Test Your Might...And Your Patience? - FamilyGuyGuy7 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Test Your Might...And Your Patience?

Mortal Kombat released in the US today!  Toasty!

This answer to MK fans' prayers brings back classic 2D Fatalities with classic characters, landmarks, and secrets.  But what it also brings back is the classic AI frustration that drives me insane!  You might even say it...grinds my gears?

Surely Mortal Kombat doesn't grind my gears!  Well, it does, and it's about time someone said something about it.

Now, I'll give Mortal Kombat some credit, in the fact that the final boss isn't some cheap rip-off of a character like Street Fighter IV's Seth...but still, Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung are pretty cheap.

They both have their own original moves, unlike above's SETH, who possesses no original moves of his own, and they're definitely cooler than Seth, as they aren't stupid genetically-altered super fighters.  But what I cannot stand for is how difficult all of these bosses are.

Whenever I play a fighting game, aside from the early Mortal Kombat games, I've determined that the farther you advance in the tournament mode, the cheaper the fighters get.  They're not above spamming moves, playing dirty, and otherwise testing your patience and hard-earned experience to the limit (in the early Mortal Kombat games, the cheap moves came right away.  Seriously, in Mortal Kombat II I had a match vs. Scorpion on very easy difficulty where all he did was harpoon me, pull me over to him, and uppercut me.  I didn't play very much after that.).

In the recent Mortal Kombat release, you basically have to have eaten horseshoes for breakfast while wearing rabbit foot slippers from a leprechaun's pot of gold to be able to hit Shang Tsung.  But he's not unbeatable.  After a few frustrating tries, I was able to deliver the final blow.  Only a handful more and Shao Kahn too felt my Fatality.  Overall, the experience was a billion times better than my three hour deathfest versus Seth.

There has to be a better way to up the difficulty of bosses at the end of fighting games without making them resort to cheap moves and truckloads of spam.  My solution?  A bigger health bar never hurt anyone.  I'd gladly boast to others that I was able to beat Shao Kahn three or four times over in one round.  With just increasing the bosses health, you can retain the overall difficulty while adding on to the duration and scope of the finale.  As the boss's health bar winds down, then depleting time and time again, you can savor victory a lot longer.  That's just one way to ensure the last battle is tough, drawn out, and definitely worth the wait, instead of making it dreaded, frustrating, and just plain cheap.

There are probably a dozen different ways the Mortal Kombat and even Street Fighter franchises can improve themselves and their climax endings, without driving fans away from a lot of the action by implementing what I consider to be a low blow.  Bosses that cheat, spam, and are unnecessarily difficult don't have to be tolerated, and I for one would like to see a reform in the way developers approach their long-awaited finales.

And that, people, is what grinds my gears.

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