Musings: Ultimate Mortal Kombat (Nintendo DS)

You know, there was a point when my life consisted of only three things:

1. Working at a Chinese restaurant that masqueraded as a Japanese restaurant in a Florida mall.

2. Going to a kung-fu class, in which I regularly broke some body part (noses, nuts, etc.).

3. Playing Mortal Kombatad nauseum. I would spend hours (and God knows how much of my hard-earned Chinese-restaurant money) figuring out the timing of Kano’s flying-ball-maneuver thing, Sonya’s sexually suggestive leg-grab thing, and of course, how to rip out spines at the end of a hard-won battle against many a wily Vietnamese kid. I got so good at the game that my school paper wrote a story about my skills. I was that awesome. (Or sad, depending on how you look at it.)

Mortal Kombat has been around in one form or another since then, and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to play it, but I and many of my arcade-dwelling brethren have since moved on, and our love for Fatalities has all but disappeared. Or so I thought.

This week, I received Ultimate Mortal Kombat for the Nintendo DS in my mailbox, featuring Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. At first I thought, “I really don’t need to play this again.” But then it dawned on me just how great MK might be for the DS. I don’t have to invest a lot of time, it looks just as good on the DS as it did in the arcade (just a lot smaller), and all those moves I memorized and then forgot years ago are posted for me on the DS’s top screen, so I don’t have to go digging on the internet or, more likely, run the risk of getting frustrated and putting the game down. And to boot, the entertaining puzzle game, Puzzle Kombat, is also included.

Solo, the game can be a lot of fun, but like most arcade fighters, it’s a hell of a lot more fun against a real opponent, which can be done through the DS’s Wi-Fi connection. If I had any complaints, it would be that the DS control pad isn’t the best for pulling off the intricate moves of Mortal Kombat, though we got used to it. The Fatalities, however, are near impossible, both because of the DS pad’s limited movement and the extremely short amount of time you have to make them happen. I managed to get a few off, but have yet to master them all.

Despite the system’s limitations, Ultimate Mortal Kombat reminded me why I loved the series all those years ago, and is the best fighter on the DS to date, perfect for both casual fighting fans and the hardcore alike. Fight, jerks!

Grand Theft Auto IV Box Art Revealed

Despite being pushed back to Spring ’08 from its original October ’07 release date, GTA IV has sparked a fever that is running wild. So wild, in fact, that the unveiling of the series’ of the box art is, for some reason, newsworthy.

Feast your eyes on the future of controversy and moral decay!

Okay, so it’s not that mind-blowing. Guys with guns. Helicopters. Chicks sucking something. It’s the usual GTA fare, but anything else would be out of character for the series, so it gets a pass from us for not pushing any envelopes. The accompanying video of some artists throwing up the art on a wall is certainly bad-ass. And what’s more, we are told that we can expect a new trailer on December 6.

EA Replacing Busted Rock Band Equipment

Rock Band is awesome. I have had not had so much fun playing songs I care almost nothing about since I took piano lessons and had to play “Edelweiss.” The drums? Awesome. The guitars? Awesome. Hard to get used to for Guitar Hero fans, but actually better once you get the hang of it. And no obnoxious clacking of buttons. Singing along? I didn’t know I had such a beautiful Geddy Lee falsetto. (Yes I did.)

Some folks with the PS3 version, however, are having a tough go with Rock Band’s instruments. Mostly because some of those instruments don’t work. At all.

From EA’s Rock Band forum:

“Many of you have contacted us about the PS3 edition of Rock Band, from issues with guitar compatibility to frustration that stand-alone guitars and drums for Rock Band have not yet hit stores. Please know that these issues have our full attention. We are listening and we read everything that is posted here on our forums. We are committed to providing the best play experience possible and working hard to ensure that we solve these problems as soon as possible. We promise to keep you updated and, in the meantime, we thank you for your patience.”

And on Rock Band guitars:

“Many of you have contacted us regarding your guitar controllers. As sometimes happens when new products first go into manufacturing, we discovered an imperfection with the strum bar in an early production run of guitars that were shipped at launch. We want to inform you that we have since identified and fixed the issue in all subsequent production runs of the guitars. If you are experiencing a problem with your guitar or any of your other Rock Band instruments, simply visit the customer support website and we will send a replacement immediately. Harmonix is dedicated to creating 100% customer satisfaction and to those of you who’ve encountered any hardware issues, we are sorry for the hassle.”