Ah, the good old days. There was once a time when you could go to the arcade and rip out your friend's spine, throw massive uppercuts that were cheered by a man in a purple shirt yelling, 'TOASTY!', and video games were as insidious and dangerous to young people's development as rap lyrics. The first three Mortal Kombat titles were a benchmark of gaming quality and popularity, but the series struggled under the weight of its own success: A string of lackluster sequels and spin-offs (Mortal Kombat: Special Forces?), cartoons, comic books, movies, and even a live-action stage production.  After the puzzling crossovers and the closing of Midway Games, the future of the series looked bleak.

But the latest installment, simply called Mortal Kombat, is shaping up to be a fantastic return to form, mixing the camp, violence, and story that made the originals some of the best games of the ’90s. There's a lot of reasons to be excited, but we've only got room to give you five of ’em. Don't worry, the demo's on its way...

By Stu Horvath

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