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2D Kombat Klassics

Discussing the 2D MK Klassics: Everything from the Original to Rereleases.
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Mick-LuciferPosted: 02/06/2015 07:14 AMStatus ::
Retronauts Podcast - When Mortal Kombat Jumped The Shark

Animality!Cinema's fractured white knight Harvey Dent warned, "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." It's the perilous reality every long running video game franchise faces, sooner or later. Some series rise to the challenge, enjoying the vigour of reinvention. Others smash face-first into the pounding surf as they descend steeply from their wayward trip across the proverbial shark's back.

This week on Retronauts, the evergreen podcast tackled the subject of When Games Jump The Shark. You'll be shocked and appalled to hear Mortal Kombat among the list - but the Retronauts are taking the good with the bad.

US Gamer's Kat Bailey submits the series for grilling [00:34:38], targeting its first adventure spin-off: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. The topic sparks a debate about the series' lowest moment, with the excesses of its final digitized instalments battling for dishonors. Fret not - as the Retronauts note: there's a happy ending.

Kat Bailey: ... Specifically, when Mortal Kombat got into the [...] kinda the N64/PlayStation era, and started making Mortal Kombat adventures, starring, like, Sub-Zero.

Bob Mackey: I kinda stopped after 3, uh...

Mikel Reparaz: Shaolin Monks was actually pretty good. I don't know if you ever played that.

KB: I never thought Mortal Kombat was that great, but it was definitely a huge game, and--

MR: I would say it jumped the shark before that. I would say it jumped the shark with 3, where it added the run button, and just introduced a tonne of ridiculous palette swap characters.

KB: ... But, 3 was still recognizably Mortal Kombat, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 came out, and most people seemed to really like that. Uh, but then they started making the spin-offs for the N64 - and then Mortal Kombat 4 came out and it was in 3D, and it was pretty bad!

BM: I'm kind of on Mikel's side, where I feel like Mortal Kombat 3 was self-parody, where it's like, 'there's eighteen different ninja palette swaps! And then there's like, babalities and animalities!'

KB: Mortal Kombat was always self parody!

BM: Uhhh... but they brought it really, they brought it really far with 3, I think.

KB: Well, I think they were exhausting the concept by 3, but the Sub-Zero adventures and all that stuff was, uh, pretty much the shark jumping moment.[Mortal Kombat Mythologies!] It actually sort of came back with Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, on the PS2. Because they had an actual kind of good 3D engine.

MR: I think the first reboot.

KB: It brought it back to 'not as bad'. And then there were like three of those. And then finally they rebooted it for real. And now people like it again.

BM: Yeah. Some people like it.

For those who might not know - 'jumping the shark' refers to a phenomenon identified by a 1977 Season 5 episode of TV's Happy Days. When Henry Winkler's icon of cool ("The Fonz") jumped a shark on water skis - the show's ultimate decline was sealed. For this reason, pop culture now views it as the measure of a moment when something has lost its way, forsaking its past strengths with an act of dubious quality.

As noted, Mortal Kombat had started to lose its way by the turn of the century, but bounced back in 2002 with the generational high of Deadly Alliance. If you don't agree that MK3 (1995) or Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997) took the series into realms of frivolity, then the plagued third-person shooter Mortal Kombat: Special Forces is probably your moment. Abruptly released exclusively to PlayStation in 2000 -- may , the Jax centric shooter was an indistinct prequel to the first game, following Jax's pursuit of the Black Dragon clan across the world, and eventually Outworld.

Of course, behind the poorly executed MKSF was a fine idea, which leads Mortal Kombat Online to look later for a 'jump the shark' moment. Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe proved to be Midway's last effort before bankruptcy, concluding with a shallow and unimpressive crossover in the vein of the more memorable Capcom versus Marvel series. 2006's Armageddon may also be remembered for its high stakes, but we have to consider it's follow-up - Mortal Kombat (2011) - as a potential candidate for a clumsy story that rendered the previous mythology dead. A disappointing turn for a fighting game with a uniquely progressing saga.

