A legendary martial arts bloodbath returns for Round 10 in Mortal Kombat X, that's coming up next on WZ Prison reviews. I can remember the first time I discovered Mortal Kombat. It was my 10th birthday and meeting some of my friends had gotten together at McDivitts Miniature Golf in Roswell, Georgia. My friend Tom wandered off from the group and when I found him, he was in the Arcade playing a game that was wholly unknown to me at the time. I was, like many 10 year olds, stunned by this new concept that was Mortal Kombat. Blood gushed from every wound after even the slightest punch, and when Tom used Sub-Zero to rip Kano's head off, taking the spine with it and leaving a dripping trail of blood in its wake. I, like every 10 year old, was hooked. I love Mortal Kombat. I thought it was absolutely disgusting wonderfully grotesque and a joy to play. It was actually the game that got me into appreciating fighters. The only other two fighting games I had really played up until that point were Street Fighter II and Tongue of the Fatman. I know this is going to sound like blasphemy, but I have absolutely no appreciation for Street Fighter II. I think it is a horribly made game, the controls were completely counter-intuitive and it has always and will always be teeth-grinding frustration for me to play. Tongue of the Fatman on the other hand was not a very good game but it was kind of weird and just appealing in a bizarre surrealistic sense. But Mortal Kombat was intuitive. Mortal Kombat made sense. If you wanted to deliver an uppercut, you held down and pressed High Punch. Makes perfect sense. Performing an uppercut on Street Fighter II on the other hand is slightly more complicated than entering the Konami Code. So yeah, I was big into Mortal Kombat as a kid. The concept was best delivered in the SNES version of MKII and the PC version of MK3. When the series received a reboot-quel of sorts with 2011's update, I was pleased to see that the classic gameplay had been preserved and enhanced with an effective cinematic modern veneer. As such I assumed that the next-gen follow-up Mortal Kombat X would maintain the same high quality, while I wasn't disappointed by the production at all, I found it to be more than a little stale. We've been down this road plenty of times, and while the pavement has been superbly maintained, the scenery is rather old and predictable. That classic game from a quarter-century ago perfectly preserved like a well-varnished antique chair but it's buried beneath layer upon layer of novelty add-on features and intricate selection menus. Once I finally made it through the seemingly endless info screens, I played through the traditional ladder game on the Medium difficulty with Sub-Zero, then tried it on Hard with Scorpion, Johnny Cage and a few others. It's the same game, and it's a good game, but that's about it. Video games have undergone a seismic shift in their depth and maturity since the inception of Mortal Kombat back in the day, and rehashing it for the umpteen millionth time just doesn't provide very much satisfaction. I literally sat down for the first match and thought, Down, Forward, Punch. Down, Forward, Punch. Sub-Zero Wins! Part of me wants to say that it's just me finally outgrowing Mortal Kombat in my 30s, but Tetris has been out longer than that, and I can still play it for hours. As good a game as Mortal Kombat was, there ultimately just wasn't much to it. Classic franchises that have survived have found ways to expand upon their core concept, a stunning example which is Fallout, where the series went from an isometric role-playing format to a fully immersive three-dimensional environment. Mortal Kombat doesn't really open itself up to that sort of innovation, so it's kind of a well that's finally running dry. The story mode in Mortal Kombat X is a steaming pile of who cares and therein lies what I think is my main source of On Whey with this ongoing franchise. This is a story being rehashed from an era when the plot of video games was at best a short paragraph next to the joystick in the Arcade cabinet. Trying to expand upon this asinine story about how the rulers of other dimensions converge to determine control of Earthrealm through a martial arts fight to the death is about as fruitful as trying to adapt green eggs and ham into an epic mini-series. The whole thing was just a throwaway premise to push the boundaries of good taste with gallons of blood flying in every direction. While it's been 23 years since that birthday party where I first discovered the original Mortal Kombat, and in that amount of time, gratuitous, blood and gore have become an afterthought in game design. Despite being a series widely celebrated for it's outstanding gameplay, the ultimate selling point for Mortal Kombat was and always will be over-the-top gut splattering violence, and that has not been a novel concept for a very long time. I'd never thought I'd say it, but.....THUMBS DOWN!