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 PLATFORM: XBOX
Finish The Fight

very character that has ever been impaled on spikes, cleaved in two, or flung into a vat of acid now has the chance to bloody their hands, exact revenge, and ascend a mountain of corpses as they show the world who the true victor of the Mortal Kombat tournament is. The series’ creator, Ed Boon, and his team at Midway approached the development of this game with closure in mind. The Mortal Kombat tournament that has kept fans captivated since its arcade debut in 1992 needs to end. Within this game, the final drop of blood will at last be spilled.

Every combatant that has ever stepped into the ring in a Mortal Kombat game is playable, fleshed out with a conclusive story, and more impressively, a lethal force on the battlefield. The encyclopedic roster, which consists of over 60 bloodthirsty characters, is an amazing feat of game development. Not only is this murderous cast brimming with intoxicating nostalgia, but hardly any of the combatants are derivative. There are fighting games that have legs, but by comparison, nothing really comes close to what Midway has thrown together here. Each character is fun to play, and different enough that you have to rethink your strategies with each new one you select. The balance that is struck between all of the characters is also another incredible feat on Midway’s part.

In developing such a meaty offering, something had to give. As aggressive and skill-laden as the core combat is, my favorite part of these games has been always adding insult to injury with a barbaric Fatality. The moment at which the announcer says “finish him” is unlike anything else in gaming. You have already won the match, but for some reason, this is the most intense part of the game. I always sweat bullets and fumble with the controls when it comes to entering in a Fatality sequence. Conversely, when the screen fades to black and the torture begins, you really feel like you’ve won something that you worked hard for. What you usually win is a creative and often overly brutal or comedic death sequence. Fatalities are still a prominent part of the picture, but they neither capture your imagination nor demand precise execution. You now get to customize your own Fatality on the fly. By inputting different control sequences your character will perform a specific move that is tied to the command you entered. As amusing as it is to chain a bunch of moves together, none of the moves that you perform really feel like something your character would do. You are just selecting moves from a shared pool. The Fatalities just don’t have the blood-splattering punch that they once had.

The introduction of aerial combat also falls hard on its face. Chaining together high-flying combos is certainly possible, but this mechanic just doesn’t have the polish or visceral edge like the remainder of the fray. On a positive note, you will have to adjust your attack patterns if you face an opponent who chooses to take to the air.

The Mortal Kombat series has had its ups and downs, and this sequel embodies it all. The immense roster is a glorious thing, but by altering the sacred Fatality, the action just isn’t up to the series’ standards or what fans expect.

These days, the Mortal Kombat games offer just as much content on the fringe as they do in the arena

Konquest Mode
Konquest mode isn’t new per se, but it has been tweaked significantly. It still possesses the graphical qualities of a game that you would expect to find free in a box of cereal, but it does offer a decent quest, another interesting sliver of the story, and mindlessly fun brawling.

Motor Kombat
This racing minigame doesn’t deliver much in terms of single player, but the multiplayer is quite impressive. Each of the characters’ signature fighting moves are incorporated into silky smooth driving.

Create a Fighter
This series’ first character creator allows players to create combatants that are just as detailed and unique as the existing roster. Of course, this option is best suited for multiplayer fighting.

  

   8
Armageddon is the Old Country Buffet of fighting games. You get an absolutely obscene amount of content for your dollar, but by the time you’re done, you might find yourself feeling grossly overstuffed. Having every character in the MK universe in one game is awesome, but it can’t counteract the fact that Armageddon feels almost exactly like the two games before it. Granted, all three are great, well-balanced fighters with a ton of extras, but I felt like I’d already played this game before – twice. Sure, Armageddon has some nice new features – an improved Konquest mode and Krypt, plus a character creation system that seems designed specifically to make skanky chicks. However, the “been there, done that” feel and the sagging graphics engine makes me yearn for more significant growth with the next entry. But while I’m waiting, I’ll be sinking hours and hours into Armageddon, which is undoubtedly a solid, engaging fighter despite the familiar feel.
8.25
CONCEPT:
Every character ever. Enough said
GRAPHICS:
Still quite stunning. The destructible environments, blood effects, and character models are all of the highest quality
SOUND:
Classic MK grunts, moans, splatters, and music
PLAYABILITY:
The same hard-hitting gameplay as before, but the new Fatality system just isn’t nearly as enthralling
ENTERTAINMENT:
Loaded with longevity for both single- and multiplayer. Motor Kombat is an enjoyable distraction, and it’s nice to finally be able to create your own personality
REPLAY:
High
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