Wednesday, October 25, 2006

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Mortal Kombat Armageddon (PS2)

With the Nintendo Wii little over a month away, the Xbox 360 here already and the PS3 waiting just around the corner gamers won’t have to wait long to see ‘next-gen’ versions of some of their favourite games. But what about those still clinging eagerly to their PS2’s hoping for a few final experiences before they lay their hard earned cash down for an upgrade? One franchise which has decided to give that all needed last hurrah is Mortal Kombat and boy does it go out with a bang (and severed limbs and a few buckets full of blood).

Whether you’re a new gamer or old there’s no way you’ll have missed out on Mortal Kombat in some form or another. Be it classic 50p battles down a local arcade, the blood-free SNES version or even recent 3D efforts everyone should have some experience of the series. If you haven’t then order this game right now as it’s by far the most complete Mortal Kombat you’ll ever experience and an essential starting point for the curious.

What makes it so complete? Well first there’s over 60 fighters which includes almost the entire roster of characters past and present. With so much choice new comers may feel a little daunted but whether it’s a character covered in blood and guts (Meat), an ice cold killer (Sub Zero) or just a comedic extra covered in motion capture balls (Mocap) you’ll find someone you like after a couple of play throughs.

If you can’t find a character you like the look of then you can always use the new Kreate a Fighter mode. Not only is this mode overflowing with options there’s also the ability to assign fighting moves to your character and even map them to specific buttons. In a matter of minutes I managed to create a sword wielding femme fatale, and butch army corporal. There are also extra items and moves that you can use to customise you character which can be purchased with a series of Koins.

Koins can be earned by fighting an arcade mode (fight characters one by one until you reach the ultimate boss) or by playing an updated Konquest mode. In this mode you run along 3D areas and generally get to beat the blood out of anyone who gets in your way. Sadly this mode can sometimes become a test of patience – especially when dodging traps - but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with extra weapons (although these annoyingly can't be used outside of this mode).

Should the fighting get too much Mortal Kombat Armageddon also features by way the strangest diversion since the days of Tekken Bowling – Motor Kombat, a short and sweet karting game with a few of the main characters. Again another fun distraction but it lacks variety and suffers from tracks which are a little too long for their own good.

Whilst not every feature of Mortal Kombat Armageddon is a complete success it’s this variety that really helps make the game an excellent proposition. There’s a lot here to enjoy and plenty to help keep you going until the ‘next-gen’ Mortal Kombat comes along. Fight! You know you want too...

MKA is released for PS2 on October 27th 2006 and Nintendo Wii in 2007.

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