Review by Archmonk Iga

"Quantity over quality?"

Mortal Kombat fans rejoice, as the final chapter in this generation emerges to be played on your Xbox video game system. Now I'm not one of those fans, but I thought it sounded pretty damn sweet to be able to play as every Mortal Kombat character EVER, plus being able to create your own fighter is very exciting. So I was totally digging this, and bought the game. How did I feel about it? Well, I'd give it like a 5/10, as you can see. But why, you ask? Read on.

PRESENTATION:
It's the end of an era in the MK world—it's ARMAGEDDON!! Who will survive? Who will die? You will never know until you play through all the characters' story modes and see what happens to them in the end. I personally like this idea—have every MK fighter back for a last little “hurrah” and have ‘em all duke it out until a bunch of them are dead. Not much substance in the story here, but it's cool on paper.
PRESENTATION: 8/10

GRAPHICS:
The character models look excellent, with insane detail on each character. They look like some of the best you'll see in an Xbox fighter. It's too bad their animations are so robotic—so much so that it'll remind you of the first MKs, which had VERY clunky animations. Honestly, the characters only look improved in the look and not in the movement. Well, at least the ****loads of blood have made a pleasant return.

The locations look very nice though. They all have activities going on in the backgrounds, such as lava erupting, critters flying around, or gigantic mechanisms spinning around. Not to mention some of them are very big, and provide little slowdown.
GRAPHICS: 7.5/10

SOUNDS:
The music in the various stages of the game is decent, but not memorable. Except maybe the music in that lava level, which isn't a good thing—it annoyed the hell out of me. The sound effects are very nice, however. Blood dripping, blades tearing flesh and bone apart, and bodies getting thrown across the floor never sounded so invigorating. Lastly, the voice acting is very under par. Very few voice actors were used—they were all recycled among the many characters, and were only given random grunts and groans and such. Luckily, in Konquest mode this isn't the case. Every character who makes an appearance has his/her own voice, which is nice (but makes you wonder why they couldn't just do that for the fighting mode).
SOUNDS: 7.5/10

GAMEPLAY:
Mortal Kombat is all about violence, and its latest installment sure accomplishes that. But the big question is: is the game FUN? Well, I suppose it is at times, but the vast amount of potential was far from being reached.

First off, I will discuss the basic game mechanics. I'm not gonna lie, despite the ****ton of characters, their movesets are way too similar for anyone to not notice. Every character has the same basic attacks, combos, and air combos. The only differences in how they fight are in their weapons and their special moves. Now the various weapons each character has are pretty cool, but even those get dull after awhile (plus who wants to be a wimp? Use your fists, goddammit!). And in regards to the special moves, the damage they do is so insignificant that you will rarely need to even use them. So what I'm basically saying here is this: Mortal Kombat is filled with 62 cookie-cutter characters. The big guys are like the little guys, the humans are like the mutants, and four arms are no better than two. This is made even more painfully obvious with the fatalities.

In Armageddon, “Kreate-a-fatality” is introduced. Sounds cool, right? Right! At first, that is… Sure, hearing “finish him/her!” and then tearing your opponents limb off and beating him/her to death with it is no doubt entertaining, but when you do it with every single battle, no matter which character you choose, there's no doubt it'll get old. What happened to the dragon transformation? Or the head-smashing? Once again—cookie-cutter characters.

So now that you know how to play (if I haven't scared you off yet), let us commence with the different modes of gameplay. The story mode and vs. mode are fun at first, but the clunky gameplay will, of course, get old quickly. And your reward for beating story mode? Some dude saying what the character does after you win, as the character does some martial arts moves onscreen. How about a little cutscene? Hell, even still-frames would be better than this.

Midway also added in Konquest mode and “Motor Kombat.” Konquest is basically a lesser version of God of War, and Motor Kombat is basically a lesser version of Mario Kart. Konquest is a story-driven adventure game that doesn't last long, but will provide you with the bulk of the extras that MK:A has. Motor Kombat is actually pretty fun at first, but is also very limited—there are only a few characters and they each only get one special attack. Still, I guess these are fun to play for a little while.

Create-a-fighter is probably my favorite part of MK:A. It is what it sounds like—make your own MK character and use him/her in combat. I loved doing this, but I kinda wish we didn't have to pay for stuff (because earning the money for it wasn't exactly fun—you have to play Story, Konquest, and Motor Kombat to get it). I also didn't like how the body types were so limited. They could be large, medium or small, but they all look like bodybuilders. How about a guy whose muscles aren't insanely huge? Or a guy with a beer belly, or a woman who doesn't look like a female wrestler? And upon completion, your character will, of course, play basically like all the other characters. Not to mention that, unless you have Xbox memory cards, you can only make eight original characters. I make it sound like crap, but it nevertheless is a pretty innovative mode of gameplay. The options are limitless in CAF, and it will take up a bunch of your time.

The characters are there, the gameplay modes are there, but it's the core of the game that brings it down so much. Fighting would be infinitely more fun if the characters actually had some variety in them.
GAMEPLAY: 4.5/10

LASTING APPEAL:
You'll be bored with the repetitious fighting after only an hour of fighting. If you've got a friend or Xbox Live, it may last you a little longer. Plus, the CAF, Motor Kombat, and Konquest will add quite a few hours, especially with the loads of secrets and extras. Still, no matter what mode you play, it'll get very tiring way too soon, because there is so little variety in the characters. Rent or borrow this game.
LASTING APPEAL: 5.5/10

OVERALL:
It's got everything you love to see, but it doesn't use it all the right way. When it comes down to it, MK:A isn't even “just another average fighter.” Compared to most of today's fighters, it's actually below-average. A fun little thing to do here and there, but it just won't hold you like Soul Caliber, Tekken, or Street Fighter. And don't get mad at me for saying this because I'm not an MK enthusiast—many die-hard fans are hating on this game even worse than I am, and that's saying something.
OVERALL: 5/10 (5.4 with decimals)

Thanks for reading =)


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 03/19/07


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