Mortal Kombat: Back-Back-Punch is Still Scorpion’s Harpoon!
Monday, April 25, 2011 5 Comments
We all have memories as kids playing Mortal Kombat, whether we were at home playing it on Sega Genesis/Super Nintendo, or in the arcade because your parents wouldn’t let you own it due to the titillating amount of gore and the arcade was the only place you could get away with playing it other than your friend’s house, and he always whooped your sorry ass because he owned it. Whatever it was, the Mortal Kombat franchise has a ton of nostalgic value to lifelong gamers, a huge fan base, and probably two of the most badass characters in fighting game history: Scorpion and Sub-Zero. The latest installment, a ”reboot” of the franchise and game debut from NetherRealm Studios, makes us feel like we’re 7 years old all over again.
Funny story about Mortal Kombat: Wrecked editor Ben Everett thought certain words were actually spelled with a “K” for the first few years of elementary school because of this series.
We first played the new Mortal Kombat against some friends and the rest of the Wrecked Reviews crew on release day, which also happened to coincide with the Sharks historic 6-5 comeback over the LA Kings (we played it during intermissions, of course). Having played other games in the series, you’d think you would have a good idea of the control scheme, right? Kinda! Although the controls are similar, it still took a while to get used to them because it had been awhile since I’ve played a good MK game after ignoring everything following Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 because I hate every 3D incarnation. So, with a little knowledge and some strategic button mashing, we had a fun night getting reacquainted with a dear old friend while the Sharks delivered a Grade A face-stomping to the Kings.
Mortal Kombat Launch Trailer
Over the weekend, Ben and I got together for some whiskey drinking and nonstop brutality as we tried to beat the game’s story mode. I know what some of you might be thinking: A SINGLE PLAYER FIGHTING GAME?! WHO CARES?! Well, we do. Believe it or not, the single player mode has been the highlight of the game. This time around, there are actually cut scenes and a story to play through, rather than just advancing up the ladder playing whatever opponent is randomly next in line. It forces you to become acquainted with the other characters of Mortal Kombat instead of just grinding through with your go-to character, and the fights occur as the story progresses. You basically play through the entire Mortal Kombat storyline from the very first game, fighting to save earth realm, and seemingly redefining the MK canon while still keeping it very accurate, but not in a way that makes you go “Man, what the fuck are they doing?”. You even get to play Sektor and Cyrax as humans before they become robots, which is a win in my book. I don’t want to spoil much of the single player mode because the story is very engaging and rich with Mortal Kombat’s history. That being said, it is DAMN long; we killed an entire handle of Jack Daniels before we beat story mode (over 8 hours).
The controls are easy to learn but at first seem a bit sluggish, almost like you’re fighting in water or you got drunk off cheap whiskey (we were), but you quickly figure out how to do handle your shit. You can get by on button mashing, but just in case you feel like being the douche bag that knows what they’re doing, the game has a very well done tutorial that will walk you through all of the basic moves, combos, specials, and how the X-ray bar works. With the help of the tutorial, you can quickly learn how to link different moves, how many combos there are, and the game’s fighting system slowly becomes broader. For example, with Scorpion, a combo, harpoon, into combo, into ultra, and more can be pretty devastating if done right. The fighting mechanics also features combo breakers, X-ray specials, (think ultras from Street Fighter) and all the regular character-specific moves from other MK games but makes them a little more versatile and visually stimulating.
We try to not put much stock in gaming graphics because our philosophy is game play mechanics will always trump the latest and greatest graphics (just because it looks good doesn’t mean is is good). However, I will say that the graphics are pretty damn awesome; the stages feature very in-depth environments and your characters start to deteriorate as they wreck each other’s faces, which was a nice “Holy shit, that’s awesome!” moment for most of us upon first playing the game.
Like every other fighting game, versus mode is virtually the same as single player just without the story. They have a tag team mode which adds even more to linking combos, specials, and general awesomeness. The best feature was the addition of the “Test Your Luck” mode, which reminds me of one thing and one thing only: remember the battle square in Final Fantasy VII? Well, in Mortal Kombat, it involves the same concept of a slot machine each round that will determine certain side effects that will affect the match and each player, such as disabling special moves, removing a players arms, make one player have stronger regular moves, or vampire mode, where a player gains health every time they hit their opponent. This provides a never-ending enhancement to the competitive aspect of this game.
I swear, I didn’t want to give this game a perfect 5 out of 5. I even sat here trying to think of reasons to not like it, and I honestly couldn’t think of any. There’s a long, entertaining storyline, a few other single player modes, engaging multiplayer with different modes that keep the replay value high, the PS3 version has Kratos from God of War, and it even goes up to 4 players in versus mode which you just don’t see in fighting games. There’s also so much blood and gore that I’ve completely forgotten about Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. (Seriously? No fatalities?)
So what do you think? Is it going to reach the level of popularity the latest Street Fighter titles have garnished? Sound off with your opinion in the comment section!
-Sean Moore & Ben Everett