A History of Violence: A Look Back At The ‘Mortal Kombat’ Series (Part 5)

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Mortal Kombat Series Summary

On Monday we kicked off Mortal Kombat week here at Game Rant with our choices for the 10 Most Awesome Mortal Kombat Characters as well as published the first installment of our Mortal Kombat retrospective.

On Tuesday, we published our review of the latest Mortal Kombat title and yesterday we continued with our feature, A History of Violence: A Look Back At The ‘Mortal Kombat’ Series – looking at Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Deception, and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks.

For our final installment we’ll look at Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, and Mortal Kombat 9.

We’ll keep updating the stories with links to subsequent installments but, for now, here’s a guide to help you navigate to the other articles in the series.

Mortal Kombat Armageddon Logo

Mortal Kombat Armageddon, released initially for the PS2 and Xbox, and later for the Nintendo Wii, did everything it could to push the belief that this was the end of the franchise. A gigantic character roster, an opening video that featured a massive battle, and a special edition containing a DVD looking back on all of the characters that were part of the series.

Both the Krypt and Konquest made a return – only the Krypt was even smaller and could be unlocked entirely through Konquest. Konquest was now a 3D beat-em-up, taking a lot from the Shaolin Monks formula. A new feature was the Kreate A Fighter mode – emulating the now-popular concept of creating your own character for a fighting game. This extended to the Kreate A Fatality feature, where instead of performing a specific button combination, you could string together a chain of simple commands to kill your opponent. The longer the chain, the more Koins you got.

The fighting style concept featured in the last two games was trimmed down – so that each character had one hand-to-hand style and one weapon style. Finally, a new minigame was included called Motor Kombat – a kart-racer featuring various Mortal Kombat characters.

Mortal Kombat Armageddon Select Screen

The plot of the game was… well, confusing. Apparently, there had been too much fighting among the members of the roster, as the Mortal Kombat tournament was only supposed to take place every generation or so. That had changed in recent years, however, as a result of the increased meddling by sorcerers and other kombatants – as a result, the constant combat was actually putting all of reality in danger. If the battle continued, then all of the realms would be destroyed.

Armageddon was foreseen – and a plan was put into place. Blaze, the mysterious fire elemental, would awaken two demigods when the time was right. Taven and Daegon, two brothers from Edenia, who would then compete to see who could defeat Blaze first. The one to get to Blaze and kill him would become a full god and save the realms from destruction. The problem was that somehow, everyone else caught wind of the quest, and if any of them killed Blaze, they would achieve godlike status instead. So now, in addition to fighting each other, everyone was scrambling to get to Blaze – to secure unlimited power.

Armageddon was unique in that it had every single character in the entire history of Mortal Kombat. The one exception was Khameleon, from the N64 version of Trilogy, and she was later added to the Wii version. The only new characters were the aforementioned brothers Taven and Daegon. The large roster was considered both a positive and a negative. While it was nice to have every fighter in one game, no background information was given – so there was little depth added to any character’s story. Characters who were considered dead, such as Kintaro (killed by Raiden in II) and Hsu Hao (killed by Jax in Deadly Alliance) were suddenly alive and well for no reason.

Mortal Kombat Armageddon Gameplay

Others who were gone for long periods of time, such as Rain and Stryker, were back with no explanation as to where they had been. While some story was given, such as Rain being Taven and Daegon’s half-brother, thus a demigod as well, and Scorpion’s clan being revived as spectres like him, overall, very little information was in the game to help build the overarching canon.

While the lack of a plot was the main criticism of the game, there was also the decrease of fighting styles and lack of original Fatalities that brought the game’s quality down. Overall, the title came across as very rushed. This may have been in part as a result of Midway’s idea of bringing out a new Mortal Kombat title every year. While the game isn’t actually bad, as it’s not very different from the last two in the main series, for a game that was promoted as the end of the franchise, it was a huge disappointment.

Still, it was considered to be the end. Which left the question of “where do we go from here?”. The initial plan was to have everyone killed, except for a few of the popular characters, and start over with a whole new cast.

Then, that plan fell through. Midway began to experience money problems and were desperate to get themselves back on top. They were eventually bought-out by Warner Bros. Interactive. Warner Bros. has a long standing creative alliance with DC Comics. What does this have to do with Mortal Kombat?

Continue reading A History Of Violence: A Look Back At The ‘Mortal Kombat’ Series for a look at Mortal Kombat: Deception and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

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TAGS: Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm Studios, PS3, Warner Bros. Interactive

4 Comments

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  1. Yes! Been waiting on this post, great job. And ask for Armageddon, man I was mainly disappointed about the fatalities and MK VS DC was weak but The Joker was fun to pla ly with. Anyway I’m loving this MK week, can’t stop playing the new one, best MK ever and most fun I have had in a game a long time. MK should be fine as long as they don’t come with a new game every year. Just add some DLC’s for awhile.

  2. Indeed they should space out the next mk game release & focus on adding downloadable content but not just additional characters but other classic stages,classic pit fatalities,classic fatalities,classic costumes & classic special moves.Also great job on the article thanks for sharing keep up the great work!

  3. this new mk’s great except that shao kahn is unbeatable in story mode when you get to use raiden and that makes the overall game completely pointless

  4. There are several inaccuracies in this article. Midway was not bought out by Warner till after MK vs DCU this game was a collaboration between the two companies before the buy-out. Neatherrealm Studios is not a reformation of midway, it is just Midway Chicago being given their own studio identity after Warner bought out most of Midway’s assets due to the bankruptcy.
    Also Neatherrealm Studios is not run by John Tobias, it is run by Ed Boon, Tobias left the franchise around MK4 and only returned shortly to draw a pack-in comic for MK vs. DCU.

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