The Kore Gang
|The Kore Gang: Outvasion from Inner Earth|
|Developer(s)||Zoink Games, Unique Development Studios, SnapDragon Games|
|Publisher(s)||Pixonauts, Games Foundation, Atari|
|Producer(s)||Gustaf Stechmann, Oskar Burmann, Christian von Duisburg|
|Designer(s)||Klaus Lyngeled, Stein Llanos, Jan Richter|
|Programmer(s)||Jonas Priebe, Jens Agby|
The Kore Gang is an action-adventure game for the Nintendo Wii. The game is notable for its very prolonged development cycle over the course of ten years, during which many different companies became involved and the game moved from being designed for the Xbox console to the Wii.
In the game, you take control of three different characters stuck inside robotic suits that amplify their individual abilities. The game-play is centered around the player's ability to switch between the three characters at any time and thus utilize and combine their abilities to solve puzzles. The story revolves around the evil Krank Brothers, evil rulers of a civilization that exists in the center of the Earth. The player, with the help of the three playable characters Pixie, Madboy, and Rex, must stop the Kranks from carrying out their plan to conquer the surface of the planet as well. The plot alludes to the subtitle, "Outvasion from Inner Earth".
The game received mixed to positive critical reviews. Critics such as those for Wiisworld and GamingXP praised the madcap sense of humor and colorful graphics but criticized the clumsy camera control. The game's aggregate score on Metacritic is 70/100. After being released in August 2010 in Germany through now-defunct publisher Pixonauts, general international releases followed through distributors such as Atari.
The game was originally conceived by designer Klaus Lyngeled, formerly of Shiny Entertainment. He quit his job at Shiny to found his own company, Zoink Games, in order to be able work full-time on this project.
The PAL version is multi-language and contains English, German, French and Spanish voices-overs.
The story begins underground. A trio of evil beings- a cyborg weapons collector named Hunter Bunter, a time-obsessed factory head named Tic van Toc and a mad scientist who pleasures himself with others' pain named Dr. Ooond -known collectively as the Krank Brothers are tunneling up from the core of the Earth using a massive drilling machine called the Krank Tank in an effort to take over the whole surface world (starting with New York City). An elderly human scientist they have captured, Dr. Samuelson, begs them not to invade, but his pleas fall upon deaf ears.
On the surface world, a daring young girl named Pixie is climbing a skyscraper when a tremor caused by the Krank Tank causes her to lose her balance and fall into Dr. Samuelson's underground lab. While there, she stumbles upon the Kore Suit- a steel-plated, ability enhancing robot suit -and is soon contacted by Dr. Samuelson, who informs her of the coming invasion. Sensing an adventure, Pixie braves the nearby sewers and makes it to Dr. Samuelson's minor camp. Discovering the Krank Tank, which has temporarily stopped, Pixie hops onboard and enters. She quickly finds herself in a massive arena alongside another human named Madboy, who has been conscripted into the gladiatorial fights, where every challenger is forced to fight "Gorgeous Gorcel"- a massive, cyclops-esque monster that literally devours all its competition. Clearly outmatched, both Pixie and Madboy are swallowed and end up in Gorcel's stomach. Surprisingly undigested, Pixie rescues Madboy, who explains that the only reason he's even in the Krank Tank was because he was searching for his best friend, Rex. Joining Pixie in the Kore Suit, Madboy uses his physical power to induce Gorcel to vomit.
Escaping the arena, Pixie and Madboy find themselves in one of the workers' villages, where the various creatures that have been enslaved by the Krank Brothers are forced to live. While there, Pixie and Madboy quickly form an alliance with Weeba- the underground resistance led by the mysterious, four-armed creature named Morfar, who are somewhat religious, as they are seeking aid from a strange being they refer to as "The One" -and help them with their resistance movement while simultaneously liberating Joe Le Taxi, a mechanical simian who serves as a transportation service in exchange for metal bananas, and gaining the ire of Tic van Toc after they wreck one of his weapons. Taking Joe to the prison level, Pixie and Madboy run into Hunter Bunter and, after a nasty fight, claim the Keyman- a mechanical creature literally made of keys and locks -;however, Hunter Bunter hints at a superweapon he is building and his intentions to betray his brothers.
