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I played the original Mortal Kombat on PC, drawn (as I suspect many others were) by the violent deaths and blood. After that first experience, I drifted away from the series since subsequent games didn't seem to add that much to the basic formula. I'll be honest, the only reason I got hold of this was because it was a free download as a Playstation Plus member.
This PS3 iteration turns out to be quite a lot of fun. It has a proper Story Mode (more on that in a moment) as well as other game modes to give the game longevity. In short, whether you want to make your way through the story or just start fighting someone, Mortal Kombat offers a lot of different challenges.
At first glance, the Story Mode appears a little silly. It's full of the usual sci/fantasy guff with some pretty cheesy dialogue. Retaining the original Mortal Kombat idea, it sees the greatest fighters all gathered together... only this time there's a big prize. If the good guys win, it's cream cakes all around (or something); if the bad guys win, they will take over EarthRealm for ever.
Initially, this story line seemed stupid, and I was laughing at the cheesiness of it all. It seemed like little more than a few loosely connected scenes added to break up the monotony of endless bouts of fighting. As I kept playing, though, an unexpected thing happened: I started to get interested in the storyline; I started to care for my characters; and I desperately wanted to wipe that smirk of the bad guys' faces and put a stop to their nefarious scheming. In short, and against the odds, I started to become immersed in the plot. The story starts to matter and becomes something more than a silly justification for the fighting.
Graphically, the style of Mortal Kombat hasn't changed that much. Of course, the characters are bigger and better defined, making use of the PS3's increased processing power, but it remains faithful to the original game. It's still a good old-fashioned 2-D fighter, where characters can only move on a horizontal axis with the now-expected, but still impressive backdrops. Fighters are reasonably well-animated and look pretty good, although there are a few that look a little rough around the edges. Once you're in the heat of battle, though, you stop seeing such things and just concentrate on fighting.
You do, of course, need to be aware of the game's very violent nature. A Daily Mail-baiter from the early days, Mortal Kombat retains the liberal splashings of blood and its patented Fatalities, which involve killing an opponent in a particularly gruesome way. It's not even done in a comic-book violence style. The bone crunching sound-effects and explicit graphics mean this is very much a title for older gamers.
It's the cut-scenes that sometimes let the game down. For a start, they are numerous and sometimes it feels like you are taking part in one of those old "interactive CD games" where for every two bouts of fighting, you have to watch 5 minutes of footage. The cut-scenes are also graphically quite disappointing, with glitches spoiling the overall effect. In one scene, for example, Sonya Blade's ponytail had a disconcerting habit of disappearing into her back - right through her leather outfit! This was very distracting. Some of the character animations also look a little awkward and unrealistic. It's little (easily spotted and fixed) glitches like these which let the side down, suggesting that the game was perhaps a little rushed towards the end.
Voice acting is also of variable quality, too. Some is great and really captures the spirit of the character; others not so good. There were some where I couldn't decide whether the voice acting was being deliberately cheesy in an ironic way or just due to bad acting. Oddly, though, it didn't detract from the game's appeal, but added something to it. Other sound is excellent, from some atmospheric tunes to great ambient effects, including some really painful sounding thumps and clunks as blows hit home
Mortal Kombat is going to require a bit of patience to get to grips with Whilst it is just about possible to get away with button mashing (particularly if you play in Easy mode), sooner or later you will hit a brick wall. Anyway, you will find it much more rewarding in the long term to learn the controls properly. Mortal Kombat has a pretty impressive roster of moves available for each fighter, but this does mean that you are going to have to learn an awful lot of combinations (particularly in Story Mode where you switch between different characters so have to learn their moves). It's not so much that these are difficult to execute, but there are so many of them that remembering them all in the heat of battle can be rather tricky.
It's worth it in the long term, though. If you have full control of your character and know their moves, you can develop a better fighting strategy, selecting the right move (or combination of moves) to take down different opponents. And, of course, there are few things more satisfying than successfully executing a Fatality move.
