Fighting games aren't known for their co-op modes. Games like Mortal Kombat, in which a match can end with an "IN-YO-FACE" Fatality move, are based on destroying your opponents. The ninth and latest iteration of the series, simply titled Mortal Kombat, has been billed as a reboot. There are no Deceptions, Armageddons, or DC Comics characters to nullify Fatalities. It's been three years since we've seen the Kombatants, five years since they've been in a proper MK game. NetherRealm Studios has reinvented this brutal fighting franchise for a new generation -and they've added in a ko-op mode, as well. (I promise this is the last time I use 'k' for 'c.' Unless, of course, the game spells it with a 'k.' Then I have to. It's in the rules.)
I was *cough*-teen when the first Mortal Kombat came out, way back in 1992. I even remember when it came out on the SNES and they changed the red blood to gray sweat. Yep, that sucked. Then I fell in love with MK 2, as well as MK 3. If you have fond memories of those early games, as I do, Mortal Kombat was made for you. The Story Mode of Mortal Kombat is a retelling of the events from the first three games, beginning with Shang Tsung's tournament and culminating in Shao Kahn's invasion of Earth Realm.
Mortal Kombat is pure fan service. The sense of nostalgia is palpable. There are no new characters, with the exception of the PS3 version's Kratos. Almost all of the Kombatants are from the first three games. Yes, the cyber ninjas are present. Goro and Kintaro are there, and as of now, unplayable. The stages are all familiar and sport a new current-gen re-imaging. Each of the characters has retained their basic appearance, superhuman though it may be. The women have Barbie proportions, and some of the male cast seem to have been juicing. I don't remember Liu Kang looking so meaty. It looks like Rob Liefeld designed some of the physiques.
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The gameplay is defiantly old-school. You can jump-kick, sweep, and uppercut your way to victory easily enough on the Arcade Ladder. Button mashing can take you far in this game. The difficulty can be set from "Beginner" to "Expert" (or as I like to call it, "Cheater"). Special moves are easy enough to pull off, even with the 360's deplorable D-pad. If you want to see what you're made of, you can take the fight online for one vs one and two vs two matches. Yes, there's now a tag team mode, and I'll get to that later. You can even play a King of the Hill Mode where the winner stays and takes on all comers. A robust tutorial will help you get back into fighting shape. There's even a fatality tutorial, which will allow you to learn one fatality with each Kombatant.
Fatalities. That's what separates Mortal Kombat from other fighters. Sure, Street Fighter may have the icons, Tekken and Virtua Fighter may have the techniques, DOA may have the T and A, but Mortal Kombat has the blood and gore (and a healthy dose of its own T and A). There's actually a statistic that tracks how much blood you've spilt. Fatalities range from "seen it" to "THAT JUST EFF'N HAPPENED!?" Sektor's "Scarecrow" fatality got the game banished until after-hours in my house. (Protip: At full-screen distance press Down Down Forward Back 'X' or 'square,' depending on your console of choice. Extra Special Protip: Don't do it in front of your mom. Seriously. It's like it the fatality was designed by Jigsaw.)