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Mardek RPG

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Rating: 4.8/5 (230 votes)
Comments (51) | Views (25,792)

joyeMardekIn 2007, Pseudolonewolf changed the very idea of what Flash RPGs could be with Mardek 2, a story-driven game that offered more than ten hours of turn-based combat and exploration in a pixel-art package inspired by RPG classics like the first Final Fantasy games. It's been nearly three years, but not only can fans of the series rejoice that Mardek 3 has finally been released, but there's also an unexpected bonus for fans and soon-to-be fans alike: a complete overhaul and rerelease of the first and second chapters as well. RPG addicts, don't make any plans for the next, oh, month or so, ok? The fantasy themed tale centers around Mardek, a hero who seemingly starts off the series with the modest hero-type ambition of rescuing a princess from a dragon, and winds up... well, you'll see.

Although you can start Mardek 3 without having played the other two, playing the other two first is recommended. The plot of Mardek 3 will make little sense to you if you haven't played them, and because the save files carry over to Mardek 3, you start out much buffer and with cooler stuff if you start from a Mardek 2 save file. As you progress through the games, you always have some immediate storyline quest whose completion will lead to another quest, such as saving some miners from a group of bandits. You can also find and complete sidequests, such as collecting metal for an inventor, and there are secret areas to unlock as well. Each game has an ultimate story arc which must be discovered, sought out and completed to end the game, and what's more, each game is only a chapter in the overarching story line of the entire series. Pseudolonewolf has said that he plans eight games in all.

MardekThe controls of the series have been changed for Mardek 3 and the rerelease of Mardek 1 and 2, but the basic concept of keyboard control remains the same, with a few minor exceptions in certain parts of the menu where you can use the mouse. Bear with me, it may seem difficult to remember all the options at first, but playing the game is the easiest way to learn, and you'll get used to it quickly. The [arrow] keys control movement: of your character on the map, selecting options and items within menu screens, selecting attacks within battle, etc. To choose or trigger most actions, the [x] key is used, and to cancel, skip or back out of things, the [z] key is used. (The game does have QWERTZ compatibility in the options for gamers with that keyboard layout; in that case, the [y] key takes on the functions of [z].) The [enter] key calls up the menu, with all the equipment, skills, and other fiddly min-maxing goodness.

Within battle, the combat is pure turn-based, with your party on the right and your enemies on the left. The enemies are listed by name at the top, along with a strip showing the current battle order so you know who's up next. When it's a character's turn, you can select from attacks, magical spells, and items, and then select a target. If you have a reaction equipped, a timing bar will show up and if you hit [x] within the highlighted area, you'll add a bonus of some kind. There are also defensive reactions that can be used while being attacked, and passive reactions which affect everything. All reactions and skills are learned from items and must be trained up in order to use them without that item equipped. Some of the really useful passive reactions can take up to a hundred battles to master.

MardekAnalysis: It's difficult to fully do justice to the storyline of this game without spoiling it all to hell for you, the player. Having had the good fortune to be in on the beta, I finished Mardek 3 before it was even released, and you can't believe how much I want to talk about [scene redacted] and how I screamed in real life when I found out that [plot twist redacted] and how I wanted to reach through my screen and beat the [censored] out of [name changed to protect the innocent]. Of course, if I just told you these spoilers, it wouldn't affect you like it did me, because with the sheer length of the gameplay in these stories (probably looking at more than 50 hours for all three, if you go for all the sidequests) you really get to know these characters. Telling you that [somebody important] is really [wouldn't you like to know?] can only hit you in the base of your spine if the game has suckered you into thinking [daisies and butterflies, tra la].

The game merrily dances across the fourth wall at times, especially to poke affectionate fun at conventions of the genre. The entire opening of Mardek 1 is a glorious send-up of over the top medieval fantasy. When you barge into someone's house to search for potions and stuff in typical heedless RPG fashion, don't be surprised if the people sitting in the house call you on it. NPCs frequently have snarky names such as "Sidequest Priest" and "Blatantly Evil Chancellor". However, this series isn't a parody. While it pokes fun at the absurdity of some genre conventions, it knows that these very conventions can be used to weave both a game that's fun to play and a story that can keep you on the edge of your seat. The world building is both wide and deep, especially in Mardek 3, which is much less linear. Like many games, Mardek features elemental rock-paper-scissors; here, air over earth over water over fire over air, light over dark over light, and aether. But in this world, there is an entire theory of personality that goes along with it. Don't neglect to check out bookshelves in homes and libraries to learn more about this and other aspects of the universe.

