News Archive - November, 2006
GameSpot Posts Mortal Kombat: Unchained Review!

The reviewers at GameSpot have finally got around to giving the recently released Mortal Kombat: Unchained a rather thorough review. Mortal Kombat's debut on the Sony PSP is a rather disappointing one, only managing to score a 6.4/10 (which translates to the term "Fair" by GameSpot's standards). The review cites numerous problems in the game, mainly the lack of change from MK: Deception, increased loading times and lack of online play. Some excerpts from the article:

Though it features an all-new subtitle, Mortal Kombat: Unchained for the PlayStation Portable is basically a straight port of 2004's Mortal Kombat: Deception for the PlayStation 2, with longer loading times and without the online play. Contrary to what you might expect, it's not based on this fall's Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, though it does throw in a few of that installment's added characters. Seeing as there's so little new content in Mortal Kombat: Unchained, it's difficult to recommend to Mortal Kombat fans, unless they really want a version of Deception to have on the go.

Given that Unchained is based on Deception, it includes most of the same relative strengths and weaknesses of that game. So, in addition to the one-on-one fighting game at the heart of the experience, you get a couple of quirky extras in the form of chess kombat and puzzle kombat. The former adds a basic strategic layer on top of the one-on-one fighting, in a nod to the classic computer game Archon. The latter is a competitive puzzle game inspired by the great Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. These were exciting extras in 2004, but their novelty outweighed their quality or lasting appeal, and by now, the appeal will be long gone for anyone who's played these modes before. Unchained also packs in a story-driven mode called "konquest," which gets into a lot of the elaborate, long-winded fiction of the Mortal Kombat universe, with numbingly bad pacing and voice acting, plus tons of pedantic tutorials. Noticeably long loading times bog down these extras as well as the one-on-one fighting, in which you're stuck waiting about 20 seconds in between a typical bout. Thankfully, there's a new endurance mode that lets you take on successive opponents without much interruption, and that about does it for this game's new content.

Mortal Kombat: Unchained is based on a game that was great for its time, and a lot of those great qualities are still in here virtually untouched, though weathered by the passing of time. However, by taking the online mode out of the original version and saddling this port with longer loading times, the result is a handheld fighting game that isn't nearly as appealing as the game it's based on, especially since you can still get the original for bargain-basement prices.

To read the review in full on GameSpot's website, click here.

Thanks goes to forum member for sending this newslead in first!

Midway Ships Mortal Kombat: Unchained!

After a few delays during the passed few months, Midway Games has shipped the PSP exclusive Mortal Kombat: Unchained today! It will be available in most stores by Tuesday (tomorrow) as Mortal Kombat makes its debut on Sony's portable system. From Midway's press release:

CHICAGO, IL – November 13, 2006 – Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment industry publisher and developer, today announced the release of Mortal Kombat®: Unchained™ for the PSP™ (PlayStation® Portable) system. Delivering the most powerful fighting game ever on a portable gaming system, Mortal Kombat: Unchained captures the lethal intensity that helped make the Mortal Kombat franchise the leader in the fighting game genre since 1992.

Exclusive to the PSP system are six new characters, including Kitana, Frost, Blaze, Goro and Shao Kahn. Also exclusive to the PSP is an all–new game type, Endurance Mode, in which players must battle their way to the top against an all–star roster of Mortal Kombat fighters.

Fans owning this system should go pick the game up, as it easily offers more characters, options and gameplay modes than any fighting game previously available on portable systems. To view the press release in full and view a few screenshots from the game, click here.

Thanks to forum member for sending this lead!

Mortal Kombat Featured on GameSpots Tournament TV Tonight!

Over at GameSpot, tonight's installment of their weekly Tournament TV show features Mortal Kombat: Armageddon! Along with the battle between the winner of the Fatal Face-Off tournament and a "special Mortal Kombat guest", there will be a Motor Kombat race involving the GameSpot editors. In addition, though it's not mentioned on the official page itself, Daniel Clark (the winner of GameSpot's "Scream It" contest) is scheduled to fight against Ed Boon live on the show. From the official page:

Tune in Friday, November 10 at 4:00 p.m. PT for a special episode of GameSpot Tournament TV! It'll kick off with a fight between our Fatal Face-Off winner and a special Mortal Kombat guest, followed by a Motor Kombat race against our editors, and more! You'll get to see your favorite GameSpot editors and special guests provide commentary on the action, as well as interviews with some of the top fighters.

