Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Mortal Kombat IX - Second Half


The next chapter has Jade on the way to rescue Kitana from the clutches of Shao Kahn. So she's more loyal to Kitana than to Outworld's emperor. Face turn alert!

This involves defeating Baraka and giving him quite the view. Then she has to defeat Mileena, who now has the full Mileena getup instead of just some bandages.

Speaking of nice views...

Jesus, MK.

Jade rescues Kitana from her magical bondage. I mean, or they could just leave those on...hypothetically.

The last chapter of MK2 has you playing Kung Lao, surprisingly. Well, Liu Kang got the final chapter of MK1 and they don't do repeat character chapters in modern MKs.

This trio have formed kind of the Earthrealm representative hero squad. This involves Liu Kang and Kung Lao teasing Cage a lot about his sandpaper-like personality.

The final battle parade is what we're all expecting...with a few changes. First up, a Goro rematch. Shaolin Monks did the same thing.

Next up is Shang Tsung....

...AND Quan Chi in an endurance match! Like all the endurance matches in this game, this one is very difficult and a general pain in the ass. They're making sure to include all the bad guys in this version of the MK2 finale, at least.


Survive this debacle and you're rewarded with getting obliterated by...

...Kintaro. Now in HD!

They really do Kintaro justice in this game and capture his beastlyness extremely well. He's got all his MK2 moves and all of the impactfulness of the early series games. Glad that the floaty 3D era is over.

He has some new moves, like this Sparta Kick directly to the neussen. That'll give you a high-pitched voice for a while

A shocking moment follows. After Kintaro's defeat, while Kung Lao is celebrating the win, Shao Kahn ambushes him and KILLS HIM OFF with a neck snap.

Lest you think they rebooted the saga because they regretted killing certain characters, it looks like now they're gonna be killing even more shocking characters.

Regardless, RIP Kung Lao. Geez. He'll actually be missing from the next game. There's an evil shade version of him but that's another Quan Chi deal like Zombie Liu Kang. At least they bring Kung Lao back for MK1 with timey-wimey shenanigans.

Raiden tells Liu Kang that he'll have to replace Kung Lao for the final fight, even though it isn't his chapter.

The weird animosity between these two all game is something I don't really get. They seem to not like each other at all and constantly throw barbs around. Weird considering they're supposed to be Earthrealm's two main protectors, and considering Liu Kang gets along with everyone else.

Shao Kahn himself is a total asshole in this game. Just incredibly cheap to fight. He takes very little damage from attacks while dishing out massive damage. He's waaaay stronger than Kintaro, unlike MK2.

The key to victory? Just stay really far back, out of range of his short-range moves, and duck his projectiles. Wait for him to taunt, then unleash a Fireball or Flying Kick (depending on the situation/placement of both guys) while he's taunting. Then go back to staying back and waiting.

Yep, I had to go full cheap-mode to win this fight. Only attack when he's taunting, because he blocks literally everything else.

Once you get the hang of attacking when he's taunting, it isn't that hard to get through a whole round without taking a hit. Feels like a cheap win, but whatever, I'll take it.

After the fight, Liu Kang uppercuts a hole through Shao Kahn's chest, like Gokou's Dragon Punch in DBZ Movie 13.

Shao Kahn is defeated forever!

But at what cost... At what cost.

Roll credits.

BUT WAIT. Don't roll credits! Shao Kahn's massive chest wound is healed by Quan Chi's magic, and he's back already.

His minions were all ready to fight it out and determine who was in charge now that he was gone. Shang Tsung? Quan Chi? Kintaro? Goro? Sheeva? Mileena? The 1989 Denver Broncos?

(Apparently Mileena)

With Earthrealm none the wiser, Shao Kahn has one last trick up his sleeve. He sends Quan Chi and Noob Saibot (OG Sub-Zero) to dig up the remains of his dead wife and reanimate her corpse.

She died in Earthrealm (wonder what the story is there) long ago, and I guess Kahn was just sort of keeping this idea in his back pocket in case the tournaments didn't work out. Now he's just gonna completely go against the Elder Gods and flub all their rules. You see, under Section 32 Line 88 of the Elder God Rulebook, it says that a realm can invade another realm without a tournament if a denizen of that realm is born in the other realm. Which I guess this counts as. So basically Outworld are going to cross Earthrealm's southern border, and Sindel is their Anchor Baby.

We fast-forward a bit and Shao Kahn is launching a full-scale invasion of Earth. Stryker is a riot-control cop deployed to deal with the invasion and he's the first guy we play as for the MK3 portion. This is the third-act of the game and it actually caught me totally by surprise the first time I played this, as I thought the game ended with Shao Kahn's loss in Outworld.

