Saturday, April 16, 2011

Put Up Your Dukes: Mortal Kombat

I like to think I know about a lot of things. I like to think I have good taste in movies, I like to think I know what's going on the world, and sometimes I even like to think that I'm not a jaded cynic who despises how both of the aforementioned subjects have been circling the drain as of late. But if there is certainly one thing I can confidently say I know a thing or two about, it's fighting games. So I've decided to do a little miniseries tracking the fighting games I played, and where I feel that series of games is headed in terms of direction. And we're starting things off with a game I'm sure even the non-video game savvy are sure to recognize: Mortal Kombat.

Now like many a child of my generation, my entrance into the world of fighting games began with a little game you may have heard of called Mortal Kombat. And a simple glance at my background and avatar should be more than enough of a tip off on how much it has affected me. While the gameplay mechanics are simplistic, the story is beyond silly, I still feel that this 2D fighter has an endearing charm to it. I draw an interesting parallel between the Mortal Kombat series and the Star Wars franchise. The original trilogy is praised by nearly everyone who experience them, and then one person in control ended up making the series de-evolve into a generic mess. Plot points were changed and new ones were added, the main character slot shifted over to someone who was originally a villian, it got bogged down with too many unimportant, useless, or irritating characters, and the only way they manage to keep getting fans back for more is with frequent callbacks to the things that made the original works so great. If you have no clue what I'm talking about allot me to illustrate an example:
This is one of the more famous levels in Mortal Kombat 2 called The Deadpool. The gimmeck here is that if you put in a certain input into the controller right before you finish your opponent, you get to give them a nice little acid bath. The level itself is simple and iconic.
 They would later try to retool the level in Mortal Kombat Deception, although much more box shaped this time around to accommodate the 3D fighting mechanic. Difference hear is that any time during the match you can just knock your opponent into the acid. Their skeleton bobs up just like it did in Mortal Kombat 2. It even makes the same noise, I shit you not. 

I don't really have a problem with this on it's own, but the gameplay in the Mortal Kombat games has only gotten worse since they ventured into the realm of 3D fighting. And once John Tobias (who along with Ed Boon are responsible for the creation of the MK series) left after Deadly Allience tanked, control and final say on many decisions was given to Ed Boon. Ed Boon then proceeded to run the next following games into the ground, with the clusterfuck that was Mortal Kombat Armageddon, and the infamously bloodless Mortal Kombat vs DC.
However there is hope on the horizon. The new Mortal Kombat game is swiftly approaching, and it not only claims to return to the series 2D roots, but also acts as a reboot of sorts, getting rid of many of the useless characters added in later games. The fighting mechanics also seem to have learned a thing or two from the Street Fighter series, a series I will be covering next. This is a good thing, because the series is finally getting advances in the right direction, and it might soon have merit as a series in the eyes of the fighting game community. But untill the game comes out all we can do is hope

Well, we can certainly try anyways
With love and lacerations , The Brosidon

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