In case you haven’t heard, Mortal Kombat is back this month. By “back” I don’t just mean back on store shelves with another sequel. Rather, I mean back to being what Mortal Kombat was way back in 1992 when it had adults and kids alike huddled in masses around arcade cabinets.
I still remember the day I got Mortal Kombat for my Super Nintendo and the hours I would put into that game. There was just something about it. It wasn’t just the violence and the fatalities, it just felt so different and exciting at the time. There was so much buzz about it in school, at the mall, among my friends. We’d spend hours talking about it and discussing all the crazy rumors of hidden characters, secret codes and yes, I still remember that crazy rumor about a certain female Special Forces operative and the super hidden “nudality” finisher.
Mortal Kombat was everywhere. As kids, we couldn’t get enough. Especially when Mortal Kombat II was released and the story was really fleshed out. Remember finally getting to control Reptile? How epic was that? Not to mention twice as many characters, new stages, more blood, wilder fatalities, it was just bigger in every way.
By the time Mortal Kombat 3 came around in 1995, Mortal Kombat was a household name. Everyone had it, everyone played it, everyone talked about it. That’s also when things started to get a little crazy. How many clones of the Lin-Kuei did we have by this point? What was with the Friendships and Babalities and Animalities? While the franchise was still bloody it seemed to have lost it’s edge over time. Not only that, but the continuation of the story started making less and less sense.
I think it was around this time that Mortal Kombat started to fade. With the release of Mortal Kombat 4 and the strange 3D style of fighting the game had lost almost all of it’s previous luster, at least with me. It just seemed played out. Not that I had a gripe with the 3d style, actually I loved Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. It was more so that the game seemed like it was missing what made the original so special. It wasn’t cutting edge anymore. It was becoming confusing. Too many characters that had no business being implimented. Did we really need more Lin-Kuei clones, again?
Now, this April 19th, Mortal Kombat returns. It returns to it’s roots. It returns to what it was meant to be. A brutal, kick your face in and rip your heart out gore-fest.
Ed Boon is still running the show after all these years. He realizes what made his franchise the world-wide phenomenon it was and he’s finally ready to return to those traits. Back is the 2D style of fighting. Back is the blood and gore; moreso this time, actually. Boon himself said they wanted to return to the early style of the franchise and that they have, in a big way.
The fatalities are bloodier than ever and with the implimentation of the X-Ray moves, which actually let you see bones cracking and organs failing during matches, this game should be what people have been waiting for. But will it be? Or will it just be another title in the ongoing stream of what seem to be almost pointless home console fighters?
I’ve played the demo that‘s up on the Playstation Store right now. From the little it lets you play, it seemed fun. The controls were relatively easy to get the hang of, especially if you played enough of the original 2D style iterations. The graphics were impressive, especially the look of the living forest stage. As for the game itself, it was fun. I was only allowed to face the four characters included in the demo, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Mileena and Johnny Cage but I played all four with all four a few times and it didn’t really get too stale for me.
The X-Ray moves were fun to watch. They seem like the perfect addition to the game. They’re different yet fitting. They definitely give you the feeling of an evolution of Mortal Kombat. Not just something different thrown in for the sake of being different. The fatalities were also, as Boon said they would be, bloodier. I’m sure many of you have seen the multitudes of videos floating around the web of these finishers but if you haven’t, I think you’ll get a kick out of them when you pull them off yourself.
The game boasts a slew of features this time around, including but not limited to:
- Tag Team Fighting
- The Krypt
- The Challenge Tower
- DLC Characters
- Co-Op Arcade Mode
The game is also being released in three different editions:
- Standard Edition: The game itself.
- Kollector’s Edition: With Scorpion and Sub-Zero figurines.
- Tournament Edition: With a portable fight stick.
Also, as a Playstation 3 exclusive, Kratos from the God of War franchise will be a playable character. Talk about a perfect fit.
Ed Boon and the team wanted to take the franchise back to it’s roots and in doing so, they actually rebooted it. In Mortal Kombat, you’ll see the first three games play out in front of you as Raiden sends a message back in time to his former self to warn him of an impending danger. In doing so, he altered the previous course of actions. This time around, you’ll see things playing out a little differently than they had previously. For instance, as Boon himself stated, you might see different characters being assimilated into the cybernetic Lin-Kuei than those that had previously been. History will literally be rewritten. Which I think is a great idea.
Mortal Kombat releases on April 19th and should be a consideration if you’re into fighting games, especially this franchise. Be sure to let us know in the comments section and on the forums what you think about this upcoming reboot. I’d love to hear your opinions on how you think this game will be and what your best MK memories are.