The reigning king of blood and gore fighting games has returned once again, and does so in an interesting new perspective of déjà vu. This latest installment takes a fresh new look of how the story of the first three games could have possibly happened. Continuing where Armageddon left off, Raiden sends a warning to his past self before his life is forfeit by the hands of Shao Khan. And as his past self receives the visions, the tournament that holds the fate of Earthrealm begins.
For all Mortal Kombat fans out there, be at ease. The ninth entry of the series is another bloody and entertaining welcome to the franchise. The gameplay feels just like the past games released so that’s a plus. Although not as fluid as other fighting games like Super Street Fighter 4, Mortal Kombat achieves its goal by making a gruesome fighting game that once again the hardcore audiences can enjoy. And those new to the series, don’t feel left out thinking you know nothing about its history. This game reboots everything using all the classic faces and stages that we’ve all come to love, refurbished.
Gameplay wise, this game brings back all the moves that the fans have come to love throughout the years: Scorpion’s harpoon, Liu Kang’s bicycle kick, Johnny Cage’s nut smasher, and the famous fatalities! And NetherRealm Studios sure went the distance this time with them. Each of the 27 characters holds various fatalities, starting out with only one while the others are waiting in the Krypt to be unlocked. But each fatality has its own gruesome and detailed animation: bodies being cut in two, limbs being torn about one by one…I think you get the picture. But they are more visually detailed, just with more gore and bones now.
“But what about the actual gameplay?” you ask. Rest assured troubled ones, even though the developers went back to a classic 2D format, the game is still an awesome addition. And for those who don’t know it at all, I’ll give you a brief description. Each character has their own move set list and special attacks they can use to beat their opponent into a bloody pulp. For those who play other fighters, it may seem like a sluggish fighter, but it moves pretty well for what it is. But there is one new addition that changes the gameplay altogether, and that would be the super bars at the bottom. These bars give an element of strategy to the fighting, as it’s divided into three segments. Each three segments can make your fighter execute three different actions. The first segment can enhance any of your special attacks, for example: Scorpion throws two harpoons instead of one; if you have two segments, you have the ability to use a Breaker to break out of a combo from your opponent; and if it is full, you can use the entire meter to execute an X-Ray attack. If you connect it, you are welcome with a beautiful and visual display of bones and teeth being broken while doing massive damage; but if you miss, you lose your whole meter and are left opened to your opponent’s attacks. I find the super bar a welcoming addition as it brings more options and strategies to the player.
Another addition of gameplay is tag fights. It’s nice to see the developers bring in something new like this; and now 4 players can play at once, bringing more carnage and destruction on the battlefield. It also brings tag team combo elements, which would make any combo freak cry out with joy mastering them. Unfortunately, there aren’t any tag fatalities or even any double team attacks.
The visuals and audio of the game are pretty good. Fans will remain in nostalgia as they fight in classic stages from the first three games; and remain in trance as they hear classic songs remixed for this new installment. Voice acting is decent as well. I mean, it’s not always a great thing to hear the characters ramble gibberish as they execute an attack, but that’s where some of the humor lies in the world of Mortal Kombat (including a welcoming appearance from the Toasty guy at the bottom right of the screen). I will say, though, that I felt that the dialogue and progression of the story felt kind of cheesy, like an action movie. Not to put down the masters at NetherRealm Studios with their anthology of stories, but I can that I was at least entertained by the story that they offered here… it has its moments I’ll just say, but it is still a nice reimagining to the origins of Mortal Kombat.
There is a lot of content to find in the Krypt, but it returns with a more visual and gruesome look to it. The Krypt is composed of 5 areas: Deadlands, Bloodmarsh, Hallow of Infestation, Meadow of Despair, and the Necropolis. Each section, except the Necropolis, has its own animation when you unlock something with the coins you acquired during play. There’s even an easter egg somewhere that made me jump for a second. Unlocking anything from each of these areas can get you, costumes, fatalities, artwork, and music for you to look at in the Necropolis.
For $60, you’re getting quite a lot for your money’s worth from a fighting game. And with challenges and mini-games like Test your Might and the Challenge Tower, this game has tons of replay value in it. The one main, big complaint I have is that the 360 never got an exclusive character like PS3 did with God of War’s Kratos. But other than that, Mortal Kombat once again proves to us that it still has life in it…and lots of blood and gore left to spill.