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Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Are you geddon-it? Step inside to discover if Midway's latest gore-fest is worth your readies

There used be a really terrible programme on telly at about four in the morning, the sort of thing that was so bad it hypnotised viewers into leaving it on and half watching it in some sort of catatonic state because they couldn't be arsed to get off the sofa and go to bed or find the remote and switch channels.

The show was Mortal Kombat: Conquest, and that feeling of sleepy fuzziness is very much present in the latest game in the franchise, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon.

It's cheesy and it's nothing we haven't seen or played before. In fact, there's not a lot to recommend it at first glance - the graphics aren't all that, the sound is awful, and the much talked about gore looks like nothing more than tomato soup (with no bits). And yet there's something about it which compels you to reach just the next checkpoint, and then maybe the one after that. Oh all right, and the one after that.

Scorpion: still a hard bugger, even now.

As a 3D fighter it's nowhere near the standards of PS2's heavy hitters (Soul Calibur, Tekken) but there's something comforting about the fact that it's so unchallenging. Searing curries are very nice, but sometimes you feel like, ooh, fish fingers. Something that's not going to hurt. And Armageddon is just like that. You can play it half asleep because at no point does it turn nasty.

Konquest mode is the Campaign of Armageddon, and is a third-person scrolling beat 'em up affair which sees you flattening hordes of daft henchmen and occasional bosses as new character, Taven. Objects are collected along the way (new tunes, special costumes and weapons), which are stored and made available for use in the Kreate-A-Fighter option. In the meantime, the hammy plot (two brothers separated for aeons have to duke it out to assume control of their father's kingdom) trundles along practically unnoticed.

The Arcade mode sees every character who ever appeared in a Mortal Kombat game put in an appearance in more traditional one-onone combat. Armageddon feels like it hasn't come to terms with the whole 3D thing and therefore it's awkward at times, and you'll be better off using the D-pad to pull of some of the more complex special moves rather than the analogue stick.

It's a cool trip down memory lane, and complementing it is a new Kreate- A-Fatality mode and Motor Kombat, a pointless cart racing game featuring the Jax, Cage and the other main characters. It's got duff handling but it's an amusing novelty for five minutes or so.

Armageddon is fine. Nothing special, but not bad, and its Konquest mode is probably the perfect game for that Saturday afternoon period just before the footy kicks off, when your head still hurts from Friday.

The verdict

Loads of bells and whistles, but ignore them for the basic but enjoyable, cheesy Konquest mode.

  • Simple, fun Konquest mode
  • Create your own Fatality moves
  • Clumsy one-on-one fighting
  • Rubbish Motor Kombat mode
PlayStation 2
Beat 'em Up