I feel like I’m nine years old again. I remember the first time I stepped into Scandia Family Fun Park in Rohnert Park California and saw the line for Mortal Kombat. I hadn’t heard anything about it, didn’t know what to expect, and then some one got their head ripped off. I was blown away. I couldn’t believe some one could get away with that. My exposure to violence in movies and TV was limited to that point. My dad and I stood there watching and eventually it was my turn up. I got rocked in a nearly flawless victory and didn’t care because that’s when I had my heart ripped out of my chest and I was just thankful to see it.
Now it’s many years later and Mortal Kombat is coming to console again in a throw back to where it all started. We have a gloriously refined combat system, filled with juggles, combos and special moves that elevates the game to something worthy of tournament status. The game also happens to be gorgeous. So much detail goes into every costume. From the scale like look of Scropions ninja gear, to the scorpion tips of his swords, to the way Johnny Cage’s tattoo “JOHNNY” across his chest looks like something Charlie Sheen would do. It’s all there, it’s all great.
What I really got from playing the game was that it’s very accessible. Combos are easier to pull off, and juggles can be learned naturally using simple combo movies. With the future tag feature these juggles can go on for quite a while as you flip back and forth between characters. There’s also no a 3 level special move meter at the bottom of the screen that increases as you take damage and dish it out. You can use these levels to augment your special move giving it a little more punch, or save it up until it’s level 3. Once you have a level 3 bar you can do an x-ray attack. These are the highlight of the game for me. If you land your x-ray move suddenly the game goes dark like a fatality was about to take place, and your character deals out a blow to the enemy cracking bones, dislocating jaws, crushing or stabbing vital organs and in the process removing most of the life from the enemies health bar. This move can change the tide of battle very quickly.
Along with these brutal attacks you’ll notice that characters are damaged a lot more through the fight, and that damage stays on them. They’ll lose eyes, chunks of skin, expose bone, more. It’s a brutally violent game just the way I like it. The fatalities are interesting too. Scorpion’s involves cutting the enemy through their middle, their neck and then kicking them, sending the halves flying while the head pops up and floats in mid air for Scorpion to cut in half, exposing all the brain, throat, eyes and everything else. We’re talking a whole new level of internal detail on characters.
So far Mortal Kombat seems to be a glowing success. There are a lot of cool new modes to come and a lot of great characters to be seen, but this game should be on your most anticipated list for the upcoming months. If you’re wondering what system to get it for, I’d suggest PS3 right now… the game seems to have a lot going for it on that system, with bonus content and characters like Kratos from God of War thrown into the mix. Unless Microsoft shows off what kind of exclusive they have, there’s really no reason to pick up that version other than achievements.