Review by ExoM7
"Great for die-hard MK fans, welcoming enough for a newbie"
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is great at what it tries to do - a straight-up fighter, capping off the MK story. It seems like there was a lot of potential wasted and some ideas missing, though, keeping it from being perfect.
Plot/Konquest Mode: Fun. You take control of Taven, as you embark on a quest that tears you and your family apart. It takes about 6-10, maybe 12 hours in total. Frequent save points are a bonus, and puzzles sprinkled around here and there in the earlier levels keep it interesting and not as straightforward. For people who have been following the games for ages, seeing nearly all the old characters make their cameos in the story was entertaining. You travel across several lands, including jungles, icy lost temples, and Hell.
The fighting in one-half of Konquest Mode is using a few types of punches from a third-person perspective (Uppercut, Roundhouse Kick, Throw, Fast Punch) with a few possibilities for combos. To break up what would be monotonous, though, you can use specials (there are 4 of them; you unlock them as you go along in the game) and some occasional wickedly awesome traps and knocking people off ledges and stuff around the areas of fighting. (The highlight of the 30+ hours I spent on this game was throwing unsuspecting enemies into a giant ceiling fan. Winner: Me.) You can also perform Fatalities on dazed enemies, and plenty of other cool moves.
The other half of Konquest is the standard MK fighting - one on one, with all kinds of moves to memorize, and combos to be mashed out. These fights are common, sprinkled about the storyline generously.
There's lots of unlockables - hidden items (60 in total) are spread around the world, and for every 10 you collect, a new character or bonus is unlocked. Also, in chests sometimes hidden around the world, you can also unlock full suits of male and female Elder Gods armor - some very cool looking stuff. Alternate costumes for each character, usable in Arcade mode, are in chests as well.
Overall, gameplay in Konquest mode is solid, but can get very old near the end, where puzzles become rare and the enemies all look the same. Even including monotony, though, it has plenty replay value - you're not likely to unlock everything your first time around, and the unlockables are just cool enough to make you WANT to get them.
Plotwise, I won't include much here for spoilers' sake, but it's standard. A few twists both likely and unlikely to be seen coming are around, and almost every character makes an appearance in Konquest. Overall, unspectacular.
Arcade/Fighting: Ah, the bulk of it. Fighting is significantly better than in previous games, as you now only have to worry about two styles - weapon and fists (and feet, and heads, and thighs, and elbows...etcetera). There's a good number of moves available - enough to not be overwhelming for anybody just starting off, and enough to not let you use every move for a character in just one fight. Along with the moves for these two styles, every character has some special moves, including a teleport move, a throw move, a taunt move, and 2-4 others. Throws are especially nifty manuevers to use on an enemy in the heat of battle.
The arenas in which you fight in are great as well. In some places, there is a special arena-exclusive weapon you can grab, but these are mostly ineffectual. But a lot of traps are around that are very, very effectual, mostly quite grotesque. After unlocking every battle stage, you can have a lot of amusement exploring all of these. You're sure to find a favorite dueling spot of your own.
For Arcade mode itself, it's standard. One of my main disappointments with it was that it lacked different gametypes. All you can do is choose a character, and fight to the top. Great the first few times, of course, but it gets boring after a while unless you're online or with a friend.
Characters: Oh, there's plenty. From Nightwolf to Onaga, Jade to Frost, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, Reptile...along with four new characters unlockable through Konquest or through cheat codes. Big part of why you should buy Armageddon if you're a fan. Gives plenty of variety to Arcade Mode
Other Gameplay: Motor Kombat. It's a great little add-on, allowing you to take one of 10 big-headed characters (Kitana, Baraka, Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and a few others), and race on one of several tracks. Each character has a unique weapon they can drop or shoot or enable to damage the other racers, and every character can bump or get a boost. There's not a lot of variety to be found here, though. The tracks are each cool through two or three races with different characters, with different traps and challenges, but it ends up feeling like what it mostly is - a joke. Fun to play a couple of times with friends or online, but not really a whole new style of gameplay.
Kreate-A-Fighter is addicting, as well. You can do pretty much anything you want with a made-from-scratch guy (or girl). Plenty of clothing options, armor, weapon and move customization, and the ability to take your character online is awesome. Not very much customization with facial features on a normal person, but plenty of face options for other sorts of heads (Flaming Skull, for instance) is cool.
Menu/Layout/Options: Difficulty levels are good, normal delivers a nice challenge, and booting it up to the highest level is insane. The option to turn blood off or up to maximal settings is nice if you're interested in...family-friendly Mortal Kombat? Eh? Nah. Whatchu' talkin' bout? Clean layout.
Sound: Thumbs up. Nothing spectacular musically in Konquest, but a few racing scores are nice, and effects are in the right places at the right times.
Graphics: Not of big importance to me, but Armageddon delivers. Very rich and detailed character models, but the landscapes in Konquest are mostly lacking. It's an original-Xbox/PS2 game, but it'd pass for an early next-gen fighter.
Overall, it's a good game that will be an addiction for anybody for a rental or a week or so, but unfortunately, it doesn't deliver enough to keep your game time occupied for more than that. Replay value is okay in Konquest, and Kreate-A-Fighter and Motor Kombat are amusing. If only Konquest was less linear (not allowing you to go back or free-roam much at all was a minus for me), and Arcade version had more variety, this would be a very awesome series-ending finale. Armageddon goes out with a bang, but not a very satisfyingly loud one.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 01/30/07
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