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Mortal Kombat: A successful return to its classic roots?

In 1992 it perfected the uppercut. In 2011 you'll see the jaw break...

If it makes you wince, you know it's good. If it makes you wince and then laugh, you know it's extremely good. With its ludicrous in-game body scans of crushed organs and smashed skulls, and glistening blood being spilt on torso and floor alike, Mortal Kombat looks set to recapture a legion of increasingly elderly gamers.

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We imagine old-time Mega Drive owners the world over will simultaneously drop their bus-passes in sheer amazement, and the colostomy bags of SNES OAPs will be instantly filled. Memories of the old moves, the uppercuts and the leg sweeps, will come back as soon they grasp the pad - arthritis a distant memory.

And everyone else? They'll be drawn in by the iconic characters, but they'll be dazzled by the quite remarkable violence. You simply cannot watch Mileena throw swords into Johnny Cage, decapitate him and then take repeated bites out of his face like a dog on death row without deeply desiring this game.

Likewise, the classic MK environments have had a facelift that both newcomers and old-timers will appreciate - from the way hanging bodies fight against their nooses in the Dead Pool to the amazing lighting effects as underground trains rattle past the Subway level.

In fact, the only backward step is that Dead or Alive-style boob-jiggle technology hasn't been implemented - but that's not always a bad thing. Mortal Kombat is great fun to grapple with then, but only an extended play will reveal whether the developer's promises of a deep and nuanced fighting system lying beneath the famous MK moves and projectile-heavy combat ring true.

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In the mean-time, if a man with blank eyes and a yellow mask spears you through the heart and asks you to 'come over here' - it'd probably be wise to do so pretty sharpish.

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