The difficulty is a little bit annoying at times. At first, I seemed to breeze through the game and thought it was too easy; later on there were sudden and massive difficulty spikes, particularly in bouts where you had to fight two opponents, yet only got a standard sized health bar. Equally, the computer AI is all over the place at times. Dare to win the first bout and the PS3 suddenly becomes possessed, unleashing a wave of furious moves that can be almost impossible to counteract.
Even allowing for that, most competent gamers should eventually get through the whole thing. Longer term gameplay is offered though the online modes, allowing you to take on fighters from across the world, but you might want to be a little wary. I've not used it myself (I can't be bothered with online gaming), but I have read lots and lots of horror stories and reviews which comment that Mortal Kombat suffers from serious lag issues which affect enjoyment. I'm not commenting on this one way or the other because I've not used it, but if you think online gaming is important, you might want to check it out before you commit to buying.
Mortal Kombat has been out a while now so can be picked up (new) for around £15. Bearing in mind the caveats above, it's definitely worth picking up at that price.
© Copyright SWSt 2013
It has been a LONG time since there has been a good Mortal Kombat game. The last decent one was Mortal Kombat: Deception on the original Xbox and even that had its flaws. The highest bar was the 2D classic Mortal Kombat Trilogy which was basically the first three games' characters ported to the third game. So, you could play as literally anybody introduced over the course of the games and to make things even better, there was a cheat mode which allowed for 'one button fatalies' so combo virgins like myself could even pull one off.
So, with a history of disappointments (Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe) I approached this reboot, technically the ninth Mortal Kombat game, with trepidation. The preview screens looked good and it was a return to basics and a tried and tested formula: Loads of characters and gruesome moves! And I have to admit it is a much better game than I expected.
Annoyingly, most of the characters are available from the start (I'd have preferred to unlock them, rather than just alternate costumes) and the Arcade mode is hard, even on Easy mode, but they've included new features such as: Story mode, which is effectively Arcade mode with lengthy story cinematic clips inbetween each battle that fleshes out the history of Mortal Kombat (such as showing Sektor and Cyrax before they became robots)
Krypt mode returns with countless bonus content to unlock with coins. There is also Challenge Mode, which is the best original addition to the Mortal Kombat world. These quick, themed challenges vary from the quirky to the downright absurd, with challenges such as: Headless Kombat or flinging your severed limbs at people to kill them. There seems to be hundreds of challenges (I'm currently at # 78 and I've yet to receive my 50% complete trophy) so this should keep me occupied for ages!
The fatalities are easier than in previous games and for the first time, the move list in-game includes the Fatality buttons, so no more writing them down from websites or guessing them. This vastly improves my experience in the game as it's a quick reference now to find out the button combination needed to rip off someone's arms and legs. There is also a Fatality practice mode where you have unlimited time to practice the Fatality against a dazed opponent. Again, this is a fantastic improvement and allows even the most amatuerish player a chance to perform some gory death moves!
Netherrealm Studios have announced the DLC content will include additional characters, such as Rain, Scarlett and surprisingly, Freddie Krueger?! These characters will also be available on the upcoming Mortal Kombat: Komplete Kollection re-release.
This review was originally posted on my blog
Mortal Kombat is back to its glory days with a 2D fighting feel with beautiful updated 3D graphics that really draw you into the game while fulfilling your nostalgia need. This game has a lot of content both online and off. There is an epic story mode that goes through a story of the first three Mortal Kombat, a challenge mode which gives you 200 challenges to komplete plus the classic arcade mode and all the krypts to unlock hidden features will keep you busy for quite a long time. Online is really great too. You can just do straight up battle or you can do King of the Hill mode which is like being in an arcade...there are people in line to go against the winner and they vote on your performance at the end of the match.
The fighting mechanic will feel very familiar to old school Mortal Kombat fans. The graphics and the 5.1 sound system are both flawlessly presented. The Playstation 3 version has 3D...I don't have a 3D TV but the option is there. The gameplay is a little less complicated then Marvel Vs Capcom 3 or Street Fighter but it's fun and allows anybody a chance to get in there a duke it out.
