Zero Punctuation: Mortal Kombat

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The series for me reached its peak at Mortal Kombat 3 on the Mega Drive, definately the best one in the series.

The animalities were just pure genius sometimes.

Actually, with all the crossovers Capcom has done already, I'm surprised they haven't spontaneously collided into something MUGENlike...

Yahtzee was spot on with the comments on relevance, I must say. Mortal Kombat, as a fighting game, seems to be more of a back chapter nowadays than having any real relevance since MK (in my opinion) was more about the violence than about any actual fighting.

Mechanically and competitively, this is probably the best out of the MK's with Ultimate mortal kombat 3 being second. It's fast paced, has mechanics closer to 3d style games (attack strings, and mixups within those strings, emphasis on whiff punishing etc) has a unique way of dealing with zoning, and has a very unique style of meter management. Using your meter for either a breaker, boosting your combos with ex moves, or using an x-ray adds a lot to each characters dynamics. Its great if you want to have something to play with your friends and love some friendly competition. Which is why yahtzee does not like this game.

This is how this game should be played...

Regardless, good review, love your stuff.

UFriday:
Dammit, I was expecting Brink.
Still a BLOODY hilarious review, though.
Love the part with the drunk bar argument.

Brink is best described as "Mirror's Edge without the annoying suicide-jumps and more Team Fortress 2"

Think Im joking? My engi character can hold his own against the entire other team on hard [I have yet to try the online, partially due to the horrendous lag my friends have been having with the game even with the recent update].

OT: Mortal Kombat, the game that for me started the craze of finding the most bullshit combo's and special attacks.

The game that ate up my entire gamer life on the Sega Genesis.

The game that promptly broke my first PS1 due to me playing it every day for about a year.

and yet...

I cant find the need or want to actually play this game. Its not because it's a reboot, its not because I've switched base genre's, its because to me, Mortal Kombat is indeed not relevant in 2011.

Am I wrong to think they would of made a better profit by just making Mortal Kombat an arcade game?

not XBLA or PSN arcade, but I mean "joystick and quarters" arcade.

Someone made a good point about Mortal Kombat, that it's the Painkiller of fighting games. MK never took itself serious and it was all about brainless amuzing limb breaking fights. Nothing wrong on having this games to relax with.

I think Mortal Kombat has stopped being relevant as much as Yahtzee's opinion on games has.

UFriday:
Dammit, I was expecting Brink.
Still a BLOODY hilarious review, though.
Love the part with the drunk bar argument.

Damn, me too. Maybe next week!

Silent Biohazard Solid:
Best fighting game of this generation, by far.

Whether a person likes it or not is their opinion, but to say it's irrelevant is a bit of an ignorant statement, considering that less than a month after its release, it sold 1 million units in the US alone.

I guess since all of BlazBlue games sold less than a million, by far. It's irrelevant as a fighter.

I love fighting games, I've played Melty Blood, Arcana Hearts, Marvel vs x, SF, Soul Calibur, Guilty Gear, and BlazBlue to hell.

I really don't like the new Mortal Kombat, it feels much slower, the character movesets are more generic than games like BB. (Which is already very slow compared to MvC2 and GG)

Granted, it's good for a NA fighting game. But best fighting game of this generation is ignorant. Have you even played every fighting game of this generation?

Sample Match of BlazBlue
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LcxnUT6sww

Noooo! The video refuses to play! I wanna know what he says about this fighting game he obviously won't like because it is a fighting game!

My issue with this review is that several of the "problems" Yahtzee points out are the selling points and reasons for this game. It is meant to go back to the old ways. It is meant to be immature and gory.

No mention of the fact that it has like 4x the amount of single player gameplay most other fighters have?

I knew you would bash it, but I was sure you'd at least mention that.

Random berk:
Meh. Never was a major fan of these fighting games anyway. I liked Deadliest Warrior the game though.

That's a fighting game in the same sense that FFXIII is an RPG. The context is there, but the creator didn't really get it.

OT: I still don't like the weird damage physics in MK. It looked strange back in 1992, looks strange now.

dartkun:

Silent Biohazard Solid:
Best fighting game of this generation, by far.