Listen to the full episode embedded above, or on Retronauts. Register to share your kombat lows (and highs) on the forum! Then jump into the present with all the top stories in the Mortal Kombat X forum!

umbrascitorPosted: 02/06/2015 09:47 AMStatus ::

Rank ::
Nationality::United States
RE: Retronauts Podcast - When Mortal Kombat Jumped The Shark

Well, this should open up the floodgates of fan-tagonism nicely. Popcorn?

Never shake hands with a man who wears his heart on his sleeve. ~ Master Fuji's Fortune Cookie
Mick-LuciferPosted: 02/06/2015 10:53 AMStatus ::

Rank ::
RE: Retronauts Podcast - When Mortal Kombat Jumped The Shark

umbrascitor Wrote:
Well, this should open up the floodgates of fan-tagonism nicely. Popcorn?

I think fans know better than anyone the series has had its ups and downs.

Better The Devil you know...
MK Online Forums: Share your interests, broaden your horizons and support the kommunity with discussion forums for every topic. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
ShingoEXPosted: 02/06/2015 11:22 AMStatus ::

Rank ::
Nationality::United States
RE: Retronauts Podcast - When Mortal Kombat Jumped The Shark

For me, it was Armageddon where it truly jumped the shark. Between the bloated cast with cannibalized move sets, to the "create-a-fatality", which - while touted as a new feature, ended up being a cop out excuse to not give the individual characters their own finishers.

And to top it off, when the final battle with Blaze approached, Taven reaches into the air holding a sword and yells "Mortal Kombat", it felt like a scene from Masters of the Universe. It didn't feel like MK at all.

Hideo_SakaguchiPosted: 02/07/2015 07:14 AMStatus ::

Rank ::
Nationality::United States
RE: Retronauts Podcast - When Mortal Kombat Jumped The Shark

I wouldn't say Armageddon was were the series jumped the shark. I think most of us know that the game was rushed out the door well before it was finished. The game had a lot of potential - being the 3D version of MK Trilogy basically - but Midway's poor financial state and the PS2/Xbox generation being on the way out to make room for the PS3/360 generation caused the game to be forced out the door.

Most people felt the decline started with MK 3 but really took effect with MK 4. I don't know if I would agree with that. MK 3 and MK 4 both had their faults but I thought the core games were still fun.

I guess Mythologies would be a good "jumping the shark" moment as it took the franchise out of the fighting games into the action-adventure realm. It wasn't a really good game and paved the way for Special Forces which is where most fans felt the series ran out of steam. Special Forces was followed by the MK Advance game that was complete garbage too.

I think each of the core fighting games (MK 1-4, DA, Deception, Armageddon, MK 9) were worthy installments. Obviously some where better than others (MK 4 and Armageddon being the two weakest of the bunch) but I don't think any of them were bad enough to kill the franchise.

Must kill Sub-Zero. Whee~
frabnPosted: 02/07/2015 12:01 PMStatus ::

Rank ::
Nationality::United States
RE: Retronauts Podcast - When Mortal Kombat Jumped The Shark

Reading that was painful. Can't imagine what these losers sound like on the actual podcast, and I don't intend to find out.

Love how everyone attacks MKMSZ and neglects to bring up Special Forces, probably one of the worst games ever made. Does it get some sort of pass because it introduced every idiot's favorite character Tremor?

These clowns don't sound like they have any business talking trash about MK...they clearly have very little to no experience with it whatsoever

I've always felt MK went downhill with MK3...the over-the-top goofy BS, unbelievably stupid fatalities...I played the heck out of it because it was MK, but still. MK4 was a lackluster attempt but at least they spent more than 1 day working on fatalities for it. It was a lot more fun that MK3 too.

The series' lowest point was Deadly Alliance thru Armageddon. Its NOT Boon and Co.'s fault...Midway was the crappiest publisher of games that ever existed, they rushed everything...but DA needed at least another 12 - 16 months in development. Deception was barely better. Armageddon was meh. The 3d era of the series absolutely buried it. Mk9 and MKX though? The phoenix from the ashes.

Well, you all got your Tremor now. Can we finally move on?
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