By Izayah Morgan
“Mortal Kombat 1” had a challenging legacy to uphold, with more than 30 years of games going back to the arcade era. From demons to humanoid reptilian species to the classic ninjas, battling it out to the death, “Mortal Kombat” has seen it all - not to mention its cultural dominance in the fighting game world for 30-plus years. From days of controversy from “Is this too violent for general audiences?” to “It’s in our blood.”
After the controversial reception to “Mortal Kombat 11” from fans, it was clear that changes needed to be made with gameplay.
“Mortal Kombat 1” allows itself to be a radical change from what came before in previous entries but also feels like a return to fame to the long and bloody combos that fans love.
The story picks up following the “Aftermath” DLC of “Mortal Kombat 11.” Lui Kang defeated Shang Tsung in Kombat and is now in control of the hourglass and the “keeper of time,” meaning he can craft a timeline to his liking.
In this new universe crafted by Lui Kang, many changes are made.
Raiden no longer is a god of lighting, but a normal human. Shang Tsung is no longer a manipulative schemer and master of sorcery, but a con artist who pretends to have magic to fool common people into buying his hacks. Reptile is not just a ninja with green slime or just a lizard, but is a reptilian who has the strange ability to shift his form from human to reptile.
Without going into major spoilers, “Mortal Kombat 1” has Lui Kang as the guardian of Earthrealm, switching roles with Raiden. Throughout the first few chapters, we have Lui Kang going throughout the world to gather allies to fight in this new timeline’s version of the Mortal Kombat Tournament - expanding into a much larger plot that incorporates fan-favorite characters and many surprises.
This new timeline was crafted to be a new era of peace for everyone. However, evil will always follow where good is. Lui Kang said it best in the announcement trailer - “There is always something worth fighting for.”
The biggest game adjustments in “Mortal Kombat 1” are the addition of Kameo Fighters and additions to the Aerial Kombat. The roster of Kameo Fighters are old-era fighters such as Shu Jinko and Darrius and heavy hitters such as Scorpion and Sub Zero. The combinations of Kameo Fighters and improved Aerial combos allow for an increase in the length of combos.
Classic towers make a return with the addition of invasion mode. This is where customization rewards and the best way to farm XP are found. Invasion mode involves invading enemies from other timelines, allowing players to choose a Main Fighter and a Kameo Fighter. This mode offers a great break from online fights.
The roster is downright amazing and a love letter to fans. This roster includes most of the ninja characters, Johnny Cage, Lui Kang, and Sindel, as well as many returning 3D-era characters such as Nitara and Havok. There are no new characters on this roster, but it offers many fan favorites returning as a part of the main roster or Kameo Fighters.
One of the few downgrades I can see in “Mortal Kombat 1” is the customization of characters. NetherRealm Studios’ previous games such as “Injustice 2” had amazing customization for the player to earn. With only one gear piece on a character to customize, it is a downgrade from previous entries in the series.
All in all, “Mortal Kombat 1” provides fresh takes on the old Kombat but manages to stay familiar to old fans.
A new take on Klassic Kombat.
Fans win - Fatality.