Brutal and bloody brawler
The legendary beat 'em up series known for its graphic violence and hardcore fighting action returns in this fourth instalment, and while there are a few new additions to this edition, notably the 3D graphics, it retains the franchise's reputation for providing solid brawling action. Story-wise, the game features some nonsense about the Elder Gods, the Netherealm and some evil God called Shinnock who is out to cause the usual mayhem, but really this is just an excuse for some serious one-on-one combat and is entirely inconsequential and superfluous. Gameplay plays out pretty much as you'd expect, with the usual array of characters duking it out across a range of environments, each with their own special moves, powers and combos which must all be used to send their opponents into the middle of next week. However, this time around, weapons are introduced in limited fashion and which can be thrown or swung at your enemies. While a small addition, this does add some tactical variety and is fairly well handled. There is a good mix of new and classic characters here, with plenty of variety in their fighting styles and which provides high replay value as you attempt to master them all. Of course, Mortal Kombat has always been known for its brutal violence and this version doesn't disappoint in this respect, with several new fatalities available in glorious 3D. Graphics are impressive enough, fast, smooth and detailed with great character models, while the sound is suitably meaty with lots of gruesome effects. While it doesn't do anything new, Mortal Kombat 4 is an enjoyable and satisfying fighter, with all the characters and moves that fans crave and although it lacks the depth of the best Street Fighter games, there is still a lot of fun to be had here.