Tara's G-Spot - Games that hit the spot, according to Tara Babcock - MORTAL KOMBAT KRUSHES THE KOMPETITION BY TARA BABCOCK - www.impulsegamer.com


As you wake up, get ready, and drive into the city for work every day, do you ever wonder if there are epic crime-fighting saviors out there somewhere, hidden amidst all of our mundane daily activities and false sense of safety? Of course you do, we all do. Western culture (and beyond!) is infatuated with the idea of super heroes. Superman and Batman rival the popularity of even the most renowned brands like Coca-Cola and Mickey Mouse. Well, I'm not talking about your boring, ordinary, everyday heroes and villains. I'm going to discuss Mortal Kombat. The fighters from Mortal Kombat would spit acid in your face, allow you to scream in terror for approximately 5 seconds (for the pleasure of hearing you agonize, of course!) then eject a chained spear into your chest to pull you close, only to freeze your legs to the floor and knock your torso clean off with one punch. That’s the kind of heroes I’m talking about.

Mortal Kombat gore in 90’s arcade graphics! Vintage!

Those of you who played fighting games in the arcade in the 90's are probably familiar with the rich, inventive storyline of the Mortal Kombat franchise, and the fact that the movie renditions totally screw with what you know about MK altogether. While somewhat confusing, no storyline has ever stuck with us for so long and made us wrack with anticipation for an updated version like Mortal Kombat.

Mortal Kombat gore in modern graphics!

Essentially, the story of MK revolves around a martial arts tournament, affectionately called Mortal Kombat by participants, in which only the best fighters from all of the realms gather to fight for the fate of our modern day world, or Earthrealm as they call it. Kombatants (hehe! That 'K' always makes me smile!) from Outworld and the Netherrealm, which is essentially hell, make and break alliances in order to defeat the best fighters of our realm. Shao Kahn, ruler of Outworld, has concocted this big plan to merge the two realms and seize control, but the Elder Gods created a binding contract that states a realm must win 10 consecutive matches in order to have that option. Well, they’ve gotten as far as 9! After 500 years of domination it looks pretty grim for the citizens of Earthrealm until Raiden, god of thunder and protector of Earthrealm, discovers their saving grace in a humble Shaolin Monk named Liu Kang. Story short, he kicks ass, takes names and manages to defeat Outworld's special weapon, the gigantic ponytailed monster sporting four arms, Goro. Along the main storyline are plenty of out-of-this-world slaughter and deep, interesting stories and characters to keep you hooked including Shao Kahn's desecration of the king of Edenia, along with the stealing and evil-fying of his large-breasted queen, Sindel.

 Sindel: former queen of Edenia, present possessed evil queen of Outworld and mother to Princess Kitana. That’s one hot rendered MILF!

Mortal Kombat titles have always offered us a plethora of inimitable combos and specials that are distinct to the characters' styles and personalities, but what really gives them the edge is their ultra-graphic "Fatalities". Shao Kahn’s demanding growl to “Finish Him!” and the following overly grisly scene depicting the opponent being ripped limb from limb or disemboweled with one swift kick will leave a lasting impression on even the seasoned gamer. Nothing I've ever seen in a video game is more appealing. I think I may need some therapy. Anyway, for those of you who have yet to play any MK, look for Babalities, Friendships, Brutalities and other terrifying (or sometimes cute) something-alities. Not only does the franchise offer tons of titles to the fighter genre, they’ve also offered us adventure games and action-RPG spin offs, my favorite being Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, allowing fans to get even closer to character origin and backstory.

Although captivating, the mythology is a complex one. So complex (apparently) that some well-known gaming publications think silly things about it being "built around Netherrealm and its inhabitants". Anyone who has played a single MK game knows most, if not all martial artists hail from places aside from Netherrealm. Among the reasons that the story becomes so baffling is the creation of the 1995 and 1997 MK movies that depict Shao Kahn and Raiden as siblings, and children of Shinnok, along with the uncharted (until the 2011 MK that puts much into perspective) fact that Liu Kang is a descendant of his good friend, Kung Lao. Wait, what!?

The newest installment of Mortal Kombat is the long awaited reiteration of the original story with desirable, yet classic 3D graphics placed in a 2D plane, a renovated Krypt with tons of unlockable yummies and secrets, and fully functional online gameplay including ladders and achievements. X-ray attacks are awesome as well, they allow you to see each kombatant’s special attack in X-ray vision with broken bones and organs in all their glory; and new Test Your Might, Sight, and Strike missions are available in ladder form. Gamblers will rejoice in the fresh Test Your Luck section that features a Vegas-style slot machine giving interesting buffs and debuffs to your chosen fighter, while choosing your opponent at random. Will you get armless kombat, freezing rain or infinite X-ray meter? Let the slots decide! The new challenge tower is 300 challenges of never-ending MK heaven, making the game one my hardest gaming endeavors to date. The best part, though, is the tag team gameplay. You can control both fighters on your own or play with a friend, instead of against. This innovative implementation leaves nothing to be desired with its stylish quick and special tags, and the ability to have your partner gruesomely finish your move string with the combo tag. Purchasing this game for the Playstation 3 platform is a must, for me at least, because you receive Kratos as a playable character, whereas the Xbox version lacks any guest fighters. I’m sure you are all as baffled as I was to hear this one… is anyone else thinking Master Chief? Downloadable content is also widely available and ever-growing. Fans can already obtain new playable fighters and costumes, while buying the old movies will get you a special Retro Jade outfit. Other retro costumes exist out there in Earthrealm as well, just shop around! My only complaints with this badass game lie within the cinematics department. Although the vast amount of in-game videos are pretty rad, and the promotional and Kratos trailers knocked my socks off, there are still no true FMV movies within the game or the start screen. Yes, I have waited for 30 minutes on the start-up hoping. That, and my husband Shao Kahn isn’t a foreseeable playable character yet! What gives, Game-Maker dudes!? In any case, if you’re looking for an amazing new-age Mortal Kombat fighter that makes you reminisce of the old days and one which actually delivers after all these years (unlike some new titles… *cough cough* Duke Nukem) then look no further than Mortal Kombat 2011!

Buy the Kollector’s edition of the new MK and sport these killer bookends! I know I did, but I don’t think Scorpion should be killing Sub-Zero! Hmph!

Mortal Kombat has been one of my favorites since I was in Elementary school. I used to play it with the neighborhood boys and beat them all senseless; I have fond memories with the real actor graphics and quirky upward punches. It is one of the first fighters I’ve ever played and the sole franchise that really stuck with me all these years while gaming. I loved the interesting and heroic story and I’ve always favored its extremely dark, frightening side too. I loved the models of the characters; the women were beyond sexy and the men ranged from the fit martial artist to the lumbering brutish figures of Onaga and Kintaro that I adore. They incorporated the perfect mix of fantasy, realism and relate-ability with uniqueness and new, out of this world ideas. Midway created the first one in 1992 with merely four developers on staff and little prospect of the great success that would come from it, but I think us fans had always known. Mortal Kombat affirmatively “krushes” the “kompetition”! 


I just got back from a week and a half-long trip to Los Angeles where I shot a whole “Nerdy Girl” photo set as well as numerous other tantalizing concepts! I’ve decided I would give the fans here at Impulse Gamer a little exclusive preview of the images I got while out of town and a taste of what’s to come that you can’t find anywhere else! Stay tuned for my official Impulse Gamer shoot! Remember, you can always find more of me on my website at www.tarababcock.com!

Ah, I miss being a cheerleader!

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Follow Tara at her official website, www.tarababcock.com




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