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Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Preview for Xbox
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Mortal Kombat: Armageddon 

Preview for Xbox

- William Usher, " Cyguration ", Senior Staff Writer
Sunday, June 11, 2006 

Review Preview

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Midway Entertainment
October, 2006

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Screenshot Gallery

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Screenshot Gallery

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Screenshot Gallery

With the next-generation well upon us, many licenced properties from past generations seem to be making their way to the new consoles. Before doing the same thing Midway, with long-running series Mortal Kombat, is giving PS2 and Xbox owners one last fatality-ridden romp in the world of MK. This latest installment of MK, named Armageddon, features the largest Mortal Kombat roster in history and it’s offering players a massive Kreate-A-Fighter mode, custom fatalities, and even an enhanced Konquest Mode.

As fore-mentioned, every Kombatant from Mortal Kombat is making a return in this game. There’s an estimated sixty characters who will be making an appearance. The developers are even working out the mechanics for a four-legged fighter. Whether the option of a four-legged fighter will be available in the Kreate-A-Fighter mode is still up in the air, but I’m sure they’ll work something out. Among the players who were showcased so far, included Kung-Lao, Scorpio, Sub Zero, Sektor, Sheeva, Shinnok, Stryker, Taven, Goro, Sha Kahn, Fujin, Jarek, Kai, Kintaro, Rain, Reiko, and Sareena. However, if you’re not satisfied with the large character selection you can easily create your own.

The Kreate-a-Fighter is probably the most anticipated mode of Armageddon. It allows long-time fans and newcomers alike to toss together some of the most original fighters featured in a fighting game. The custom fighter mode is very similar to something you might expect out of a wrestling title, or the character creator that EA uses in most of their games. No worries about the mode being terribly basic, or over simplistic where you’ll end up on-line squaring off against a dozen other clones.

Players can customize a wide-range of variables on their fighter such as gender, their biography, hair styles and color, facial features including the eyes, nose and mouth, body sizes and shapes, upper and lower-body apparel, hand, wrist and arm accessories, leg and feet accessories, and a lot more stuff. Within each section, there is either a scroll bar or several pages worth of various items or features that can be changed or altered. It's very vast.

After getting past the cosmetic alterations and adjustments, it’s time to move onto the meat and potatoes of creating a fighter. When putting together a character’s fighting style, the style itself can be named and players can change the stance their character uses. Afterward, taunts and victory poses may be chosen from a list of well animated custom poses. Then it’s time to put together your fighter’s moves.

What would a good-looking fighter be without a matching fighting style? The developers have taken time out to add a gigantic selection of different punches, kicks, combination strikes and other deadly maneuvers. The move list really is very impressive; whether players are intent on making brawlers, technicians, karate, military, kung-fu, kick-boxing, power, speedy or unique fighters, the list supports a large variety of fighting styles. Players may also choose from a variety of weapons and weapon fighting styles as well. Custom characters have the option of equipping either swords or axes, and there are three of each in both categories. The axe/hammer selection consists of the axe, cleaver, and war hammer. The sword selection consists of the autumn dao, kriss, and ninja sword. If that’s not enough, players can even choose how the character holds and stands with the weapon.

In conjunction with the well-designed KAF, the Midway team has ensured a very smooth fighting scheme. The animations and moves--while performed at arcade speeds--are extremely smooth and well animated. More impressive though is the fact that the frame-rate is up to par with the game’s good-looking visuals, detailed backgrounds, and well-animated characters. This feature is probably essential due to the more in-depth fighting mechanics implemented. This time around, players will have more counter-offensive and defensive-counter moves with the new parry system. Although it’s not quite as advanced as DOA’s, the parry allows players to catch and counter moves tossed their way. This looks especially nice when measured against the speed and fluidity of the fighting itself. The only thing that’s still in question is whether parry moves can be parried while in the air.

Another advancement in MK Armageddon, is the air-fighting system. The aerial fighting mechanics in previous Mortal Kombat games came off well, and offered a new plane of battling opponents. However, this time around fighters are able to sustain the air fighting with lightning fast hops from within the environment. For instance, players can begin a combo that starts on the ground, which eventually pops their opponent into the air. Within a blink of an eye, players can hop up in mid-air to continue the combo. They can then only briefly bounce down to the ground and catapult the falling enemy back up into the air. Of course, back in the air, players may continue a string of combos once again, dishing out even more massive damage. While the feature isn’t quite as fleshed out as the air fighting in DBZ games, it does come awfully close. As there are a lot of aerial acrobatics that would even make Goku blush.

The new features don’t stop there. Another really cool addition to this Mortal Kombat is the new fatality system. Instead of going through the preset, complicated motions in previous games, there is an entirely new setup for doing finishers. Players can execute a finisher through the use 20 different fatality combinations. However, before the final blow, players can rip out body parts, dish out some pummeling, or do other ‘M’ rated violence. The actual finishers consist of decapitations, splitting opponents in half, ripping off limbs, tossing your opponent into one of the nearby stage hazards, and more.

Speaking of stage hazards, like previous MK games, grinders, lava pits, acid, and tons of other deadly obstructions make an appearance in MKA. Stage interactivity is still a high-point during the fighting. Obstacles can be broken down, broken through, or broken into. Knocking an opponent through the wall could lead them outside and down some steps where the fight would continue on. Opponents can also end up through a wall or obstruction that could lead to their death if they happen to land in the wrong place, like on subway tracks. There’s even a conveyor belt, where characters that fall on it will be taken straight to a presser where they’ll be flattened. The hazards continue to make for a good monkey wrench between two fighters, and the Midway team seems to have really fleshed out that aspect of the game.

On a final note, the kind folks at Midway are really going out of their way to make sure the PS2 and Xbox get the absolute most out this final chapter of Mortal Kombat. They even added a story-oriented Konquest Mode with obstacles, platforming, and tons of beat-em-up fighting. Konquest Mode this time around will be as big as ever, and the developers are ensuring that it will be the best yet, featured in a Mortal Kombat game. They’re even working out the details of the on-line mode, so players who battle each other across Live or PS2 On-line will get the most out of the respective service. Lag is a prime focus of elimination, and gamers can hopefully expect a really well-rounded on-line experience with MKA.

You can look for Mortal Kombat Armageddon to hit store shelves for the current gen consoles, including the Xbox and PS2, this coming October.

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