x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Gamers can now get Mortal Kombat gore on the go

Mortal Kombat is back and now it's portable, having landed on Sony's latest handheld magic box, the PS Vita.

Mortal Kombat. The name alone is likely to bring back rose-tinted memories of teenage years spent hurling Sega Megadrive controllers at the TV screen or fruitlessly trying to discover a "fatality" combo that made your character play keepy-uppy with your enemy's severed head (only to discover you'd been lied to).

It was the Batman Begins to Streetfighter's Batman the TV series - darkly lit and rather gruesome, described as one of the "goriest, bloodiest, nastiest" video games of all time. But while the rest of the gaming industry has been taking from MK's bloodlust-like lead, it's still been going, still been ripping heads off, pulling out spines and performing all sorts of other medically unapproved surgical procedures.

And now, following last year's well-received ninth instalment, which was more of a reboot to the original, Mortal Kombat lands on Sony's latest handheld magic box, the PS Vita.

The first things to grab you are the visuals, which may not be on a par with the PS3 but, with animations running at 60 frames per second, are still impressive enough to raise a few eyebrows. Then there's the gameplay, which - just like the original - takes place solely on a 2D plane and is just as frantic as ever.

The story mode takes you on a ridiculous tale (aren't they all?) in which, low and behold, only a massive tournament involving all your favourite Mortal Kombat fighters can save the world. The dialogue is about as cheesy as Disney teenage drama (although far less family friendly) and the animated sequences reveal that the characters have "grown" somewhat since their early days. (Given her frankly ridiculous chest, how Sonya Blade can stand up is something only the developers can explain.) But it's all good fun nonetheless.

If you want to avoid the fromage, there are plenty of other options, including Challenge Tower, in which you have to master a series of increasingly weird challenges, and a few Vita-specific mini-games either motion controlled or involving the touchscreen.

The fighting itself is very much the MK basics, with each character having a few special moves that can be pulled off relatively easily and combos that come through various button-tapping sequences. An addition is the gauge at the bottom, which fills up and allows you to break out of a combo or enact some sort of super move, which adds the extra gruesome effect of showing the internal damage done via an X-ray effect (which begins to tire after a while).

The Vita version also comes with the God of War character, plus the downloadable content as standard and an Easter egg which allows you to take a photo to use as the background.

But the cherry on the top, perhaps, is the Wi-Fi mode, which will soon have you sitting on the sofa, engaged in a vicious fight to the death with a teenager in Singapore (probably).

Fingers crossed, next time Mortal Kombat appears a deal will have been struck with those other K-friendly sorts, the Kardashians. Imagine. Kim v Khloe! Fight!