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Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Every character ever is back for MK's brutal PS2 swansong

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Kreate A Kharacter
Infinite lady ninjas... on tap
Custom characters might be the norm in fighting games these days, but the new Mortal Kombat pulls it off with aplomb. The basic system's similar to Soul Calibur 3, letting you pick a character style - Geisha, Ninja or Samurai, for instance - then tweak them to look like the superhero, ninja or minor female celebrity you're after. The impressive bit, though, is the move system - you pick a base style (Karate, Eagle Claw, Tiger Crane or whatever) and then change whatever move you like for your own unique combos. For your second style, you pick a weapon and do the same again. Hammer-wielding crane Christina Aguilera, anyone?

Devastation!
The third Mortal Kombat movie has become tangled up in the ropes
Oh, it was going to be brilliant. After MK: Annihilation tanked at the box office, the studio suits had big plans for Devastation: they'd get Christopher Lambert back, they'd build a theme park in Florida where people could watch it being filmed... and more importantly, they'd rehire Bridgette Wilson as Sonya Blade. But Hurricane Katrina knocked things off track, and now Devastation's in pre-production hell, being filmed in Thailand, with only Chris 'Scorpion' Cassamassa to return from the original cast. It's not all doom and gloom, though - take consolation in that it's being directed by a man called 'Mink' and written by the magnificently-named Drew McWeeny. Can't wait!]

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New minigame announced!
Don't get too excited... it's only karting
For months, Midway have been hinting at the new, secret online multi-player mode that's set to replace Puzzle Kombat (quite fun) and Chess Kombat (incredibly confusing). Would it be multi-player fighting? Some sort of MMORPG? Erm, no. It's... Kombat Kart!

This works pretty much as you'd expect - twelve of the Kombat characters race each other round eight tracks, snarling and grabbing boosts. There are death-traps on the tracks - the gigantic rollers are a favourite - and each character's got their own special power (Raiden's is lightning, Jax's is a giant bomb), but the weird thing is... there aren't any other weapons. At the moment, this makes things feel massively unbalanced - if you're Mileena, for instance, you've just got a shield, so you've got no way of shooting people - and a bit rushed. Still, they've got time to fix it, so we're looking forward to giving it a try.

Noob!
We speak to Ed Boon, the MK mastermind
He's been with Mortal Kombat since it was 2D, he named Noob Saibot after himself (Boon backwards) and he's one of the nicest men you'll ever meet - even though he spends his days watching people getting their heads ripped off. It's Ed Boon!

You've got every character ever in Armaggedon. Any favourites you felt were neglected that deserve another chance?
I always liked Kabal. But I thought Stryker was neglected - he was a cool character, he had useful moves, but nobody seemed to pick him. My all-time favourite, though? That's still Scorpion.

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How are the boss characters going to work? Presumably they aren't going to have the same move set?
Well there are characters that we are still balancing because they are so huge. It's a different game playing with those characters as opposed to playing with the tiny Liu Kang, but they'll be slower and not as agile, so it all works out.

How difficult is it to balance the created characters so that they fit in with the game's cast?
Well, they tend to be a bit tougher than the normal characters because you can assign them whatever moves you like, within reason - but there will be lobbies online where you can't use them. Or where you can only use created characters. So everyone should be happy.

Back in the day, Mortal Kombat caused uproar. Did you ever feel like you'd gone too far?
It was edgy back then because there were no age ratings so kids could buy the games, so parents were worried. These days, though, we can do pretty much whatever we like.

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