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Plugged In

Gory glory: Mortal Kombat makes triumphant return

Plugged In

Bumper Jack

Mortal Kombat [X360, PS3]

Once, it was every parent's worst nightmare -- but these days its fans
are more likely to have kids of their own. Now in its nineteenth year, one of
the original video game nasties is back to terrorize the small screen: Mortal
Kombat, a revamped version of which releases this week on both Xbox 360 and
PS3.

View photo

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Once again, it's a time for Kombat.

Unless you're in Australia,
that is, where the powers-that-be have deemed the new take on one of history's greatest fighters too violent and outright banned it. Killjoys. Still, for everyone else out there, Mortal Kombat looks to be a worthy successor to its
noble and fondly remembered predecessor, racking up scores into the 80s and beyond on both platforms.

Among the highest comes from Game Informer's Andrew Reiner, who bestowed
a glowing 9.5
, and calling the new game "the best Mortal Kombat yet."

How so? Although it includes plenty of old-school content that'll appeal
to the Kombat nostalgic, Reiner says there's still no shortage of creative
ideas that keep the action fresh.

"Powerful x-ray moves shatter spines and fracture skulls, special moves can be augmented to deal additional damage, and just when you think you've seen it all, the game throws bloody curveballs your way in the form of new match types...with a sadistic sense of humor accompanying most of the fights and modifiers, you never know what to expect from Mortal Kombat - but it's always gory, hilarious, and an absolute blast to play."

Not convinced? Maybe 1UP's Neidel Crisan's writeup will sway you. Crisan proves particularly impressed with the new game's single-player options (often a weakness in fighting games), saying the new Mortal Kombat makes "every other fighting game's
single player look anemic in comparison."

And yes, it's still a Mortal Kombat game -- and that means the graphic content is also far from anemic. Calling it "incredibly violent,"the once-notorious "Fatality" finishing moves are so over-the-top, says Crisan, they're more often occasions for laughter rather than nausea. "They're all so ridiculous that it's hard to take them seriously," he says.

IGN's Ryan Clements is less impressed with Kombat's single player than other critics, knocking it for what he sees as imbalance and some odd inconsistencies, like bosses which
seem to obey different rules than other characters. Still, he's a fan of the fighting itself, calling it "savage, deliberately paced...more visceral here then in other fighting games." Calling it "a legitimate competitive fighter," he says "it has enough gore to make parents run for the hills."

It'd be their loss. Review aggregation site Metacritic currently has both versions of the game averaging in the mid-80s -- and while that's not quite the dizzy heights achieved by Street Fighter IV this time last year, it still ought to be more than enough to tempt faithful Kombatants back into the fold. Unless you're Australian, in which case you're on your own.

While you're chewing over your purchase decision, check out this video interview with Jeri Ryan, who stars in the associated Mortal Kombat web series:

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Portal 2 [PC, X360, PS3]

And then there's this. Sequel to one of the most creative, best-written
puzzle games around, Portal 2 also releases this week -- and it's shaping up to
be the year's top-reviewed game so far. So dramatic is its impact, in fact, we
decided it needed its very own post. Check
it!

Get More Info | Buy From Amazon


Pirate Mysteries [Yahoo! Games}

Why are pirates so mysterious? Because they arrr! Sorry. Search the
Spanish Main for an assortment of hidden piratical objects -- you know, bottles
of grog, discarded parrots, swash-buckles and the like -- in this gorgeous,
variety-packed hit.

Download from Yahoo! Games


Final Fantasy IV [PSP]

Nine out of ten Final Fantasy nerds think Final Fantasy IV is still the best
game in this long-running series. (Actually, we made that up. How can you tell?
Final Fantasy nerds don't agree about anything).
But while the relative strengths of the FF games may be hotly debated, Final
Fantasy IV is unquestionably among the greats, and that's what counts. This
week it receives its latest re-release, hitting the PSP with revised visuals,
plenty of extras, and the addition of its 'The After Years' sequel, previously
a WiiWare exclusive.

Get More Info | Buy From Amazon


Super Granny 6 [Yahoo! Games]

Of all the hundreds of casual games on offer at Yahoo! Games, the Super
Granny series definitely has the best name. Our favorite geriatric heroine is
back in yet another cat-rescuing, platform-hopping, hole-digging extravaganza,
bringing along 150 new maps and a level editor for you to create your own
granny-challenges. She might be old, but she's still got what it takes.

Download from Yahoo! Games


SOCOM 4: US Navy Seals [PS3]

"Mixed" appears to be the best way to characterize the critical response
to this latest in a long-running (but lately little-mentioned) military
first-person shooter series. It's scoring everwhere from a woeful 3/10 at Destructoid
(which called it "antiquated" and "broken") to a more-healthy-but-still-not-all-that-great
7.75 at Game
Informer
. It's definitely getting better reports of its multiplayer
than its campaign, though, so if that's your bag, you may want to take a look.

Get More Info | Buy From Amazon


Section 8: Prejudice [X360]

Xbox 360 multiplayer fans,
don't feel left out. In fact, feel fortunate; this sci-fi shooter is coming
your way this week, and it's bringing with it awesome word of mouth. Not only
that, it boasts 32-player online combat across a range of modes, four-player
co-op maps, and a single player campaign to boot. The best news? It's a mere
$15. Buy it with extreme prejudice.


Conduit 2 [Wii]

What's this? Another futuristic first-person shooter? Yup -- but this
one's different: it's a Wii exclusive. The genre has been out of favor on
Nintendo's platform, but this one comes with four-player split-screen, online
multiplayer (yes, really) and support for a wide variety of controllers in
addition to the standard Wiimote point-to-aim mechanic. Reviews are looking
healthy, so if you're in the mood for a new shooter (and don't have access to a
360 or PS3) you could certainly do a lot worse.

Get More Info | Buy From Amazon


Fancy Pants Adventures (X360)

All this shooting getting you down? Then slip into the platform-firendly
trousers of this new Xbox Live download. Once a huge flash game hit, it hops
over to Microsoft's console this week with a fresh coat of paint and brand new
levels.

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