The latest incarnation of the Mortal Kombat franchise to be released in October takes it's trademark "Fatality" system to a whole new level. This time around the finishing moves have become more integrated with the overall gameplay instead of being somewhat of a separate entity. Now not only can you perform brutal life ending moves on your opponent at the end of a match, but players also have to watch their step during each round (depending on what stage you fight on).
The stage fatalities add an interesting dynamic to the fight. It's no longer a matter of playing the offense and trying to find the best way to pulverize your opponent. Instead, players also have to be defensive by making sure they are not lined up with various death traps. The stage fatalities are a throwback to MK games of earlier days and definitely cater to fans of the old finishing system with their cut-scene style.
The match ending finishers are presented in an entirely new way and has been dubbed the "Create A Fatality" system. At the end of the round when you score that final winning blow you have a veritable cornucopia of ways to dispose of your opponent. This new system, somewhat reminiscent of Killer Instinct's combo finishers, allows you to chain finishing moves together allowing you to come up with your own way of destroying your opponent. Once the familiar voice tells you to "Finish Him/Her" a timer and fatality counter are displayed. Each time you successfully execute one of the predefined pad/button combinations your fatality counter increments by one and the timer resets, but the timer counts down faster as your fatality counter increases. This makes performing longer fatalities a lot more challenging.
The fatality is broken down into several components: fillers, transitions, and enders. Fillers are moves that pad your fatality count and consist of things like punches, kicks, and other non-lethal blows. Transitions allow you draw a weapon or move your opponent to another position. This gives the player the ability to execute additional moves not available until after the transition move is performed. For example, to slice off an opponents left arm, you first have to perform the move to draw the sword. Or to break your opponents neck from behind you first have to turn them around. Enders are pretty self-explanatory: they end the fatality and consist of lethal blows like head rips, spine pulls, or neck snaps.
Once you finish finishing your opponent, you are scored on the number of moves performed. The following list shows the fatality count followed by the classification you are given:
1 - Fatality
2 - Deadly Fatality
3 - Killer Fatality
4 - Bloody Fatality
5 - Mortal Fatality
6 - Brutal Fatality
7 - Evil Fatality
8 - Vicious Fatality
9 - Savage Fatality
10 - Extreme Fatality
The new "Create A Fatality" system has a very small learning curve -- I was able to understand and perform complex fatalities in a very short amount of time. One of my favorites finishers that I concocted was groin kick, heart rip, brain rip, draw sword, slice off right arm, arm rip, smack with arm, smack with arm, smack with arm, smack with arm, head rip or decapitate w/ arm. Overall, I feel that it is a fantastic addition to the game and I hope to see it expanded upon in the final release of the title.