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Mortal Kombat (Video Game)

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Mortal Kombat game reviewAvailable for the Xbox 360 (reviewed), PlayStation 3 (reviewed)

Rated M for Mature

Developed by Netherrealm Studios

Published by Warner Brothers Interactive


In a world populated by colorful fighters with no real bite, the Mortal Kombat franchise has always stood out like a sore and bleeding thumb. It didn’t waste time with weapons that didn’t sever limbs or anything that could even remotely be deemed family friendly. This was a world populated by warriors, monsters, demons, ghosts, and bloodthirsty cyborgs. A world in which the loss of a match meant certain violent death. It’s been around a decade since the last M-rated Mortal Kombat game (we’ll just forget about the toothless MK vs. DC Universe), and the franchise is back on its gore-splashed grisly track and clearly redefines the term no-holds-barred.

Just about all of the needless bells and whistles added to the gameplay starting with Mortal Kombat 3‘s addition of a run button have been officially removed, and the delicious 2D mechanics we grew to love in Mortal Kombat II are back and feeling as familiar and sweet as ever. Like an old friend. In their place we can now do enhanced special moves (i.e., Nightwolf can now fire three arrows instead of just one), break combos, and engage in close-up x-ray kombat that will have your teeth jangling while you whoop and wince! All of these extras can be pulled off via a special meter at the bottom of the screen that fills as you fight. Simple. Plain. Not confusing and totally easy to pull off. Nice.

Mortal Kombat game review

That’s not to say that Mortal Kombat isn’t in 3D. In fact, it’s very much so, even literally on the PlayStation 3 version. Everything has been rebuilt here from the ground up. Familiar fighting arenas have been revamped. Character models redone. Simply put, the game looks as good as it plays, and nowadays that’s no easy task. Even though everything is rendered in 3D, the playfield is strictly 2D. Think Super Street Fighter 4 or Marvel vs. Capcom.

For fans of the franchise story mode is an absolute home run. During it you play through the events of Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat II, and Mortal Kombat 3. For those familiar with the mythology this feature is nothing short of heaven sent, glorious, and completely badass. Even more surprising? The storyline is pretty long and rife with secrets about characters that you’ll learn for the first time. You think you know all about the Mortal Kombat universe? Trust us when we say you don’t. All questions are answered and no stone is left unturned. Stellar.

Once you’ve kicked the story mode’s ass, there are several other single-player options for you to dig on … Test Your Might, Test Your Strike, Test Your Sight, and Test Your Luck. The newest feature here is Test Your Luck as the others have been seen before in older iterations of MK. Basically what you’re doing is pulling down the lever of a slot machine that will determine opponent, match stipulations, and power ups or downs for that matter. Pretty cool.

Mortal Kombat game review

Finally, once you’ve sifted through all of that content, there’s The Challenge Tower, which is made up of whopping 300 different challenges that include everything from Johnny Cage beating up his director and warding off hordes of the living dead to having to fight franchise heavies Goro, Kintaro, and Shao Kahn one after the other. This will take hours and hours to complete, but damned if it isn’t a ton of violent fun. Really good stuff.

Then there’s the bread and butter of the series: the Vs. Mode. In it, as per usual, you can face off one-on-one with either one local player or up to eight online players via a King of the Hill type tourney in which your Xbox 360 avatars will watch the onscreen fights “MST3K” style, or on your PlayStation 3 special Mortal Kombat avatars are at your disposal as a means to mimic the 360 experience. To further sweeten the pot, a new tag mode has also been implemented, which definitely borrows from the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise in terms of playability. There’s so much to do here it’s literally staggering.

All of your favorite characters are back just as you remember and like them (Sheeva and Jade still suck). Each character has two jaw-droppingly sadistic fatalities, one stage fatality, and one babality each. There are mystery fights to unlock, and since everything you do in the game earns you “kurrency“, there’s also an entire krypt full of goodies to dig up.

Mortal Kombat game review

In terms of differences between the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, on the PS3 you get Kratos from the God of War series and everything can be played in eye-popping 3D if you have the tech. There are also some game trailers included on the Blu-ray edition. Unfortunately the Xbox version has no exclusive content, at least not yet. However Xbox Live is a dream compared to PlayStation’s flaccid by comparison network, and you’ll be playing in 1080p instead of 720p. I did notice that the 360 version also seems to run a bit smoother than its cousin. Food for thought all around. Honestly? You can’t go wrong with either.

There’s so much to do and see here it’s literally staggering. This could very well be the best Mortal Kombat to date, and as a fan that is not something I say lightly. The most badass fighting game franchise is back, and its teeth are sharper than ever.

Game Features

  • Online multiplayer 2-8
  • Game content download
  • Achievement and trophy support

    5 out of 5

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    American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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    Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

    Directed by Colin Bemis


    Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

    The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

    As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

    Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

    Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

    In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

    On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

    In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

    Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

    • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
    3.5

    Summary

    Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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    We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

    In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

    Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film
    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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