Stryker (on the right) is scoping out chicks when the invasion begins. He's joined by his friend and fellow cop, uh...

....well, he doesn't have a name, so I'm gonna call him Dead Meat. He should be wearing a red shirt.

Stryker and Dead Meat encounter Reptile, and aren't sure if he's friendly or not. Look, I think it's safe to say that any mythological monsters appearing out of nowhere are probably part of the invasion.

"He's comin' right for us!" ::BLAM BLAM BLAM::

Little did they know, Reptile was giving off his musk, which is just how he flirts.

This gives them a chance to remix some of the MK3 themes, and the Subway tune in particular gets a lot of use. Which is great because it was underused in MK3.

Whoa, THIS is unexpected! Kintaro...in MK3? That's right, and he's leading the invasion of this city. Stryker manages to beat him, which is pretty embarrassing. I mean, losing at the hands of Liu Kang or Kung Lao, understandable. But Stryker?

After slaying Kintaro, they face a new nightmare: Ermac. This is the same guy who dismembered Jax earlier, and he proceeds to give Dead Meat horrible full-body burns.

Not a fan of modern Ermac. I liked the red ninja Ermac back in the day. He was pretty cool. In the modern games he's just this weird mummy-sorcerer that horribly maims people.

Stryker battles Ermac in the actual subway stage! After the fight, Stryker turns around and finds that Dead Meat's corpse is gone. Mysterious.

Turns out, he was hauled off by Kano and the Black Dragon Syndicate, who see an opportunity to create a new super-warrior. They've saved Dead Meat's life and reconstructed him as...

...Kabal! So that's where this guy came from. Kind of a lame character in MK3 but I played as him a lot since his tornado spin attack was so cheap against the CPU.

Motaro...dies offscreen and his corpse is brought to Shao Kahn, who laments the loss. Wait, so we killed Kintaro in the MK3 portion, and Motaro isn't even fightable?

Motaro kinda got done dirty by the later games in this series. They had issues programming him in Armageddon so they turned him into a bipedal ettin type creature. Now this game doesn't even animate him at all. Well, it's all just as well because he kinda destroyed me a couple months ago.


Sub-Zero wakes up in his new cyborg body, and we get what is hands-down the coolest new character in this game: Cyber Sub-Zero.

He has all of the normal Sub-Zero powers, plus a bunch of cyborg attacks like explosives and missiles, in addition to looking awesome. This is a deviation from how history was supposed to go, not sure if it means anything. Probably not considering normal human Sub-Zero is back in the next game for some reason. They just kind of introduce new ideas and then abandon them from game to game.

Next is a battle I would have loved as a kid. Goro AND Kintaro in an endurance match. And you get to play as the cool-as-ice Cyber Sub Zero for this. Best fight in the game IMO.

It's also a VERY TOUGH FIGHT, as one would expect, and I had to pull out all the stops to get this fight down. Easily the toughest fight in the game that isn't Shao Kahn.

Note how Kintaro gets main event billing by going second, as well he should. I'll always maintain that Kintaro > Goro. I argued this on the playground and everything, dammit.

Cyber Sub-Zero takes on Noob Saibot. Two generations of Sub-Zero, both in distorted new forms, fighting at the end of the world.

Looks like Shao Kahn is rapidly collecting souls from Earthrealm with gigantic Soulnados. They're...tornados that suck up everyone's souls.

Yeah, why aren't the Elder Gods doing anything?

The tough part of being psychic: Trying to suss out what's a premonition and what isn't. Or whether you're seeing a possible outcome, or the one you're headed towards, or what. It sounds like a big headache.

Next, Anchor Baby Sindel finally shows up and KILLS EVERYONE. ....well, that happened. No, I'm not kidding. She kills everyone except Liu Kang and Raiden, pretty much. What is even happening at this point? Rebooting a series is great for undoing all the characters you killed off, and they...immediately kill everyone off one game in.

Kitana is the last hero that she slays, and puts up a good fight. They share DNA, after all. Which explains how they're both impossibly fit goddesses.

(Note: Johnny Cage and Sonya both survive this part, but both are too injured to continue fighting so they're pretty much out for the rest of the story. So basically we've distilled things down to the main MK movie characters)

Oh yeah, and Nightwolf. He gets to be the one to defeat Kahn's wife and send her back to Hell. This chick is TOAST!

