Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition|
There are very few game franchises that have as lengthy and checkered pasts as Ed Boon and John Tobias’ Mortal Kombat. What began in 1992 as an arcade fighting game released by the once industry giant, now defunct, Midway Games – the Mortal Kombat series was mired in controversy over its ultra-realistic graphics (for the time) and it brutal portrayal of violence. Mortal Kombat made such a ruckus in the early 1990’s that it quickly became the main exhibit for congressional hearings on video game violence helmed by Senator Joseph Lieberman and crew, and later became the target of anti-gaming attorney Jack Thompson. This never stopped Boon and Tobias, who continued to work together on Mortal Kombat until 1999, at which time Tobias left Midway to start Studio Gigante, releasing the Xbox classic fighting game Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus. Boon continued to work on Mortal Kombat, culminating in 2011’s acclaimed blockbuster, simply called Mortal Kombat.
Though technically the ninth Mortal Kombat release, Mortal Kombat (9 or 2011 as fans call it) retells the story of the characters spanning the period of the original Mortal Kombat and going through the sequels through Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3. A series of highly engaging (although annoyingly unskippable) cutscenes to tell the tale of how the first MK Tournament came about; pitting the fighters of the Earthrealm and Outworld against each other (and at times themselves) in a battle to either save Earth, or to destroy it. The story is very similar to the X-Men, in which the all of the characters exhibit some form of extraordinary gift (or curse) – some choose to defend Earthrealm, and others want to destroy it. And just like the comic book counterpart; internal strife and double-crossing is rampant in the world of Mortal Kombat. It is not untypical for a fighting game to feature an overarching storyline such as this, but Mortal Kombat’s story is so detailed and riveting that it rivals most traditional story-based action games.
The controls are ingenious in their simplicity; the four face buttons each correspond to one of the character’s four limbs, the shoulder bumpers are for grabs, and the triggers unleash the special moves. Combos still require a chain of movements and button-presses, but the patters are far less complex than they could be. The characters move with incredibly fluid animations, and the visual effects are some of the best ever seen in a fighting game. I was blown away at the sheer number of colors, the amazing particle effects, and superb shading, all of which give Mortal Kombat – what is technically a 2D fighting game – an amazing amount of depth and beauty.
The icing on the cake comes during special attacks; initiated by the gamer using a full special meter, these video cutaways dubbed “X-Ray Attacks”, show fantastic x-ray views the opponent’s internal bones and organs shattering as they are pummeled. Each character has his or her own special attack, so gamers will want to check out all 31 fighters to see them all. But this is not necessarily a review for Mortal Kombat, as we already covered that a few months back – this is a review for Mortal Kombat Komplete, which is a bit like publisher Warner Bros’ and Developer Netherrealm Studios’ Game of the Year edition of 2011’s Mortal Kombat.
Featuring all of the content from the original 2011 release of Mortal Kombat, Komplete includes all of the additional content and premium DLC that was offered following the game’s original release, including the premium Klassic pack, which included classic character costumes and fatalities. In addition to the twenty-seven characters from the original 2011 release, Komplete adds four previously DLC-only characters in the form of Skarlet, Kenshi, Rain, and last but not least, the classic horror film A Nightmare On Elm Street’s psychopathic killer, Freddy Krueger. Do not get too excited my fellow aging gamers; this Freddy may wear the trademark sweater and hat, and his bladed gloves are still just as sinister as they have always been, but Mortal Kombat Komplete’s Freddy Krueger was modeled off of the 2011 re-make rather than the 1980’s originals, and he looks noticeably different than the character Robert Englund made so infamous all those years ago.
Komplete also offers extra content in the form of Xbox Live download codes for the album Mortal Kombat: Songs Inspired by the Warriors, as well as a code for the original 1995 Mortal Kombat film. Frankly, neither the electronic music tracks, nor the feature-length film, are worth the time it takes to download – even when they are free. And that’s precisely the problem with Mortal Kombat Komplete; while it truly is a kick-ass game (excuse the pun), it is a year-old and includes only a smattering of additional DLC content, yet it is priced as a new game with an MSRP of $60. In an industry where it is commonplace to re-release a game title a year later with all of its DLC at a price generally $40 or less, it seems like Warner Bros may be getting a little overzealous and trying to cash in the cow a second time.
Few would argue that with its 2011 release, Mortal Kombat landed squarely on top of the heap of quality fighting games. It certainly deserves all of the high praise it has received and remains one of the best fighting games in the history of gaming. That being said, for those gamers who skipped the original 2011 release, Mortal Kombat Komplete is a phenomenal fighting game and well worth the $60 asking price. But for those who already own the original title there is little reason to pony up that kind of cash given that the entirety of Komplete’s included DLC can be already be purchased for less than $20. Even the included feature-length Mortal Kombat film has long been available for streaming on all major online services, often for free (or at least included with the monthly subscription), making Komplete’s $60 price tag a bit hard to swallow.