May 1st, 2000
8:29 PM CST -
As we begin a new month, more information trickles in, regarding the status of Mortal Kombat Special Forces. First off lets establish what we already know. Please take the time to read our January 7th 2000 update if you are unfamiliar with the current situation. Up to date? Ok, lets go.

Mortal Kombat Special Forces is almost done! It seems like all plans to add complexity to this game have been scrapped and this title has been stamped EXPRESS DELIVERY. Aside from basic testing, this title is planning on going gold (off to manufacturing) in the next few weeks.

The storyline has indeed suffered under the chopping block in this game. The high aspirations placed on the title by the original design team have been thrown out. Most of the game's original artwork has been replaced and the game is considerably shorter than originally planned. Furthermore, all of the different branches planned in the game have been thrown out, resulting in Jax becoming the game's only controllable character. This means that Sonya is no longer a selectable character; moreover, plans that allowed you to control Kano in an episode have been tossed. The entire storyline has been changed and is completely linear. So the storyline and actual time period in which the new MK Special Forces takes place is unknown.

It seems pretty odd that all of the sudden Mortal Kombat Special Forces is gearing up for completion already. After all, Midway has been pretty tight-lipped about the game since last year. Perhaps the reasoning behind releasing the game so quickly is because the game is only planned for the Sony PlayStation. It makes sense for Midway to release it as quickly as they can, since software sales for the PlayStation are diminishing as many are anticipating future consoles like the Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Dolphin. It appears that MKSF has become another MK title that has succumbed to the business side of things. On the other hand, perhaps the title could have been worked so that the game is really enjoyable. We just won't know the answer until we get our second look of the game at this year's E3 coming up in 10 days. Don't forget to check out our first look of MK Special Forces from last year's E3.

UPDATE: If you put any weight on EBWorld.com's release dates, they have MKSF PS listed for a 6/28/2000 release.
May 9th, 2000
9:42 AM CST -
As we enter the week of E3, the TRMK Staff is gearing up for this year's E3, May 11-13. TRMK will continue its excellence in E3 coverage from last year with instant updates from the show's floor and immediate postings of screenshots as we get them. We have learned from our experiences last year, and we are more ready than ever to bring you the latest in MK information, faster than before.

But that's not all! TRMK will also be extending its coverage into other select games along with pictures of other happenings at E3. Because of MK's low profile status at this year's show, we are going to be perusing the E3 floor in search of other cool games we think you would be interested in.

Now that we have our new Community Section up and running, we are taking suggestions over on our Message Board of what you would like to find out about MK Special Forces or any other game making an appearance at E3. It is your chance to influence what we do here at TRMK. Click on the discussion bubble to add your suggestions directly to the E3 thread!

If you missed out on our coverage of last year's E3, check out our E3 1999 Show Coverage.
May 11th, 2000
11:00 AM CST -
Greetings from Los Angeles! The TRMK Staff is gearing up for the start of Electronic Entertainment Expo in one hour. We are expecting MK Special Forces to be on display in release candidate form at the show. We managed again to sneak on to the floor yesterday while things were being set up. Unfortunately, we saw no sign of The Grid -- yet; however, we did see a single MK Special Forces station amongst the other Midway games, of which many had multiple stations. Check back with us in a few minutes as we upload MK Special Forces screenshots. Also, don't forget to check back frequently as we are going to be constantly updating, directly from the show's floor.
11:46 AM CST -
We just got our hands on screenshots from MK Special Forces! Hopefully we'll have some more exclusive images for you later in the day, but the show has not yet begun. These will have to satisfy your appetite for now. Check out the MK Special Forces screenshots! Don't forget that you can also click on the pictures to see a larger version.






7:00 PM CST -
Hello again from Los Angeles. We are planning to have our impressions of MKSF online sometime soon. Check back in a few hours for our quick impressions of MKSF. We managed to take some shots of MKSF ourselves; however, we have not been given the green light to go ahead and post them. The game is exactly as we described in our earlier MKSF Update. The full details are forthcoming.

Just to make things clear, The Grid is not at the show; however, the marquee was on a piece of Midway press literature. Anyway, we are still monitoring the message board. So, if you want to find out anything about MKSF, just drop by and post a message and we'll try to get the answers to you.
7:09 PM CST -
We have gotten a hold of a marquee and release date for Midway's new arcade first person shooter! The Grid will be debuting in arcades this August. Expect to hear more about The Grid very soon as more information becomes available.



May 12th, 2000
1:27 PM CST -
With the rise in popularity in games like Metal Gear Solid, it would appear that no title is safe from being influenced by its gameplay. With the addition of a first-person perspective button, such is the case with Mortal Kombat Special Forces. While you traverse the various levels, you have the option of holding a button to see the environment through Jax's eyes. It is an interesting feature in an MK title, but it has its flaws.

Amongst these flaws is the inability to walk around while in first-person mode. You can move your head and fire your weapon, but that's it. We also had trouble navigating the levels because of the games dark surroundings. Doors are difficult to see and enemies often attack you from off screen with no indication of their location.

