth. The animation is all in RAM running off of an algorithm. Animation does not require full motion video support played off of a CD ROM drive.
David commented on the animation: "The animation is mostly done by hand using 3D Studio. In certain places where we needed more human motion we used our in-house motion capture system running on a Silicon Graphics. The blend works well together as the game is not just a motion capture simulation, but has a lot of unique hand animated characters."
Voice actors: There are no voice actors used for this game.
Music score: Tommy Tallarico ("With Tommy T. there is a guarentee.")
Sound effects: There will be a lot of sound samples designed to be scary and funny. David said that the game has particularly funny sound effects everywhere", and that "the game clearly has that ‘Earthworm Jim’ feel."
Utilities: David Perry says there are no auto-mapping, auto-travel, auto-note-taking, and save games, since it is "impossible to get lost." When asked to be more specific, David said, the graphics change so much you don’t need auto-mapping, auto-note-taking, and auto-travel features." Recently, I had dinner with Johnny Wilson, the editor in chief of Computer Gaming World, when I asked him what he thought of games without auto-mapping, auto-travel, and auto-note-taking features. Johnny said, "that these features are necessities which the fan demands and no adventure game can do without."
Multi-player: David Perry says that it is too soon for multi-player features.
Future plans: When asked about future plans, David Perry said he wanted to get some sleep.
Hints: David Perry provided the following hint: "Don’t play it like Quake or you will die."
Cheats: When asked to comment on cheats, David said, "they don’t live long in this game."
Reader or Journalist, you can publish your review right here by sending us the text by email.
The Shiny MDK Web Site
The Crunge MDK Site Karl Fields http://www.gamespot.com/previews/mdk/index.html
Gary Whitta, PC Gamer, volume 3, number 12, December, 1996, pgs. 58-59.
The Playmates MDK Site
Another Shiny MDK Site
Rob Smith, PC Games, volume 3, number 12, December, 1996, pg. 102-109.
The Game Pen Preview of MDK
The 3D Gaming Scene MDK Site Next Generation Review
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