The show will start at 4 PM PST, and will be available to stream or download after the broadcast. To visit the official page for this week's Tournament TV, click here.

Our thanks to forum/chat member for giving us the head-up about this upcoming show!

MK: Armageddon Nominated For Spike TVs Video Game Awards!

As the year begins winding down to a close, Spike TV has started their push towards their annual Video Game Awards! This year, Mortal Kombat has once again made the cut; Mortal Kombat: Armageddon has been nominated for Best Fighting Game! As with previous Spike TV Video Game Awards, the choice is made by the fans themselves! On the official Video Game Awards page, you can click on the categories, and by clicking the name of the game itself you can cast a vote for that game. So don't hesitate to head over to the Spike TV Video Game Awards site and help Mortal Kombat: Armageddon walk away with the award!

The Spike TV Video Game Awards air December 13th. Our congratulations to the MK: Armageddon development team for this nomination, and good luck!

To go to the official Spike TV Video Game Awards site and cast your vote, click here.

Our thanks to forum/chat member for letting us know about this award nomination!

GamePro Posts MK: Armageddon Review!

Gaming magazine GamePro have made their review of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon public on their website! This review features one of the better scores MK: Armageddon has received, netting a 4.5/5.0 rank or 90%. GamePro cites the game as "the best since Mortal Kombat 2" and praises it's replay value, speed and pretty much every mode and extra the game has to offer. From the article:

Mortal Kombat vets will immediately notice that the fighting in Armageddon plays much faster than Mortal Kombat: Deception. It's not a dramatic increase in speed, but it definitely makes for a more ferocious fighting experience.

The streamlined controls allow you to dish out the pain and for MK fans that love the splatter, Armageddon keeps the screen covered with a constant supply of gore. And once you've beaten up on your foes, you can finish them off in a variety of interesting ways. Aside from the character specific death blows, every arena has at least one Stage Fatality while some stages feature multiple ways to off your enemy. For instance, in the Battle Arena enemies can be killed in one of four ways: they can be skewered by spikes, grinded by gears, disintegrated by acid, or burned to a crisp. Better yet, you can even string together your own custom fatalities if you like.

But as good as the action is it's the replay value of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon that makes it unbelievable. There's so much to do outside the main arcade mode that you'll feel almost overwhelmed with choices. The Konquest mode feels like a separate game in and of itself. You'll also be able to create your own fighters from scratch to use in the arcade mode, selecting everything from the appearance to their background info.

Though this review is much shorter than others, it does touch upon all the features and extra modes included within the game. To view this latest review in full, click here.

Thanks to forum member for alerting us to this review first!

Pictures From Fight Night 2006
Earlier today, we had an interview with the MK Team Developers - questions asked by YOU, the fans!  We thank the MK team for answering every question asked by us, the MK fans, about MK Armageddon, UMK3 for Xbox, and even future MK games - as well as giving us a glimpse of something we can look forward to. Here are some pictures taken on our trip to Midway's office in Chicago, where we were at to help orchestrate the event which occurred only hours ago:
A transcript of Fight Night was posted on an earlier update, which can be read here.
Ed Boon Confirms MK: Armageddon Character Bios Coming!

At the Fight Night chat event held this evening, Mortal Kombat series co-creator and team lead Ed Boon confirmed that character bios, which were not included in the original release of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, would in fact be available soon on the official MK: Armageddon website. From the chat event:

[23:37:12] <@M4C> On a related note, shinken asks, "Are the MKA bios going to be released online?"
[23:38:03] <+Ed-Boon> Yes. We are going to be releasing the bio's on www.mkarmageddon.com
[23:38:57] <+John-Podlasek> Yeah, in the forums section....
[23:39:12] <+Ed-Boon> You will get the answers to all the questions you've had concerning the Armageddon storyline and perhaps even hints as to where it goes next

We'll be keeping an eye on this story as it develops; as soon as we know more, we'll be sure to report it here! Stay tuned, as we'll soon be posting the transcript from tonight's event and maybe a few pictures as well!

G4TV Announces Future Review of MK: Armageddon on X-Play!

Video game themed television network G4TV has announced that their popular review and preview show, X-Play, will review the latest installment of the Mortal Kombat series in the near future! From the website:

The Rock Out With Your Cockpit Out Episode

Episode #6116

Reviews of Mortal Combat: Armageddon, Flight Simulator X, Age Of Empires III: The War Chiefs, and Guitar Hero 2. Also, we ask why Bode Miller ever got a videogame in his honor.

