Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Mortal Kombat 1 - Act Two

I need to note that while this may not be the best version of Shang Tsung (that would be the movie / MK11 one), it's a REALLY GOOD version of the character. Whoever it was who played/voiced him in this game completely nailed the performance. He's diabolical, smarmy, and pretty much a perfect villain.

Our heroes get locked up in Shang Tsung's dungeon, which is his hidden REAL lab underneath his not-so-bad fake lab up top.

Weird how Baraka is a good guy now. He's here too, and they're at the mercy of Reptile the jailer.

Here's Reptile, forced to serve Shang Tsung because he's being blackmailed! In the original series he was Tsung's bodyguard, now he's basically a slave. He's a regular guy ninja, but he can transform into a reptillian form at will.

Shang Tsung stupidly reveals that Reptile's family was actually killed long ago lolol.

Why would he even tell him that?

Then Tsung floods the room with gas and leaves them to face his goons.

This means fighting a bunch of Tarkatan fighters, Tsung's experimentations.

Baraka still has his sweeping blade-arm attacks, and they look better than ever.

Tsung pops up to be all smarmy as he makes his escape YET AGAIN.

This is followed by a Test Your Might where Baraka has to break down a massive door to get them out of here.

That leads to the Living Forest, which looks incredibly gorgeous in this game.

Reptile joins the team, now that he has no reason to fight for Tsung. His ability to turn into a human has made him a FREAK among the reptile-folk. Well, I guess it's all relative.

They stumble upon this paladin-esque woman slaying Tarkatans out in the woods. This...

...is Ashrah, who is literally a paladin. She's even got the paladinesque Faith-scaling sword from Elden Ring. She's also super powerful and one of the cooler new characters (yeah, she's an old character, but this version of her is a lot better).

Elsewhere in the woods, Quan-Chi is working with the chick from Lost and some other goons. Little do they know that our heroes are on their way. In any case, this is Nitara, and she's super hot, and you can't teach that.

But wait! The best interpersonal scene in the game follows. Kenshi is struggling with his new disability, and Johnny stops him to thank him for saving his life earlier.

He then presents Kenshi with the $3 million sword, finally. This is a big powerup for Kenshi, and lets him see the spirit world. I guess the katana was seeking a blind master and all of this just worked out.

Kenshi is amazed at this gift and very thankful, and now these guys are basically bros forever.

Don't feel too bad for Kenshi, because he's incredibly powerful and can probably fight better now than he could before anyway. Like the guy in John Wick 4.

The good guy team is lopsidedly powerful at this point. Not sure what chance Quan-Chi has, especially in this nerfed new form (he's definitely inferior to Shang Tsung in this game, rather than being his equal).

He still has The Wasp actress on his side though. Nitara is a beast, and a natural foe for Ashrah.

Time for my least-favorite character, Ermac. This guy was awesome back when he was the basic red ninja. In later games he's this weird zombie-mummy doofus who dismembers his foes with magic spells and is just generally unpleasant.


So apparently Ashrah is a demon from Netherrealm who cast off her demonhood and now becomes less and less of a demon every time she slays evil with this holy sword. So while she's technically a demon still, she's as close as a demon can get to a human. She also doesn't want Quan-Chi to ruin the beauty of Earthrealm and Outworld by making them like Netherrealm.

Interesting how Outworld is beautiful in this timeline and hasn't been ruined. Netherrealm is sort of this third world that we've seen comparatively little of, the domain of Shinnok and Quan-Chi. I guess MK4 made it a thing. 

At this point Ermac basically goes nuts and beats up the entire hero crew. Another thing I don't like about modern Ermac, he's always wildly OP.

But wait! Kenshi's new sword glows, like Sting. He uses his powers of Blind Sight to...

...run Ermac through, saving the day. He also gets some of Ermac's soul power. Not kidding that Kenshi is the best character in this game. The most interesting guy, with the best journey, and a struggle that you want to see him overcome. Ashrah is pretty cool too, just for being a "demon paladin".

The problem is that Ermac is wildly OP in the story. Not sure why the devs have such a boner for Ermac. He's like the only bad guy with "plot armor" on. In any case, He Is Many, so he is able to get up and re-engage the heroes.

Ashrah and Kenshi team up against him, turning the Handicap Match against the CPU for a change.

After Ermac is defeated, he breaks apart into numerous souls that go nuts, attacking Quan-Chi and draining all the color out of his face:

My God! Now Quan-Chi is the form we all remember. I like these little bits of "origin story" in this game... for all these characters we already knew... in a new timeline so these aren't actually their original origins. Well, they're moving all the pieces back onto the board the way they were before. Quan-Chi then gets away, of course.