Making their way through the massive prison complex, Pixie and Madboy liberate Rex, Madboy's best friend (who is a chihuahua and, because of his good hearing- which lets him listen in on enemy conversations and allows him to crack safes with ease -and powerful smell, rounds out the hero team) and stage a prison break for some imprisoned Weeba members, as well as discover a way to track Dr. Samuelson and that the Kore Suit is capable of deflecting cannon shots. Much later, in the Maximum Security Prison, the trio is able to liberate Dr. Samuelson, who explains exactly why all of this is happening. Several years ago, during the good doctor's youth, he and two unnamed colleagues traveled around the world, seeing exotic locales and meeting interesting people. Not satisfied with what they had done, Samuelson and his compatriots decided to go where no one else had gone before- the center of the Earth! Creating the Kore Suit (and a back-up suit, in case of an emergency), the trio of scientists tunneled their way through countless levels of rock until they reached the underground city. Unfortunately, they were all captured by the Krank Brothers who, having become intrigued by stories of the surface world, set to work building the Krank Tank, thus leading to the present situation. Though it's unclear what happened to Dr. Samuelson's companions, he believes that they escaped. Hopping aboard a hover scooter, Dr. Samuelson and the Kore Gang make their escape (with the help of Joe) and smash the defenses of the prison after a nasty run in with Dr. Ooond.
Though the Kore Gang and Dr. Samuelson manage to make an escape, they're separated when the Krank Tank finally pierces the surface. Somehow, the Kore Gang ends up in the Scrapyard- a massive trash bin of sorts where the waste of the Krank Brothers and their minions ends up. Unexpectedly, the gang makes an ally in Ivan the Inflatable- a rubber man full of air who has suffered a puncture wound and, because of it, can no longer fly. However, with help from the Kore Gang, Ivan's hole is patched with a stick of gum and his body is refilled with two different kinds of gas (interestingly, during the search, Pixie learns how to hover using the Kore Suit). Though Ivan doesn't know how to escape, he at least takes the Kore Gang to the home of a Guru, who is apparently a mystic that the gang should visit. Grabbing the gang, Ivan takes off for a higher part of the Krank Tank and drops the gang off before leaving. Braving the camouflaged defenses (and using Madboy's new super-punch move to deal with the shielded guards), the trio find themselves in the Weeba headquarters and that the Guru is none other than Morfar. Firmly believing the Kore Gang to be "The One", Morfar shares his backstory- he used to be an energy researching scientist who had developed a machine that would convert Zeeks- beings made of pure light energy -into the ultimate power source (thanks due to good thoughts); unfortunately, the Krank Brothers found out and promptly stole the device, converting it into a weapon- the Zookalizer -that turns Zeeks into Zooks- a dark counterpart -thanks due to the Krank Brothers' bad thoughts. Morfar built the Weeba Underground Resistance to steal the weapon and destroy it; unfortunately, his subordinates failed, though Morfar has faith in the Kore Gang, as they are "many working as one"- hence "The One". Morfar tasks the Kore Gang with delivering the antidote- a ray gun called the Zeekalizer that will reverse what the Krank Brothers did to Zeeks -to the Zookalizer in order to end this whole thing; unfortunately, Morfar lacks a necessary component- a good thought from each Krank Brother, as it is the only thing that can have any hope of reversing the process.
Stepping outside, the Kore Gang releases Ivan, who marvels at the thought of a "world without walls", before engaging the Krank Brothers, who have already begun invading the surface world. Defeating the advance forces, the Kore Gang then stumbles upon the Zeek Gardens- birthplace of all existing Zeeks. Slipping into a local transport tube, the Kore Gang enter the true epicenter of Zeek activity- the Zeek Forest. After dealing with a pest infestation, it's revealed that the way ahead is open only to scientists (all of whom are female); luckily, the Kore Gang is able to acquire a scientist's costume after dealing with a problem for a local Weeba follower; though the costume is rather shoddy, the guard doesn't suspect a thing.
Entering the science facility, the Kore Gang helps Morfar (who has tapped into their communication lines) by reprogramming the local security cameras. Unfortunately, when the gang has made good progress into the labs, Samuelson chimes in with a warning- unless the team can shut the Krank Tank down quickly, government forces will unleash a nuclear strike! Hurrying through the laboratory, the Kore Gang runs into all three of the Krank Brothers; even better is the fact that they have the Zookalizer on them! Dr. Ooond quickly mentions how the Zookalizer is the key to their "secret weapon", but doesn't say much more. A quick display of the Zookalizer proves to be devastating for an unfortunate Weeba member; thankfully, the Zeekalizer's effects prove temporary. Falling down a pipe, the Kore Gang finds themselves in the Orchestra Hall- the personal relaxation spot of Dr. Ooond. To the gang's benefit, Dr. Samuelson chimes in to say that there is no longer a nuclear threat. Unfortunately, the gang interrupts the less-than-good Krank doctor while he is composing a literal symphony of pain. Silencing his torture devices (which were causing the giant record player of the Orchestra Hall to go berserk and activate a weapons system), the gang calms Dr. Ooond and actually extracts a good thought- perfect harmony, a musical piece that the doctor could never achieve with his torture devices; unfortunately, Dr. Ooond's nice streak dies when he accidentally breaks his baton, forcing the Kore Gang to make a run for it.
