MDK2 is a sequel for the original "third-person shooter" MDK. However, since Shiny Entertainment was busy making another game by the name of Messiah, Bioware's Greg Zeschuk and Cameron Tofer (from the computer game Baldur's Gate) took up the challenge to keep up the action and silly nature of the original.
MDK2 expands on the three main characters: Max (the six-legged robot dog with the Hong Kong-style shoot-em-up action), Doctor Fluke Hawkins (Mad Scientist, eh? I'll show'em "Mad Scientist!"), and Kurt Hectic (janitor turned hero with the Doctor's Coil Suit).
In the original MDK, the Doctor took Kurt and Max out of Earth to find the "Next Big Thing." He wants a new scientific discovery, and he has found it -- energy streams! He has found out how to travel in space using these streams, but the obligatory malevolent aliens came in to Earth to mine the heck out of the planet using big minecrawler vehicles. After defeating the first wave of these aliens, Max, Doctor, and Kurt (MDK? Get it!?) returned to their spaceship home, the Jim Dandy. The doctor toasted the victory, until... the ship's computer detects a minecrawler still running in sector 8675309 -- Edmonton! A hero's job is never done.
The game's storyline runs itself not as some serious piece of drama, but a combination of old-school comic books (the interstital comic book drawings from the art department's Sean Smailes and Rob Sugama reminds me of books like Fantastic Four, the EC books, and so on) and boy-adventure radio shows like The Lone Ranger. Wait a minute -- you've never heard or seen those old comics and radio shows!?
The game's settings are as long as it is "tall." The maps for the three heroes will always have trips in tall buildings in a single... no, make it, double... no, it's a Hell of a lot of bounds to jump or fly the bottom to the towering places.
Unlike the online deathmatch-oriented FPS games, MDK2 uses the third-person point of view. You'll see the main characters from the back, but the POV fades in to first-person if you're up against the wall or if you're looking far up.
My favorite parts of the game are the parts with Kurt. I want to snipe as much as possible, picking off the dumb monsters with the sniper mode. Sometimes, you do have to snipe off the locks and some of the enemies only die if you snipe them in close combat (especially the exoskeletons that look like Mysterio from the Spider-Man comics)!
The levels for Max are pure shoot-em-up. The dog has six legs, two for walking and four for the guns! Since some of the maps do spawn guns, take as much new as you can -- you can take seven plus one pistol with infinite rounds. Max' maps has a fair share of flying with his jetpack, and one of the maps gave me a fear of heights... Don't look down.
For something very different, the Doctor's maps are puzzles. The ability to combine items is one of the things that will get you through his surviving the alien infestation in his ship, the Jim Dandy. The maps for the Doctor has a lot of jumping puzzles, but the bomb puzzles are the most stressful ones. You have to deactivate the big bombs by pressing the right switches located all over one area, tracing the switches to the cables leading to the detonator.
I don't like the fact that the order of characters for all of the levels are fixed. Kurt, Max, The Doc, then whatever. The last level gives you a choice, but I want to use all of the characters to their advantage. I'd rather see a map involving the cooperation of all of the characters... something like in Final Fantasy 6 with Kefka's domain...
Until I get that DSL line to play Quake III: Arena(PC) in a deathmatch, I'll stick to MDK2.