If you enjoy epic storytelling through pure turn-based combat, a game like Final Fantasy X where the fate of the world rests in your hands, and also where you can set the controller down mid-battle without pausing, go make yourself a sandwich, and come back to find everything just as you left it, you know that the number of games that can scratch that itch is rather low nowadays. The game genre does have some prominent critics, with Yahtzee Croshaw memorably comparing it to watching a DVD and stopping every few minutes to fiddle with the remote control. Haters go on and hate! I can't hear you through the layer of awesome. Now, excuse me, I've got to play through the entire series again for 100% completion. See you sometime in August.

Play Mardek 1

Play Mardek 2

Play Mardek 3


Mardek 1, on Mac OS X: in Chrome I can type a name, but I can't use Z or X to navigate dialog. In Firefox it's the other way around. I think these problems may be idiosyncratic to my computer, but I also think all my software is up to date. How do I play this game?


Ezra: I can reproduce only part of your troubles on Mac OS X.

For me, I cannot click on the Settings dialog that pops up initially, nor on anything else to get the game to start. Therefore, it is completely unplayable for me using Firefox (3.6.6).

Chrome (5.0.375.99), on the other hand, I can mouse click, enter my name, and press the [X] and [Z] keys to play.

I am using Flash Player v10.1.53.64.

Flaming_torch_120 July 7, 2010 8:59 PM

In Mardek 2 on kongregate, I just get a brown screen, however, on crazy monkey games it works just fine. Mardek 1 and 3 on kongregate work ok too. I use firefox.

Flaming_torch_120 July 7, 2010 9:04 PM

Problem solved... Just a lot of lag


Has anyone else had a problem with disappearing inventory items? I pick up items from chests, and for some reason they don't appear in my inventory!

Ajbcool July 7, 2010 9:35 PM

Joye, he planned on having EIGHT chapters in all...overall though, enjoyed the review!

omegabobo July 7, 2010 10:18 PM

Items aren't appearing in my inventory either, but they were in the very beginning before they became kids again.


In regards to the items not appearing, maybe when you finish a battle you're pressing 'z' instead of 'x', which picks them up.


@Jay: I was having that problem too. I tried reinstalling the newest flash and it didn't seem to work at first, but today I tried it again and it responded (if very, very slowly). So I'm not sure what helped, but it did start working.

I don't like some of the menu complexity - it took me a few maps just to realize that you can cast spells on multiple enemies/people by hitting the right arrow when it's targeting - but the story seems to remain charming and fun.


Aha! I have discovered a maybe-workaround (well, it's worked twice) for the inability to use Z and X in Chrome. Open a new tab, then close it (I used Cmd+W) and focus will return to the game with the keyboard this time. Well, it's something to try.

Anonymous July 8, 2010 4:32 AM

Fun thing to note:

You can in fact kill the security demon. Yes, they absorb every type of damage, but are NOT immune to status effects. Surviving takes a bit of luck and lots of feathers, but is perfectly doable. Though this approach may cost a bit in time and reloads, but it'll give whoever's left a cool 50k exp. AND the bobby prize of the gold card without ever needing to answer one question (correctly). TAKE THAT SECURITY. Sadly, there's no medal for doing this.

Also not so fun thing: Gems can be equipped as accessories and are also stackable, but you can only equip them when they are alone. The method to split stacks is to hold s, then click on that stack. Do you know where this piece of instruction was? (besides having placed the previous titles) Its not in the tutorial and help section, but rather the general hints part of the walkthrough.


Neat game! I grew up on Final Fantasy 2/4 for SNES, so the retro pixelated RPG style -- and genre in-jokes -- are much appreciated. Minor quibbles about usability in the menu (why do I have to use the mouse to access my inventory?) and the sound that happens when you miss a React during battle (soooo annoying). Otherwise it's cute and enjoyable, seems like a cross between the early FF games and Earthbound so far.

BTW, save files only carry over if you play each chapter on the same hosting site. The link I followed for Chapter 1 from the review took me to Kongregate, but the in-game link to go to Chapter 2 took me to Crazy Monkey. I had to search Kongregate for Chapter 2 so I could use my files, and I guess I'll have to do that for the next 6 episodes too. Unless I want to replay Chapter 1 (not really), or unless it's not actually that important to keep stats and items across chapters.

