After the controversial pairing of the Mortal Kombat universe and the DC Comics universe, NetherRealms Studios has decided to go back to the roots of this classic fighting game franchise with Mortal Kombat, releasing on April 19 in North America and April 21 in Europe for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Thanks to my PlayStation Plus subscription, I was able to get the demo of this game early, and I must say, NetherRealms has done a fantastic job of both providing the classic feel of Mortal Kombat and improving upon the already addictive formula.
Mortal Kombat is, essentially, a retelling of the first three Mortal Kombat games. Raiden is about to be killed by Shao Kahn after Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, but before the final blow is dealt, Raiden tells his past self (from the first Mortal Kombat game) about the course of events that would unfold. Having been enlightened, Raiden attempts to change the past to prevent the destruction of Earthrealm and his death at the hands of Shao Kahn. In addition, each character has his/her own story within the premise of the game that is carried out within the game’s Story Mode.
The demo features the Ladder game mode, which has players fighting against four characters in succession. You can play as the hookshot-wielding Scorpion, the icy Sub-Zero, the egotistic martial artist Johnny Cage, and the “sexy” Mileena. Each of the characters has their own unique style of play, and they all feel balanced.
Perhaps the most recognizable feature of the Mortal Kombat series is the Fatality system. It just wouldn’t be Mortal Kombat without Fatalities. Each character in Mortal Kombat has his/her own unique Fatality, and while all of them in this game are fun to use, none of them really stand out aside from Sub-Zero’s, where he freezes the enemy from the waist down and rips their upper half off of their body with his bare hands. For the most part, they are somewhat generic and lack creativity, but are still cool nonetheless.
There are two stages to play on. One takes place high up in the mountains, on a small strip of rock that stands atop a pit of spikes. The other stage is a haunted forest, with wicked trees with faces and bodies hanging from their branches. Each stage features its own special environmental fatality (known as a “Stage Fatality”), which you can use regardless of which character you choose to play as.
So, you rise up the ladder, alternating between the two stages, until you get to Goro, the classic half-human, half-dragon sub-boss from the original Mortal Kombat in arcades. Unfortunately, the preview ends there.
Overall, Mortal Kombat is incredibly fun. I urge all fighting fans to buy the game, and assure all Mortal Kombat fans that you finally have the game you’ve been wanting: a two-dimensional throwback to the old Mortal Kombat games that doesn’t hold back on the violence and doesn’t feature Superman in the character roster.
The Mortal Kombat demo is out now on PSN for PlayStation Plus users and will be available for all PSN users on March 15 and Xbox LIVE Gold users at a later, unspecified date.