Mortal Kombat 9 kame out recently. Obviously I got it right away bekause I have always been such a big MK fan. I must say I am impressed with what they did with the game. Everything about it feels like Mortal Kombat! Which although seems like an obvious thing to say, if you have followed the series you know that isn’t always the case. Since MK3, Mortal Kombat has suffered some growing pains. They tried going 3D, adding complex fighting style systems and weapons systems and probably more stuff I never even played. This game is a welcome change. Reading hype about this game, the general feel was, they are going back to the roots. No gimmicks with 3D, no “fighting styles” no weapons kombat just back to the classic 2D zany violence. It has been a success.
One of the things I appreciate most about MK9 is the story mode. Yeah I said it, Mortal Kombat story mode. Fighting games aren’t generally known for story, or story modes. Usually you just fight 10 characters in a row and then have a paragraph explaining what your character did after he wins. For a while now the Mortal Kombat series has been trying to make a compelling single player mode. In the last three games they had a whole RPG-ish campaign mode where a character runs around doing collection quests and random battles. Still nothing amazing but more interesting than just fighting characters and having a text ending. In this game the story mode is just a huge cutscene in which you play all of the battles. The story spans the entire history of Mortal Kombat starting with the MK1 tournament. The characters interact in cutscene form and you take control of one character at a time and fight that character’s battles. The story progresses into future MK tournaments up to present day and you watch the story play out the entire time. It works remarkably well! I was practically glued to the story wondering what is going to happen next (Sadly I have NOT been keeping up with my Mortal Kombat lore.)
Other than that, they pulled out all the stops in the rest of the game. They brought back popular and even unpopular mini-games like test your might, and test your sight. They also added new mini-game, test your strike. My one wish is that you could play test your might or sight once every 3 fights just like it was in MK1. Oh well. There is a “challenge tower” where you play a bunch of custom fights and mini-games like fighting without arms, or no blocking, or both player invisible all kinda of random stuff. I remember reading that the tower has 300 levels, which seems insane, it will take me forever to beat that.
There is a game type called test your luck. It’s a 1v1 game type where a slot machine pops up and every reel is a random gameplay effect similar to the challenge tower. I played this several times and I had a game where fireballs rained from the sky randomly hitting players, one of the fighters did bonus damage, the other fighter had “frost armor” and both fighters had no heads. It’s crazy, and fun. I am happy they put this in, it’s great for blowing off some non-serious fighting game steam. It also lets you experience MK in a way you have never thought possible. Like upside down.
They also brought back Kombat Kodes. Remember in MK3 you had all those symbols you could page through in hopes of getting some kind of secret kode? Well they are back and you can get all of the crazy stuff from the challenge tower on a will. One of the fun ones I discovered is “Rainbow Kombat” which makes blood rainbow kolored. I am sure there are hundreds of kodes and I am excited to print out a list so I can use them in my MK sessions. As for the actual combat, I am not a 100% sold on it yet. It seems a little clunky actually. It uses the “dial-a-combo” style from previous MK games and relies heavily on juggles to pull of real damage. The balance is definitely a little off. Some characters feel much stronger than others. But let’s be serious. You didn’t get Mortal Kombat to have a balanced, well-rounded, tournament caliber fighting game. You came for this:
Let’s talk about violence. The game goes back to the roots. OVER THE TOP VIOLENCE. Finally a fighting game feature in-game damage. As you beat up the characters their clothes actually get stained with blood, acid, cinders whatever it is. Also, wounds develop on the character’s bodies and they look like they are taking serious damage as battles go on. Fatalities are very “creative” to say the least and each one is a adventure to discover. They also added these sadistic looking “X-Ray” moves which are almost too visceral to watch. The sound really sells it. It’s a super move you can usually only use once per round when your power meter builds up to max. If your opponent is hit by an x-ray move you are in for quite a show. I pretty much live to lands these attacks.
Mortal Kombat is exactly what you think it is. No gimmicks, no stupid crap, just bloody, gory, classic MK. It also finally has a good story mode and plenty of single player options for you to enjoy. I love this game so much I even made this fatality quick reference sheet! Enjoy.