Talk about a downgrade, going from Cyber Sub-Zero (an incredibly cool new character) to one of MK3's less cool additions. Nightwolf actually gets the penultimate chapter of the game, but so little happens in his chapter that I barely screenshotted it. He fights Cyrax, Sektor, then Sindel. That's it.

Raiden begs the Elder Gods to do something about Shao Kahn and they're all like "lol IDK"

Seriously, this is a total cop-out. Shao Kahn circumvents the rules of tournaments and these guys basically say we can't have a tournament to fix things because Earthrealm's destruction isn't their problem and is happening outside of a tournament.

So what's stopping Raiden from having an anchor baby in Outworld and then invading with all the world's militaries and the Justice League and shit?

Well, it seems that Shao Kahn isn't allowed to control Earthrealm outside of a tournament...so they'll do something if he establishes control. Until then, he's free to just murder everyone on Earth one at a time if he wants, I guess.

Final chapter begins with Raiden fighting Scorpion in Hell. Scorpion was kind of a loose end bad guy who popped up a few times, and they just tied it up.

Next, Quan Chi forms revenants of the fallen good guys that Sindel murdered...and Sindel herself.

What follows is several VERY tough endurance fights where you go through not 2, but 3 enemies in one fight. The good news is that you only need to win one round of each fight (i.e. defeat the 3 foes once, not twice in a row) which makes things a lot simpler.

After going through all the reanimated heroes (man this is dark)...

...Raiden and Liu Kang argue some more about how to finish this fight and save Earthrealm.

Raiden says that if they defeat Shao Kahn, he'll just return later even stronger and win on the field of Armageddon, like he did the first time around.

On the other hand, if our heroes surrender and Shao Kahn takes over Earthrealm, then the Elder Gods can punish him for taking over another realm without going through the proper channels of a legitimate confrontation. Liu Kang thinks this is bullshit and wants to fight Kahn now.

Our heroes fight it out instead since they disagree on what to do, and every disagreement is a fight in these games. Man, Kahn must be laughing his ass off right now watching the only two threats to him destroying each other.

................................This leads to Raiden winning and accidentally killing Liu Kang.


Raiden then surrenders and gets beaten down by the soul-empowered Shao Kahn (absorbing souls apparently makes him more powerful, like Cell in DBZ), who declares victory over Earthrealm.

So this entire re-writing of history... didn't prevent Kahn from winning in MK7. No no no, it MOVED UP his victory to MK3!

But wait! The minute Shao Kahn declares victory over Earthrealm via crooked methods, the Elder Gods can finally intervene, and empower Raiden with Elder God Ki. This puts him at the same level as Kahn.

Final fight. Shao Kahn is just as cheap here as he is in the Outworld fight earlier, so I fight him the same way.

Keep a distance, launch a lightning bolt every time he taunts. It takes an age and a half, but it works.

With that, Shao Kahn is dead. Like, actually dead, for real. And yes, this actually stays true for the next game! They're trying their luck with a non-Kahn villain again.

History has officially been changed and Earthrealm is saved. Too bad all the heroes are dead except for like, Raiden, Johnny, Sonya, and a couple others. Can't believe they even knocked off Liu Kang. Does this mean MKX will have the return of Zombie Liu Kang?

Next we get a tease for Mortal Kombat 4, as Quan Chi slinks away and reports to his boss, renegade Elder God Shinnok. Turns out this all plays into their plan to take over both Outworld and Earthrealm. Turns out Shao Kahn was the main obstacle to this plan. With Shao Kahn out of the way, they can make their move, plus they have a bunch of revenants at their command due to the destruction wreaked in this game.

So there you have it, MK10 is going to retell MK4. At least at first, there's more to it than that.

GREAT game here, and setting up a sequel left everyone eagerly awaiting the next step in the series. Alas, it wouldn't be for four years. The age of getting sequels a year later is long over with now.

So, thoughts on this game? It's pretty damn good, and up to this point I'd say it's the #1 game in the entire series. Beyond this point, only MK11 might rank higher for me, but that might be a matter of personal taste more than anything else. I don't think it's possible to go wrong with this game.

The trio of 9-10-11 is probably the single best run of 3 games in the entire series. Yep, better than the original 3.

Transitioning back to 2D was a good choice, and the backgrounds in this game are incredibly detailed (something that would persist for the rest of the series).

It also really GOES PLACES with the story, and takes some unexpected turns to say the least. Rebooting was another good choice and allowed them to reset things back to when the series was at its peak. Going forward, they've got a whole new timeline to play around with and it's gonna be interesting. I mean, unless they just randomly reboot it again a couple games later, but that's a silly idea. Looking forward to revisiting MKX.

Other Mortal Kombat Posts

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