It's time for another hidden gem from the PC gaming history. This week the spotlight shines upon MDK - a 3D action game by famous Shiny Entertainment
Putting a janitor as the hero of a video game? Sounds silly, but Kurt Hectic, the main character in MDK, isn't just an ordinary janitor. Equipped in stealth parachute and a sniper rifle on his head, he's ready to stop the alien invasion single-handedly. Pete Davison, who agreed to fight against hordes of aliens as a super-janitor, had only one goal -- save the Earth by any means necessary, including using the smallest nuclear bomb. Check his blood-curdling report and try the game yourself if you missed it as this week, until December 6 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, we're giving you $1.00 off!
by Pete Davison
Murder Death Kill? More Drinks, Kevin? Man Dates Kipper? Max, Dr Fluke Hawkins and Kurt? Mission: Deliver Kindness? Minister Devours Kissogram? Who knows?
Just what does MDK stand for? Much of the advertising for this game on its initial release begged this very question. In fact, in the readme file for the original demo version, Shiny Entertainment admitted that there was no set meaning for this mysterious acronym, even going so far as to joke that, since the readme file was written on Mother’s Day, it could even stand for Mother’s Day Kisses.
As a game, though, MDK stands for fast action and a twisted, surreal sense of humor. Playing the role of the (possibly titular) laboratory-janitor-turned-hero Kurt, players must parachute, run, jump, shoot, slide and snipe their way through a series of levels on their way to defeating the alien menace and their menacing Minecrawlers. This is achieved, as you might expect, by blowing seven shades of snot out of every single thing in the way before dispatching the Minecrawlers’ bosses in a variety of disgustingly violent manners. Story? Who needs it?
Despite MDK ostensibly being a third-person shooter, Shiny had the good sense to mix gameplay elements up fairly regularly. Each level opens with a perilous parachute drop into the danger zone and ends with a frantic “riding the energy wave” section. In between these two regularly-occurring parts, though, anything could happen. One moment you could be battling your way through swarms of enemies. The next you could be platform hopping. And in one particularly memorable sequence, you could be sliding down a half-pipe on your back to the accompaniment of some music that sounds like it belongs in a James Bond movie.
Then there are the sniping sections, provided courtesy of Kurt’s ridiculous helmet, which gave gamers an early taste of how satisfying it is to blow someone’s head off from three miles away. The fact the “sniper” helmet could also be customized with collectible weapons such as mortar bombs added variety to these sections and also meant that creative use of weaponry was often an integral part of puzzle-solving. This unconventional approach to sniper action also provided the game with one of the most memorably hilarious final boss battles of all time.
MDK was a great-looking game on its original release thanks to its stylized visuals and its super-efficient software-based engine. The presentation of the game still holds up well today, too, thanks to the combination of the distinctive graphical style and the excellent music.
So if you’re looking for a third-person shooting/platforming/sniping/parachuting/snowboarding game with a bizarre sense of humor and no concern with whether or not it makes sense (which it absolutely doesn’t, in the slightest) - you could do far worse than this. It looks great, sounds great and, most importantly, is super-fun. This is a game that will have you laughing out loud at its sheer insanity. And in a gaming world where it sometimes feels like bald, charisma-free space marines running around brown environments rule all, that’s no bad thing.