Mortal Kombat game series releases newest chapter

By Jeff Mitchell

MCT

In this fast-paced, ever-changing world of ours, the only way to stand out is the bloody disembowelment of your competitors. “Mortal Kombat” (Mortal Kombat 9) revives the dying arcade fighter franchise like an adrenaline needle ripping through the chest of a withering geriatric. This new installment of the long and legendary fighting series brings back the old school feel with a few new and pleasant twists.

This game showcases all the old favorite characters, including Sub- Zero, Scorpion, and Liu Kang from the original game, focusing on the roots that made this nearly 20-year-old franchise so popular. The game play is inviting to new players, so those new to the “Mortal Kombat” series will not feel overwhelmed. This latest installment introduces the X-ray attack feature, which acts as a super move that is unique to each character and delivers crippling blows to opponents. The X-ray attack feature also allows players to see past the skin and into some skull-cracking carnage. This fresh addition spices up the series, which has been getting stale in its past few incarnations.

One element that holds “Mortal Kombat” as a staple in the video game world is its rampant displays of blood and gore. This version of the game surely does not lack any of the original’s fun and exciting methods of execution. Players have a medley of devastating options to finish opponents, from buzz-sawing their bodies into bloody chunks or upper cutting them into pools of acid and watching as the flesh liquefies off their bones; the creativity will leave players satisfied every time.

Something which might be overlooked underneath the mounds of pulped flesh is the story mode. While the fighting aspect appeals to casual gamers, the back story is for true fans. It follows a similar plotline that picks up right from the last game and then takes players down a nostalgia-ridden ride right through the original two films and the past eight games. The transitioning from combat to cut scenes is relatively seamless and really sets a new high mark for storytelling in arcade fighter games. It acts as a tapas platter, where users play as all different characters for three-to-four matches before switching to the next. It is a nice addition to get used to the 25-plus characters who appear.

A new feature is the Challenge Tower, which puts players in various obstacles that test their true might as a player. This seemingly never-ending feature adds a little extra trial for those who feel they are too good for the game’s standard form. Such a feature has been available in other fighters, but it is another aspect that adds more layers to the “Mortal Kombat” fighting style.

The old, simple favorites are there too, like the ladder system in which players climb their way up the ranks to take down the almighty Shao Khan. The Krypt section is also in this game, which separates the bastion of concept art and alternate costumes across four sections of graveyard for users to dig out.

“Mortal Kombat” has been a series which has grown along with the video game industry itself. It stood out as a trailblazer for its use of violence and gore in early games and is synonymous with any discussion over the effects of video games on children. In recent years, the series branched out to comic books, spin-offs, and handheld platforms.

The series even took on the famed DC comic book heroes and seemed to mirror the quintessential aging rock star who surrounds himself with young kids to try to remain cool. “Mortal Kombat” has trimmed the fat off the bloated series and returned to its core values, simple deadly combat topped with bloody dismemberment. The true test is whether the series can keep this new, clean look or if its old ways will spell mortality for the franchise.

Jeff Mitchell can be reached at [email protected]