Blood, Gore, And Hours Of Great Fighting

Mortal Kombat hits a homerun with its latest release.
Author: Andy Curtiss
Published: May 13, 2011
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Once upon a time there was a man who made a fighting game. He made the fighting game different and controversial for its time - it was bloody and especially violent. Lots of people loved the game (and lots of people hated it too, but that's another story). So many people loved the game that the man made another and he listened to what the people wanted: more characters, more blood! Then he made another... and another. And he kept giving the people what they thought they wanted: more stuff. Soon the man realized that he'd totally changed his game. It wasn't even about blood and violent battle anymore. It was about... chess? And racing? And adventure modes? And the inability to use the letter K korrectly? So the man put his foot down and said, "Stop!" And he said unto us gamers, "Ye shalt have your game but on my terms. Ye shalt have blood, but not tons of characters. And ye shalt have 'stuff' but not chess and racing craziness. Ye shalt have... a 'good' game." And it was good. And the gamers were happy!

Alright, all my goofiness aside I am quite obviously talking about the newest installment of the Mortal Kombat series. Technically it would be Mortal Kombat 9. But we've foregone the traditional numbers and simply called it by the name that started it all. Because we truly have gone back there - to the game that started it all. So I find it only fitting, and somewhat poetic, that we simply call it: Mortal Kombat. Though after nine entries in the series I still sort of wish we could spell it with a "c" instead of that cockamamie "k." But that's the English nut in me. Anyhow, I am happy to bring you a review of a fighting game that I hope creates waves and trends and paves the way for the rest of this, my favorite genre, to do some self correction.

Before we continue let me simply state that while I am a fan of the genre (fighting games), I am not a fanboy of the series. And I can already hear one of our editors at TotalPlayStation telling me, "Andy - you don't need to get defensive at the beginning of a review." And he's right - I don't. I just want to put it in perspective for you all. I've liked some of the Mortal Kombat series, ie: MK1, MK2 and of course MK3. But that's where my love affair started to die out. From there the games started to lose themselves. They became this uncontrollable behemoth that just kept assimilating oddities along the way - modes that made no sense, characters that were exact copies of other characters, and no storyline to make you want to keep playing. So I am not going to sit here and spout crap at you as a fanboy of the MK series, but as a lover of fighting games of all flavors.

It’s sort of funny to think of a fighting game as having a story. It SHOULDN’T be funny though – there’s no reason that a fighting game shouldn't have a cohesive story that attracts and holds your attention. At some point we gave companies like Capcom and Midway (back in the day) the signal that we were okay with little to no story. So they took us up on our offer and pumped out games that made no effort to have a cohesive story. NetherRealm Studios has shown us though that this isn't necessary. It’s pretty clear that they worked hard on a story that not only involved your favorite characters, but made them part of the storyline without too much gratuitous nonsense.
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