The part I'm sure everybody is wondering about....the fatalities. This game definately earns it's Mature rating as this kid is not for children. The fatalities are brutal and very violent, babalities also make a return to lighten the mood a little bit. All in all I recommend this game, especially to old school Mortal Kombat fans.
Back in the day, you where Mortal Kombat guy, or a Street Fighter 2 guy. Mortal Kombat was rough and ready, blood gore and sweat it brought out the carnal instincts in us - and appealed to the less intelligent less discerning player.
I was a Mortal Kombat guy back then.
I'm a Mortal Kombat guy now.
Oh yes, it's back, and back with style - this has to be the most fully featured fighting game to come out in ten years. I was partially afraid of cracking open the game case and booting this up, I didn't want my childhood memories to be wrecked by a poor cash in decades later.
They weren't, this is a fantastic game - worth of the name, and surprisingly one that pushes the boundary of what a fighting game should be, gone are the stifled "arcade mode" which was just a boring way to practice your skills before you went onto a slightly laggy multiplayer ( I'm looking at you SF4). The single player mode in Mortal Kombat is actually a 12 hour campaign mode, taking you through a faintly ridiculous but entertaining story where you play as most of the characters in your fight against the menace of Shao Kahn!
Also making a return is the challenge mode, 300 challenges each and spins on the core fighting mechanic - fight without arm's, fight upside down and many many more. Yeah, it's definetly goofy, but it's a lot of fun and it gives you a lot of practice before you go into the multiplayer suite.
Speaking of multiplayer.
It's dissapointing, the core of a really good game is there, but the somewhat poor netcode takes away from the fun of it - and truth be told I never really got into the multiplayer.
Still though, the game is great and you should definetly pick it up - it's only around £20 on amazon, and definetly definetly get a new version - as this is an online pass game.
Mortal Kombat has been a huge videogames franchise for years; starting in the early 90s. the first game in the series (also titled Mortal Kombat) was a break through in the beat-em-up genre. Over the years the series introduced many new characters and confusing plot elements that only the very die hard fans (like myself) cared about or took any notice of. After the backlash form the last game, a DC Comics crossover, and a changing of production company when Midway was bought by Warner Brothers, the games co-creator and series director Ed Boon has taken this game back to basics, in a very good way.
Gone are the days of Tekken rip-off arena fighting, sidestepping, etc.; the game has reinvented the 2d fighting plain, making combo and blocking/dodging more important than in previous titles. Also to regain the old fans, the newly named NetherRealms Studios (consisting of old Midway employees) have taken the narrative back to its origins. Through the use of a Back To The Future style time travelling plot, leader of the forces of good Raiden has sent his former self visions of the dark future that lies ahead at the coming Armageddon. Through seeing these, the younger Raiden tries to change the outcome of the original 3 Mortal Kombat tournaments, first seen in the games 1-3. This helps familiarize previous fans who lost interest over the years, as they will be familiar with the classic characters, the story and possibly inquisitive of the changes which lie ahead of them in the story mode. Also, the plot is quite cinematic with a huge climax which will have new fans hooked also. Mini games such as test your might and sight are back, changing the game flow so that if fighting gets too much you can go play something less stressful. Also reappearing is the arcade tower, now called Ladder mode.
As well as the familiar elements from previous titles, there are also a lot of additions to the games working. Damage returns as seen in the previous game, but to a more extreme degree; flesh hangs from the faces of your character, clothes are torn (especially on the already scantily clad female characters) and blood flows more realistically than previous titles. Character specific fatalities return, but the implementation of a new dismemberment system is shown off frequently; also the moves are now listed in the moves-list, unlike in previous titles when they were secret. Another new element of the game is the inclusion of X-ray moves, which are executed by storing your special bar that fills via taking damage and doing special moves. X-rays do huge amounts of damage, but saving for them can be a perilous feat. Also, Johnny Cage's X-Ray move has an infinite use glitch, which is a very bad thing (presumably though this will be addressed in a future patch). A solid tag team mode has also been include, with its own playing style that varies form the main game; stringing together tag team combos can be fun and very frustrating for the opponent if they have not played the tag-team mode before. As well, there is a challenge mode with whimsical and EXTREMELY hard levels to complete in order to earn coins to unlock extras, and a secret extra to unlock upon completion of all challenges.