Elsewhere, Shang Tsung meets with Kronika, assuring her that he's got everything under control and the subversion of Earth and Outworld is proceeding as scheduled. He's going to create an army of soul-warriors, and more importantly he's got a plan to steal the Lin Kuei from out from under Liu Kang. Turning the ninjas against Team Earth would be a huge coup for the subverters. Kronika ensures that Shang Tsung will rule an entire realm as a reward for his efforts. Little does she know...he wants ALL the realms. She's unaware of what happened in MK11.

Next up is the big Outworld Festival. Stuff happens with Syzoth (aka Reptile) helping the Earthrealm crew escape by causing a big distraction.

At this point I learn that Reptile has a GIANT LIZARD TAIL move. Look at that thing swing!

After a bunch of fights as Reptile, the good guys escape to Earthrealm. Liu Kang (who is a deity so I don't think he can just waltz into Outworld uninvited) is dismayed to learn that Shang Tsung is still on the loose and that Kenshi got blinded. Then again, he already knew Kenshi would be blinded, but not this soon. Something is amiss, and someone's messing with his timeline.

Elsewhere, Liu Kang has sent the Lin Kuei to intercept Quan-Chi and his minions, so a bunch of fights with them follow.

Sub-Zero's freeze effects are hands-down nicer than they've ever been before. Some of these freeze effects are among the best ice SFX I've seen in a game, even.

They find the Deadly Alliance and we get Sub-Zero and Scorpion facing them in a tag match. Shang Tsung can actually turn into his old man form during battles.

Tsung wins that exchange, but takes them captive instead of finishing them. He manages to convince Sub-Zero (who is still the very fallible Bi-Han version) to take a look at the vast riches in this palace. Essentially he buys off Bi-Han into joining his side. Emperor Ying commanded a vast army of spirit warriors, and Shang Tsung means to revive them to conquer Earthrealm.

Sub-Zero is SOLD, and joins the bad guys despite Scorpion's protestations. And since Sub-Zero is technically their heir to the Lin Kuei (not Smoke as I initially thought), the call goes out for the entire group to join Shang Tsung's side. This is like if the Four Horsemen joined the NWO!

Scorpion is pissed, and takes on Sub-Zero while the bad guys beat a hasty retreat. Scorpion and Smoke agree that they're sticking with Liu Kang's side regardless of what the rest of the Lin Kuei do.

Elsewhere, Liu Kang consults the fire spirits and stuff. As he expected, someone's meddling in the flow of time. He asks if it's Kronika, and is informed that it'd be impossible because Kronika is a Titan and once they die once, they're dead forever, regardless of time travel.

Liu Kang talks to Geras, keeper of time, and Geras says there IS one way it could be Kronika. She may be dead forever in their dimension, but if there are other timelines / dimensions, she could have crossed over from one of those. A multiverse! I mean, this is already the third timeline created inside the linear MK series, isn't it already obvious they're in a multiverse? Unless before this they just assumed that the previous timelines would poof after they got reset.

There's only one thing to do now. Liu Kang has to go into Outworld himself and try to make peace with Queen Sindel so they can stop whoever is undermining both realms and moving them towards war.

Next up: The final episode of the entire MK series. Whew. Before I go here, a quick look at the arcade ladder mode for this game:

It's what you expect from an arcade ladder in this series. Worth noting that you can do nothing but tag matches, which is a good way to see more characters.

The selection of characters is mostly contingent on Story Mode and how many you've encountered. And of course they'll probably add a bunch of DLC characters and costumes, as it goes. Kind of cool that you can play as Shao Kahn (well, General Shao) right off the bat.

It's General Shao versus General Shao. Motaro may not have made it into too many of these games after MK3, but at least they gave his horns to Shao for some reason.

I liked his Thor hammer more, but now he's got a battle axe. I teamed him up with Goro. I don't think Kintaro is in this game at all. Tried to look it up on Google, but all I got were results saying that Kintaro isn't in "Mortal Kombat 1" (i.e. the original one) and gave up quickly. Thanks, devs.

Kitana is doing the leg thing. She's so stylish.

Sindel has a leaping split-kick. She really has become one of my favorite MK characters, though I've liked her since MK3 when nobody else did.

Each character has their own short arcade mode ending that consists of a few still shots, like the previous game. Wonder how often Sindel gets confused for Mileena or Kitana's sister.

Got some classic characters here too, like classic outfit Sonya. ...who still hasn't turned up in the main game yet. Fire God Liu Kang is ridiculously bad-ass and definitely overshadows the rest of the cast in these new games.

Other Mortal Kombat Posts

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