Whether a person likes it or not is their opinion, but to say it's irrelevant is a bit of an ignorant statement, considering that less than a month after its release, it sold 1 million units in the US alone.

I guess since all of BlazBlue games sold less than a million, by far. It's irrelevant as a fighter.

I love fighting games, I've played Melty Blood, Arcana Hearts, Marvel vs x, SF, Soul Calibur, Guilty Gear, and BlazBlue to hell.

I really don't like the new Mortal Kombat, it feels much slower, the character movesets are more generic than games like BB. (Which is already very slow compared to MvC2 and GG)

Granted, it's good for a NA fighting game. But best fighting game of this generation is ignorant. Have you even played every fighting game of this generation?

Sample Match of BlazBlue
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LcxnUT6sww

I support this statement, and demand that a Guilty Gear vs. BlazBlue game be made ASAP. That way, 2D fighting players will have the best of both worlds (the awesome gameplay of BB, the better characters of GG)

Jesus Christ you morons McFly would CRUSH the guy from Quantum Leap.

DUDE! How can you NOT like the new Doctor Who? The 11th Doctor is awesome! D:

Midget on giraffe porn. THIS MANY DESERVES A MEDAL.

But seriously, another great episode Yahtzee, never change.

gphjr14:
The game mentioned at 4:44 already exists, its called MUGEN.

the Dept of Science:
That thing which Yahtzee referred to in the end already exists. It's called MUGEN.

Uhh... did you guys see the end of the video?

imnotparanoid:
Hey! I like new Doctor who!
And I hate fighting games, what does that make me?

Not the friend he mentioned?

As per the final question, is the guy from Quantum Leap (hereby known as Scott Bakula, the dude that played him) able to leap into someone, or is he just his regular self? Because if he could jump into, say, Kimbo Slice, then the fight would be obvious. Marty McFly would likely lose anyway, though.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

dartkun:

Silent Biohazard Solid:
Best fighting game of this generation, by far.

Whether a person likes it or not is their opinion, but to say it's irrelevant is a bit of an ignorant statement, considering that less than a month after its release, it sold 1 million units in the US alone.

I guess since all of BlazBlue games sold less than a million, by far. It's irrelevant as a fighter.

I love fighting games, I've played Melty Blood, Arcana Hearts, Marvel vs x, SF, Soul Calibur, Guilty Gear, and BlazBlue to hell.

I really don't like the new Mortal Kombat, it feels much slower, the character movesets are more generic than games like BB. (Which is already very slow compared to MvC2 and GG)

Granted, it's good for a NA fighting game. But best fighting game of this generation is ignorant. Have you even played every fighting game of this generation?

Sample Match of BlazBlue
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LcxnUT6sww

I support this statement, and demand that a Guilty Gear vs. BlazBlue game be made ASAP. That way, 2D fighting players will have the best of both worlds (the awesome gameplay of BB, the better characters of GG)

No, this really is the best fighting game this generation or at least the best one to have come out in the past year. You know what MK(9) has that MvC3 doesn't? Content. LOTS of content. Between a great story mode and the Challenge Tower I've gotten hours of entertainment from it and I'm going to be getting a few hours more.

And so what if it's slow? That's just the nature of the beast. Just because every hit box doesn't come out on frame 1 and has 1 frame of lag isn't a bad thing it just means you need to be more careful instead of just spamming your combos like a 'tard. It also makes the online play MUCH more playable.

Additionally, I like having my block on a button.

As a big fan of fighting games for going on 10 years and counting, I greatly disagree with this video... just like I did way back when ol' Yahtzee did a review of SCIV.

In fact, I'm willing to bet that he doesn't prefer fighting games because he's not very good at them (or maybe they really don't appeal to him). But I don't want this comment to end up as a highlight on another "Mailbag Showdown" so I'm gonna stop it here.

Yay, Matt Smith's Doctor Who bashing made this week's episode worthwhile.
Sam would own McFly, unless the latter travels back in time and prevents the experiment, thereby causing the universe to collapse into a singularity.

Kano being an Australian isn't a retcon. He was depicted as an Aussie in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie and probably somewhere in the convoluted mass of trading cards, comics, pogs, and toys that the franchise used to forward the story.

