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reviews >> playstation 2
The Mark Of Kri

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: SCEA San Diego
Year Released: 2002
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Mature

Visuals 7
I think the art style is almost inappropriate for the amount of violence this game throws out.
Audio 8
Well, it fits with the art style, and at least it's fairly professional.
Gameplay 6.75
Character movements are a bit on the slow side, and the gameplay is a bit too brutal to be fully enjoyable.
Replay Value 6.75
It's not a terribly long game, lasting about 7-8 hours, and the mini-games that hold unlockables may/may not appeal to some.
Reviewer's Impression 7
It was fun for the first few hours, but the further I got, the more difficult and uneven the gameplay felt.
Overall 7.25
By all means not a bad game, it just lost me after at a certain point. There were some interesting choices in terms of gameplay and art design (some things worked and some things didn't). But when you really look beyond everything the game does differently, it's a fairly standard hack-and-slash game.

The Mark Of Kri is one of those games you start to enjoy in the beginning, and as the further along you go, you begin to enjoy it less and less. At it's heart, Mark Of Kri is pretty much a standard hack-and-slash game, but there are added elements to make it feel anything but standard. For one, there are stealth elements that allow you to dispatch enemies without being seen or heard. Another thing this game does is allow you to target enemies you wish to attack within a certain range. By using the right analog stick, you can target up to three enemies you wish to attack. A button will appear above an enemy that has been targeted, and when you press the corresponing button, you can attack the enemy you've targeted. It does allow for more percision when you come across a group of enemies, but it's not perfect. You can't target enemies out of your range, so you've got to take a chance on wether or not the enemy is facing you or not. Plus, there's not much you can do about the hidden enemies. The controls are decent, but the main character moves pretty chunky. Sure, his movements may seem representative of his size, but in a game where you sometimes need to make quick retreats, he's a bit to slow.

The game is also fairly unforgiving, with the limited number of saves you can use in-game (scrolls which you must find), and the fact that there can be too many enemies in certain areas. There were a couple of areas where the battles seemed a bit one-sided, where you could have eight strong enemies attacking you, and your attacks are fairly weak. But the sizes of each stage is a bigger problem. I think rather than creating six or so large stages, that each of thse stages could have been broken down into smaller levels. It would be a lot better than the crappy saving situation the game throws you in. Plus, I've been put-off by the fact that it's hard to get started on each stage. You can make quite a bit of progress, and lose it all if you haven't found or used a scroll, and you have to start all over from the beginning. I just really didn't like the overall progression of the game. It was much harder and tedious than it should be.

The visuals are in a style I don't paticularly agree with, because they really don't fit with it's content. The game looks like something from a Disney film, but the game is M-rated. There's quite a bit of blood and decapitiations, and it really doesn't fit with the overall look. It almost feels wrong. On the technical side of things, the game pretty much looks like an average PS2 game, with a mix of low to medium resolution textures, and adequate, if somewhat lacking geometry. The sound is almost in line with the Disney-esque theme, especially with the voice acting, where it's not comically bad, just rather comical.

Final Thought

The Mark Of Kri starts off entertaining, but right along the halfway mark, it starts to become repetitive and I started to lose interest. I think the game may be a little too hard on the player, especially when it comes to the save points, and the size of each stage. The game throws in some good ideas (like the targeting with the analog stick), but I don't think it's enough to make this a completely original design, and doesn't deviate too much from the hack-and-slash formula.