This review will take place on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 at 8:00pm ET/PT. Be sure to tune in to find out what Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb think about Mortal Kombat: Armageddon!

To go directly to the preview page for the next episode of X-Play, click here.

Thanks to forum member for the lead on this upcoming review!

Pro-G Posts Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Review!

Yet another review of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon out of a European gaming site has surfaced, this time from Pro-G. In contrast to the first European review posted here, Pro-G's seems to be more in line with the major American sites that have reviewed the game during the last month. While flaws are noted, in the end MK: Armageddon scores a 7/10, which is termed "Distinguished" by this site. Among the reviewers positive notes were the large selection of combatants and the Kreate-a-Fighter system:

Speaking of other features, as Vanessa Williams would say, I've saved the best for last (I hope for your sake that you don't get that reference): Kreate-a-fighter. Ever wanted to see Lara Croft in the ring? Or maybe see how well the Terminator would fair against Kahn? Kreate-a-fighter lets you create just about any fighter you can imagine, tweak their aesthetic features, give them their own set of moves, and even write a short bio to complete the full package. Better yet, the sheer amount of outfit options, provided you have the koins to purchase them, is enough to wet any fan's creative appetite. It is worth noting, though, that your creative juices are limited to one fighter per-profile, so unless you want to create multiple profiles and load them up each time, one fighter is all you're going to get.

He notes that while the gameplay has been improved with aerial kombat, the large roster negatively impacts the overall balance of the game and uniqueness of each character:

But having that many characters in one game does have its costs. Instead of having two separate fighting styles and one weapon style like in Deception, most characters are now limited to two in total, with most of the boss characters only having one style to rely on. Granted, it would have been a nightmare for Midway to animate and code that many fighting styles, but it is nevertheless a disappointment. And in case you were wondering, yes, every boss character from Shao Kahn to Motaro has seen a serious downgrade in terms of sheer power, so choosing one of the less intimidating characters over a behemoth like Kintaro will have little-to-no bearing on the amount of damage caused during the fight.

This review also covers Konquest mode and Motor Kombat, but seems to skip over the online playability of the game. Regardless of that, this review is rather lengthy and covers quite a bit of things in much detail. To read the remainder of Pro-G's review, click here.

Thanks to MK Online reader James for sending in this lead!

Eurogamer Posts Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Review!

One of the largest European gaming sites, Eurogamer, has posted their review for the recently released PAL region version of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. In terms of reviews from well known sites, this is the poorest rating the game has received as of yet. In the end, MK Armageddon was rewarded with a 5/10. Numerous issues were cited by the reviewer, including the lack of change from the previous two games and similar looking characters and moves.

Armageddon welcomes back every character ever to have graced the series but with a roster sixty characters strong, don't expect any kind of real balancing. While fans of the series may struggle not to drown in their own drool over this massive cast, anyone even marginally less fanatical won't recognise at least half of them. Much of this number is made up by the huge number of clone characters that were nothing more than cheap additions to the digitised versions and while there's obviously been some attempt to differentiate between them, the fact that so many characters look and play alike is still very much in your face. Some of the bigger characters and bosses have been toned down to be made playable too, so where Motaro was once a giant centaur, he's now lost a couple of feet for his bipedal and far less imposing look in Armageddon.

Strangely, unlike the other major sites Eurogamer mentions the Kreate-a-Fatality system in a positive light, stating it is arguably one of the game's strongest points:

One of the strangest choices with this final MK of the generation is to do away with traditional character-specific fatalities and replace them with the universal Kreate-A-Fatality mode. Once the trademark 'Finish Him!' booms forth, you're now able to string together any number of minor punishments into one huge string of hurt. Much of the lure of each new Mortal Kombat title is going through the characters and seeing what gruesome new ways those bloody-minded chaps at Midway have come up with for putting a full stop at the end of a fight, so to do away with this is really pretty brave. The move pays off though, and while there's only so many times you can enjoy Liu Kang setting someone on fire or Reptile getting his snack on with the loser's limp body, this freeform system is arguably one of the strongest points in the game's favour.

On one final note, the reviewer mentions online play as hazardous for Europeans. From the quote under the second image on the review page:

Online modes are always welcome but expect to get pummeled by Americans who wrongly think that Armageddon is the best thing to happen to gaming since Master Chief picked up a second gun.