The good news is that Jax has a few of his old moves like the ground pound and dash punch. He also has a myriad of weapons in his arsenal, consisting of: a 9mm machine gun, shotgun, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, detonator explosives, and a sniper rifle. In addition, there is a combo system that allows finishing moves to be executed at the end of a combo.

Check back later in the day for a more in-depth preview of the game.

May 15th, 2000
8:17 AM CST -
The network serving the LA Convention Center was down the entire day Friday. We managed to get those few updates early in the morning via a modem connection. The promised in-depth feature has been written; however, it is to be hosted on GameSpot's E3News.com. Unfortunately, GameSpot was having their own share of problems beginning the first day of the show. The new layout and backend collapsed under the traffic and was being worked on the entire show. The content is ready and everything seems to be fixed, but updates are only trickling in.

Regarding your questions, Ed Boon appeared to be absent from the show. As a result, none of your questions regarding MK5 were able to be answered. We did, however, find out that the arcade development teams are not allowed to work on multiple arcade projects at the same time. So that probably means that MK5 is still only in the imaginative stages, while Ed finishes up The Grid.

Finally, MK Special Forces will most likely not be the last in the series of adventure-based MK fighting games. We are pretty certain that Midway has no plans to end the Mortal Kombat adventure game genre. As far as we know, the MK adventure-fighting games are still viable in the future.

As soon as the full impression appears, we'll have the link to it.
May 16th, 2000
3:47 PM CST -
A picture of what looks like the title screen of The Grid has made an appearance over at noob.com. Something we noticed about the marquee and this new title screen is the presence of a red, white and blue icon of a person holding a gun. This icon is similar to the icon used by sports organizations like the MLB and the NBA. This may be a clue to its similarities to the game Smash TV. The Grid probably has a sports entertainment like atmosphere with a touch of extreme violence by the use of guns in some form of arena or maze battle.
3:56 PM CST -
Since GameSpot is still having problems with their backend, here is a direct link to the Full Hands-on Preview of MK Special Forces I wrote for GameSpot. I have also been informed by Midway that the official release date is June 27th, 2000. Here is a snippet from the preview.


MK Special Forces features five levels, each containing about three sub-levels. Each level is in a different location: a warehouse, canyons, sewers, tunnels, and the Outworld. You start out in the warehouse of the Black Dragon, Kano's evil crime squad. Your mission objectives are sent to you via a personal communicator which flashes at the bottom left of the screen. In the first level, your mission is to infiltrate the Black Dragon's warehouse and recover the nuclear warhead stolen from the Special Forces. Throughout the levels, Jax has to find keycards and jewels, hit switches, move boxes, climb ladders, and piece together access codes in order to progress. Furthermore, Jax will have to be on the lookout for cracks in the wall, which can be blown out by using detonator explosives. Along the way, completing specific tasks will gain in-level checkpoints, returning your character to the checkpoint area if you die within the level. After completing a level you are given the opportunity to save your game to a memory card.


Check out the rest of the preview here.
May 21st, 2000
2:40 AM CST -
We have gotten several e-mails of reports that The Grid is on test at some of Midway's typical arcade test sites. There is official word from Midway that the game is at Diversions in downtown Chicago, while readers have sent in Gala West as an alternate location. We are suspecting that other typical Midway arcade test sites in Chicago are receiving their own test units. TRMK will be heading out today to several arcades that have been known to test Midway's arcade games. If all goes well, we should have updates later today.

If any our readers happen to live in the Chicago area and visit an arcade that has The Grid, feel free to drop by our Message Board and post your hands-on impressions of The Grid.
9:58 PM CST -
TRMK Editor, Patrick McCarron, is at Gala West in Naperville, IL checking out Ed Boon's latest arcade game, The Grid. Patrick will have a full report on the game later tonight when he returns. Until then, here are some of the details of the game he reported from the arcade's floor.

UPDATE: A few inaccuracies have been corrected and some new details have been added since the first posting.

Observations

  • The game has a "Sports 'Virtual' Arena" atmosphere to it. The player is transported to a 'virtual' arena where he does battle with other opponents.

  • The game does have a Smash TV atmosphere; however, it was unintentionally designed that way.

  • The rendered head on Ed Boon's webpage is the in-game announcer; who has an over-the-top personality and spews corny game show-esque commentary during gameplay.

  • There are 8 characters to choose from a typical MK style select screen. At this screen you can enter a 3-digit code followed by the pound sign for game-altering effects, like Big Head Mode (123#).

  • Players run around surreal arenas while picking up health, weapons, ammo, and cash. Each arena has its own unique theme. For example, there is one arena with a 'cartooney' '70s Austin Powers look. There are classic FPS weapons like a grenade and rocket launcher, along with unique weapons. For example, there is a giant megaphone weapon that uses soundwaves to harm victims.

  • Each round of play lasts for 3 minutes.

  • If a player collects $2,000 in one round, the game awards the player a power-up bonus. The amount of money collected also decides tie breakers if two people have equal frags for first place at the end of the round. Furthermore, the money you accumulate throughout the entire game can unlock hidden characters.

