Once upon a time, the golden oldie of the 16-bit fighting genre, Mortal Kombat
seemed to have everything: the blood and the guts, the yelling and the screaming; and the simple execution of the game. You didn’t need to know loads of combo arrangements, just a few signature moves and – of course – those fatalities.
However, with 3D rushing at it, it was also a franchise that had to evolve or die a crushing, violent, dishonourable death.
So, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
brought a brand new system to the series, helping it to gain a place in the 3D fighters’ sphere. Fighting styles were emphasised meaning that you could use special moves and combos to switch between three stances and a special weapon. Despite the fact that made the simple approach of the series that little bit more complicated, it was successful. In fact, Midway even added a few new bits over time like an adventure mode called Konquest.
And now we have Armageddon
, which is a culmination of the last three games or so, with a little bit of Shaolin Monks
thrown in, and a dash of Penultimate
. Pretty much every character from the entire MK
back catalogue is in for the ride this time, making for a for a fairly beefy character roster.
Playing it with a mate already results in hours of possibilities and moves to choose from. To add variety, every character now only has one fighting style and a combat weapon at their disposal; although there is a small set of throw moves to mix things up.
The joy of Armageddon
, though, is that if you really don’t fancy playing as any of the classic or new characters on offer, you can create your own. The game has “A create a fighter” mode which, while not extensive, does the job. You can at least customise your own combos and fighting styles, as well as clothe your combatant with all sorts of different threads and colours. You can even write a short character back-history.
My attempt resulted in a bulky spandex-wearing superhero called ‘Spectrum’, who had been fused with the colours of the rainbow to defeat his nemesis, Timmy Mallet, in Outworld. Needless to say, he didn’t survive many matches, even after I spent coins collected throughout the game to unlock more impressive skills and clothes.
Which brings me elegantly onto the good old-fashioned modes: the Arcade mode is largely exactly the same as before, only now you get to play as Shao Khan and all the other big bad evil dudes from previous games in the series. The main nemesis is a fiery fella called Blaze who guards the top of a battle pyramid to determine the ultimate Mortal Kombat champion.
The aim is for many of the characters to die, as too much fighting has led the universes to break. Fortunately, Armageddon
doesn’t break with tradition here and just gives you a nice shortlist of fighters you must defeat before facing the big fireball brute at the top of the table.