Anyway. Maybe you could change the links in the review to go straight to Crazy Monkey to streamline things?


Tedric: that's unlikely to happen. Crazymonkey sponsored only the first two chapters, the third one is sponsored by Kong, and they seem to have an exclusive deal (meaning that you won't see #3 on other portals, at least for a while.)

This could be a problem for people who want to continue from their previous saves played on other portals.

Interestingly, the original plan was that chapters 1 and 2 will be actually included in the latest chapter. However, the original sponsor didn't like the idea, hence the separate 're-release' of those first two chapters.

The game sounds interesting, but I'll wait until all three are widely available.


The pixel art is really nice, but the art in the battles/for the character portraits is hideous. Boring and unoriginal story/gameplay, nothing new. If you like RPGs I guess you'd like this.

Black Drazon July 8, 2010 1:15 PM

Mardek 3's description on Kong actually is calling it a parody. Personally I can't stand how Pseudo plays the parody one second and the drama the next, like he can't decide what he'd rather be doing, so one hurts the other and then again the other way around. They can work together, but I personally don't think they do so in Mardek. But the gameplay is always awesome and definitely above the Flash par. The only trouble are these lingering glitches, which I think I'll sit back and wait out for a month or so.


I thought this game looked really interesting until I went to go play the first one. I walked nine steps, apparently, and that was it, because when I went to look at the instructions I had to close the game. Though I did read most of them.

27 pages of instructions is scary. Esp. when I realized I'd forgotten what I read at the start by the time I got to the end.

I love RPG's, but something this complicated...?

Isabelle July 8, 2010 4:48 PM

@loki: Did you play the second one, the third one, or the 1st one? I'm horrible at most complicated games, but I didn't read the instructions (other than the movement keys) and I beat the 1st one easily. Maybe the complicated instructions are necessary in the second and third, but not the first.

chunnyazn July 9, 2010 1:03 AM

I've actually played the first two a long while back, and squealed with delight when I found out that the third came out. However, the mastering skill thing always bugged me. Does mastering an active, reaction, or passive skill makes that skill more powerful or something?


@chunnyazn: You get skills by equipping certain items that give you those skills. When you master a skill you no longer need to have that item equipped to have that skill.

Brainstorm July 9, 2010 4:22 PM

Thank you so much, joye, for highlighting this little gem! This is exactly the kind of RPG I love, and I never would have found it on my own. Completely made my day :)


I like the whole idea of the reaction meter, but i wish it varied a little. It really reminds me of the gunblade trigger from ff8, and it's a pity it wasn't flushed out more. I mean, having a rapidfire multi-hit, multi-reaction meter would be cool, a la renzokuken.

Having a lot of save crystals is useful too, though having an autosave for when you go to the map would be useful - nitpicky, I know, but I forgot to save before deciding to answer a certain security question in what I thought was a humorous manner, and a certain demon erased my progress for the last 15 minutes. I suppose I'm just dumb.

Anyways, Mr. pseudolonewolf, it's a great game, and I'm looking forward to the next few chapters.

Belgarion July 10, 2010 4:09 PM

How did I miss this review?! I would have been playing on Wednesday instead of finding it yesterday... ah well, off to play chapter two again! (Since I beat chapter 1 again last night)

jrodman July 10, 2010 9:12 PM

I do not enjoy the 'hit the spot on the bar' mechanic. It wasn't that great in ffx, but was more well focused to be used occasionally. Here, having to do it all the time and not necessarily with any warning is just tedious, and frustrating. I don't need failure noises all the time in my games for mechanics which aren't even interesting.


I've now played through the first and second installments. Overall I'm still quite impressed and am enjoying the series.

I have to agree with others that the Reaction bar mechanic is overused and underwhelming. But I'm getting pretty accurate with the timing, so it doesn't bug me much. The fail sound still grates, though.

My only real gripe at this point is the writing. I like the concept, the characters, the plot and a lot of the jokes, but I have trouble with the repetitious and overwritten dialogue. The conversations between Rohoph and Moric in Chapter 2, for instance, drag on and on and on (and on) long after it's been established that Moric is creepy and totally nuts. And most characters share an annoying habit of describing their own motivations in overly explicit terms -- even when the motivation is intentionally vague. This produces thoroughly empty statements like:

"I'm not comfortable telling you why I'm doing this, because it's personal. Yeah. Really personal! Just trust me. Anyway, suffice it to say that I have my reasons." (paraphrased)

That sentiment could be cut down to an "Um..." followed by an abrupt change of subject (and make it a plot-relevant subject, please). Less is more, Pseudolonewolf! Actions speak louder than words! Show, don't tell, what the characters are thinking! Cliches, admittedly, but also good advice. The only significant difference between Mardek and the best old-school RPGs is that the old games had tighter writing.

