With a return to the mature presentation and classic 2D fighting plane, Mortal Kombat is the most accessible and competitive MK game coming to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Mortal Kombat further extends the brutal experience with a visually striking story mode that will rewrite the ancient history of the Mortal Kombat Tournament. After centuries of Mortal Kombat, Emperor Shao Kahn has finally defeated Raiden and his allies. Faced with extinction, Raiden has one last chance. To undo the Emperor's victory, he must strike Shao Kahn where he is vulnerable -The Past.
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Mortal Kombat, also known as Mortal Kombat 9 as to not confuse it with the original game released in 1992, was released for the PS3 in 2011. It's the first MK game released for the next-gen consoles and abandons the quasi-3D gameplay of the last 5 Mortal Kombat games and plays strictly in 2D, like Street Fighter 4.
Both a sequel to the last Mortal Kombat game, Mortal Kombat Armageddon, and a prequel to the original MK 1/2/3 trilogy. Raiden, the thunder god, travels back in time to warn his younger self to avoid the outcome of the final tournament held by the Outworld dictator Shao Khan. Upon his return, he realizes that Liu Kang, whose death led to the Armageddon, must be the one to defeat Shang Tsung and his various demigod masters, ending with Shao Khan.
The story mode follows various characters from the events of Mortal Kombat 1 with the tournament on Shang Tsung's island, to the transportation of the human characters to Outworld, to an invasion of Earthrealm by Shao Khan and a host of Outworld warriors. In the twist ending, Raiden's prophetic vision turns out to be a trick, as Shao Khan is supposed to be allowed to win the tournament so that he can gain the attention of the Elder Gods and be punished by these divine beings for violating the sanctity of the different dimensions.
Mortal Kombat runs at 720p and at a smooth 60 fps, an impressive feat for modern console fighters. All of the characters have multiple models and costumes, from classic costumes to full redesigns that represent each "era" of the series. In addition, many of the classic backgrounds from the first three games have been remade to serve as backdrops for the story mode, variously set on Earthrealm, Outworld and the Netherrealm. There are about 3 full hours of story cutscenes that give each character a perspective on the overall story.
In addition to the fully fleshed out story mode, there are the requisite training (including fatality training), online and local multiplayer modes. A new 2 on 2 mode, called "Tag Fighting" allows one player to swap out two characters to defeats his opponent's two characters. The Challenge Tower is a special single player mode that puts various conditions on the fights you undertake, anything from defeating eight opponents in a row to fighting without a head. In the single player mode, the various mini-games from the arcade series, such as Test Your Might/Sight/Strike/Luck reappear. Introduced in the gameplay of the fights is the "super meter" which is built up by performing combos. Once unleashed, your character can execute "X-Ray attacks" which unleash massive damage on your opponents.
Like most Mortal Kombat games, MK9 is loaded with extras. This is based on a system of collectible coins, which are won in the Challenge Tower, one on one fights and in the story mode. These coins unlock costumes, fatalities, concept art, and about half of the game's 27 fighters. On the PS3 version, there are two exclusive downloadable fighters, Freddy Krueger from the horror film series Nightmare on Elm Street and Kratos from the God of War video game series.