Reviewed: July 20, 2007
Released: May 29, 2007
If you donít know what Mortal Kombat is then you must have been living in a hole for the last 15 years. Mortal Kombat has done so much for the world of gaming beyond just being one of the best fighters on the market year after year. In 1992 when the original Mortal Kombat made its release on the Sega Genesis it was so controversial for its time that it prompted a new system of rating games. These ratings would become the tiny little ESRB ratings that you find in the corners of every game released within the last ten years.
These days we have games like Grand Theft Auto in legislative debates. The difference between Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto is that Mortal Kombat was the first, and no one had ever seen that amount of violence or gore in a video game.
Mortal Kombat has lost some of its appeal over the last few years, due in large part to the abundance of fighting games on the market. Another problem is that the one trademark of the Mortal Kombat series has always been gore, the same gore that appears in most fighting games these days. Itís actually hard to find a game fighting game that doesnít have some kind of blood or intense violence. This hasnít stopped Midway from pushing forward with the franchise and releasing a new game each year.
This year Mortal Kombat finds itself in a new generation on the Wii with Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. The controls that the Wii offers could bring this franchise to new heights, bringing back a new sense of brutality to a somewhat stale series.
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is not a new game. The same game was released last year on PS2, and Xbox. Not that this is a bad thing, but if you are expecting a brand new game then forget it. If youíve played Armageddon previously then you already know that it has every fighter from the Mortal Kombat series packed into one game. Thatís a lot of fighters. The Wii version also gives you one more fighter that the other console versions donít give you, Khameleon.
The roster of fighters is impressive, but that isnít all you get with this game. Of course there is the main Mortal Kombat story where you fight your way to become the tournament champion. You can use the Kreate a Fighter mode to create your own fighter to fight with. There is Motor Kombat, which is basically a kart racing game with Mortal Kombat characters with some blood and gore thrown in. The Konquest mode is an adventure quest where you play as a character by the name of Taven. This mode really adds some extra value to the game and gives you a chance to take a break from the straight-forward fighting and collect some hidden items along the way.
All the features are great and will keep you busy for a long time, but the real shining point of this game is the new control scheme. If you want to you can use a GameCube controller or a Classic controller for more conventional fighting you can, but thatís not why you bought a Wii. You want fluid motion-sensing controls and thatís what youíll get, for the most part.
Armageddon really gets you into the game and simplifies it at the same time. By simplify I donít mean picture book simplify, I mean make it enjoyable, not frustrating. To do special attacks you simply hold the B trigger and flick the remote. You can move it up and down, side to side, or in a semi-circle. Different movements result in different attacks. The great part about this new control scheme is that it actually works. The game registers your movements quite well, and your characters react accordingly. You wonít find yourself getting frustrated and throwing the remote. The new controls donít feel awkward either like some other Wii titles.
The Fatality system has also been redone. I will leave up to the reader to decide if this is good or bad. Personally, I like to enter a button combination, sit back, and watch my character mutilate my enemy. The new system gives you control of what happens. Instead of entering a button combination for a fatality you control the entire thing, hit by hit. Think of it as a combo attack except ten times worse. You are also only given a limited time to complete the fatality. Newer plays may only be able to do a simple one hit fatality, if any at all, while veteran players will be able to do multiple hit fatalities resulting in tons of gore.
The one downfall of this game is the lack of online support. I know that no Wii game has online play but that hurts a port that supports online play for other systems. If your looking to take your game online look elsewhere.
It has become a trademark for the Wii to have mediocre visuals. Mortal Kombat is no different. It isnít bad for PS2 standards, but this isnít the PS2. The Wii is capable of so much more. Character models look average. Environments, on the other hand, have always been impressive in previous Mortal Kombat games. Armageddon is no different. The environments are graphically the strongest part of the game. During the Konquest adventure you travel through many environments including forested areas, caves, and dungeons. Each area looks unique and gives a sense of being in the Mortal Kombat universe.
Armageddon has some of the more cheesy dialogue found on the Wii. It is way overdone, but at the same time itís Mortal Kombat. I couldnít expect anything less than cheesy, barbaric voices talking about the end of the world. It fits, simple as that. The sound effects sound great. Ripping someone in half in the game sounds like ripping someone in half in real life, presumably. The music also fits, but doesnít offer as much to the overall experience as the other sound elements.
If you havenít play this game before on either PS2 or Xbox and you own a Wii then this is the fighter that you must own. It has some of the most responsive controls the Wii has to offer, a ton of featured fighters, and enough bonus material to keep you playing for a long time. The price tag is standard for a Wii game, roughly $50, but it is well worth it. If you have played one of the other versions then I donít see to much reason behind spending another $50 for the same game with one extra character and new controls even if those controls work great.
Itís good to see a Mortal Kombat game that is fun to play and offers a reason to keep playing even when the main story is over. Unfortunately, Armageddon is just another fighter these days. It may have been one of the most popular fighting games of the mid-90ís but that time has long passed. The market is flooded these days and Mortal Kombat doesnít have a proverbial boat to stand on anymore.