On top of all this, the online mode that is included also adds another level of depth to the content. The main fighting modes are included, but sometimes the lag involved from hosting can get in the way. As well as the usual modes, there is also King Of The Hill mode, where you join a room of opponents and the winner stays on fighting each person one after the other.
Overall the game is a solid new installment, redefining the series for the future. The end of the game's story leaves a very definite start for the next game, and we can definitely expect it within the next year or two. Although it has its flaws, some characters are not as balanced as other, for example, the game is a brilliant place to model the future generations of fighting games. Also, the game comes with the option of a heavy amount of DLC to buy, including a cameo from Freddy Krueger of Nightmare On Elm Street fame, and the compatability packs for these include free classic costumes for some characters. All in all, this is a good addition to anyone's videogame collection.
The ninth instalment of Mortal Kombat is finally here. I've been a big fan of the franchise since it started back in the early nineties. Back then Streetfighter 2 was all the rage so gaming companies wasted no time in developing their own brawlers to cash in on the 1v1 fighter craze. The original Mortal Kombat was however one of the few pretenders that was actually fun to play. Its popularity was certainly not hurt by all the media attention it attracted for featuring lashings of blood and gory finishing moves known as fatalities. To this date controversy follows the Mortal Kombat games with this title getting banned in Australia (crikey.) Apparently down under games are still seen as a thing for kids so you cannot release something that isn't suitable for someone of at least fifteen years of age. Hmmm if that is the case they better start banning all movies, TV shows and books too.
Mortal Kombat's sound and graphics are both first rate. I had no complaints about the voice acting used during the story mode or the game's soundtrack. In combat sound effects add to the brutal fighting the series is known for. You'll hear shrieks when someone gets hurt, crunching noises when an x-ray move cracks some bones and splattering sounds as blood hits the floor. Listening to a two combatants duke it out is almost as horrific as hearing Cheryl Cole sing. Long time fans of Mortal Kombat should also get a kick out of hearing catchphrases like "get over here" when Scorpion impales someone with his harpoon or the classic "finish him" just before you inflict a fatality on a defeated foe.
Visually speaking the game is right up there with the best fighting games of this generation. Unlike Streetfighter that goes for a cartoony look, the realistic models of Mortal Kombat really add some punch to the fierce battles. As is all the rage at the moment, the game is a 2D fighter (so you can move forward and back, but not side step around the arena like Soul Calibur) but the characters are rendered in 3D. A nice touch is that damage is shown on the fighters. If you punch someone in the face they'll begin to display bruises and black eyes. In a similar fashion armour breaks and clothing rips, but much to my disappointment the tears never reveal anything too saucy on the female characters.
The lifespan of most fighting games isn't great if you are not taking advantage of multiplayer features, but this is not the case in Mortal Kombat. The three game modes on offer should keep solo players occupied for a long time whether they choose to tackle the ladder, story mode or challenge tower. As you play you earn coins which are used to purchase goodies from the krypt (that's not a misspelling, the game has a fascination with the letter K.) Navigating the krypt allows you to unlock new fatalities, artwork, music, codes, different costumes and sketches which really adds to the replay value of the product.
From the thee game modes mentioned above, ladder should be the one most recognisable to fighting game fans. You pick a character and fight ten opponents to win the Mortal Kombat tournament. You start off by fighting seven fellow participants before moving onto the three bosses. First up is the shape shifting sorcerer Shang Tsung, then one of the four armed champions (Goro or Kintaro) before finishing off with the helmet wearing muscle man Shao Kahn. New players be warned that the bosses can be a little cheap. They soak up more damage that the player and can deplete tons of health with just one attack. Thankfully they also love to taunt you which leaves them open to counter attacks.
