Midway and developer Paradox's collaboration has resulted in a unique game that takes a good chunk of the MK elements and marries them with action-platforming elements. The results we've seen most recently point to the game featuring solid gameplay that won't offend current fans and may well make some new ones. Above and beyond the gameplay, Midway and Paradox have peppered the game with a "who's who" of little touches that root the game in the MK II universe.
This collection includes a wide-array of arcade games that range from fighting to racing. For the first time ever on PC, gamers will hear the famous cries of "Fight" and "Finish Him" in both Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3. Friends will be left behind in a cloud of dust in Super Off Road. Racing skills from Rush the Rock: Alcatraz Edition and Race Drivin' can be used to out-drive and out-wit the bad guys in A.P.B.. Arcade-perfect PC versions of such classics as Wizard of Wor, Gauntlet II, Pit Fighter, Arch Rivals, Rampage World Tour, San Francisco Rush: 2049, Hydro Thunder and more are included in Midway Arcade Treasures: Deluxe Edition.
Midway Games today announced that the one of the most unique and heavily anticipated Mortal Kombat titles ever, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, has gone gold and will ship to stores for both the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox video game system on September 26th, 2005.
The development team at Midway Studios, Los Angeles, along with the core MK creative team at Midway Studios, Chicago, has joined forces to take the best-selling Mortal Kombat franchise into the action/adventure realm. Mortal Kombat fans can now experience the MK franchise from an entirely new action/adventure perspective with the first-ever Multi-Directional Kombat System and explore the Mortal Kombat II universe as two of the series' favorite Shaolin Monks: Liu Kang & Kung Lao in either single- or multi-player action.
The co-op game, however, is fun because you have to work as a team and talk to each other, creating a social experience very much like being in the arcades. Despite some rigidities and technical weaknesses, Shaolin Monks creates an atmosphere of camaraderie. One last set of moves I almost forgot to mention but proves the teamwork point to a Tee are the team attacks, which require you and friend to pair up for two-player attacks. It's a great idea that works well, and makes the co-op just that much more valuable.
Shaolin Monks' story starts off reasonably well, but over time it degenerates into a fairly incomprehensible mess, with all sorts of pseudo-betrayals, overwrought plot twists, and a few halfhearted introductions of random characters for seemingly no reason other than because the developer had to find a way to squeeze them in. Jax, for instance, makes his main story appearance way late in the game, shows up for about a minute, and then disappears. These strained uses of the MK characters are more aberration than the norm, though, so you'll see plenty of main characters, like Raiden, Johnny Cage, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kitana, and the like, used reasonably well throughout the game. And while the story doesn't make an awful lot of sense, overall it's about on par with any of the other Mortal Kombat storylines.
But here's why you should buy this game: the two-player versus mode is an absolute riot to play and even merits a standalone game. The versus mode uses the same fighting engine found in the adventure mode, but refines it to have an equal advantage for both players. There are eight playable characters and over twelve different stages. Surprisingly, the stages aren't just recycled backgrounds of the adventure portion of the game -- each stage features new level designs and offer a great deal of environmental interactivity.
The story may not make total sense, but the action is fresh and furious. Gamers well versed in the ways of the Flawless Victory should get a kick out of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks as well. While not a true fighter, it still offers up enough combo-type fighter moves to keep the hardcore head-to-head fans happy.
The game is alright in single player mode, but some of the AI-fueled opponents can be rather cheap, especially bosses. I couldn't tell you how many times I racked up losses against the trio of evil ladies or Baraka himself, who seems to have a knack of cutting through my offense like butter. Where Shaolin Monks really shines through is in its Ko-Op mode, in which you can team up with a friend to deliver double the damage and unlock goodies that are otherwise unaccessible. The two-player mode is frivilous and inventive, and even gives you the chance to fight it out for items, kinda like you used to do in the days of the old Atari coin-op Gauntlet. I had a lot of fun here, although it's really hard to go back to one player after you've had such a kick ass time in two. Oh, well, can't have everything, I guess.
For those who know their MK history, this is like memory lane. The story picks up right after the second arcade release, with Raiden, Liu Kang, and Kung Lao tracking the whipped Shang Tsung. Along the way, they run into a horde of MK characters, some enchanted, some friendly, and others working to fulfill mysterious motivations. Think Mortal Kombat: The Soap Opera, with extra blood.