Anyway, I'm only critical because I like it so much. Griping aside, I'm still stoked for Chapter 3!


I'm really enjoying this one. I've never really been a fan of rpgs, but I'm starting to come around.

A question though:

Can you take a fourth party member with you to Moric's battleship? I can't seem to beat the second fight with Moric with only three people.

BlackCat July 13, 2010 2:36 PM

HulaZombie --

Yes, you can. Just pick switch party members at a save point and put the paladin back in.

I don't know why they took him out, that was rather frustrating for me. It was probably some plot point, but they could have put him back in when you wake up. Whatever.


(This is a technical complaint)
I love the series, but it runs really poorly on slow computers. Simple walking takes forever on my laptop, when it really shouldn't.
The battles are okay, but I feel like the reaction thing takes too long, and I almost never miss on my computer.
I already got past the Lizard town, but I think I'm going to restart on a faster computer.

Anyways, I think I played the first one and a half chapters before this, as I didn't finish chapter two. I found them enjoyable, but of course, I was three years younger back then.

doublej3000 July 15, 2010 2:42 PM

was actually playing through mardek 2 remake before taking on mardek 3 and i have a question

does anyone have a strategy for defeating the zombie dragon first time i tried it took out one of my guys in one attack does grinding help


I played chapter one and two and really liked it but my saved game wouldn't load the third so I had to start again. :( Has anyone got any idea how to fix this?

zbeeblebrox July 19, 2010 5:39 AM

I'm really enjoying this so far (about halfway through chapter 2 now) - it's got a lot of promise and I like how the plot is developing. I just wish it wouldn't hit me with the tired old RPG in-jokes. Breaking the fourth wall to give instructions (among the many other things the game has pointed out) has been so parodied inside RPGs that even JRPGs make fun of it. And you KNOW it's a cliche if it's being done by a JRPG. I understand that loudly pointing out the boundaries of a game's reality is a way to protect those boundaries, but I'd rather the characters play it straight because it usually just comes off as lazy.

There are plenty of fresh storytelling ideas toyed with throughout the game so far, and I'd hate for those concepts to be diminished because the story is leaning on these level 1 parody crutches.

Also, to echo Tedric - the game's dialogue could definitely use some tightening up as well. Most of the time I was able to skim a character's first sentence and then skip the rest of the conversation. The reaction bar didn't bother me as much though, but I was playing with the sound off.

Anyway, food for thought for the further installments! :D


@randy: Only the saved game from the *remade* version of chapter 2 can carry over to chapter 3. If you played chapter 2 months or years ago, it's not valid. Also, be sure to save the final time after you beat chapter 2, by the clicking on the button that mentions saving for chapter 3.


The zombie dragon is undead, so use silver swords for both Mardek and Vehrn, and use Vehrn's Disrupte Undead every time. Have Mardek cast Shield/M.Shield at the start of battle on those who are weaker, and keep everyone's health near max. Once you've got shields on, they shouldn't be taking more than 200 hp per hit.

Pseudolonewolf does tend to ramble, which is why the instructions for the game are so long, but the game's story is rather good for flash. The switching between parody and heart-felt isn't a problem for me, and I find the game very fun.

doublej3000 July 20, 2010 2:03 PM

@sethum thanks for that i actually figured it out on my own tho lol

im pretty surprised that mardek 3 seems significantly harder than the 2nd one and the first by far forget the superbosses let me see if i can just get through the main game this time lol


Can anyone who speaks Hebrew please translate what the letters orbiting the topazes, fire opals ,etc say?
I know it's Hebrew but I can't read it.


Once all eight (wow!) chapters are out, what do you think the chances of this becoming an actual video game are?

Evil8296 July 24, 2010 9:12 PM


I noticed it was hebrew, too, and I happened to spend 4 years of my life learning hebrew. After staring closely at my screen for 20 minutes, I've noticed something about the letters. The are a few vowels in the words, but not enough to be proper. I'm assuming it's gibberish, but I may be wrong. Maybe Pseudolonewolf will say what it means some day. He used the same symbols when Rohoph sealed Moric into the gem.


