In an ancient Maori-inspired fantasy world the Mark of Kri is said to be a shadowy spell that will unleash an ancient evil throughout the land. Centuries ago the Mark of Kri was split into six fragments, each fragment guarded by one of six chosen members with a doomed fate. Dark times lie ahead and dark powers seek to reunite the Mark of Kri to bring doom upon all mankind. Only Rau, a young yet powerful and noble warrior, stands against the darkness. With the aid of his faithful hawk Kuzo, you must guide Rau, use might, strategy and stealth to overcome the forces of darkness.
A combination of subtitled drawings and 3D cartoon animations advances the story line, with every level you are drawn deeper into the darkness.
The Mark of Kri is a third-person adventure with stealth and beat 'em up elements in equal quantities. The control interface is very well balanced with stealth, combat and scouting all sharing a very intuitive system. While you control your movement with the left stick your right stick assigns your main control buttons to the enemy of your choosing. Pressing the corresponding button launches an attack on the chosen enemy, the shoulder buttons defend, switch weapon, control 1st person sight and your hawk Kuzo. Non-signed attack buttons can launch powerful combo attacks if used correctly.
Besides hand to hand combat - mostly needed for so called “stealth kills” a.k.a. “twist his head till he can move it all the way 'round” - you can choose to wield a sword, a bow, a spear and a heavy axe. While the bow is often essential to kill enemy archers from a distance the axe is certainly the ultimate weapon. While equipped not only one enemy can be selected but a total of three per button - *swing* *swing* and a whole battalion of enemies is history.
None the less, stealth is essential. Many enemies carry signal horns to call for very annoying support troops or are armoured and immune to an arrow which makes them much harder to kill.
Luckily Rau can flatten himself against walls, (my best regards to Mr. Solid Snake) tiptoe up behind guards, use Kuzo to scout ahead, activate switches, pick up items, read ancient hieroglyphs and even distract enemies.
Without a doubt two thumbs up of for game play and controls.
“Conan meets Mickey Mouse”
Despite the cartoon style animations - designed mainly by ex-Disney and ex-Don Bluth artists - the game is full of gore and violence. Limbs, heads, torsi and lots and lots of blood - hello Mr. R rating. The levels are exquisite. From the jungle to a gloomy swamp followed by a trip to snow covered mountains to name a few of the unique locations. Every level was carefully planned. Each one features a different architecture, enemies and surroundings.
Not only had the graphic design of the stages pleased us but the sound design as well. Besides many fantasy music themes, all levels feature a unique and realistic sound stage be it a cold winter storm in the mountains or a hunting animal in the jungle.
Again a job well done.
The story had ended...
Mark of Kri is an ultra-brutal yet still one of the most innovative titles this year. If the PS2 was a little “younger” people would call it a system seller. Why are you still reading? Get it now!