Mortal Kombat: Armageddon felt like an end to everything the series had been building for many years, literally tugging every character – from older gods to foolish guest stars – into a massive meat mill that let the bloody pasta king before restarting the franchise half a decade later.
2006 was not what you would call a hot year for fighting games. Although Mortal Kombat continued to maintain his presence within the genre (thanks to games like Deadly Alliance Deception and Shaolin Monks ) Armageddon failed to touch very fanfare, at least in comparison to the arcade classics or NetherRealm's recent revivals.
Ed Boon, Midway Games, and the company used the same engine and nuclear combat mechanics, but still had some interesting ideas for its flagship franchise. Armageddon's Konquest mode, while hardly groundbreaking, can still be seen as a template for the history mode structure that was later used Mortal Kombats which has been adopted by many other fighting series.
Instead of melting a string of battles between character-specific crooked scenes, Konquest had you exploring the broader MK universe as a newcomer, Taven. Between traditional battles, players took control of the fire-fighting demigod as he travels between worlds that occasionally struggle with grunts using a 3D battle system dressed from Shaolin Monks .
The reason why Konquest is not brought as much as it should is due to Armagedon's history itself. Even with Mortal Kombat X and NetherRealm's Injustice 2 which creates a tale that loops in any playable character, can often mean freedoms and occasionally unpleasant giant sizes of cameos. It was much the same with Armageddon, although its plot was far less convincing, relying on fans who knew MK's bizarre patchwork of lore. Placing the Taw in front and center was also a mistake – he had no previous history with the franchise or any kind of equality.
Speaking of characters, Armageddon still has the largest list of a Mortal Kombat game with a total of 62 fighters (63 if you count Wii-exclusive Khameleon). The game's intro movie is a fabulous source of fan service as they all celebrate it in a final royal rumble on the steps of a great pyramid. The developers even threw in jok characters like Mocap (literally a guy in a motion capture rig) and Meat (literally a guy of meat). Armageddon also had a strange choice of villain and chose the imaginative Blaze which at one time was only a background character in a Mortal Kombat II scene.
If some of the whackier additions to the MK's cast were not to your liking, you could make your own. For the first time in series history, Mortal Kombat gave players the opportunity to "create" custom warriors, fight combat and unlockable special moves with a decent spread of costumes and cosmetics to tinker with.
Armageddon went really hard on these collectibles and unlocked. The crypt, which was first introduced in the Deadly Alliance, gave a return with lots of stuff from players to gather, including character skins, art and background music as well as the aforementioned custom parts to build your own fighters.
Apparently not satisfied with Armageddon's over-the-top madness, Midway went one step further. Cherry on top? Motor Kombat – A kart racing side game complete with eight playable cartoon characters and a handful of scenes. Looking back, this add-on was totally sour, nothing to do with the core fight Mortal Kombat . It almost felt like the early stages of a side project that the Armageddon team was bolted at the last minute. While it was half baked, it still made a fun distraction that hosted eight comrades. Race, weave between dangers and use their specific powers to destroy chaos on the track.
Armageddon was a surprisingly robust package, even in terms of today's fighting game. However, it touched on a time when the genre had become obsolete, and the sixth console generation began to crash. It is possible that fatigue also began to settle in, the narrative threads that Midway had laid for years began to twist and swing at the ends. Mortal Kombat needed a clean break, and that's exactly what happened, leading to one of the industry's most successful restarts to date.