Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2007-06-05


Developer: Midway Games Publisher: Midway Games
Release Date: May 29, 2007 Also On: PS2 & Xbox

Mortal Kombat has long been a controversial game. Ever since its release back in 1992, the game has drawn the ire of parents and politicians alike. Perhaps fearing a backlash, Nintendo forced the SNES version to not include blood due to the family friendly image they wanted to portray. I guess you can say it was one of the more fatal mistakes Nintendo made at the time to alienate mature gamers. The game did better on the Genesis than it did on the SNES (if that's any surprise). Fifteen years later, Midway completely forwent Nintendo's GameCube with Armageddon, releasing it on PS2 and Xbox.

Now that the Wii has become a commercial success, Nintendo is looking at another Mortal Kombat game. This time their so-called new-generation system is getting a last-generation port of a PS2 and Xbox game. By the way, for the cynics out there that renounce last-generation games appearing on new consoles, don't forget that the Saturn and PlayStation saw Mortal Kombat ports as well. The Wii version does not just leave it that though. Well, almost. Other than the Wii controls, they only added on character exclusive to Wii: Khameleon.

Let's start with the good, for which there's a lot more than bad. First off, there are plenty of modes to choose from and characters. I will explain them in greater detail, but to give you an idea of what you will be playing, there is the traditional arcade-style single or multi-player fighting, a Wii specific training mode, a Kreate-a-Fighter mode, a Kreate-a-Fatality mode, an Endurance mode, Motor Kombat and of course Konquest mode. It is important to note that there is no online play in the Wii version, although there is on PS2 and Xbox. Blame Nintendo for making Pokemon the first online Wii game.

Before I go into any more detail, I should point out that the last Mortal Kombat I played was I, II and III back on the Genesis. I played the PS2 version of Armageddon at a friend's house, but never owned any of the 3D Mortal Kombat games. From the many hours that I've played, I have to say that I am impressed with what Midway has done. I found the PS2 controls a little confusing and performing special moves with complex combos was just painful. With the Wii, everything is made simple. More on that in a minute.

If you're nervous about what the controls are going to be like, novices should not fret. Midway include a video to show you the basics of controls and you can practice in a training area. The four directions on the Wiimotes d-pad are used to punch and kick, while the A button will grab. On the nunchuk, the C button equips your character's weapon and Z blocks. The analog stick on the nunchuk is used for movement and jumping. This all works out rather nicely as up and left will act as punches from one of two hands and right and down will kick with one of two legs. It may sound simple, and it is, but you still have an impressive move set to choose from.

The basic moves are all fine and good, but the fun in Mortal Kombat has always been in special moves. Scorpion's “get over here” spear, Sub-Zero's freeze attack and Raiden's teleport. These are signatures of the franchise. Instead of instituting complicated combos that no one ever memorizes, Midway employs the power of the Wiimote to initiate a special move. Simply press down the B button on the Wiimote, wave it left and right, up and down or in a half circle to perform one of these moves. It's quick, it's simple and a genuinely welcomed improvement to fighting games.

Unfortunately, as with a lot of things that are good, there is a caveat. While intuitive for the most part, gestures will sometimes go unregistered. The Wiimote may be an improvement over complex button presses or random button mashing, but the problem remains that it is not always reactive. It might have been my distance from the television set or simply poor recognition of my movements, nonetheless, you will find instances where you are waving your hand without any on-screen response other than getting your butt kicked by your opponent.

Now that I spent three paragraphs solely on controls, let's get a little into the Konquest mode. There's no reason for me to explain what the arcade fighting is like if you've played a Mortal Kombat game before. The action is fast, the levels are many and varied and the character assortment exceeds 60. What you might not know about Armageddon is that it's single-player story isn't played as a grid-based fighter at all. It's in essence a beat-em-up along the lines of a God of War. The moves and controls are even different than the one-on-one arena fights. I was a little surprised by the route they took, but the good thing is that it works and it is relatively entertaining.

If you are a Wii owner looking for a fighting game to hold you over until Super Smash Bros. Brawl comes out this fall, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is the perfect game to fill your time. While I might not have played the other last-generation Mortal Kombats, I must say that I was impressed by this game. It gives me an overall positive impression of where the franchise is going. Sure, online play would have been nice and I really would have loved for Midway to keep the Chess Kombat and Puzzle Kombat from Mortal Kombat: Deception, but we can't get everything we want. Overall, this may not be a game to die for, it's still a helluva an improvement from where things were just a few years ago.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.2
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Reviewed by Kyle Bell