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Review: Mortal Kombat Is Back, Better and More Brutal Than Ever!

At its pinnacle in the mid-1990s, Mortal Kombat was a quarter-munching arcade juggernaut and a lightning rod for controversy due to its graphic violence.  The franchise began to fade away after Mortal Kombat 3, but the series has been rebooted.  Now Mortal Kombat is back and better (and more brutal) than ever.

Mortal Kombat is more or less a revision of the first three games and features all of the characters from those games, including Johnny Cage, Scorpion, Sub Zero, Shang Tsung, and Noob Saibot.  Some additional characters will be available for download and the PS3 version features God of War’s Kratos, who fits right in with the other “kombatants.”  Each character has the familiar moves you know and love, such as Johnny Cage’s shadow kick, Liu Kang’s fireball, and Scorpion’s spear (and yes, he does say “Get over here!”).  In fact, the button combinations to perform the moves are largely unchanged.

There’s so much bloody, violent goodness jam packed into Mortal Kombat it’s tough to pick what to describe first.  There are a couple of game modes. The familiar ladder returns, in which you face several fighters before facing the bosses, Goro, Shang Tsung, and Shao Kahn, each of whom should be familiar to fans of the series.  Along the way, you will fight in many familiar stages from Mortal Kombat 1, 2, and 3, along with some new levels. There is also a story mode, which is fairly entertaining and provides a great way to sample various fighters and learn their moves.  It would be nice to be able to save more frequently, though.

There are also great secondary modes, such as a challenge tower with hundreds of challenges, and the Krypt, where you can spend credits earned elsewhere in the game to unlock bonuses such as gameplay enhancements, additional fatalities, and alternate costumes.   There’s so much to see and do you almost feel like you’re playing a special edition version of the game.

Speaking of fatalities, Mortal Kombat has outdone itself.  The new fatalities are a sight to behold. Shang Tsung’s primary fatality is laugh-out-loud funny yet disturbing, especially for those with a fear of clowns. I also love the fatality tutorial.  Exactly what it sounds like, it’s a great way to gross out your friends and family.  The gore factor is not limited to fatalities.  New “x-ray” moves show the internal damage your opponent suffers during a special attack and look awesome.  You see the organs being punctured and bones shattering.  It’s a cool concept that is implemented well. Also, as fighters become injured, they begin to show more and more damage.

Mortal Kombat conjures fond memories of dropping quarters into the arcades as  a teenager.  Nostalgia aside, Mortal Kombat is also a great fighting game with loads of features to keep you busy.  If you have fond memories of the original games or simply love fighting games, you should purchase Mortal Kombat.

Score: 9 out of 10 Little Goombas