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Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (PlayStation 2) artwork

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks (PlayStation 2) review


"To think that Midway would take Mortal Kombat to a new 3-D adventure, you would have to be crazy right? Well not all would say that with their new release Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks. Everyone is use to the old style of 2-D flat screen fighting, but there are those who wish to take the characters to a new level. Fighting Scorpion on a flat screen is only fun for so long, but imagine fighting him in a new 3-D realm where he has total control over his arena. There were limited possibilities on mak..."



To think that Midway would take Mortal Kombat to a new 3-D adventure, you would have to be crazy right? Well not all would say that with their new release Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks. Everyone is use to the old style of 2-D flat screen fighting, but there are those who wish to take the characters to a new level. Fighting Scorpion on a flat screen is only fun for so long, but imagine fighting him in a new 3-D realm where he has total control over his arena. There were limited possibilities on making this game, but Midway was sure to make this game right.

The story of Shaolin Monks takes place after the first Mortal Kombat. Right after Shang Tsung's defeat from Lui Kang, you pick up your story. Everyone from the original MK show up in the scenes during this game. Even some of those you forgot about *wink*. But then the story starts to take place during MK II. Shang Tsung's defeat left him towards blowing up the island which everyone was battling on. All of the other MK warriors are heading out of the island, while Lui Kang and Kung Lao were the unfortunate ones to fall through the ground and land in Goro's lair. Things could only get worse from that position. Then after a few cut-scenes you will take over your character.

There are two separate ways to enjoy Shaolin Monks, but only one of is to be chosen! You can play either single-player or co-op mode. You will find out which one will fit you the most after you test it out. You are granted a choice of two characters for the story. A tough choice between Lui Kang, or Kung Lao. Whatever one you chose, you will stick with for the rest of the game, you can't switch during game play at any time. One thing to note is the amount of secrets Midway threw into this game. You're better off to find somebody else who loves MK as much as you do. For some reason they made Co-op the mode where you find a lot of the secrets. So if you don't find that other person, you might be a little disappointed at your efforts to unlock everything.

Shaolin Monks honestly takes no effort to get used to. Midway made most of the great combo's in older MK titles, just a few less buttons to push. A lot of the newer combos require good timing, and a knowledge of the buttons. For example: Lui Kang can throw up an enemy, beat on them a couple hits, then throw them over to Kung Lao who can take over on the beating. All of this is accomplished in mid air. I think Midway took a little too much liking into the Matrix series. Some of the moves are different, and they tend to confuse you. Take Lui for an example. If you press a trigger button with the main buttons, he will shoot fireballs. If anyone remembers the older MK titles, you never had to do that. The same goes for Kung Loa, he has his hat throw and his tornado move.

Fatalities have also changed as well. You only have to fill up this "Fatality Meter" all the way, then you hit L1 and stun the enemy. After that a row of buttons show up, and you have to put them in correctly. If you succeed, then you will pull off a fatality. It's okay if you learn it and forget the combo, simply pause the screen and look under fatalities for the code. It's hard to remember how to do all of their fatalities. Along with filling one meter, you can earn up to 3! Once you fill up your second meter you can pull off a "Multality," which is new to the series. What the combatant does here, is takes out every enemy that is in his path. So make sure you do those moves when you have a bunch of enemies lying around. At level 3 you can pull of the great "Brutality" and maul every enemy you see. The fatalities have been upgraded, so you will see a newer version of the older moves, and you will see a new set of fatalities. Some of them you pull on the bosses can be unique, but performing the same old fatality on the original monsters can be tedious.

Lui Kang and Kung Lao have their own distinct combos, which can be upgraded by EXP. You gain your experience by taking out all the goons you come across. But they have to be killed by your hands to gain it, if you use any of the obstacles in the background you gain nothing from it. You can also learn various other combos with each character. One of the distinct moves with both characters is the 'Team Combo'. This is where you use both of your moves and combine them together to do more damage. Most of the upgrades can be helpful when you're fighting bosses or a large number of enemies. But throughout the whole level you can mainly button mash your way through.

As I mentioned about the puzzles earlier, you will find yourself in a world full. Most of the puzzles you will undertake by going back to where you were at the beginning of the game. It seems you spend more time backtracking then you do moving forward. But it all adds up in the end. I think Midways main point is to make this a perfect co-op game. Since you can find most of the secrets in the co-op mode, it's best to just enjoy the story as well. It can be confusing not having one of the two partners around, then all of the sudden they meet up in a cut-scene. But you will notice that you can enjoy the game much more with a friend, then by yourself. It's also a bit easier on some of the boss battles. Not everyone has the same way of thinking, and both of the persons being on one screen, it can tend to get annoying.

This game all really boils down to your obsession with Mortal Kombat. I think that most MK fans will have their way with this game. But then there's the picky ones who find this game 'not good enough' to fill their needs. Most of the average MK fans will find this game appealing with all of the challenges that you can unlock. Or they could have fun just taking time to beat up everything that comes up to the screen. Even if you're not a fan of MK I suggest you check Shaolin Monks out. It's worth adding to your collection.

Rating: 8/10

alucard517's avatar
Community review by alucard517 (October 24, 2005)

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