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When I was a kid, we still had the old Sega Mega Drive, and one of the games we used to play a lot was Mortal Kombat. I remember it being the biggest thing at the time, and all me and my friends used to play it all the time. As times went on things changed, including the gaming world, and it has now been many years since I played Mortal Kombat.
A friend of mine recently told me that they were making a new Mortal Kombat 9 game, which would be available for the Xbox 360, and I was really excited to get a copy of it when it came out. I was hoping it would be as good, if not better than the original games I used to play. My partner was even more excited than me, as he is a big gaming geek and he loves the fighting games too.
As soon as the game was released, I went and bought a copy, excited to play it. The game comes in the usual DVD sized case with the green edging, like all Xbox 360 games do. The front cover has the Mortal Kombat logo on it, as well as two characters from the game, Sub-Zero and Scorpion. I think they have done this as most people tend to remember these two characters from the older games. They were always the cool characters when I was a child, and it would seem they still are now.
The game itself, is so much better than I could hever have expected. I can only really describe it as epic! As usual, there is a story mode to the game, in which you pick your character to fight with from the whole range, and fight your way through different enemies on different lands, until you have completed the quest. There is a whole lot of enemies to fight through, and each one has a different kind of strength, and in most cases, a super power or two. At first this is relativley easy to do, but as you progress through the enemies, it will get harder and harder to beat them. I am only about half way through the story mode, and it really is starting to get tough.
There is also a few other modes on the game, including single fights, which are great if you are just after a quick game, or if you can not be bothered to play through the story mode. On this mode you can play against the computer, or against friends. You can even have up to 4 people playing, which means everyone gets to beat the other up, or you can do it in "tag teams". I find this to be my favourite way to play, as it means everyone can get involved and me and my friends have already had hours of fun playing against each other in tournaments etc.
There is also a "ladder mode" which me and my friends have played quite a lot. It is basically where you pick a fighter to use, and then you go against 10 different opponents, 1 at a time. Each time you beat an opponent, you move up the ladder to the next opponent, until you have defeated each one. Like the story mode, this gets harder as you go along, but unlike the story mode, you can change your character between fights, whether you win or lose. I like this idea, because you can use different characters for different skills, so should you find one opponent particularly hard, you can pick a different character with a different skill to overcome him (or her) and win!
There is pretty much the same usual characters from the old games, including Raiden, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Baraka, and many others. There is 5 female characters for those who like to play as women, and each character has their own little catch phrases too. As you progress through the story mode, you unlock a few extra characters, some of which you may well even recognise.
One of the best things about this game, is the fact it is not too easy to play. I like games to be a challenge, but not so hard that it becomes impossible to play and I just give up on it. Mortal Kombat is smack bang in the middle. It makes me feel like I am being challenged, and it sometimes can be a tad frustrating to play, but I have never once thought that I would not be able to play it. There is plenty of different options for the game too, so if you are finding it too hard to play, just change the difficulty level. There are choices of Beginner, Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. Beginner and Easy are very easy, and I think even children could play on this level (please do not let your children near this game!!) Medium is pretty average, but Hard and Expert are something to be wary of. Hard is just about manageable if you like hard work and high stress levels, but Expert means you may never even land an eye lash on your opponent!
There is an online capability for this game, which you start with by using the code supplied in the box with the game. I have not actually had a chance to go onto this yet, but I am sure I will get to it soon enough. There is a large section for downloadable content, built into the game, and as part of the online capabilities of the game. On the game itself is a place called the Krypt, and it is here you can buy different cheats, items and weapons for use throughout the game. You buy these with the coins you earn whilst fighting on the different modes in the game. These build up quite quickly and you will soon see you have thousands of them.
The items you can buy are usually stored in dead bodies, graves and items of torture throughout the Kyrpt. Each one will display its price when you highlight the place in which it is stored. You have to buy the item to find out what it does in most cases though, and some of them can be a little bit disappointing, but they all add to the game in some way or another.
Now comes the warnings! Firstly, this game is rated an 18, and I think it is for a very, very good reason. I would not let any children even watch this game, let alone play it. There is plenty of violence, as would be expected given the nature of the game, but there is much worse things in store for young minds on here. There is a lot of blood, and unlike the old school CGI blood splats of games of yesteryear, this is full on pouring out of blood, which stays on your character until the end of the fight. Add this to the occasional waterfalls of blood on some of the fights, and you have a pretty much a total blood bath. But it does not even begin to stop there.
When you are fighting, you will notice cuts, scrapes, gashes and wounds on your character and your opponent, which get worse and more graphic as the fight goes on. There is also some stabbing and hooking going on with some players, and if you manage to hit your "special move" (or your opponent does it to you) this will put the game into slow motion, and you get the x-ray effect on the moves. You will see straight through to bones, with muscles included in parts of the shot, and get to see bones cracking, ribs splitting and skulls shattering. Even Sub-Zero can reach into your body, freeze an internal organ or two, rip them out and shatter them into a million tiny pieces!! One of the characters will impale your eyes with two large, metal hooks and then impale your dead body afterwards!!
There is some pretty gruesome stuff going on, some of which did actually shock me a little bit at first. If you have a weak stomach, then this is something you really should not see! I can honestly see why they have given this game an 18 rating!! Also, the female characters on this game are wearing next to nothing, so if you do not want your kids to see that sort of thing, keep them well away from this one! The outfits leave very little to the imagination!
This said, there has been a LOT of attention paid to detail on this game, with stunning graphics and amazing sound quality that really is amazing. Even the muscle definition on the characters is visually perfect, and it all moves well like it should. I am very impressed with the amount of thought, work, dedication and detail that has gone into the making of this game, and it is something that you really can look on almost like a work of art! Just take a second to look at some of the graphics and details around you on the game, and it will be clear to you what I mean!
Personally, I find this to be an amazing game, and I have hours of fun playing it alone, and with friends. It is a game that can be social, or enjoyed by one, and I think this is a great thing to come from just one game. The age rating should definatley be heeded though, as children could easily be scared or upset by what they see on the game, as could some vunlerable adults! You can buy this game in all game stores on the high street, including Game, Gamestation, as well as in Tesco, Asdas etc. In most stores it will cost between £36 and £45!! The best price I have seen so far is just under £32 on Amazon.
The game really is good value for money, worth the £32 I paid for it, and I think that I will have plenty of game play out of this one, as will my partner and all my friends too it seems. Despite the very graphic nature of this game, I can only give it a 5 out of 5 stars, and I can only wish I could give it a higher rating. An epic game, and one that I totally, truly recommend to all!!
*This review is also on Ciao under the user name of Hailee*