Orlando is known for many things: tourists, bad drivers, strip malls, theme parks, and conventions. Luckily for us, Orlando is a relatively convention heavy city. If you like science fiction, comic books, movies, and gaming, it’s actually not a bad place to hang your hat. Each year at the Orlando Science Center we’re lucky enough to have Otronicon, a convention that focuses on gaming and new technology. I’m happy to say that 2011’s Otronicon is the best yet.
When one thinks of Mortal Kombat, images of excessive gore, fatalities, and Scorpion’s signature harpoon (Get over here!), should pop into your mind. Story has never been Mortal Kombat’s strong suit. As a matter of fact, the stories in the original Mortal Kombat games made little to no sense at all. I’m delighted to let you know that things have changed. Warner Brothers and the folks at NetherRealm (formerly Midway) have done something that has never really been done before, they’ve created an excellent fighting game with a fully voiced cinematic story mode. Before you react in a wave of internet fury and say “You big dummy! Soul Calibur and Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 all have stories!” I’m going to go ahead and agree with you! Those games DO in fact have stories, but they feel tacked on… at best. Most fighting games haven’t moved past the era of animated gif endings. The question remains, why can’t fighting games have great stories? Well you’re in luck, because now they do. Mortal Kombat contains an incredibly rewarding and deep “story mode” that not only helps explain the Mortal Kombat mythology, but also treats the player to a great adventure.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that MK’s story mode sets a new standard for fighting games, because fighting is much better when you know what you’re fighting for.”
The Story – Now I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that you’ll be getting a Bioware level story with massive plot twists and tons of emotional investment, but the story in Mortal Kombat, and how it’s presented is
severed heads above anything we’ve ever seen in a fighting game before. How so? It’s sort of crazy, characters interact, cameras pan, and music swells, it’s an actual cinematic experience… wow, that felt strange to type. The interesting thing about the story mode is that you don’t actually get to choose which fighter you play as, you play as them all. What this means is that you see the events of Mortal Kombat 1-3 through the eyes of close to a dozen different fighters, from Sonya Blade to Raiden himself. Each character has their own motivation and reason as to why they’re in Outland. And while it may seem like “a lot” dealing with so many protagonists, it actually works out quite well due to the amount of time that you’re given with each character (typically three matches lasting two rounds each). Mortal Kombat actually makes the act of fighting more fun by adding actual dramatic weight to the battles that you’re participating in. You’re no longer fighting for a “score”, but for honor, for fallen allies, and for the fate of the whole damn universe! The stakes are pretty high.
Length – MK’s story mode is surprisingly long and took me over SEVEN hours to complete on normal mode. I had an absolute blast and equate the experience to a fun filled B-movie adventure through space and time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that MK’s story mode sets a new standard for fighting games, because fighting is much better when you know what you’re fighting for.