The Mark of Kri
|The Mark of Kri|
|Developer(s)||SCE San Diego Studio|
|Release date(s)||NA July 29, 2002
With an art team consisting mostly of former 2D animators, The Mark of Kri offered a juxtaposition of cartoonish character designs and graphic violence while employing a unique visual style influenced by various Polynesian cultures and art. The game was followed by Rise of the Kasai, which was released in April 2005.
The protagonist, Rau Utu, is known as a great warrior. Accompanied by a raven, Kuzo, and trained by his mentor and adopted father, Baumusu, he was taught stealth and extraordinary skill with his sword. He was also taught to help those in need rather than act as a mercenary. The game begins with Rau being asked a favor by the village tavern keeper, who says that bandits are keeping business away and asks Rau to look into it. After Rau takes care of the bandits, news of his prowess as a warrior spreads far and wide.
This leads to a mysterious man showing up in the tavern, who offers Rau money for his services. Despite the uneasy feeling that Rau has about the man, he accepts his offer. He then travels to the forest of Heiadoko, where he retrieves a piece of parchment from the tomb of Sambu-usu. This parchment, however, is actually one of the Marks of Kri - human skin. Rau returns home from his job to find that he's been taken advantage of by the mysterious man.
The man turns out to be a member of an evil organization, the Kasai, and is devoted to its efforts to rule the world. Furthermore, the money Rau received from him was counterfeit. Rau then is told by an elderly woman to head north to find a tree and eat its fruit. This tree informs him both of the Mark of Kri, and his destiny to protect a captured boy. The boy, the oracle says, holds the fifth mark, which someone known as the "Dark One" will soon have in his possession. Furthermore, it is revealed that Rau not only has a great destiny, but will be among the gods. Finally, Rau is told that the sixth and final mark is well protected.
He then travels to the heavily guarded temple of Meifiti, to save a boy from being sacrificed. However, when Rau reaches the boy, he is sacrificed by the Dark One. Upon returning to the Inn, Rau discovers that his village has been attacked and destroyed. His mentor and adopted father, Baumusu, tells him of his path in life, and that Rau must find his sister, who had been taken during the attack on the village. His sister has the final Mark of Kri. Rau travels to Rahtutusai, and encounters the Dark One. After Rau defeats his hoard of Zombies, the Dark One asks him to join him on his quest for world domination. Rau declines by throwing an axe at the Dark One's head, killing him, and succeeds in rescuing Tati. At the end, it is revealed that the Narrator of the story was Kuzo, the crow who accompanied Rau during his adventure.
The Mark of Kri received favorable reviews upon release, as GameRankings gave it a score of 81.46%, while Metacritic gave it 80 out of 100. The game was given a score of 8.5 out of 10 and awarded Game of the Month in the August 2002 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Entertainment Weekly gave the game an A and called it "the most surprising, and visionary, action-adventure game of the summer." Maxim gave it a score of 8 out of 10 and stated that "As an engrossing adventure, Kri doesn’t cut very deep, but where quick, visceral payoffs are concerned, it goes straight for the jugular." However, The Cincinnati Enquirer gave it a score of three-and-a-half stars out of five and said the game was "a little on the short side (about 10 hours to complete or so) but does prove to be a fun fantasy romp for those who prefer action, stealth and attractive visuals."
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