Review by dkalmbac
Mortal Kombat has been around since I was just a lad and I immediately fell in love with it. Ninjas? Check. Four armed beasts? Check. Sweet fatalities? Oh hell yes! It has been pretty much up and down since MK's first installment. The most recent offering, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is surely a low, at least on the Nintendo Wii.
Mortal Kombat games have never been about the story, though we (the fans) do enjoy being humored and do enjoy a story that, at the very least, is entertaining. The opening sequence to MK: Armageddon is actually fairly well done (you even get to see Liu Kang as a zombie!). However the story is pretty week, even for a MK game. In fact, it's mostly forgettable. I just watched and played the game for about six hours and I really don't remember what the story was. There's a bunch of fighting, the realms are going to implode or something, a big (not) scary lava monster emerges on a pyramid and the tournament begins. MK has been pretty good with offering interesting (at least in appearance) bosses, but "Blaze" is anything but interesting. It seems that Mr. Boon and colleagues really dropped the ball on this one.
In Konquest mode, you are Taven- a half god, half human. Your father sends you on a journey and you fight a bunch of people- that's pretty much it, without giving away any spoilers. The story hear lacks any sense of imagination or creativity. It's banal and boring, a major snooze-fest as far as story goes. The story found in Konquest mode is something I'd expect from a bargain bin, no name game, but not Mortal Kombat. Again, MK has never been brilliant with their stories, but if every cut scene makes me think "holy crap, this is awful," then we have a problem.
Music doesn't really add anything to the game. The fighters' noises (grunts, yells, etc.) are up to par in any other fighting game. However, the voice acting in Konquest mode is atrocious. It's like the programmers did the voices themselves and, moreover, didn't really care what they sounded like- they're absolutely horrible.
Seeing as though this game was designed for systems in the prior generation, one cannot hope to see next-gen graphics in this game. However, the graphics are quite bad. I might even venture far enough to say that these graphics would have been considered to be poor if they were on a PSX. However, they're not bad enough to really detract from the game, but then again, I'm not too picky when it comes to graphics.
First, I'd like to mention that I've only used the Wiimote and nunchuck, but I hear that this game is MUCH better with the classic controller or gamecube controller. Because I do not own a classic or gamecube controller, I did not use one for this game (and I don't plan on it either, because I just rented the game).
Kombat Mode: Fighting has its strengths and weaknesses. Using the D-Pad for your attacks works surprisingly well. I thought I was going to have problems with it, but I never did. Parrying upward (i.e., if you parry by pressing up on the joystick) works well, but parrying downward doesn't. Why? Because 25% of the time, you duck and that can be very harmful to your health. My largest complaint is regarding the special moves, which require Wiimote motion sensing. Holy crap, they're useless! My success rate is about a 10% with them. My friend's success rate is probably comparable. For example, for Noob Saibot's shuriken throw, you're supposed to press down on B, then move the wiimote quickly toward your opponent and the away and release B. Well, it never works, and half of the time, it does one of his other special moves, which is done exactly the same, except you move your wiimote away THEN forward. Again, useless. And why couldn't they have an option to turn of motion sensing and instead perform the special moves a more traditional and effective way? Good question- I don't know. Further, executing the special moves take a little bit more time to perform (when they actually work). Sure, the extra time is very small, but, in fighting games, every fraction of a second can count, as we all know.
Konquest Mode: Much of this mode is like a 3D, Streets of Rage type game in that you run around and kill people. You can uppercut, throw, kick, use special moves and even collect Koins, alternate costumes, and other goodies. Contrary to my predictions, Konquest mode is actually pretty fun, maybe more fun that Kombat mode (which surprised the hell out of me). Sure it's not refined, the voice acting is terrible, the story is even more terrible, but it is fun. And every once in awhile, you have to face against opponents, Mortal Kombat style. As far as gameplay goes, though Konquest mode isn't innovative or even refined, it is pretty fun.
Kombat Kart: On paper, this sounds like a great idea. What's fun? Mario Kart. What would make Mario Kart better? Sweeter weapons. I had envisioned Kombat Kart to essentially be Mario Kart, but bloodier and to a certain extent, I was right. There are MANY similarities, but unfortunately, each character has his or her own single weapons and only a few of them are actually effective. Kombat Kart is pretty fun at first, but becomes boring rather quickly. Good idea, poor execution (and keep in mind, my expectations were rather low.
Kombat mode has a low to moderate replayability appeal. Again, if you use a classic or gamecube controller, you may have a better time with the game than I did. Konquest mode has very little replayability. And Kombat Kart has even less.
I commend Midway for bring MK to the Wii, however I can't believe they let this game be sold. I know there have been some weak installments in the MK franchise, but this is a doozy. Also, remember I'm quite biased toward MK games because I love many of the characters so much, so if you're not a particularly big fan, you may dislike the game more than I did, at least if you'll be using WIIMOTES with your NINTENDO WII. I didn't mention this before, but there are a ridiculous amount of fighters to choose from. In fact, there are too many. Who actually wants to be Tanya? Mokap? Chameleon? Come on now, seriously. Also, there's a Kreate a Fighter mode, which as you may have guessed, is where you can create a fighter. Personally, I play MK games because I like the characters and I felt no need to even "kreate" anyone, so I cannot give an opinion on the feature one way or the other.
Also, I suggest renting this game before you even consider buying it. Further, if you have a classic or gamecube controller (or know anyone who does) for your own sake, use it. To those who really enjoy the game, I envy you and am quite jealous because Ed Boon has said that the next MK game will not be released on the Wii, so this may (unfortunately) be the only MK we get on the Wii, at least for some time.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 04/15/08
Game Release: Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (US, 05/29/07)
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