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Welcome one and all to "A Fighting Chance", YOUR weekly wrap up for all things fighting games related. I am Will Harrison, and I have far too much free time to devote to fighters. Is that really a bad thing? I think not.



The news headline for the day WAS going to be about last weeks very successful launch of Mortal Kombat, bringing a fighter to home consoles that not only provided the online modes and infrastructure that the fighting community has craved, but also a robust offline mode that will keep new and experienced kombatants (sigh, the over-use of the letter “k”) busy for a good long while.

It was… Then someone decided to pull an Ocean’s Eleven on PSN.

PlayStation Network has been down for the last week following an attack by an unknown outside source that forced Sony to take the online gaming and media service offline, leaving over 60 million users wondering about not only the safety of their accounts, but their online identity and credit card information as well.

I bring this bit of news up in an column about fighting games because this downtime of the PSN just happened to fall a few days after the release of Mortal Kombat, thus eliminating one large proponent of the game’s selling point.

Rachel and I were able to hop online long enough to play a handful of one on one matches before turning in for the evening, only to find out the next day that PSN was done. Luckily, we both found this as an opportunity to learn the game better and plow through a chunk of the single player content. Rachel has cleared story mode while I have cleared 170 of the 300 challenges in the Challenge Tower mode, with much more to go.

Keep faith though, fellow PS3 owners. Sony expects PSN to be up and running within the week. Maybe then I can finally try King of the Hill mode.



See what happens when I take the time to move? A entire new game gets announced and I miss it! Maybe I should move more often… Who knows, doing so may motivate Capcom to release a better version of Marvel vs Capcom 3!

Or not. Oh well.

Regardless, Capcom finally pulled the trigger on Street Fighter X Tekken, their entry into the recent partnership between the house that Ryu built and Namco. Expected to be released in 2012, SFxT is expected to bring the tag team style gameplay of the Tekken Tag Tournament series with the game engine and similar mechanics of Super Street Fighter 4.

Details on gameplay and characters are sparse at the moment, but so far the confirmed characters are Guile, Ryu, Ken, Abel and Chun-Li from Street Fighter and Kazuya, Nina Williams, Marduk, King and Bob from Tekken. Additionally, a few notes on gameplay have come out, including that the matches will follow the format of Tag where each round ends when one of the fighters on a team have lost all of their health, as opposed to MvC where all fighters must lose their health. A mechanic for charging special attacks for additional damage as well as properties similar to the EX moves of SSFIV are also in store.

Look for more information, as well as a playable build at E3.


To celebrate the release AND awesomeness that is the new Mortal Kombat I have a double treat for all of you! Our first video is the very first episode of the online only TV series Mortal Kombat: Legacy that started a month ago. The first three episodes have been released and is a weekly series that comes out on Fridays on YouTube. Keep an eye out for more punching and cursing!

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Continuing the Mortal Kombat love, here is a combo video for you. Enjoy!

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FIGHTER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK — Kurtis Stryker (Mortal Kombat)

To celebrate my obsessive playing of the new Mortal Kombat, I submit to you a home grown strategy on one of  my favorite characters thus far, Kurtis Stryker. What really makes Stryker stand out are his numerous and useful projectiles, a low hitting special attack and a roll that can go under a majority of projectiles.

While typically I would avoid suggesting the use of the EX moves (they are called enhanced, but they are basically EX moves, so I'm going to call the kettle black), Stryker's EX specials for his gun shot, baton strike and roll throw are all extremely useful with a ton of utility. The EX gun shot hits for multiple strikes as well as has juggling properties when striking air opponents. Additionally, the EX Baton Strike has a knockdown follow up attack in addition to the attack already hitting low. The attack can be punished, however. So try not to use the move too often for fear of getting an uppercut.

Stryker's strategy page can be found here.



EDITORIAL OF THE WEEK — The Trail of Boredom: Single Player Content in Fighters

Those of you that read my work with any regularity know that my biggest disappointment in 2011 has been Marvel vs Capcom 3. While my reasons have been various and often scattered all across the board I can certainly nail down the biggest offender, one that I am sure is shared by many who traded in the game the same week they purchased said title.

The biggest offense? A complete and utter lack of a single player mode.

Capcom’s mouthpiece to the gaming community, Seth Killian, spoke vehemently and loudly for months about the robust story mode that was awaiting gamers on the release of MvC3. Lo and behold, the only thing awaiting consumers was another shoddy single player mode comprised of generic match-ups and your standard overly gimmicky boss fight. In my opinion, the biggest ball that was dropped was with the so-called “endings” for each character, which were made up of a few panels of still frames with lines of text. The endings themselves were equally sad, ranging from cute, to boring and to “I wish they would have fleshed this out.”

Consider the story telling options Capcom made use of with Super Street Fight IV. Each character had a unique rival match with pre-fight dialog as well as in-match quips between the two fighters. Additionally, pre-game and post-game introductions, animated by Anime specialists UDON were in place for each of the 30 plus roster. Why the skimping with MvC3, a game with arguably more mainstream and consumer appeal?

Frankly, I feel the decision boils down to Capcom wanting to meet a deadline. We may never know. I do know that this anemic single player mode, along with a steep difficulty curve for those that try to jump from single player to online play is more than likely what lead to a large amount of copies of the game being traded in immediately.

With last weeks release of Mortal Kombat I could not help but admire the work that Nether Realm Studios put into the single player component of their game. Within the confines of the disc are a robust story mode, lasting somewhere between seven to ten hours, a ladder mode that can be played solo or with a friend that give additional story endings for each character, and what I consider to be the greatest addition: the Challenge Tower.

The Challenge Tower mode consists of 300 missions, ranging from things as simple as winning a match, to winning a handicap match where you are poisoned to the more ridiculous, like a match where each combatant is armless and can only attack with leg strikes. The result is something amazingly fun to play while at the same time never feeling like gaming busy work. I have cleared the first 170 missions and am still finding something fun in each one I complete.

I feel that it is safe to say that Nether Realm put out a title that truly has the mainstream appeal that Capcom only wishes MvC3 could achieve. Mortal Kombat manages to provide fun and longevity to those that just want to punch people while at the same time giving those who wish to get better an offline avenue to brush up their skills and really learn the ropes of the game until they feel ready to jump online.

Capcom should take note as well as be worried. They may lose their fighting game Krown if they are not Kareful.


Hope everybody enjoyed what I have to supply this week. If you have any questions, comments or complaining please feel free to send them to I can promise that everything sent to me will make it’s way into the column.

Until next week, keep your fists up.