Scheduled release date:
Fall 2005


The Mortal Kombat series has certainly enjoyed resurgence
in popularity as of late. Just like it did in its heyday, the series has spawned
an offshoot that attempts to add an adventure element to the formula. Mortal
Kombat: Shaolin Monks is on the show floor, and I spent quite a bit of time with
it, enough to beat the entire demo.

The game currently features two playable characters – Liu
Kang and Kung Lao, who for some reason (explained in a FMV sequence that you
can't hear) have to go around and kill lots and lots of people. The combat, or
should I say, kombat, is simple, with one button handling quick attacks, another
does powerful attacks, and other buttons are for jumping, blocking, and
modifiers. As you progress through the demo, pounding similar looking bad guys
into submission, you can pick up weapons to slice people in half, throw them
through walls to uncover new areas, and of course, perform fatalities. In the
demo, performing a fatality was as easy as following a short pattern of button
presses that appeared on screen, but I would imagine you'll have to memorize
them in the finished product. Liu Kang's fatality showed him uppercutting his
opponent's head right off his body, and then kicking it soccer style into the
headless corpse to blow it up. Along the way there were familiar faces seen
fighting in the background, like Scorpion and Johnny Cage. The demo ended with
an encounter with Baraka, who's quite nasty and has a penchant for setting
people on fire. His finishing move involved him impaling you with spikes and
then flinging you into a fiery pit, where you burst into flames.

The graphics were decent, but showed quite a bit of
aliasing, which is a problem that many games have when they are being displayed
on high definition televisions. There were tons of smoke and fire effects, and
the animation looked pretty smooth. The levels weren't anything to write home
about, but I only got to see a small portion of the game.

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks doesn't look like it's going
to be a terribly deep game, but its simplicity was part of what makes it
enjoyable. Tearing through the levels with a friend, slicing people in half and
performing fatalities should prove to be a satisfying experience. If you would
like to check out the trailer, click here.

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