Computer and Video Games has just published a preview of Midway's upcoming action/adventure game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. While the preview doesn't really cover any new territory, it does give a concise look at what is to come. For example, concerning the characters' moves:

Alongside the two playable characters' complete move sets from the original games, developer Paradox has added a host of new abilities, all seamlessly integrated into Shaolin Monk's multi-directional combat engine: Liu Kang's classic fireball, upper cut, flying kick and bicycle kick moves, and Kung Lau's hat throw, spin and teleport attacks, are now joined by special grapple moves and aerial abilities, all upgradeable using experience points you'll rack up during play.

Grapple moves are generally used to chuck enemies around the environments while aerial combat lets you pull off some fancy tricks like slinging would-be assailants into the sky then leaping up to continue piling on the pummelling before either of you rejoin the ground. Of course, in the finest MK tradition, it's possible to combine your arsenal of abilities and do things like hop onto the shoulders of marauding monsters, then use a well-aimed kick to the face to launch higher still and reach previously inaccessible places.

In addition, the preview describes how the puzzle system in MKSM works. From the article:

In fact, despite the game's adventure elements, including new wall-running, climbing and swing moves, combat plays such a huge role that many of the puzzles can only be solved through judicious use of violence. The idea behind this, according to Himmerick, is to avoid the passive nature of most puzzles in other games and give a real visceral thrill when gamers encounter a solution. We saw a whole host of examples in action: in one part of the game, the only way to progress passed a sea of salivating serpents is to wrench up your opponents and sling them straight into the snakes' gullets, until they're satiated. Another of our favourites was a sequence where the deadly duo launched oncoming combatants over the edge of a platform into huge whirring blades - the goal to shatter the blades under all that bodily butchering and reach the lower levels of the dungeon.

In fact, interactive environments play a huge part in bringing the game world to life, with areas including all sorts of breakable bits alongside spikes to skewer your opponents, man-eating trees and catapults - what's more, from our brief playtime with the game, it's evident that all these extra opportunities for malicious maiming add a significant amount of depth to the already impressive fighting focus.

In conclusion, the article has this to say:

At this stage, the whole package is looking very encouraging, with a surprising amounts of depth promised behind the frantic, claret-drenched arcade action. Our initial run through of the game only left us with a few concerns - namely that visually, the whole looks a bit lacklustre, and more troublingly, the almost constant focus on combat started to feel a little repetitive by the time we'd reached the first boss. However, the demo we played was from an extremely early part of the game - the emphasis was clearly on teaching players the basic of fighting while more complex combos and features were kept firmly out of the picture.

To read the preview in its entirety, click here.

Our thanks to forum member KaizuDragon for the heads-up on this preview!