Get Over Here - Back To The Beginning

The ninth game in the Mortal Kombat series returns to its roots.
Author: Andy Curtiss
Published: March 28, 2011
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In 1992 game developer Midway brought blood and controversy to our homes with the release of Mortal Kombat. Although the home version of the game didn't come out until 1993 technically. For a full year those of us who were entranced by the bloody fighting had to go to an arcade to indulge ourselves. But I digress. This period of time in the early 90's would find the average gamer virtually buried in fighting genre titles: Fatal Fury by SNK, Eternal Champions by Sega, Street Fighter II by Capcom, Art of Fighting by SNK and Samurai Showdown, also by SNK (just to name a few). Despite this heavy, and intense, competition Mortal Kombat (MK here on out) managed to raise above the rest. This isn't necessarily something to be proud of, however, as the thing that made it stand out against the rest was it's level of violence.

Sure, games like Samurai Showdown depicted characters carving each other up with medieval Japanese weapons. But it was the sheer amount of blood and the inclusion of "Fatalities" that made MK stand out. In Street Fighter you could kick the living crap out of your opponents and toast them with fireballs, sure. But could you rip their spin out? Tear out their beating heart? No Sir! As a child of the 90's that is what lead me to Mortal Kombat. It was different. It was pushing the idea of what was acceptable in videogames.

Along that vein of thought, Ed Boon and his team of developers have questioned what was really necessary for a fighting game in this day and age? What worked for them back in the 90's? And could it be done again almost 20 years later? After much planning and debating the answer was found to be yes - they could do it again. By returning to some of the game's original structure and concept with a 21st century spin on the visuals they hope to gain success.

So, happily, Ed Boon and the good people at Nether Realm Studios (the identity the former giant Midway is now known as) take our beloved bloody fighter back to its beginning. After several titles in which 3D gameplay was a main feature and additional gameplay modes were half-assed into being, we're going to have a game that focuses on what MK was good at - blood and fighting. Developers have gone so far as to say that this is the first game in which they are "making a conscious effort to create deeper gameplay for more dedicated players of the series and of fighting games in general."

What does all this mean exactly? Here's what we got: 3D characters and graphics, but battle on a 2D plane (let's call is 2.5D, eh?). Arguably, 2D planes add a new depth of challenge along with the feel of the first MK games. We've got move sets, stances and feels that are unique to each of the 26 characters. This means that no one shares animations! Been awhile since we heard that, eh? We've also got a cast that's reduced down the primary characters of the first three MK games (full list given down below). So no copy-cat-characters and lame storylines. Mr. Boon promises fully fleshed out stories with each character. And we've got fatalities back under control. Each character will have two fatalities in addition to being able to perform "stage fatalities" (think back to Eternal Champions in the early 90's). Gone are the days of 100 different fatalities for each character, most of which look just like one another or were just downright stupid. And lastly we've got simplified fighting. No more switching between fighting styles with crazy weapons and combos that get too complex to even remember in the thick of battle.
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