Mortal Kombat Review

By on April 25, 2011

A bloody good fighting game.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

While Street Fighter was all about great gameplay, Mortal Kombat has for the most part been a game that you pick up and play for the “Ooh” factor. Decapitations, blood oozing everywhere, fatalities, and characters turning into dragons and eating opponents – just filled with the sort of things that would make any parent cringe. And it’s exactly all those gory aspects that made you keep coming back for more. Over the years, the series has been offering more of the same and sacrificing gameplay for gore and presentation as the franchise aged. All until DC vs Mortal Kombat, where it pretty much lost out on both gameplay as well as gore.

With this release Mortal Kombat goes old school with a more 2D fighting feel – doing away with the horrible 3D action that we were subjected to in the past. Staying true to the original, the game features loads of gore – expect bone crushing action and enough blood to make even Wes Craven blush. If that wasn’t enough to make a great MK game, it’s also the first to offer genuinely good gameplay. Unlike Street Fighter though, the gameplay isn’t all about super fluid movements and fast paced action, it’s more slowly paced and deliberate. What’s added in is the ability to execute great combos.

Mortal Kombat fans will feel right at home with this game as most of the moves remain the same. Down and high punch will result in an uppercut while back and kick results in a sweep. Power moves are the same as well. What’s added in though is a power bar at the bottom, which is divided into three levels. You power up the bar by executing a move or by taking damage from the enemy. When you’re at level one, you can perform a double power move which intensifies the effect of a normal power move – for instance, Johnny Cage performs two green fireballs instead of one when you perform a double power move. When the bar is at level two, you can perform a block move, which enables you to stop an opponent’s combo. Fill up all three levels on the power bar and you’ll get access to the X-Ray move – a high impact, close-up move in X-ray mode where you can see the damage your doing to the internals of your opponent. Not only are they high impact, they’re also loads of fun to watch and are guaranteed to make you go “Dayyuummmm”.

What also makes the game stand out are the little touches added to the game. Characters start bleeding when hit and clothes tear off as you progress through the fight – it’s the sort of thing that you’re likely to notice when you’re fighting female opponents. Backgrounds in the game are also some of the best we’ve seen in a fighting game. You’ll find dragons in the background, people hung to death on trees and all manners of things that will make your skin crawl just a bit.

The game also proves great for two player tag battles where you can switch between characters in-game. You’ve got the opportunity to chain different moves and this makes for some excellent two-player gameplay.

What we don’t like about the game though is the somewhat strange art style. While characters look great in-game, they look very odd in stills – Kung Lao for instance looks Mexican. The cut scenes are worse and the character models during cut scenes look either great or terribly bad. For instance, Scorpion look great during the cutscenes but Raiden, Johnny Cage and Liu Kang look like constipated mannequins. On the bright side, it’s worthy to note that every woman featured in the game is mandated to show very generous amounts of cleavage – hurrah!!

The game also has a single player story mode which takes you through the first three parts of the series and it’s great for new players to familiarize themselves with the characters as well as the story. The story mode is not very well balanced either – some of the matches are dead easy and then you have insanely difficult boss battles and one vs two battles where the only way to win is to spam power moves or jump and kick continuously.

With those niggles out of the way, Mortal Kombat is a solid fighting game, particularly when it comes to two player battles. While we experienced some lag during online matches, two player matches where an incredibly satisfying experience. The game also comes chock full of extra features like unlockable characters, unlockable fatalities and babalites (an ending move which can be executed instead of a fatality, which will turn your opponent into a baby). You can also go to the Krypt section to unlock content using experience points earned through the story mode.

Overall, Mortal Kombat is a solid fighting game. It has all the elements of a great fighting game – blood, gore, violence and lots of cleavage. While it’s not perfect, this is easily the best Mortal Kombat to date.

The Scorecard
Finally, decent gameplay from the Mortal Kombat series with great combos and well paced action.
Fantastic during gameplay, ridiculously bad during cut scenes.
Crank up the volume. The sound effects are brilliant.
Loads of unlockable content will keep you coming back for more.
Insanely fun to play, particularly in two player mode.
The best Mortal Kombat game till date!


Hitesh is a tech/games journalist and Business Development Manager for the Tbreak Network.

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