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Fast forward twenty years, and we see a number of fighting games out there, but still no franchise regularly provides a solid fighting experience in a title that comes out on a regular basis. No franchise, except this one. The Mortal Kombat games have regularly continued to be released, and bought, over the years by gamers who, apparently, cannot get the fix they want in violently beating an opponent up in other fighting games. Considering their focus on fighting, that’s a little surprising, but seems to be the way that it is. Now, this newest version of Mortal Kombat is a total homage to the first three that continues to bring a solid fighting system home, along with enough blood to supply an Aztec ritual.

With this new game, the realm of Mortal Kombat has returned home to 2D. It’s a good choice, because the game has so many aspects that are similar to the first three versions that it would be ridiculous to throw them all into a 3D field. Also, there is a new special bar that increases as you do damage, and decreases as you get hit. That bar has three sections that can be filled up, but a player can unleash the entire amount of special they’ve acquired to that point once it reaches the lowest section. That powers up the character’s special moves to be more powerful. If a player wants to use two bars of special, they can escape from an enemy’s hold move, and if they have all three, they unleash an x-ray beam attack that will annihilate the health of their enemy. Having this system of being able to choose your power-up is yet another way that characters have to strategize as they fight.

One of the best things about the Mortal Kombat series is playing with friends, and this one doesn’t disappoint. You can play a battle against your friend on one TV, or you can play online against opponents. Lag online was there, but didn’t affect the games much. There was, of course, no lag playing head to head.

For those gamers that grew up with the Mortal Kombat series of games, this one will certainly feel like it fits right into the lineage. For those who discovered fighting games after them, this is a fighting game with its own style, pacing, and history. If you’re a fan of the fighting genre at all, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try. For if you cannot defeat Shao Khan, then no one Khan.