The gang quickly find themselves in the desert-like Clockworks- Tic van Toc's home. Morfar comes up with a theory- if production was stopped, then the time-crazed Tic van Toc may stop stressing out and calm down. Though this is no guarantee that Tic van Toc will calm down, it's worth a shot. By meddling with some machines, traversing a Zeek-infested canyon, manning a gun turret and dealing with a few other problems, the gang manages to reach the Clock Tower and the main time-keeping device of the whole area: the Dread Hourglass, which overworks the slaves into exhaustion. By destroying the massive acid mixer that powers the device, the Kore Gang shuts down the whole facility. The gang then goes one step further and shuts down the main clock tower before going toe-to-toe with Tic van Toc and his weaponized clock face that has been fitted with fire traps, a bed of spikes and three clock hands that are lined with blades. Using the clocks within the clock, the Kore Gang reaches the clock tower's bell and, by hitting it repeatedly, they break the main clock and shut down the whole facility. Calmed down, Tic van Toc marvels at the beauty of silence, allowing the gang to extract a good thought- silence and serenity (though the method of extraction is somewhat vulgar); naturally, like Dr. Ooond, Tic van Toc soon reverts to his original mood when a worker of his reports that they are back at full production.
Leaving for the outside of the Krank Tank, the Kore Gang hitches a ride from Joe and makes it higher on the Krank Tank; unfortunately, the gang is forced to run when it turns out that they're being chased by an immense snowball! Rex quickly puts the pedal to the metal and outraces the snowball, landing the gang in Hunter Bunter's inner sanctum- the Heart of Darkness, a massive Zook production facility, where the slightest misstep can mean sudden death. Though the Kore Gang makes it through the Heart without much trouble, Rex falls prey to a trap (and his basic instincts) when he grabs a bone tied to a rope. Grabbed by Hunter Bunter as a hostage, Rex is in deep trouble. Though Pixie tries to negotiate a better outcome, Madboy's inner rage prompts Hunter Bunter to use a giant robot suit (one that is five times the size of the Kore Suit) to fight the gang. Using a band of mini-Kranks against the robot, the Kore Gang (minus Rex) is able to shut down and defeat the robot. Unfortunately, the resulting explosion knocks both Madboy and Pixie out of the Kore Suit, allowing Hunter Bunter to take over the suit and promptly tries to kill the two humans; unexpectedly, the suit backfires, prompting the longest and most blush-inducing pile of curses anyone has ever heard from Hunter Bunter (luckily, it's all censored). However, Pixie manages to get Hunter Bunter to feel proud of his failure, letting the trio reclaim the Kore Suit and get the last happy thought they need to complete the Zeekalizer- the joy of saying "You're welcome". Just as those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it, Hunter Bunter quickly reverts to his old self and runs off (with the Kore Gang in hot pursuit).
The gang reaches the final fight just in time, as the Krank Tank has revealed its superweapon- a massive cache of Zooks that will be unleashed upon the world! Breaching the last lines of defense, the Kore Gang reaches the top of the Krank Tank and engages the Krank Brothers in their giant minion-creating machine. After the Krank Brothers individually fail to kill the Kore Gang, they band together for one last try. After facing countless minions, the Kore Gang breaks the machine, causing it to go haywire. Utilizing the Zeekalizer, the Kore Gang shuts down the Krank Tank and saves the world. During the credits, Dr. Samuelson tells the epilogue- the Krank Brothers were sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in community service (having last been heard of Northern Mongolia); Bill Gates bought ownership of the Krank Tank (saying it would "finally make him look cool"), only to return it to New York City when he found it didn't work out with him (later, the Krank Tank was turned into the world's largest hot dog stand); Pixie would go on to perfect her "balleri-jitsu" (a combination of ballet and ninjitsu) skills and currently runs the only school that teaches it; Rex grew so attached to the Kore Suit that he decided to keep it and became a night-time vigilante called "Rex- The Dog of Steel"; Madboy returned home to do typical boy things (i.e. read comics, watch TV, etc.); and, as for Dr. Samuelson, he reunited with Morfar, who turned out to be his brother, and worked with him to create some interesting, yet odd, inventions.
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