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Score: 72%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Beamdog
Developer: Overhaul Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Third Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

MDK2 HD brings the classic first-person shooter to a new audience with upgraded graphics, but the same strange gameplay.

While the textures used in MDK2 HD have obviously been improved upon over its original 2000 release, the character and level models themselves still take on their blocky look. So while the heroes and villains of the game might look more crisp, there is still a good bit of that retro feel to everything, making the game feel a bit dated.

MDK2 HD's sound takes a little tweaking. The hard rock background music is overpowering with the game's default settings and the dialogue, when there is any, is extremely low. I found I had to adjust the various settings almost immediately. Even with those adjustments in place, there were quite a few times when it seemed like the background music would turn itself up anyway, which was quite annoying.


MDK2 HD takes place soon after the alien invasion that was the focus of the first game. Well, as it turns out, not all of the invading creatures actually left the Earth when Kurt, our heroic janitor, defeated the invading force. Realizing there was still some cleanup left to be done, Dr. Fluke Hawkins sends Kurt back out in his special suit to finish the job.

What results is a slightly different game than the first. Where MDK had you playing through the entire game as Kurt, the sequel alternates between the three heroes, Kurt, Hawkins and the robotic six-legged, gun-toting dog, Max. While you start off as Kurt and his gameplay feels much like the first game's style, it isn't long before the janitor is captured and Max is sent in to free him. Eventually though, Max is also captured and the Doctor must head into battle himself. What results is an odd series of rescue attempts that lead to only one character being free at a time, and you keep rotating between the different characters and gameplay styles.

Kurt has a chain gun built into his suit, and his Ribbon parachute system allows for some interesting gliding-jumps, but his main speciality is his sniper rifle. This gun allows him to not only deliver powerful shots at enemies, but also hit very precise targets, and often times, in the middle of a heated battle.

Max is all about running-and-gunning. You can equip up to four guns at a time, and when each gun's ammo depletes, you just exchange it for one of the others you've picked up along the way. Where Kurt tends to deal with long-ranged fighting, Max's abilities lend his fighting style to more close-ranged shooting.

Meanwhile, the game takes on a less action-heavy setting when Hawkins is in control. MDK2 HD feels a lot closer to an adventure title as the mad scientist has to navigate his way through odd obstacles and puzzles. While he doesn't face many enemies, he does run into a few, and he does develop a means of defending himself, but it's in a way totally atypical to the other two characters.

Since the HD part of MDK2 HD deals mostly with the graphics upgrade the game received, you shouldn't expect much of a change in the way of gameplay, so if you liked what you played back on the DreamCast or PS2, then you should enjoy what this version has to offer.


MDK2 HD has a few control issues that really make aspects of the game tough, but if you can get used to those, or find a way around them (more on that later), then you will find that MDK2 HD isn't that bad of a title as far as toughness is concerned. You will generally face larger and stronger enemies that you wouldn't think you could take on, but given the right weapons and persistance, most gamers familiar with first-person shooters should be able to work their way through most of the game without any real problems.

That being said, health is a rare commodity in MDK2 HD. I can't tell you how many times I found myself just after a save point with little help and some major enemies to take out. Even in those situations though, having enough patience to keep trying new strategies will eventually get you past even the tougher spots in the game.

Game Mechanics:

I found the biggest issue I had with MDK2 HD was the controls. The basic keyboard and mouse setup has a lot of issues, and it caused me a lot of problems when I started playing the game. I didn't play the PC version of MDK2 back in the day, so I don't know if these are carry-overs from the original code, or issues involved in the port and upgrade (although, a quick read of our original MDK2 PC review says that the game had great controls).

The biggest issue involved the mouse. For some reason, whenever I clicked one of the two buttons, one for shooting and the other for jumping/gliding, the camera would turn and I would be facing a different direction. Thankfully, the flip wouldn't happen until my shot was fired, so I was able to hit the targets I needed to, but it is all very annoying. Eventually, I found that strafing while firing my weapons gave me a bit more control, but that wasn't always something I needed or wanted to do.

Eventually, I pulled out a wired Xbox 360 controller to replace the keyboard and mouse setup. After some initial setup work, which included manually assigning commands to the controller's input, and then making adjustments, I found that this was a much smoother experience. What was really annoying about this aspect was the amount of finagling I had to do in order to figure out exactly what the controller layout should be. It would have been nice if there was a predefined profile setup for the controller.

While there have been a few PC games that I've played that seem to be designed for a gamepad over the traditional keyboard and mouse, I always feel like that is a negative and it shows that the PC version was more of an afterthought, or less effort went into it over the console versions. Those same feelings are present here.

MDK2 HD is as fun and amusing as it ever was, but even with the graphical overhaul, it shows its age. I can't see too many gamers who didn't play the game back on its first release wanting to pick this title up, but for those who remember it fondly, the HD version isn't a bad purchase... if you happen to have a gamepad handy, that is.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

512 MB RAM, GeForce 8800 GT Graphics Card, Core Duo or Equivalent Processor

Test System:

Windows 7 Ultimate, Intel i7 X980 3.33GHz, 12 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 Batman: Arkham City Sony PlayStation 3 Wipeout 2

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