MDK2 was originally released for the Dreamcast and PC in 2000. It was later revised and released for the PlayStation 2 as MDK2: Armageddon. The main difference between the Dreamcast and the other two versions is the ability to select the difficulty level. A remake of this game has also been announced for Nintendo's WiiWare service and is scheduled for a release in early 2011.
Protagonists and gameplay
Like the original, MDK2 features three protagonists: Kurt Hectic, an ordinary janitor and reluctant hero, Max, a mechanical six-legged dog, and Doctor Fluke Hawkins, Max's creator and all-round eccentric scientist. Unlike in the first game, the player is put in control of all three characters in turns, with each delivering significantly different gameplay and puzzle experiences.
Kurt, the main hero of MDK, is a janitor for Dr. Fluke Hawkins. He would rather live peacefully, but the doc forces him to fight both alien invasions. Kurt's not one to abandon his friends, but at the same time he'd much rather be sitting back or mopping a floor.
Kurt's levels emphasize the use of his coil suit and Ribbon parachute which allows him to take lifts off updrafts and glide gently from platform to platform. They also focus heavily on his built-in Sniper Scope which allows him to launch projectiles at foes, both directly and indirectly, using the various sniper mortar and rifle options. Kurt's puzzles often involve complex sniper shots with different munitions to strike "lock-balls", which often control doors or barriers. The levels he features include some of the larger, more baffling maps. Kurt's boss fights typically are not straightforward, and require the player to often snipe or shoot certain locations on the boss itself to damage it.
Max is a robotic six-legged dog with a major attraction to firepower and a sharp wit. He stands on his two back legs and can equip and shoot up to four guns at once. Furthermore, in many segments, Max is outfitted with a jet pack, which allows several mid-air refueling challenges. Max's levels are often the most brutal, often involving massive gunfights. Having double the health of the other characters, Max is very susceptible to being attacked from all directions, but has a large amount of weapons scattered throughout his stages. Unlike the other two, Max doesn't have to look for any little objects, items, or odd out-of-the-ordinary things that the others must deal with. Max's bosses tend to be, like his levels, quite straightforward.
Dr Fluke Hawkins
Dr. Hawkins is a very eccentric scientist, who has voluntarily exiled himself from earth and into his dog-shaped spaceship, the Jim Dandy. In the epilogue, he is revealed to be a fully-fledged archetypal mad scientist. A frail old man, he usually sends Kurt and Max into dangerous situations, but is repeatedly forced to go to their rescue himself.
Dr. Hawkins's levels are the most unusual and comical, focusing as they do on finding combinations of items rather than fire-power. Objects found are added into two separate inventories, and the player can experiment in pairing them, producing either new objects or confused comments from the character. The doctor does get involved in fights however, either using an atomic toaster (which propels radioactive toast) or occasionally ingesting plutonium, which causes him to transform into a Mr Hyde/Hulk style creature, capable of dishing out and taking much greater levels of violence. His levels are however focused more on puzzle-solving. Due to his weak strength, the Doc has a much harder time bypassing enemies than Kurt and Max, but he encounters considerably less powerful bosses and enemies.
As the three protagonists of the game, Kurt, Max, and Doctor Hawkins, celebrate their victory from the previous game, they discover that there is one remaining minecrawler in Canada. Kurt is sent to destroy it. After its destruction, Kurt is captured by an alien figure named Shwang Shwing. Shwang then also captures Max, as he boards the alien’s ship, prompting Doctor Hawkins to come to Max’s aid.
After a series of rescue missions in which one protagonist saves another only to be caught himself, all three find themselves on Shwang Shwing’s home world, Swizzle Firma. Kurt discovers that it is the ruler of Swizzle Firma, Emperor Zizzy Ballooba, who is behind the attacks on Earth in the previous game. Max discovers that the Emperor plans to launch a doomsday device at the Earth. All three, when reunited, invade the Emperor’s castle. Inside his throne room, Emperor Zizzy Ballooba admits to the heroes that he’s only trying to destroy the Earth for his own amusement. A battle then ensues between the three heroes and the Emperor; in the end, the Emperor is killed.
The ending sequence depends on which character the player chose to use for the final battle. Kurt resumes his duties as janitor of Doctor Hawkins’ space station, as he is perturbed by the idea of being a celebrity. Max takes the throne of Swizzle Firma and forms an alliance with Earth. Doctor Hawkins is welcomed back to Earth, no longer shunned by his peers, but turns out to be genuinely mad.
Soundtrack and disc bonuses
Unlike Tommy Tallarico's symphonic, movie-like soundtrack for the original MDK, the MDK2 soundtrack is considerably more modern. It was composed by Jesper Kyd, Albert Olson, and Raymond Watts of the band Pig. Most of the music falls under the category of electronica, specifically bigbeat, breakbeat, and drum and bass.
The Dreamcast edition allows the user to access all the music tracks from the game including the sound effect background tracks using the Dreamcast CD player function. There is also a folder of concept art on the Dreamcast version available when read by a PC.
On November 13, 2007, GameSpot reported that Interplay Entertainment has announced that it will restart its in-house development studio and has plans to develop a MDK sequel among other classic Interplay IPs if Interplay can secure financing. GameSpot stated that among the projects Interplay has said it wants to develop are sequels to Earthworm Jim, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Descent, and MDK, provided it can find the financing. Also, Interplay has confirmed a two-pronged growth strategy which will see the company leveraging its portfolio of gaming properties to create sequels. Among those mentioned was the MDK sequel.
On June 24, 2010, Interplay announced that it is planning to release MDK2 to the Wii platform through its WiiWare service. An updated version of the game, called MDK2 HD, will be released for PC exclusively on Beamdog.
- ↑ Murder, Death, Kill Again as MDK2 Comes to WiiWare
- ↑ Sinclair, Brendan (2007-11-13). "Interplay restarting dev studio - Company says it will make new installments of Earthworm Jim, Descent, MDK, Dark Alliance if it can get the money.". GameSpot.com. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6182846.html?tag=result;title;0. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
- ↑ Interplay confirms plans for MDK and Descent sequels
- ↑ Interplay and Beamdog Announce MDK2 on WiiWare and MDK2 HD on PC