The Top Ten Most Ridiculous Things to Come Out of Mortal Kombat

June 22nd, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Recently, Mortal Kombat has been making another push into the consciousness of gamers everywhere. Two weeks ago, a video was released based on the treatment for a movie revamp that would reimagine the series’ story as more urban and somewhat more down-to-Earth. Then a few days later, a new trailer was shown for the new game, simply entitled Mortal Kombat. Much like Street Fighter IV, it’s an attempt at a nostalgic return to glory by emphasizing the franchise’s best game.

While the footage has a definite Mortal Kombat II feel, it’s actually a skewed retelling of the first three games thanks to divine time travel. You see, sometime after Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Shao Kahn curbstomps Raiden so hard that Raiden realizes how screwed the entire series has gotten. I mean, before the DC crossover, the game’s story was about an over-inflated cast having to climb the Aggro Crag. So he sends a message back to his younger self to cause a massive butterfly effect (butterfly effekt?) and redo history right this time. It’s like the last episode of Mighty Max but without Bull from Night Court being eaten by a giant spider. Or maybe it does have that. I don’t know. The game won’t be out for a year.

I’ve always been a fan of the series. It’s cheesy, violent fun and – as stupid as it sounds – I’ve always loved the mythology that comes with it all. From the beginning, it’s been Enter the Dragon mixed with Big Trouble in Little China mixed with Iron Fist with a dash of Godfrey Ho. I’ve been following the series far longer than I have comics and I’ve experienced many of the nuances of its excessive success. I remember when digitized actor Daniel Pesina rebelled against Midway by appearing in a magazine ad in support for the game Bloodstorm while wearing full Johnny Cage gear. I remember the Mortal Kombat GI Joe figures. I remember the awful knockoff videogames like Way of the Warrior, War Gods and the never-released Tattoo Assassins. I remember how the ARCADE version of Mortal Kombat 3 got its own nationally televised commercial. I remember the Mortal Kombat 3 Kombat Kodes that weren’t even worth the effort. I even read that mediocre prequel novel where Scorpion was revealed to be the ghost of a murdered ninja merged with his son’s body.

That said, I’ve seen the weird stuff come out of the trademark that still causes me to scratch my head. I figured a trip through the stranger and more unfortunate pieces of output from the Mortal Kombat series might be worth the time. Though first thing’s first, I’m not going to go the gameplay route with this list. I don’t care about how it lacks the refined tournament play of Virtua Fighter 5 or how the Run button is the Holocaust in videogame form or how Human Smoke has an infinite. I really just do not care.

Let’s start off the list by getting the most obvious one out of the way.

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You Got Kahn in My Darkseid! You Got Darkseid in My Kahn!

October 16th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, still shockingly not some kind of prank, is coming out next month. They announced the final roster a few weeks back, sadly shafting the epic Johnny Cage vs. Booster Gold rivalry we’ve been craving, but other than that, the news has been pretty slow. For the most part, Midway would occasionally release a picture of Raiden pointing at something in a cutscene or something just as trivial.

Recently they brought up two interesting little news items. First off, the collector’s version of the game has its own special box art, drawn by Alex Ross.

There is something so surreal about seeing the Mortal Kombat characters done in Alex Ross style. I also like Liu Kang’s pose there. He’s like “Hey! See my fist? This fist? It’s for YOU!” Then you have Raiden saying, “Ugh. I can’t believe you’re wearing those shorts with that shirt,” and Sub-Zero has a case of Liefeld Eye. Despite that, it’s cool shit.

There’s been a video released about the MKvDC comic that also comes with the collector’s version of the game. The art is done by MK co-creator John Tobias, who has been out of the franchise’s loop for years. To this day, the man’s art still holds up.

When you go to about 2:27 in, you get some nice images of the game’s final boss: an amalgamation of Darkseid and Shao Kahn.

Conceptually, it’s a stupid idea. Personally, I would have rather liked it if Quan Chi used his sorcery BS to make himself the host of the Spectre. The surprise here is that visually, Darkshao Kahnseid looks pretty damn badass. You’d think they they would have gone lazy and put Darkseid in Shao Kahn’s clothes or something like that.

Instead you have a demon made of stone (Darkseid) mixed with a skull face and spikes (Kahn) and some evil, glowing energy to add to the aura. It’s a nice touch, honestly. Looks like a cross between Doomsday and Brimstone.

It’s weird how opposite this whole game is to the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise. In terms of game quality, the winner goes to Capcom. Comparing Street Fighter to Mortal Kombat is like comparing Rocky to Rocky IV. Street Fighter is more legitimate and loved by the hardcore, compared to Mortal Kombat’s cheesy fluff. That’s not to say that MK isn’t loads of fun in its own way.

Yet MvC never embraced the crossover. Occasionally they tossed us something like Hulk talking to Blanka, Mega Man stealing Onslaught’s power, Psylocke saving Cammy from Hand ninjas or Gambit flirting with Morrigan, but it was still fairly minimal. By their fourth and final game they just tossed a bunch of characters into the game and figured that was enough. Not only that, but Marvel did nothing with it on their end. No comics or promotional stuff.

Look at what Midway and DC are doing with this. One of comics’ top artists takes to the game’s cover. Two of DC’s writers write the story for both the game and the comic, which is illustrated by one of MK’s creators. I’m sure the game’s cutscenes and endings will feature plenty of Easter egg appearances and references here and there.

