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    jp's The Mark of Kri (PS2)

    [April 3, 2007 01:34:02 PM]
    Thank you! Thank you!

    My worries were unfounded...when I reloaded my saved game all my lost weapons re-appeared! Yay! HUGE sigh of relief.

    I was right as well! The tough room I got stuck in was the last room before the final boss fight. It was a little underwhelming to say the truth, but in all, it went fine.

    Final thoughts? Very good game! I guess what I liked most about it (from a design perspective) was how there was always an interesting tension between each of the things you can do in the game. Stealth vs. Combat vs. Unarmed combat. There is always a reason to choose one over the others, but there are benefits to choosing the others, even if they are harder. Hmmm.. Should I put my weapon away in order to block and counter (and instantly kill!) and enemy? Should I only target one enemy with my weapons so that I can execute combo moves at the expense of being able to attack 3 enemies? This game is all about making those kinds of choices, which is why I enjoyed it so much! (even though I can't execute combos...)
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    [March 31, 2007 08:12:54 PM]
    I think I'm in trouble. Real trouble.

    Last night I started playing what is probably the last level of this game. This time I'm chasing down the bad guy. He's a necromancer.

    I'm making my way through, slicing and dicing zombies with the huge axe I picked up during the cut-scene from the final level and I realize that sometimes, the zombies don't stay dead!


    So, I change tactics, I slice and dice...but also weave and dodge to the next area.

    Slice, dice, weave, dodge, and run. That becomes my mantra as my start moving from one room to the next. I'm even getting pretty good at it. Enter a room, spot the lever that opens the door to the next, slice, dice, weave, dodge and run.

    I do this until suddenly, I realize that I'm no longer carrying the axe.

    Huh? Must have put it away by mistake. I try to re-equip it and it's no longer there.

    Oh. Weird.

    I guess, since this is the final level, that the designers are trying to make it more challenging by taking your weapons away. Starting with the most powerful...

    Ok. I can live with that...

    I decide to abandon the slicing and dicing and go just with the weaving and dodging.

    A few rooms later I notice that my staff is gone.


    Dodge and weave. Dodge and weave.

    A few rooms later, my sword is gone.

    Oh. Interesting. They've left me the bow. I guess it must be important for the final battle I assume will soon be around the corner.

    Dodge and weave. Dodge and weave.

    The rooms are getting harder now. Fortunately, they tend to have a few health powerups. Also, even when unarmed, if you block at the right moment you can kill your opponents by using their weapons against them.

    Cool. They're really encouraging you to go back to the "basics". Unarmed combat against nasty odds.

    Suddenly. My bow is gone.

    Oh. I wasn't expecting that!

    I can still dodge and and weave.

    I keep this up for quite a while until I reach a room with two ledges (each with a lever), bunch of zombies on the ground and two archers on each level.

    Oof. The last room had one archer on each ledge, and that was pretty tough. (I don't think you can kill an archer when unarmed..they fall to the ground but then just get up again)

    I can't dodge and weave my way out of this one.

    I die.

    Fortunately, I had saved recently, so I restart from there.

    I die.


    ..and again.

    Now I'm starting to get worried. This is too hard. Way too hard. Almost unfair.

    Doesn't matter. It's late. I'm tired. I turn the PS2 off. But there's a nagging though in the back of my mind.

    Gamefaqs informs me that there are some nasty baddies here that steal your weapons. You then take them out and get them back. No big deal says the FAQ. I had noticed them, and I had thought they were annoying. But I was in the zone! Dodge and weave was my mantra!

    And now I'm worried. I've saved my progress far in advance of the rooms where I lost my weapons. I thought that losing my weapons was part of the intended design! Can I get them back? Have I made my way into an unwinnable position? No weapons to reach the end, but no way to get them back. Can I even re-start the level from the beginning? There is no "load this level" interface, and if there was, it would exist in the inn where you visit NPCs that tell you what to do...but as of the last cut scene I saw..the inn was destroyed! (and its occupants murdered).

    Finally... why has this happened to me? Should I have noticed that my weapons were missing and gone back to get them? Why did the game let me progress? Why was I not warned?

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    [March 24, 2007 10:26:03 PM]
    I tend to agree with something I read about this game being an overlooked gem. It really is neat! In fact, I'll got out and say that it's one of the best stealth games I've ever played despite the fact that it has a pretty complex (and interesting) close combat system! Take that!

    I've just finished the 4th mission (I can't really understand the names...I think there's something wrong with the volume?). Anyways, it took place in a snowy fortress on top of a mountain. The heart of a fortress protects an oracle tree, whose fruit I had to eat (in order to move on to the next mission...which I've already started). This mission was quite enjoyable because I was able to calmly make my way through it stealth-killing, steal-dropping and sniping lots of enemies. In fact, I was able to clear the next-to-last area totally undetected. Nice!

    What I enjoy the most about the stealth kills is that they've been purposefully designed to work when they should. Basically, sneak up on an enemy, target them, wait until the on-screen symbol stops blinking, press the button and bingo! Lots of other games require you to pull it all of by yourself, basically aim and execute the attack...and if something goes wrong..bye bye. Not so here! In fact, you can stealth-kill two opponents at the same time! So, this game actually has more strategy than you would think. I'm not one to barge on through..and in this game you couldn't. However, if you plan and execute your attacks all works out very nicely.

    I still think that I'm no good with brawler-combo games, but the stealth elements in this one have made my day.
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    [February 19, 2007 10:28:51 PM]
    I played another mission last night and I'm still very impressed with the level of violence in this game. The killing moves are almost all like Mortal Kombat fatalities: gore and excess. For example, one involves pinning an enemy to the wall, with a sword through his neck! Disney style cartoon characters that bleed red. That might be a way to describe this game.

    On the other hand, I'm enjoying the pacing of the games. While the main character is an uber-tough-guy, he is stealthy, quiet, powerful, and smart. It really is in your best interest to send your eagle(?) Kazuo to scout ahead. This really is Conan with a pet.

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    [February 12, 2007 09:07:42 AM]
    Maybe I've read too many Conan stories (the original ones!), but I felt strangely drawn in by this games mixture of Disney aesthetics and bloody gore. This game really is gory, but in a way that feels authentic...rather than over the top. What's confusing to me about all this is that the characters basically cartoons...and yet the gore is kind of realistic. Bottom line is that it works...and pretty well.

    I played, and finished, the first mission and this game has element I look forward to exploring further: the combat system. Contrary to other games where you have attack, dodge, use buttons and then you attack anything that comes within range, this game has a more sophisticated, yet flexible, system where first you target and "lock on" to up to three enemies. Each is assigned to a button (x, square, or circle) and pressing that button will make your character attack the corresponding enemy. Simple enough.. though you have to keep track of which enemy is which.

    Where it gets really interesting is that if you don't have three enemies targeted, the extra, un-assigned buttons can be used for better attack combos! So, it seems (I need to play more to confirm) that there is an interesting tension between having enemies a button press away from an attack and having the chance to execute better combos. What should you do, target them all so make it easier to fight them, yet harder to defeat..or target them 1 or 2 at a time, making it easier defeat them, yet harder to fight? Interesting...
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    jp's The Mark of Kri (PS2)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 10 February, 2007

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 3 April, 2007

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    The combat system seems very exciting and different. Great game, the length was just about right!

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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