June 8th, 2007
5:43 PM CST -
More than seven months have gone by since the initial release of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Since then, the disruptive release of the Nintendo Wii caught many in the gaming industry by surprise. Studios had waned in their support for Nintendo's GameCube, including Midway with their exclusion of Armageddon for the purple cube. But now with the universal success of the Wii, Midway has put forth a pretty respectable showing in bringing a unique gameplay experience to the Wii with Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.

Judging by the numerous amount of videos Midway released in showcasing the use of "waggle" in the execution of special moves, it's pretty clear how easy it is to perform these moves. With simple back and forth and half circle motions, each character's special move no longer needs to be looked up on a strategy guide or in the in-game moves list. Generally, the motions correspond somewhat to the action being performed by your character. For example, Raiden's torpedo move is performed with an "away then towards" motion. While initially there is a learning curve in being able to perform these moves consistently - practice mode is a great place to hone these skills - the special moves are extremely simple to execute.

While a lot has been made of the special moves and the "Wii waggle" controls, not much has been said about normal attacks and combos. Using the wii remote and nunchuck, the standard four attacks are mapped to the wii remote's d-pad. While the size of this d-pad is small in comparison to the button layouts of PlayStation 2 and Xbox controllers, the ease of performing complex combos remains. In fact, it might be arguably easier to perform combos as the controls are split between two hands independently. Special moves can also be performed by using the standard joystick-button combinations. Down - Forward on the nunchuck's joystick and down on the wii remote's d-pad will fire off Sub-Zero's icy blast, allowing you to choose which motion you feel is quicker or easier to perform.

Perhaps the most worthy of use of the "Wii waggle" is in the implementation of the Kreate-a-Fatality feature. As evident in the list of fatality moves that Midway released, fatalities are extremely easy and very fun to execute. In fact, the Wii version of the Kreate-a-Fatality mode maybe the game's greatest novelty in all of the iterations of Armageddon. What this game really could have used instead of the tacked on Endurance Mode is either a practice mode for Kreate-a-Fatality or perhaps an Endurance Mode that allows you to finish off each opponent instead of having them explode upon defeat. There is something very primitively rewarding when you rip someone's torso off their body by sticking both of your arms forward and lifting up.

Finally, the last modes enhanced with Nintendo's unique control scheme are Konquest and Motor Kombat. Konquest mode doesn't benefit much from the "Wii waggle" feature; however, Motor Kombat does feature a control scheme with or without the nunchuck attachment. With just the Wii remote, holding the controller sideways allows you to turn the remote like a steering wheel, while using the 2 button to accelerate, A button to fire projectiles and the d-pad to bump and change views. With the nunchuck attached, the joystick controls steering while the B button accelerates. Motor Kombat wasn't really all that great to begin with, adding Wii remote controls doesn't really help make this mini-game any better.

All in all, the Nintendo Wii version of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is a great addition to the library of Wii games on store shelves today. If you had previously bought Armageddon for one of the earlier systems, then buying the Wii version isn't a must buy proposition. However, if you felt that Armageddon was a bit overwhelming to play on those other systems, the Wii control system really makes this version a lot more accessible to more than the hardcore fans of the series. As long as you print out the fatalities list, Armageddon for the Wii is extremely easy for people to pick up and play. Given the broader target audience for Nintendo Wii, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon easily fits into that category. Those who decide to purchase this version will not find themselves disappointed.

Reader Komments from the TRMK Forums:

June 13th, 2007 5:17 AM CST - Mads
Thanks for the great analysis of the game. I think the Wii has opened up a huge can of worms for directions to take MK in and the other mobs shall be really looking to rip off Ninty's methods soon.
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