First Impressions: The end of the world has never sounded so fun
The Mortal Kombat games have followed a very specific blueprint since the original arcade game was created in 1992. It would be hard for anyone to dispute that. But if you look deeper, you'll also notice that the evolution of the series works very similarly between the first three games and the current-generation trilogy.
Mortal Kombat and MK: Deadly Alliance laid the groundwork for everything that came after. They feature easy to pick-up fighting mechanics, several simple locales and one fatality per fighter. Mortal Kombat II and MK: Deception expanded on everything that was seen in the first one, while adding lots of new ideas. The epitome of bigger, faster and more powerful, the second game in each MK trilogy added interactive stages, more exotic character design, buckets of blood and more gore.
This brings us to the Mortal Kombat 3/MK: Armageddon comparison and the parallels are obvious: Midway is throwing everything except the kitchen sink into the third game to create a proper ?end? to the carnage before the launch of the next generation.
MKA's biggest claim to fame will be that every kombatant from the series' past will return for a final battle. That means all 64 regular characters, secret characters, mini-bosses and bosses will be playable in glorious Kombat (yes, even Motaro). Bringing together the entire lineup of MK characters will be a storyline stretch for a series so drenched in death, but with the Realms beginning to collapse in on each other at the end of Deception because of The One Being, it will probably work out OK.
As if that weren't enough, MKA will also mark the first time that the series offers a Create-A-Fighter. New fighters will have a fully customizable look with dozens of changeable options. Players will also to get to complete their fighter with custom fighting styles, special moves, finishing poses and fatalities. The Create-A-Fatality mode sounds especially fun as Midway will include the building blocks of many former Fatalities (decapitations, hearts rips, explosions, torso rips, etc.) and allow players to chain these bits together into their own masterpiece of mayhem.
Gameplay-wise, MKA will feature the same sort of pickup-and-play style that was featured in Deception? with a few twists. At its base, the game will once again use the ?two fighting styles and a weapon? system. New for MKA however, will be aerial combos and a parry move. Aerial combat will work similar to the aerial combat that was used in Shaolin Monks, allowing players to start battling on the ground, take the fight to the sky and then land a few more hits on terra firma. The parry move will complement the return of the Kombo Breaker system to create another set of defensive options.
One of the biggest problems with Deception was that a good number of the kombatants were locked up in Konquest mode and if you couldn't find them you couldn't play as them. It was rather frustrating, so I'm glad that Midway has said it won't be necessary to play through Konquest mode to unlock any fighters. Of course, you'll probably want to play through Konquest mode after you hear that it is being patterned off of last year's excellent beat ?em up, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.
Finally, we have to end on a sad note. It appears that Puzzle Kombat and Chess Kombat will not be playable in MKA. Instead, Midway has revealed to Official Xbox Magazine that Motor Kombat will take their place. That's right, Mortal Kombat Kart Racing.
The game will offer eight player online (or up to four-player splitscreen) racing with Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Bo'Rai Cho, Jax, Raiden, Kitana, Mileena, Baraka, Cyrax and Johnny Cage making up the field. Like any good kart racing game, each character will have a unique special move to knock out the competition (for example, Sub-Zero can freeze other karts). I think it's a fair trade off.