Hello all! Last week’s game was a classic skateboarding title that was not only fun, but a great way to relax, I found.

Today’s game is a cool action-adventure game from the PS2 era.

The Mark of Kri is a PS2 exclusive developed and published by Sony, released way back in 2002. You play as Rau, a huge barbarian-type warrior. Rau takes a job from a mysterious man to find a parchment, which, without spoiling things, leads to all sorts of fantasy...stuff. It’s a pretty good story—so far. I’ve never finished the game (more on that in a bit).

Kri has a combat system that seems just a bit clunky at first, but it’s pretty cool once you get the hang of it. When confronted by a group of enemies, you sweep the right joystick, swinging a targeting cursor over your enemies. Targeting them assigns a face button to them; pressing that button attacks them. This means that Rau can effectively lock on to more than one enemy at a time, and can attack whoever he needs to at any given moment, without having to turn and face them.

It’s innovative; Kri didn’t force you into locking on to one enemy while pushing the rest off camera, as so many action games did at the time. Sure, you could argue it’s not “realistic” and Rau can see behind him. But so what? It’s a video game; one about feeling unstoppable, and Kri makes you feel like a badass.

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I mean, as far as I’ve played. See, as I mentioned, I didn’t finish The Mark of Kri. Not when I got it, and not this past week. Kri is one of the earliest examples I have of a gaming backlog. We’ve all got Steam games we’ve never played, nowadays, but back in the day, I’d buy a game from Toys R Us, GameStop, etc. and play it immediately. It’d be the only thing I played until I completed it, not only because I had time, but also because I had (relatively) less games. Put simply, it was easier to finish a game back then. I mean, I finished every scenario of Resident Evil 2 when that game came out, but I never bothered playing through all of Resident Evil 6. It’s not a quality issue (I don’t think the game is really that bad) but I can’t find the time, not only because of work, but also because there’s newer games to play every day. I don’t want to fall behind, even though that thought process doesn’t make any sense.

It makes a little sense, actually; as a...I’m sort of a fringe games writer, I guess? As a games writer, I can’t really afford to ignore new releases because I have unfinished classics lying about. (Yes, I do understand the irony of such a statement in the middle of a weekly column about old games, but still). And I want to finish The Mark of Kri; it’s combat is amazing and the art style is violent Disney, which is just hilariously awesome. As I’ve said, though, it represents a kind of moment when great games were coming out constantly. That’s what present day gaming is like, really: too many great games dropping all at once. That’s a fantastic problem to have, yeah, but still.

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That’s the point that The Mark of Kri dropped in my lap. I bought it from Blockbuster years after release for like $15 or so, and got through a few hours before moving on to whatever new game had come out by then (God of War II? For some reason, I think it was that, but who knows). But it’s one of the earliest games I can remember owning and putting aside in the wake of new releases; games I wanted to finish before reading spoilers or whatever. Games I could discuss with my friends; nobody would want to talk about The Mark of Kri three or four years after release. Oh, and when I got a new system, be it Wii or Xbox 360 (at the time)? Kri never stood a chance of being completed by me. As another thought, there was also the problem of me being a different person at the time...but that’s a story for another day.

Maybe I’ll finish The Mark of Kri soon; I have no idea how long it is, but perhaps there will be a lull in releases where I can play through it in a marathon session (I really never get to do that anymore). Until then, it sits on my shelf, as one of those games I so desperately want to complete, if only I had the time. It’s really great, though, and gets my full recommendation.

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Next week, we’ll check out a horror title set in space; it’s a much smarter game than the “theme” would have you believe. This one’s pretty recent.