  • Some hidden characters are: Sub-Zero, Scorpion, The Announcer, Grid Man (a model made up of a grid pattern), a burnt body (results from the flamethrower weapon), three cheerleaders, plus many more.

  • Your 'health meter' is at the top-center of the screen, while dying will show the scoreboard. There is also an on-screen radar, showing the location of opponents relative to your own position.

  • There are 4 cabinets networked together at Gala West; however, the maximum possible number of linked cabinets is 6. You could have just a single cabinet; however, it is doubtful this will be anywhere. Larger marquees adjoin two cabinets. The cabinet is a standard 25" Midway upright arcade cabinet, modified slightly.


  • Controls
  • The game's control panel layout is a flight-style joystick on the left-hand side, with a telephone-style keypad in the middle, and a trackball with a thumb button on the right-hand side.

  • The joystick controls the player's movement, either FORWARD, BACKWARD, STRAFE LEFT, STRAFE RIGHT.

  • The thumb button on the joystick is used for JUMP, and the trigger is for FIRE.

  • The keypad is used for entering a 10-digit pin number for your keeping your statistics and records.

  • The trackball controls your turning and targeting, allowing free-look aiming.

  • There is a 'special moves' button by your trackball-hand's thumb. Examples of special moves in the game are, teleportation, invisibility, run, hover, and other attacks like a flying kick.

  • The start button was going be used as a 'change view' button from first-person to third-person, but has been scratched. The game will be third person only.


  • Gameplay
  • Multiplayer simply consists of players in an arena trying to score the most 'frags.' You
    start out without any weapons. The only attack your character can perform is to throw an opponent from close-in range, this is only temporary. This results in the opponent being hurled to the floor, dropping their weapon for you to pick up.

  • In single-player mode, there is a tower based system like Mortal Kombat. In each level, you have an objective to complete, while being opposed by other in-game players. Right now the only objectives are to kill so many enemies within so much time. This may change, it's not finalized yet. There are a current total of 10 towers.

  • There are plans to implement a 'shooting gallery' type game to be added into the towers or used for practice when waiting for the next multiplayer match to begin.



  • That's all we could get from Patrick while he was up at Gala West this evening. He promptly went back to gather more information and play the game. Check back later tonight or tomorrow morning for Patrick's full hands-on account of the game.
    May 22nd, 2000
    1:25 AM CST -
    Ed Boon has updated noob.com with some photos from the game testing at Diversions and four in game screen shots. Go there to check them out!



    Here is a description of the four screenshots on noob.com from upper left to lower right.

    • Upper Left: This is a picture of April in the "GRID" cube that appears right before the surrounding arena shows up.

    • Upper Right: This is a player standing in front of a single-player ladder before going into the game. You see the announcer in the foreground with April standing behind him. In the background, you can see an arena full of people with the GREEN tower behind her.

    • Lower Left: an in game picture with April holding what appears to be the flame thrower. This picture shows the close third person view. It's almost a first person view, just slightly behind.

    • Lower Right: I don't know exactly what this is. It may be part of the attract mode or a single player game. It doesn't appear to be an in-game shot, but rather a cinematic of some kind.


    2:04 AM CST -
    My first hands-on preview of Midway's new third-person shooter, The Grid, has been posted. Due to its length, we have moved it to its own page. Please keep in mind that this is just a hands-on preview of a beta version of The Grid and in no way reflects a review of the final product. I would like to thank The Grid and Mortal Kombat game designer, John Vogel, for his time and hospitality in answering questions that we had.


    If anyone has any additional questions after reading the preview, please feel free to ask them in the message boards or email me, and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability. I will be returning to check the game out as it progresses.
    May 25th, 2000
    7:05 PM CST -
    We now have our own set of
    exclusive pictures
    from The Grid, Midway's new arcade third-person shooter from the creators of Mortal Kombat. These pictures were captured with a camcorder, so quality and colors aren't perfect but shows enough about the game to get the point across. If I can get RealProducer to stop freezing I will be posting some footage of the gameplay in RealPlayer format.



    This update also covers codes for those readers who are playing the game or plan on it. I am still designing our coverage area here on TRMK for The Grid. It will cover all the players, arenas, weapons, codes, etc. But for now here are the codes fellow players and I have found so far: (The codes are entered on the player select screen and followed by the # key after each code is entered)

    • 543 - Grid Kids (Big Hands/Feet)

    • 937 - Armed and Dangerous (You begin game with your default weapon)

    • 327 - Fast Return To Action (Faster Respawn After Death)

    • 123 - Announcer's Advice (No Effect, Announcer Pops Out on Select Screen)

    • 224 - Big Head Mode (Player has Large Head)

    • 243 - Cheat Mode #1 (No Effect)


    • 266 - Only Cannons (No Effect)

    • 147 - Human Controls (No Effect)

    May 30th, 2000
    2:05 PM CST -
    Adding to our coverage of The Grid, we have made available two 30-second movies from the screenshots posted last week. Head on over to our The Grid Media Page and check out the clips. These movies are not excellent quality but it will give you the general idea of what the game looks like in action.
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