I'm not sure how I feel about someone who dislikes the new Dr. Who. Not liking it as much as the old version? Fine.

Not liking is a different cup of wrong.

This is an excellent review Yahtzee, but you should review Marvel vs Capcom 3 next, I wish to see what you think on that. But, be warned not to play online.. it's a new world of OP *ahem* Anyhow, I actually like the new Dr. Who ..
Plus I was surprised at the start that the game turned out to have 8 characters and so forth until you brought up the point that you were comparing the games with the same game title.

I agree too, Minecraft upgrades every now and then with amazing features so why not a huge fighting game that's fair and upgraded every now and then? Would be really cool to see Wesker fight Scorpian or The Hulk face Nightmare from Soul Calibur. All well, we can only dream right? Great episode overall man.

jck4332:
I forgot Yahtzee was British and by genetics had to watch at least one episode of each doctor who series.

He's Australian, meaning...he gets censored a lot.

At the risk of sounding like a ignorant American, why do you hate Dr. Who? Is it just because he has been reincarnated 14 bajillion times or do you think the writing is bad? Or maybe it's just a British thing, I really enjoy the whole series. (Yes I'm aware bajillion isn't an actual number but 14 is and that's the best you're going to get out of me.)

Kurt Horsting:
Mechanically and competitively, this is probably the best out of the MK's with Ultimate mortal kombat 3 being second. It's fast paced, has mechanics closer to 3d style games (attack strings, and mixups within those strings, emphasis on whiff punishing etc) has a unique way of dealing with zoning, and has a very unique style of meter management. Using your meter for either a breaker, boosting your combos with ex moves, or using an x-ray adds a lot to each characters dynamics. Its great if you want to have something to play with your friends and love some friendly competition. Which is why yahtzee does not like this game.

This is how this game should be played...

Regardless, good review, love your stuff.

I think that's a little harsh, but goddamn were those matches awesome.

Hmm... both of those guys are pro Dead or Alive players. Interesting how they've picked this game up. :P

I wasn't expecting this at all Yahtzee, I was looking forward to what your review of it was going to be. Twas a funny video. Especially the jabs at the original games.

I've been enjoying the hell out of this game, best fighter I've ever played.

Also, lighten up, you should be looking at this game the same way you look at games like Painkiller/Duke Nukem. A revival of a sillier time from the 90's. I laughed at the fatalities and strangely enough the most disturbing part of the game was The Krypt.

But yeah, ofcourse he got it, everybody has been getting it here.

The Youth Counselor:
Kano being an Australian isn't a retcon. He was depicted as an Aussie in the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie and probably somewhere in the convoluted mass of trading cards, comics, pogs, and toys that the franchise used to forward the story.

Technically is a retcon from back then. Since he was originally American/Japanese I believe. After the movie they changed him to Australian in the games since they liked the portrayal. I agree with them.

One point here that really sparked my interest was when it was mentioned that the story cannot continue until you've beaten your current opponent. When the player loses a fight, why not give the option for the player to continue the story while playing as the guy who killed him?

My idea for how to implement this; take a tip from Highlander. When your guy gets killed, your opponent gets his memories. Realizing that your quest was a valid one, he vows to follow your mission through to the end. Okay, the idea needs work, but it would take a lot of frustration out of a game.

Hmmm I think Al would do some research and tell Sam Beckett that Marty can't stand to be called chicken. Beckett would totally use that to his advantage and destroy McFly.

well that was the weakest review in a long long time
but that might not be yahtzee's fault
there is not much to say about such a game
it's as pointless as a review about the newest fifa game

Mortal Kombat isn't one of my favorite fighting franchises, but it's decent. I haven't bought the current one because simply put I hate the way fighting games are being sold today and figured I'd give it a few months and see how much extra DLC they wind up releasing. The annouced DLC policy of Capcom is why I haven't purchused "Marvel Vs. Capcom 3" despite having been drooling over it for a year beforehand.

At any rate, needless to say I can't comment on the game itself, but I do take exception to Yahtzee pretty much speaking in favor of video game censorship and saying this game makes a good case for it, making the overall issue hard to defend. Censorship is one of those things that is male in se, or "evil in of itself", a legal term. There is no way to justify censorship, ever.