Winning the ladder treats you to an ending showing what your character got up to after winning the Mortal Kombat title. The epilogue is presented via some dialogue and still pictures which isn't anything out of this world, but better than what you get in other fighters. It should encourage you to complete the game with everyone to see their clips. If you want more in terms of plot you can dive into the story mode which proves that fighting games can have a good story if the developers put some effort into making the game.
STORY MODE / CHALLENGE TOWER
The story mode is sixteen chapters long and has you controlling various fighters in a series of fights. In between duels you get cut scenes that advance the adventure. I really enjoyed the story portions, but was a little irritated that you couldn't skip the story segments. If you stop playing and come back at a later date you have to rewatch the last cut scene you saw which can be annoying as some of them can be fairly long. The story covers the Earth and Outworld tournaments of Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 along with the Earth Realm invasion of Mortal Kombat 3. It's a good way of introducing the Mortal Kombat universe to new players and nostalgic fun for Mortal Kombat veterans.
I was impressed by the story mode and my only real complaint was that the difficulty would fluctuate from fairly easy to pretty tough. The most challenging sections would have to be the handicap matches were you had to best two opponents. Two versus one isn't fair, but if it all gets too frustrating you always have the option of lowering the game's difficulty. Tweaking the difficult won't however help you in the challenge tower. As the name suggests, beating the 300 levels of the tower won't be an easy task and should take many hours to finish. Each floor gives you an objective to accomplish (such as avoiding damage for fifteen seconds) or mini games were button bashing is required to break planks of wood, blocks of stone and so on. If you succeed you get some coins, potentially unlock something and gain access to the next floor.
The game feels like the classic Mortal Kombats of old with a few new features. As always the aim of each fight is to knock out your opponent by hitting them enough times to deplete their health bar. Each limb is assigned to a button which when pressed performs a punch or kick. You can also jump, crouch and dash to avoid attacks or close in on a foe depending on the situation. It was good to see that this version of Mortal Kombat handled more smoothly than the earlier incarnations which, due to the digitised graphics used, felt more stiff than other fighting games on the market.
As with most fighting games you can perform flashy special moves by pressing a combination of buttons. New in Mortal Kombat 9 is an energy bar at the foot of the screen which fills up as you attack and receive damage. The accumulated energy can be used to launch stronger versions of your special moves or x-ray attacks which do major damage. If an x-ray attack hits the action switches to a slow motion sequence were you see a brutal move break some bones, fracture a skull or crack ribs. They are cool to watch the first few times, but after a while I did find that they would disrupt the flow of a fight.
I'm giving Mortal Kombat a perfect score as it has everything you would hope for in a fighting game. It's control scheme is accessible to players of all skill levels which is a welcome change from other beat-em-ups which seem to cater specifically to hardcore gamers. I commend the people responsible for taking their time in packing the game disc with loads of things to keep you occupied. Hopefully by setting the bar this high other companies will refrain of releasing a game with just a ladder mode and a few unlockables (cough Capcom, cough.)
The story mode was entertaining and I hope to see it continue in future games. It was clever how they got Raiden the god of thunder (no relation to Thor) to send a message to his past self to avert a future disaster. It gave us a good excuse to revisit the first three Mortal Kombats with the snazzy features of a modern day game. Its good to see that good guys can use time travel to save the world as opposed to evil computers who have a thing for sending cyborgs to terminate anyone with the surname Connor.
Needless to say I highly recommend Mortal Kombat to anyone who enjoys dabbling in fighting games. The only demographic I can see that would not enjoy this are those who are put off by excessive violence. To those people I say, get a sense of humour. Yes there is tons of blood and carnage in Mortal Kombat, but it's so over the top that you cannot really take it seriously... unless you are a member of the Australian classification board of course!
Review originally posted on Ciao (May 2011)