April 19, 2011: a day made of gold for the gaming community. Why? Well, there are several significant releases today, and if you happen to be missing an abormal number of video game-loving employees, be suspicious. SOCOM 4 and Portal 2 both hit stores today. Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection and Prince of Persia: Classic Trilogy HD are also available now. And then, of course, there is the highly anticipated Mortal Kombat, released today for XBox 360 and PS3. This new game, the ninth in the Mortal Kombat series, is slated to do quite well in sales.

The Mortal Kombat franchise got its start back in 1992 as an upright arcade game created by Midway and served as a worthy opponent to Capcom’s Street Fighter games. Players quickly realized, though, that Mortal Kombat‘s fights were significantly different from Street Fighter‘s in several ways, one of which was the innovative (albeit controversial) Fatality option. This option allowed players who had beaten their opponents in combat to “finish” them by performing a gruesome move in order to kill the loser. When I say gruesome, it’s because that’s the first word that came into my head when I was eleven and watched my cousin, playing as Sub-Zero, pull off his opponent’s head, the spine dripping blood coming along behind it, and the defeated and now-dead body falling into a heap on the ground.

Awesome for gamers. Maybe not so awesome for pacifists.

What’s new in the 9th Mortal Kombat?
For better or worse, those original games were certainly something to talk about. Part of the hype surrounding the new Mortal Kombat game is that it goes back to its roots — back to the storylines of the first three games. Obviously there are going to be some updates and changes, though. Here’s some of what you can expect to see:

  • Mature rating (the previous game in the franchise, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe had a Teen rating)
  • More specialized moves. Attacks aren’t just “high” and “low” anymore. Instead, you can choose which arm or leg
  • Intro/Outro animations
  • Fewer programmed and more of your own combos
  • X-Ray Attacks – the ability to see internal damage
  • PS3 users will be able to create a custom soundtrack

NetherRealms Studios, which is the former WB Games Chicago, developed this ninth Mortal Kombat, and their efforts to take the game back while simultaneously moving it forward have been praised. Indeed, it’s widely anticipated that those who grew up playing the original games will be happy with this installment of the series. At the same time, it’s fresh enough to attract new players.

If you or someone you love is a gamer, the next several days are going to be crucial. Make sure to open the blinds so the gamer gets at least a little bit of sunlight. Have staple non-perishables like Doritos and Mountain Dew at the ready in order to provide some kind of sustenance. Eye drops wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Neither would painkillers for when the backaches and stiff joints set in. Remind your gamer that bathroom breaks are a natural part of the day and shouldn’t be ignored. And don’t forget to rest. Even Raiden needs sleep sometimes.

Image Source: Wikipedia