MORTAL KOMBAT or Go back in time and improve your formula

MORTAL KOMBAT – an ultra-violent beat ’em up without any gameplay value to some, a kleverly designed ultra-violent revelation to many, an ultra-violent legend to all. Sadly, also a krumbling one in recent years.

But there is good news, folks: After years of experimenting with 3D movements, different fighting styles and  trillions of kombo button mashing trials (better not mention the PG themed MORTAL KOMBAT vs DC Universe here), the franchise is back – with a twist: not only did the developers travel back in time to get rid of lame side steps and annoying fighting stances, no, the very history of MORTAL KOMBAT itself has been rewritten – a bold move, but a successful one?

Let’s start with the kombat itself – old-fashioned and quickly learnable at the beginning, you slowly adjust to quicker possibilities – but still, you feel you are in kontrol. There are not many special moves to learn. However, use them wisely or suffer the consequences of being vulnerable. In brief: If you liked the first 3 MORTAL KOMBAT games, you will like this one. If you prefer the likes of Streetfighter or Tekken, this piece of software might be a bit too slow for you.

However, the inklusion (or rather perpetuation) of kombos is something that pisses Rabidgames off – starting a kombo and taking away a big chunk of health from a defenceless enemy might be a symptom of tides having turned and adjusting to a new generation of fighting games, but it takes away a portion of the good old MORTAL KOMBAT feeling where each upperkut used to kounted.

Another twist is the new special bar: One bar lets you hit your opponent with an enhanced attack (rarely useful), two bars and you can break a kombo (sometimes useful), and finally, a full bar lets you crush your opponent with an uber brutal x-ray attack (hell yeah!). Admittedly, most of them look really good – but then again, losing 1/3 of your health because of one set of attacks (which are hard to block, especially if trampling down newbies) is a tale which is not to be found in Rabidgames‘ book of good gameplay.

There is no MORTAL KOMBAT without fatalities (there is actually; if you ever happen to play the German version of Shaolin Monks and see the screen turn black when you perform a fatality you’ll see anything goes) – and thank the Elder Gods, there is lots of gore, blood, humour and kreativity to be seen when some hapless guy or gal loses more than just a match … Heck, there is even a fatality tutorial where you can practice your killing arts and make friends laugh – sadly, stage fatalities or babalities (they are awesome) won’t work there. Of course, there are a few pretty boring fatalities but Rabidgames promises Scorpion’s Split decision or Sektor’s Scarecrow make up for it!

Don’t you hate games you start playing, you blink twice – and it is all over? This surely won’t happen with MORTAL KOMBAT: You have the Arcade Ladders of old and Tag Ladders (Tag fighting is fun but nothing special), the big challenge tower with 300 challenges (some are great, i.e. the world turns upside down; some are outright annoying – why do I have to fucking nail 8-hit kombos?),the krypt where you unlock lots of stuff (although most of it is just junk), the obviously obligatory online matches Rabidgames does not care about … well, let’s say there is quite a shit load of stuff in there.

The heart of MORTAL KOMBAT is the great story mode which lasts 4-10 hours and starts at the events of Armageddon to retell the events of MORTAL KOMBAT 1-3. You will thoroughly enjoy it if you know all your kombatants and their stories. There are some surprises as history gets rewritten – if you like the new kourse of history, well, that is another story. Sadly, the game abandons the adventure modes from Deception and Armageddon: you only watch kutscenes between fighting – it is still a great and long story mode for a beat ’em up though (and let’s be honest, the adventure mode was never fleshed out anyway).

Rabidgames played MORTAL KOMBAT on the Xbox 360 and cursed the 360 D-pad as well as the analog sticks constantly – no matter which one you use, it is far from perfect. If you own both systems, PS3 should be your choice because of the better D-pad which will make kombos and fatalities a hell of a lot easier to pull off.

Rabidgames says:
SUKKSESS! If violence makes you giggle, you like good old slow-paced kombat and you like get some value in return for your koins, MORTAL KOMBAT is your way to go. The fun clearly outweighs those well-known moments of fury when you want to smash your kontroller, your konsole or the whole world to pieces after you lost in an ridiculously unbalanced fight (even worse when you lose to a friend). Fuck Streetfighter, screw Tekken, MORTAL KOMBAT is back and kills them off for good – so get over here and kill some!


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