It’s 1992, I’m a teenager in the arcades with my mates and we’re pumping 20p after 20p into the Street Fighter II machine in a vain attempt to beat enough CPU opponents in order to face the final four. Then, from nowhere a cabinet shouts out ‘FINISH HIM!’ and all our heads turn.
That’s my first memory of Mortal Kombat and I’ve been in love with the series ever since. Initially it was the gore and photorealistic fighters, which 25 years ago was absolutely mind-blowing. Then it was the story about a tournament that EarthRealm had to win because they’d lost nine in a row and to lose ten meant the forces of evil could invade and conquer. Of course, that’s not forgetting the introduction of fatalities into the gaming world.
And now, 27 years on, Mortal Kombat 11 is on the horizon. If I’m honest I’ve lost track of whether or not the 11 is accurate. In between deadly alliances, armageddons, deceptions, special forces and mythologies, I’ve forgotten just how many games there have been in series but I’ve pretty much played them all – from the bloodless original on the SNES (Nintendo insisted the graphic be recoloured and declared as sweat) to Mortal Kombat X on the PlayStation 4 a few years ago.
The story is now a delicious mess too. We (EarthRealm – I’m assuming there are no Edenians reading this) won that first tournament, then another, but through various machinations were eventually invaded, defeated that invasion but were then invaded again, then were just about to be defeated but Raiden (Thunder God, very powerful) rewound time to do it all again and make sure we (EarthRealm – keep up!) definitely won everything this time only we didn’t but actually kind of did but now Raiden’s corrupted, heroes are resurrected and fighting for NetherRealm (Hell) and their kids are saving the day. Or something like that.
Needless to say I can’t wait for just how bonkers the next instalment will be.
If you’ve spotted the various reveal trailers doing the rounds, you’ll have seen that the game has continued the evolution that began with 2011’s Mortal Kombat and, including the two Injustice games that NetherRealm Studios also make, looks to move the series on further. The same weighty fighting is intact but the best in the business facial animations and gear selections of Injustice 2 will make an appearance.
As will the eternally over-the-top bloodshed. To say each battle is violent is an understatement; gameplay trailers have shown that it’s even more ridiculous than usual and in glorious 4K to boot. It’s absolutely not for the fainthearted or anyone under 18. In fact it’s almost guaranteed to whip the media into a frenzy on release, just as it did almost three decades ago.
Anyway, that’s enough from me – why don’t you check it out for yourself opposite? Just… make sure you haven’t eaten first.