To be entirely honest just going by what I've seen of the game, it probably actually deserves a lower rating, the reason being that the violence (and people have been posting it all over the place) is too unrealistic to be believable. I mean we have guys punching heads off and using super powers. It's sort of like the arguement Yahtzee made about the violence in "Dead Space 2" being TOO over the top, given that limbs basically come off with no sense of resistance at all. Even if there is blood and X-rays of skeletons being damaged, the whole effect is just so over the top that I consider it a variation of what they call "cartoon violence". That doesn't mean I'd give it an "E" or "G" rating, but I would definatly say it doesn't count as mature.

As far as why someone won't censor spine breaking super moves, but they will censor showing sex organs like the penis, the big issue basically comes down to common sense, something most of the world doesn't seem to have much of. Generally speaking even if you pump up on 'roids and spend 20 years secluded in some monestery practicing kung-fu, your probably not going to be able to knock someone's head off with a straight punch, any more than your going to be able to throw fireballs. Even before the UFC got so fixated on being a sport and didn't worry about things like weight classes, you didn't see violence on this level because it's pretty much impossible. On the other hand, having sex IS possible, and if you start throwing around uncovered sex organs and people jumping up and down to do the nasty everywhere, that's more likely to be a problem. No sane person is going to get it in their mind to go see if they can practice throwing fireballs or ripping spinal cords out with a single easy motion since (or even sociopaths) there is this little thing called reality in the way, on the other hand your sane person might very well want to go out and have sex, and showing wangs hanging out definatly seems to encourage that behavior or that unrestrained sexuality is okay. Right now teenagers who don't have adult mentalities banging each other and causing pregnancies is a problem, heck it's a problem at the adult level with college students who generally aren't ready to support a family, the last thing we need is more encouragement.

Now to be fair, I'm all for sexual expression, but I believe it needs to come with proper education, I'm one of those people who supports practicing safe sex and educating people in it. I support things like condom and birth control distribution in schools, and the right of teenagers to see sexual counseling and medical services without the parents being informed. One of the problems is that if some kid comes down with the clap or an STD or whatever, there are issues with them wanting to seek medical help, which leads to the problem getting worse (and the start of epidemics) all because they don't want mom and dad or the religious authority of their choice to know that they are taking something like penecilin [SP], never mind why.

See the thing is that you might have Johnny Cage or Duke Nukem whip out their package and shake around... and that would probaly be deeply attractive to women (and before anyone denies this, male strippers make a fortune, and guys in video games represent a very similar physical ideal), but at the same time it's hard to really have that kind of moment when it's not actually supposed to be a male stripper routine as opposed to general eye candy, and say include a message about safe sex without ruining the entire thing.

As a result I tend to rate violence much lower, and being more suitable for the young, than depictions of sexuality. Truthfully for most fantasy and action-adventure stories you generally don't need to go beyond the skimpy costumes and a bit of suggestiveness level.

Of course I'm also one of those people who believes that message of violence are very important nowadays. Right now I think one of the biggest problems the first world, and the US in paticular, has to deal with is the secondary issue of the "civil rights movement" and the baby boomers in general. That is to say the promotion of non-violence, along with tolerance. All this "take my hand, share the land" stuff. In a perfect world this would be the right mesage, but it's not a perfect world. There are limited resources, a population explosion (which incidently comes back to issues about sex), and extreme cultural conflicts with a lot of rising powers believing it's their destiny to pretty much kill and enslave us all and take over the world. Teaching our kids that violence is wrong, is really a bad idea, rather they should be being taught that violence is perfectly acceptable when used for the right reasons. In a real conflict there is no "right and wrong" or something being too cruel or intense, there is only winning and losing, it's all about why you enter into that conflict not what you do once your there. Down the road the last thing you need is some "dances with hippies" kid knee deep in rice paddies, fighting against the Chinese for the preservation of his own country, concerned over the morality of violence.

In most cases, video games are pretty good at setting the stage for the conflicts, if very simplistic. Mortal Kombat, despite some bad writing, does make a very clear division between the good guys and the bad guys. I think it's actually positive that the game shies away from inserting this morality into the combat as well, with both sides doing whatever it takes now that the lines are drawn, with the good guys being just as brutal in pursuit of their goals as the bad guys are in pursuit of theirs.