The MvC games may be more playable, but you have to give the style points to MKvDC here.

By the way, to all the people gritting their teeth at Superman and Captain Marvel getting beaten up by guys like Kano: where were you when a little schoolgirl was kicking the crap out of Thanos, Apocalypse and Shuma-Gorath?

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Test Your Speculation

June 6th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

I’ve joked about the upcoming Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game a lot and I don’t expect it to be an especially good game, but at the same time, I’m drawn to the lead-up. As a crossover, it’s such a unique concept that I can’t help but wonder about the final product. In other words, at the moment, I’m enthralled by the speculation.

As of now, only four characters have been revealed: Superman, Batman, Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Series bigwig Ed Boon said that there will be 20-22 characters on the game’s roster. On one hand, I get that this is because the game has a brand new engine working for it. On the other hand, it doesn’t bring in the fun factor that comes with the obscure characters.

Capcom’s crossover games initially had the same problem, which is why the sequels had more going for them. With the foundation in place, the creators got to move outward and be more creative with the character spots. That’s when we got guys like Marrow, Tron Bonne and Chang Koehan. So if there is a sequel to this game, only then will we get Noob Saibot vs. The Shade or Moloch vs. The Shaggy Man. Myself, I’m all for Stryker vs. Azrael in the battle of who fanboys hate the most.

For the fun of speculation, I’m trying to make some educated guesses on who will be in the game. The low character count helps. The need to include the more marquee characters from both sides helps too. Boon also mentioned that each character pairs into a rivalry with the crossover counterpart.

That means you have to figure out first who Midway wants to put in the forefront. That means most of the MK1 cast and a handful of the other more memorable fighters. Then you mix and match while making sure to stick in all the well-known DC heroes. To be optimistic, let’s say that there are 11 characters on each side.

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Review: Peter David’s Iron Man Movie Novelization FIGHTS! and FIGHTS! with Repulsor Rays!

March 26th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

A year ago, I bought, read and reviewed Peter David’s novelization of Spider-Man 3. I thought it was pretty good and went on record to say that Sam Raimi would have to go out of his way to fuck up that movie. Wouldn’t you know it, he did exactly that. He deleted a handful of scenes that would have turned the movie’s three villains into more than ridiculous, one-dimensional jokes. While he removed all the valuable Eddie Brock and Sandman scenes, he made it even worse by hardly shaving off any whiny Mary Jane moments.

I made the decision to go for round two. This time Peter David writes a novelization based on the upcoming Iron Man film. More than anything, I was curious. The build-up has been nice. Not just with the trailers, but the feeling that there’s love in the movie. I recall Jon Favreau saying that in preparation, he had been reading every single issue of Iron Man from the 60’s on. So would love be enough to make this story work?

Yes. Yes it really would.

I’m not going to give out explicit spoilers, but if you really want an absolute blank slate to the point that you didn’t even watch the trailers, by all means don’t read this and instead just give me $5.

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Malibu Kombat: Part Gold

October 2nd, 2006 Posted by Gavok

We’re almost done with the Malibu MK series. When we last left our heroes, Sonya was kidnapped by Kintaro, who claimed Shao Kahn had plans for her. Liu Kang and his new friend Bo defended against ninjas that repeatedly came out of the fucking blue. Johnny Cage and Jax were challenged by Smoke and Jade on an airplane. And Bullwinkle signed a contract to be a lounge singer, not realizing that his agent is really the nefarious Boris Badenoff!

Oh yeah. That too.

Smoke and Jade try to attack Jax and Johnny with their own strategies. Smoke uses the strategy of turning into pure smoke while Jade uses the strategy of having her tights hiked way up her buttcrack. The heroes counter this by making a couple Gone with the Wind references before knocking them through a hole in the plane. That… might make more sense if you read the comic.

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Malibu Kombat: Part 3

October 1st, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Next up on the Mortal Kombat tour is the 3-issue series Rayden and Kano. Definitely an interesting pairing. In fact, it almost seemed like a poor man’s Cable and Deadpool, with the over-powered hero god and his odd relationship with a less-powerful, vile criminal smartass. On one hand, I did like the story of this arc. On the other hand, two of the three issues were done by one Kiki Santamone. Fuck.

So Kano gets broken out of prison and is punished by the Black Dragon. He escapes his death sentence, but blacks out. Raiden has him taken to his pad, where Kano awakens to meet Raiden’s servants, two Asian ladies named Wynd and Rayne. I’d give props to Raiden for that, but at no point do we get to see art that makes them look like more than ugly, lumpy freaks.

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Malibu Kombat: Part 2

September 30th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

We’re seven issues into the MK series, meaning it’s time to talk about Goro: Prince of Pain. Yes, indeed. Here comes the pain. As you might remember from the last article, Goro was last seen beating up other MK characters until vanishing with no explanation. From there, the story split into Blood and Thunder #4-6 and Goro: Prince of Pain #1-3.

Prince of Pain starts off with Goro wandering around a major US city at night. He comes across a couple cops, who are too stupid to shoot him. Suddenly, a talking crow named Rook appears out of nowhere and vaporizes the cops with green laser vision.

We’re only just getting started. Rook lures Goro to the being that summoned him. He is Zaggot, a green-bearded wizard with a love for all things chaotic. He is completely insane and screams pop-culture nonsense that Goro isn’t meant to understand. Somehow, he’s still not awesome by any stretch of the imagination. I can’t understand it either.

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