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Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

I played a little MKSM this morning. It's a good fighting game. There's a storyline to the single play and co-op modes. It's pretty much a brawler action-adventure game. You smash and bash your way through a tutorial first. The fighting system is directional so you can attack in any direction by pressing the L thumbstick towards the enemy. So it's possible to chain attacks and get combo bonuses. There are a lot of animated fatalities. You and your character learn them through the course of the game and they just get more and more involved and gruesome. It's almost reason enough to play through the single player mode.

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You can pick up weapons as you walk over them. Anything is a weapon: a skull, a brick, a sword, the enemy's body. The environment affects the fight. If there's a fire in one corner you should pound your opponent into the fire so he'll take extra damage. Likewise with acid pits and spikes.

The story mode is a new approach to Mortal Kombat. Instead of the usual fighting one opponent at a time, it's more of a StreetFighter kind of fighting. It's not side scrolling but it does seem fairly linear. You can play as Liu Kang of Kung Lao. Each has their own style of attacks and fatalities.

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It's all about the combat and new attention deserving feature is the multidirectional combat system so you can string together multiple attacks against multiple enemies. As you pull off combos you fill your fatality meter. Then press the white button and you'll be given a chance to enter the right keys for a fatality. Each character has 10 fatalities and the ones we saw were pleasantly gory.

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I liked the game. I was a bit disappointed with the graphics, but then again there's so much fighting who has time to consider the graphics. Some of the 3 dimensional positioning seemed off when attacks go right by an enemy, and camera angles did make it close to unplayable at times. Still, I'm going to continue to play it. The bottom line is that MKSM is fun with two people but nothing special.

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