You do know that you can turn off the reaction commands, instead of being an (removed for the sake of decency). Also, I do not see how there is no warning, unless you did not read the instructions.

I love the revanped versions of the first two games, especially removing all the glitches.
All I can say is that I hope Pseudolonewolf makes the rest of the games the same way, so my 20-some hour file can be used in the next one.


I found the mechanics a joy and it was absorbing to play, but I was really tired of the nudge-nudge wink-wink jokes about women that Pseudolonewolf seems to find a hoot -- obviously he's taken affront to some things girl gamers have said about his game or games in general, but all of the slutty, braying or stupid (or all three) side characters made me wince. Tongue-in-cheek misogyny is still misogyny, and left a bad taste in my mouth that I was sorry for because otherwise playing the game was a lot of fun.

i need halp August 25, 2010 3:35 AM

whee can i find serpent crest in chapter 3 water crystal part shamans brew quest

adam gunderloy August 29, 2010 12:21 PM



I can't even convey how awesome this game is,AND I'M ON THE SECOND CHAPTER! I haven't even made it to Mardek 3 yet, and I'm still loving it.

Oh, and in a side note, I like Deugan's costume at the beginning of Mardek 1. You know, the green one

Kitty Tanaka October 9, 2010 6:45 PM

This is very important:

If you're using Verm in your party in Part II, make sure you take any important equipment OFF of him BEFORE you go into the escape pod door. Once you enter, there is no longer any chance to re-equip and he will leave in the last scene taking his goodies with him. I lost the Champion Sword that way, and now I have to replay the final boss battle to get it back.


@Kitty Tanaka

You can take all of the equipment from your allies after finishing the game by going to 'Item Storage' and removing any equipment from your characters that you wish to keep

Kitty Tanaka October 10, 2010 6:17 PM


Thanks for the tip, but by the time I'd read it I'd already saved and it was too late. I did repeat the boss battle, but it was rather easy the second time around. Hopefully between the two of us though others will be able to save their equipment before losing characters.

Haaaaalp! June 14, 2011 2:02 PM

Chapter: 2
Section: The Saucer
Subsection: Mardek 2 Final Boss: Moric (Social Fox)

A general strategy would be quite useful for this boss. Who to place the Geojacket or Bonestone on? How many Droma should I kill, one or two? The Dracelon was semi-easy with lots of MotionPotions and a few Balloon Juices, but Moric is just... urk... ESPECIALLY when he KOs everyone but Deugan, who he leaves at 1 health without potions, with an Arcane Cataclysm. I do realize that the little Zombify Moric does is quite useful for restoring characters with Holy Water, but this only works when someone actually survives Arcane Cataclysm, not to mention the following Droma attacks.
In short, I would just like a general strategy. I really want to get on to Chapter 3, but Moric is in my way AND I WANT HIM TO DIEEEEEEE >:D sorry.


I'm still in the middle of the third chapter, having beaten the water temple and progressed to the fire temple, and must admit that my endurance for this game is wearing a bit thin. To illustrate, I have been playing this game for years (see my previous comment) and I have 60 hours on it - probably because I spent the time to talk to all the NPCs and deal with mastering skills.

I've noticed that because of the elemental system, there is usually one character who can deal a lot of damage to specific enemies, especially Vehrn (as almost all of the last enemies in Ch. 2 are undead).

I do have to agree with Julep, the game is slightly misogynist - the female characters have drastically less dialogue, for example.

It's interesting how "open ended" chapter 3 is - there are so many characters you can gain, and you can get new sidequests after certain circumstances. (it is annoying how you can't access the map until after the dark temple, and the sun temple's enemies just disappear after the stone is placed). Gloria seems to be an especially important character in moving the plot, and her nature-elemental spells are very useful (and it took me a while to figure out that I needed to get her).


Saved game in Chapter 1 does not carry over to Chapter 2. Doesn't much matter on a practical level (your fellows start off just as well as you left them off...) but it does disturb the continuity and immersion level of the fantasy. Sad face.

andr01d September 9, 2015 11:46 PM replied to Haaaaalp!

This comment by "Haaaalp" seriously needs some spoiler tags, thanks buddy.

andr01d September 26, 2015 5:52 AM replied to Kitty Tanaka

You can easily retrieve Vehrn's equipment

in part III

without having to fight the boss again.


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