Ideally of course you should probably find a way of including the equivilent of an ethics class into video games, but that's hardly possible, so we have to make due. I think one of the actual problems leading up to this is that kids study ethics too late in their development. Ethics in an academic sense does not mean teaching someone right from wrong, but an analysis of that concept and verious takes on it, so you can understand where various people are coming from, as well as helping people realize that right and wrong are contextual and in many cases you have to do things that don't have a clear moral solution, along with the realization that over time all of us will do things that are wrong. Kids need to be introduced to classic issues like, what desician do you make if it comes down to saving say one person as opposed to ten if you have to make that choice... easy right, but now what if that one person is your kid and the other ten people are people you don't know, or worse yet a bunch of junkies? Not so easy as you have to weigh the value of family against what is morally right. What's more once you arrive at the basic truth that you will sacrifice one to save ten, how do you approach issues like torture? If your willing to kill one guy to save ten, you really can't argue a moral opposition to torturing one person (who will survive) towards the same goal. Of course this is just ONE way of viewing ethics, you also have the whole issue of ethical consistincy, and the idea that some codes of ethics work perfectly if everyone in society follows them, but when people cease to follow them problems are introduced. This is at the root of conflicts with various "closed cultures" who are enemies of outsiders simply because their system relies on consistincy to function, and once you start dealing with alternative points of view things cease to work. This is the fundemental reason driving conflicts against groups like Islamics, their system works as long as everyone follows the Islamic system, but it doesn't hold up so well with exceptions. Hence why you wind up with a situation where they want to kill and/or convert everyone else, it's not just about religion, but also maintaining the very building blocks that hold their society together.

At any rate I'm rambling, the point is that it's not deeply complicated, but understanding things like that and where various people are coming from (I only mentioned a couple of schools of thought and logic chains, there are literally thousands) provides a context to use of force, as well as when to realistically use it given that just about everyone is right from their own point of view.

That said, in short, I think violence as it stands now in video games is fine overall even if it could be better. I think sex is a bigger cup of tea, and while there are no perfect solutions that I am happy with, I can understand why it's censored more than violence. I also tend to think people who reverse those priorities are fairly backwards. As I pointed out I also think that the existance of gore, spinal breakage, and death does not make something inherantly mature. Indeed I think realistic depictions of violence in a "this can happen, and here is how you'd do it for real" are a bigger deal than over the top gore fests. Something like Mortal Kombat actually shows how messed up the rating systems are.

I'll also say that making games like "Mortal Kombat" and "Splatterhouse" rated for "Mature" or "Adult" audiences is counter productive. These games are so over the top and unbelievable that most parents are going to have no problem with their kids playing them. Heck a 35 year old Gen Xer who has kids, probably has fond memories of playing games like that in the Arcade, looks at them, and figures they are fine for Junior... and they are probably right, as most of those adults are well adjusted. As a result when a game comes along that provides realistic violence, with instructions of a sort on how to perform it, and perhaps a warped message of alternative morality intended to disturb people, a lot of parents are going to miss it since they see "intense violence" and they think "oh it's another Mortal Kombat, stupid censorship Nazis....". It's the differance between say "Splatterhouse" and "Manhunt" or certain crime games and ultra-realistic shooters. More does not mean worse, and I'll say "Manhunt" deserved an "M" rating but most of this other cartoony stuff doesn't. You can sneak up behind someone and kill them with a plastic bag over the head if your buff enough and do it like in that game. You can't turn into a supernatural killing machine and pulp people against walls or burst their heads like balloons. In "Manhunt" the protaganist is a sociopathic sleazebag despite who he's fighting, for all comments about survival, it's doubtful if "James Earl Cash" really deserves to live. In "Splatterhouse" the context is differant, evil mask aside our protaganist is trying to do the right thing, as opposed to being a total sleazebucket.

What's the difference between the X-Ray moves that you have to watch over and over and Supers and Ultras in Street Fighter that you have to watch over and over? Normally, Yahtzee makes really smart criticisms, but here, he was clearly out of his element and made lots of really dumb points.

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