Mortal Kombat is a survivor. Back in the early '90s, the fighting series started out in arcades as one of the first viable alternatives to the juggernaut that was Capcom's Street Fighter II. The original game had a distinctly gritty feel that aimed for photo-realism mixed with fantastic scenes of unprecedented gore. Over the years, it became a gigantic mythos, spawning movies, action figures, comic books, cartoons, and even a live-action TV show. But even though the series expanded outside the video game realm, the core product's quality waned. Many people still regard Mortal Kombat II as the pinnacle of the series, though Mortal Kombat 3's faster gameplay and pumped-up combo system certainly added a lot to the series. By the time Mortal Kombat 4 came around, though, the arcade market wasn't in particularly good shape, and the new game's lackluster cookie-cutter gameplay and unimpressive 3D graphics didn't win it many fans. Some attempts were made to spin off characters from the series into their own games, resulting in a decent game based on Sub-Zero and an absolute low point for the series in a game based on Jax. Given the series' somewhat recent failures, it isn't difficult to assume that the latest Mortal Kombat would be another disappointing 3D fighter with a layer of blood splashed on top. But, surprisingly enough, that's far from true.
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