To correct Mr. Albiges on this point, PAL and NTSC games can not play one another in MK: Armageddon's online play modes, so it's pretty obvious that this judgement was made without even bothering to test the mode. Despite this slight anti-American gaming bias, click here to read the rest of Eurogamer's article.

Thanks to forum member for sending in the lead on this review!

Midway Announces 2006 Q3 Results!

Midway Games, developer and publisher of the Mortal Kombat series, has announced their results for the three month period between June 30th, 2006 and September 30th, 2006, commonly referred to as Quarter 3 of the year. From the press release:

Net revenues for the 2006 third quarter were $27.4 million, compared with 2005 third quarter net revenues of $29.5 million. The 2006 third quarter loss applicable to common stock was $22.2 million which includes $1.0 million of stock option expense, or a loss of $0.24 per share, compared with a 2005 third quarter loss applicable to common stock of $29.1 million, or $0.33 per share.

In a rather optimistic view of Quarter 4, Midway mentions the already released MK: Armageddon and the soon to be released MK: Unchained for the Sony PSP.

For the quarter ending December 31, 2006, Midway expects net revenues of approximately $86 million and net income of approximately $2 million. For the fourth quarter, Midway has already released Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and Unreal Anthology for the PC. During the remainder of the quarter, the Company expects to release Happy Feet for multiple platforms; The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Rampage: Total Destruction, and The Ant Bully for the Nintendo Wii; Blitz: The League for the Xbox 360; and Blitz: The League Overtime, Mortal Kombat: Unchained, and Rush for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). For the year ending December 31, 2006, Midway continues to expect net revenues of $155 million, and is revising full year earnings expectations to a net loss of approximately $73 million, compared to our prior guidance of a net loss of approximately $70 million. This is primarily due to decreasing margins on current generation titles. The full year guidance includes approximately $3.5 million of stock option expense.

There was also a Conference Call, which took place earlier today, which can be reviewed as seen below:

Midway Games Inc. is hosting a conference call and simultaneous webcast open to the general public at 4:30 P.M. EST today, Thursday, November 2, 2006. The conference call number is (866) 510–0704 or (617) 597–5362 (international callers). The passcode for the call is 82744623. Please call ten minutes in advance to ensure that you are connected prior to the presentation. Interested parties may also access the live call on the Internet at www.investor.midway.com or at www.earnings.com. Please log–on fifteen minutes in advance to ensure that you are connected prior to the call's initiation. Following its completion, a replay of the call can be accessed until November 9th by dialing (888) 286–8010 or (617) 801–6888 (international callers). The passcode for the replay is 79391706. Additionally, a replay of the call will be available for twelve months on the Internet via www.investor.midway.com.

To view the press release in full on Midway's site, click here.

Thanks to forum member for notifying us of these results.

Gamespot Announces Fatal Face-Off XBox Tournament!

GameSpot has offered up yet another MK related tournment, this time an online play Mortal Kombat: Armageddon tournament! This time, the game itself takes the stage as the gaming site announces the Fatal Face-Off MK: Armageddon XBox tournament! From the article:

In FATAL FACE-OFF, sixty four players will have the chance to compete for the top prize and bragging rights as the best Mortal Kombat fighter on GameSpot. Every match will pit two players against each other in a fatal do-or-die fight, so step into the arena and get ready for the most lethal fighting experience ever!

And this time around, we'll broadcast a special episode of GameSpot Tournament TV! It'll kick off with a fight between our Fatal Face-Off winner and a special Mortal Kombat guest, followed by a Motor Kombat race against our editors, and more! You'll get to see your favorite GameSpot editors and special guests provide commentary on the action, as well as interviews with some of the top fighters.

The prizes are as follows:

1st Place - The 1st place winner will receive a gift certificate from Best Buy worth $400. BONUS: If you win the Tournament TV Exclusive Bonus Match versus our special Mortal Kombat guest player, you will receive an additional $200 Best Buy gift certificate!

2nd Place - The 2nd place player will receive a gift certificate from Best Buy worth $200.

3rd Place - The two 3rd place player will receive a gift certificate from Best Buy worth $100.

Registration for this contest begins tomorrow, November 1st, 2006 and all residents of the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec) are eligible to participate. Keep in mind, this contest is for XBox players only. To view the registration page and countdown, click here.

Thanks to forum member for pointing us in the direction of this tournament!