More fighters than you can shake a stick (or Wii-mote) at
June 8, 2007 – Mortal Kombat has been around for a long time, and its over the top violence is one of the main reasons for current bureaucratic scrutiny of videogames. Its latest iteration, Mortal Kombat Armageddon sought to bring the series full circle for its last current gen version. Released months ago, the game did well critically and commercially. Now, the Wii receives a port of Armageddon and while the gameplay hasn’t been enhanced much by its port, it’s still enough for fans of the series and anyone who hasn’t burned out on the PS2 release.
Armageddon is the final version of Mortal Kombat for this generation of consoles, so the subtitle is appropriate. The story follows the Elder Gods organizing a tournament to thin out the numbers of fighters in the realm, as they’d grown too numerous to control and threatened reality. This storyline sets the stage for Armageddon to utilize every character that has ever appeared in a Mortal Kombat game to date, boasting an impressive roster of over fifty combatants. The Wii version also includes the character Khameleon, the female version of Chameleon from the SNES Mortal Kombat Trilogy, who was notably missing from previous versions of Armageddon and should please fans of the series that complained about her omission.
In addition to the expected fighting, Mortal Kombat Armageddon has a number of other features, including Kreate a Fighter, Konquest, and Motor Kombat modes. All of these were in the previous versions of Armageddon, but are great additions for anyone that hasn’t yet experienced the latest Mortal Kombat. Kreate a Fighter works just as it sounds, allowing the player to construct a fighter from a surprisingly deep list of options. Konquest mode allows the player to play as Taven as he fights to defeat his brother Daegon for the purpose of becoming the protector of the realm. Konquest plays like Shaolin Monks, with the player fighting through legions of foes using trademark Mortal Kombat moves in an adventure type game interspersed with one on one combat segments. Motor Kombat is a racing game in the vein of Mario Kart, but with super deformed versions of the Mortal Kombat combatants. These extra modes create a ton of replayability for the Mortal Kombat game. There are also an insane number of things to unlock during gameplay, including new costumes, characters, artwork, and music.
The main alteration to the Mortal Kombat game is the inclusion of the Wii-mote’s motion sensing abilities. It seems as if the Wii-mote might be awkward to use for a fighting game that relies on precise controls, but the Wii actually works better than expected. You control movement with the Nunchuk analog stick and regular attacks are performed using the control pad. This takes some getting used to but works surprisingly well, although purists may be turned off by using the control pad to punch and kick opponents. Special attacks are performed by holding down the B trigger and gesturing, and all of these moves work pretty much as expected. Most of the attacks require you to flick the Wii-mote up and down, down and up, right and then left, or in quarter circles. The responsiveness is pretty good if the movements are articulated correctly, although there will be moments that the game doesn’t recognize your attempts or misconstrues them and performs the wrong move. The Wii controls do offer the added benefit of allowing you to move and perform a special attack at the same time, since traditional controls (especially charge attacks) wouldn’t allow that. The Wii controls also extend to the new (but generally disliked) Kreate a Fatality, allowing you to use your Wii-mote and Nunchuk in concert to craft an elaborate (but generic feeling) fatality after defeating your enemies. Overall, the Wii controls make a good transition to the Mortal Kombat universe, but gamers dissatisfied with the Wii controls have the option of using either a GameCube controller or the classic controller if they can’t adapt to or dislike the motion controls.
There have been no visual improvements to the game, and since the original came out months ago, the influx of next-gen titles with better graphics makes the graphics look more dated than they should. While Armageddon looks decent, there is nothing in the game visually that will impress or astonish anyone. The sound effects and the voice acting are fairly well done, although the acting in the Konquest mode can be a little hokey at times.
Overall, Mortal Kombat Armageddon is a little better than your average port. The Wii controls work pretty well and the game has always been a solid gaming experience. With the inclusion of the Wii-only Khameleon and the tons of replayability the game offers, fans of the series have a lot to be thankful for, but only if they haven’t already played the PS2 or Xbox versions to death. There isn’t much new here, but if you haven’t played the other version, the Wii is the way to go.