K is for Kollectibles
One thing that Mortal Kombat
does have in abundance though is collectible and unlockable items which the player can access by completing tasks and collecting 'koins' (which, again, is appallingly spelt).
The unlockables available range greatly from alternate costumes to theme music and extra characters or tracks. All of these are accessed in 'The Krypt', a room filled with tombs that players can spend koins to unlock.
By far the most fun to unlock though are the items to customise player-made fighters, which can be used in an incredibly in-depth character builder which alone almost compensates for lack of depth in other areas of the game.
The 'Kreate-a-Fighter' mode allows almost everything to be altered and tweaked - not just the clothes that a fighter wears. Special moves and basic attacks can both be altered on a player-made character, as can the fighting style they use and the weapons they use.
One thing we found very unusual though was that, of the 60 playable, pre-made characters, only four are locked at the start of the game. It's odd because most beat-em-up games usually offer new characters as the biggest unlockable items, while Mortal Kombat
instead provides a lot of less meaty unlockables, namely alternate costumes and tunes to listen to.
Gore, Gore, Gore!
Graphics are also an obviously another important part of any beat-em-up and gamers ideally want to see the blood flying and the fabulously inexplicable fireworks that occur in some special moves in stunningly high detail.
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Now, in this regard Mortal Kombat
doesn't hold up that badly. While the game doesn't hold up very well against other platform versions of the same game, it still looks satisfactory on the underpowered Wii, which traded raw power for innovation and which has come up trumps thus far in the console wars.
One thing that the Mortal Kombat
series has always been notorious for is the gloriously gory game style, most of which is included in the OTT fatality moves. Again, in this regard Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
does well by its fans. Each punch, slice, kick and fireball in the game summons up lakes of blood which roll thickly down the characters and marks the floor for the rest of the fight.
Opinion in the office was divided in regards to the gore, with some of us thinking that the gore was there to mask poor gameplay and increase appeal to nine year olds, while others thought that it was fun and true to the series even if the blood looked a little fake.
The gore perfectly highlights the entire attitude of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
no matter which way you look at it though. This isn't a game with acres of depth which will appeal to fans of Soul Calibur
, this is a game which tries to balance style, gameplay and replayability all at once.
There are definite times it succeeds at this, with the three main game modes always providing a distraction for ten minutes or an hour, but there are also definite times it fails thanks to poor controls and a general lack of depth in the Kombat and Karting modes.
In the end, Armageddon
is clearly flawed in several areas and doesn't come close to making the most of the Wii's unique capabilities. On the other hand it is the best beat-em-up currently available for the Wii and will definitely be of interest to violent nine year olds.
It is the classic trade-off - it doesn't play as well as something like Soul Calibur
but could quite easily last twice as long if you focused on getting 100 percent complete. Of course, only die-hard Mortal Kombat
fans would put that much effort into a game which is otherwise thoroughly average, balancing off control and game issues with sheer quantity of players and unlockables.