Thunderbolt logo

MDK 2: Armageddon

The Dreamcast version of MDK2 was one of my favorite Dreamcast games. The game is hilarious, with all sorts of clever innuendoes, great gameplay and completely challenging but never too frustrating. So when I went to EB to get my PS2, it was no surprise that this was one of the first games I had picked up. And while it is a great PlayStation 2 game, it’s not as good as the version I loved.

In MDK 2, you play as either Dr. Hawkins, Max the Dog, or Kurt Hectic. Each is a very quirky character, with unique skills that help/hurt them.

Dr. Hawkin’s can build any weapon he wants out of standard household appliances (though in some cases it is obviously very over the top). This is done by gathering items and putting them together to create new combinations. Some of these combinations include a blowing contraption that can force your enemies into giant plants who will eat them, or you can make weapons like the Atomic Toaster, which shoots off bread that hurts your foes. But as a man of science, Dr. Hawkin’s has let himself go over the years, so he cannot wield guns and that sort of weaponry. He also has the lowest hit points, which means that if you aren’t careful, you will die very quickly. However it is my opinion that he is the best to play.

Max the Dog isn’t your standard Dog. You see, he has six arms…and he smokes cigars…and he likes to wield guns and blast aliens. Max’s missions are all about just blasting everything in the room with a little bit of platforming action in the middle. However his platforming really sucks as his jump is very limited and you will find yourself repeating the same level over and over. Even with the JetPack that you earn, his platforming is often very confusing and very challenging. Not that challenge is a bad thing mind you, but it’s like a train running into a solid wall of concrete, it will get through but it really slows down. Max is all about firepower, which makes him pretty fun to play. At his disposal are your standard weapons in most action games, but remember you got 4 arms you can use to shoot so you can pretty much blast a hole in whatever comes at you. He also has a lot of health, which is easily lost however as there are many enemies hunting for Max. Oh well, blast them full of holes!

Lastly, we arrive at Kurt. Kurt is a janitor for Dr. Hawkin’s who just happens to be the perfect fit for a suit that the good Doctor designed. With this suit, Kurt can glide, jump high, and shoot with a machine gun, snipe and more. It’s a very cool suit. Kurt’s missions are more of slowed down Max missions, with very large levels coming in with spread out enemies. However you will get into hectic battles and Kurt’s machine gun is definitely up to the task. Sniping is really fun to and easy to perform. There is nothing like the satisfaction of making an enemy bleed from 100 yards. Kurt’s missions populate most of the game.

There are a few puzzles here and there, a lot of platforming, a good deal of action everywhere, and a lot of other stuff tossed in. This makes this game playable by essentially anyone who wants to give it a shot.

The graphics are nice, but nothing too great I must say. The character models are well animated, and the movies are pretty cool. The loading screens have a comic book style to them that makes them fairly original.

The textures however are very repetitive and quite bland. It’s nothing too bothersome, or even very noticeable for that matter, but it’s still something that you will pickup on if you actually look at the wall you are passing by. None the less it’s pretty good.

There’s nothing wrong with the sound. The sound effects are very well done, and the character voice-overs are well done, especially Dr. Hawkins. Some of the things that come out of his mouth…oh boy wait and see. JINKIES! Some of the other noises are definitely interesting, like the passing of gas. If you really listen, you are in for a few surprises.

This is where the game screws up. I picked up the controller, expecting a similar layout to the Dreamcast versions and instead treated to a really lame layout. So I try to change it, and of course I cannot set the controls manually and am instead forced to adapt to the games default control schemes. Why they changed the control is beyond me, but I will admit that one I got used to it, I could deal with it and it wasn’t that frustrating. I’m sure that anyone who hasn’t played the Dreamcast version won’t even notice the slight flaw.

It’s cheap, it’s good and I liked it. Try to get your hands on this if you can, or you can try the PC or Dreamcast versions if you can’t find the PlayStation 2 version, as they are all very well done.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

You should check out our podcast.