Release Date: 10/11/2006
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Mortal Kombat is one of those series that is loved by all but then pitied. Mortal Kombat has grown over the years but hasn’t quite matured right especially in terms of visuals. Armageddon is kind of a potluck stew of every MK character ever dreamed up. This, being the goodbye game to the beloved series, has over 50 fighters and lots of different modes and is bursting at the seams with content (kontent). Most people will immediately dive into the arcade kombat mode. You will notice there is every fighter imaginable in the MK universe and this includes bosses. Once you pick your character you will see the classic Kombat Ladder and the fight begins.
Once you start fighting players of Deadly Alliance and especially Deception will be familiar with the controls. Mortal Kombat is not really a button mashing fighter and this is why a lot of people hate the series. Because they have to think before they start throwing punches. You can view a full move list in the pause menu, but what you get your favorite combos and the special moves memorized you can start kicking ass. Each character has their own real-life martial arts style plus a weapon style. Deception and Deadly Alliance had two fighting styles and a weapon, but one had to be cut for balance issues.
The controls are extremely responsive and the characters are animated very nicely. While they look a bit like plastic dolls and kind of fight like them the animations are smooth and there is no slowdown. New to Deception were arena traps and this has been transitioned over in Armageddon. You will see either yellow or red lines around certain areas or objects. Yellow means that it’s just a dangerous trap and won’t instantly kill you, but will deal some hefty damage. This can be an air duct that will shoot you through a fan, or get knocked into a bell, or even into a giant egg and have acid spewed on you. Red lines mean instant kills and you need to stay away from them. These can be grinders, deadly pits, or anything that can crush. A lot of the arenas are multi-tiered and these will be marked with yellow lines as well. This really makes fighting intense, and not to mention that the areas look awesome.
Fatalities are still here, as always, but with a twist. The MK team decided to do a Kreate-A-Fatality setup in which you don’t have to press any codes to see a staged fatality. The whole system is pretty complicated since there are transition moves, finishers, and each set goes into the other. You can do up to 11 moves, but you have to end in a finisher move for it to register as a fatality. With each move, your timer bar depletes faster and faster so precision and fast input speed are a must. You can do a few forward chains such as ripping out a heart, brain, maybe a punch or two, then decide to go either into a face down, behind, or on the knees transition. If you have to put that code in then decide if you want to finish or continue from a behind transition set, on the knees, and so on. It becomes very complicated and a lot of people didn’t like this feature calling it “Generic Fatalities” but doing two fatalities for 50+ characters was too daunting so they needed to figure something out.
Besides your core fighting in here the Konquest mode is back and better than ever. Forget the irritating, ugly, and boring one Deception. The team used the Shaolin Monks engine so you get to fight in real-time via grabs, kicks, heavy and light punches. You acquire power-ups throughout the game, as well as perform fatalities by just pressing a button once the enemy is dazed. You can go around collecting relics to unlock hidden stuff in the Krypt, as well as alternate costumes, music, and koins. Sometimes you will run across weapons to hack and slash enemies, as well as doing actual Kombat with characters you run across.
The story is more interesting than any other MK side story that has a lot of mystery wrapped around it. New characters Taven and Daegon awaken from slumber by the call of Blaze (yeah that hidden character in Deadly Alliance). Daegon is trying to find his father while discovering why he needs to fight his brother and how to become the new Emperor of Edenia. Overall the Konquest mode is very entertaining and is a welcome treat.
Another, questionable, mini-game is Motor Kombat which is a cart racing game. This could have been greatly improved on, but it’s entertaining for a while. You pick your favorite MK character (a select few) and run across a star which will allow you to use your weapon or a lightning bolt which is a burst of speed. You can bump people left or right into death traps (marked by red lines). There are jumps and the tracks are laid out differently, but there could have been more power-ups instead of just one set one for the character, and I would have liked the levels to be more alive. Motor Kombat is fun at best with more players, but other than that you’ll forget about it after you play all the stages.
I finally come to Kreate-A-Fighter mode and this has been a huge request by fans since Deadly Alliance. You get a lot of customization options, and you can buy more accessories with the koins you collect from all modes of the game. You can set moves, fighting style, finishing stance, and even write out a bio (pull out that dusty PS2 keyboard!) You can do pretty much anything you want with the character and there are so many items that no one will look the same. There are even some conspicuous items that look like superheroes or real-life heroes as well. You can take your character online and hone your skills against other people’s characters (as of this review Xbox LIVE has been shut off so local play is only possible. Besides even before no one was playing online anymore). This feature is greatly welcomed and is a blast to use.
The Krypt returns for a third time, but simpler. Instead of different kinds of colored koins there’s just one type and you can unlock tons of stuff. Anything from concept art, videos, sketches, alternate costumes, and music. Armageddon is chock-full of content, but it does have its flaws.
For instance the visuals. While they look nice they don’t really push the systems to their limits. The voice acting is terrible in Konquest mode, and like I said before the characters look a bit like plastic dolls and the animations are a bit canned. The Kreate-A-Fatality mode is not welcomed well and I would like to have seen set fatalities for each character. Motor Kombat is pretty lackluster, and it’s obvious the game needs a reboot. I also would have liked to see Chess Kombat and Puzzle Kombat, from Deception, included in here as well, but they are sadly absent. Until then Armageddon should keep fans and newcomers entertained for hours on end.