Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
How many console generations have seen this license by now? After a short presentation by Midway themselves in Breda, about a year ago, we can now check it out ourselves. Does it live up to the marketing talk? Is this the best Mortal Kombat yet? Did the devs succeed to make the ridiculous adventure mode from last time a bit more spicy? And – most important – which sick new fatalities are added?
People that have checked out the score already know the answer. Mortal Kombat doesn’t manage to convince, even worse, in some areas it quite seriously drops the ball which makes that even the most positive aspects of MK:A fall on its feet. With the promise that just about every character that ever appeared in Mortal Kombat would be present and that next to that you could even create your own warrior, little could go wrong.
A deep and mostly fun gameplay that characterised the MK series combined with a huge amount of characters and combat styles should have guaranteed an instant top game. But once you look past the dozens of characters you quickly notice there’s little variation to be found when it comes to fighting styles and special moves. Each character can rip hearts out with its bare fists as well as with its favorite weapon, but in the end there’s little difference between the killing techniques.
Little variation in a genre that’s been played to death is almost always a guarantee for a little entertaining game but with MK:A the bad controls add even more agony. The characters react slowly to your instructions and move like trees over the screen. They reminded me of harlequins and a bit of Mortal Kombat 2 on the old Gameboy. Maybe the devs are aiming for this retro feeling but this makes it feel and look very dated for a PS2 game.
Is there really nothing good to say about this game? Yes, there is. The Conquest Mode has been done a lot better than previously and manages to keep you interested for more than 5 seconds and – important – delivers quite a lot of unlockables. Creating your own fighter with its own style is fun eventhough it exists of little more than a combination of the styles and properties of the other characters.
Next to the known single- and multiplayer modes there are some mini-games present and last but not least the “Kreate a Fatality”-system where you can make a finishing move yourself. Where you used to be button bashing and searching for hours through magazines to find the right combinations, you can now map your controller layout yourself. This did leave me with mixed feelings as accidentally finding a fatality used to deliver quite a lot of satisfaction back in the days, a lot more than having your own 5-minute “finishing touch”.
Well, it didn’t really convince me, this Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. Graphically it certainly isn’t a bad game but the way the characters move, added with the lack in variation made that what should have become revolutionary changes to the Mortal Kombat franchise in the end look like nothing more than options you skip. Certainly a missed chance for Midway…