Under the Hood: Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition Fight Stick for PS3

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Under the Hood: Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition Fight Stick for PS3

Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition fight stick for PS3

I’m a simple man. I like my arcade joysticks rigid, my buttons concave, and my fighting games streaked with bodily fluids. So I jumped at the chance to go hands-on with the Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition fight stick at the Game Developers Conference. Designed as a tribute to the gory glory days of 1990s-era arcade fighters, this authentic American-style fight stick will ship with Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition on April 19th for a cool $149.99.

This stick feels like the real deal — no surprise given that developer NetherRealm Studios helped design the cabinets for the classic arcade Mortal Kombat games. Connected via a USB cable, the unit is big and burly with a sturdy, substantial feel and some serious heft. A thick memory foam pad cushions the bottom of the unit, enabling comfortable knee-top play (though it’ll work just fine propped on a coffee table, too). A sliding metal latch enables the top to flip open, revealing a neat internal wiring array as well as a capacious cavity that will accommodate games, accessories, and anything else you manage to cram in there. No severed body parts, please.

Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition fight stick for PS3Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition fight stick for PS3

Mortal Kombat arcade veterans will immediately recognize the baseball-bat-shaped joystick and concave buttons — an iconic American design that Ars Technica gaming editor Ben Kuchera has cleverly dubbed the “superhero” (“because it’s a bat and a cave”). The stick itself has a tighter, springier feel compared to the looser action of ball-topped Japanese-style sticks that are widely available on the PS3. Joystick design preference can be a touchy topic with serious fighting fans: Some players will always prefer the raised buttons and looser feel of the Japanese-inspired fighting sticks, while others will appreciate the distinctive feel of this American-style stick. Like many things in life, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Mortal Kombat for PS3

With the fight stick resting comfortably on my knees, I tried out an updated version of Mortal Kombat that included a plethora of characters you won’t find in the PlayStation Plus demo. I played as Jax, the metal-armed military brawler; Sektor and Cyrax, the twin cyborg ninjas that annihilate foes with plasma nets and guided missiles; Kano, the wily thug who licks his knives clean between fights; and Baraka, the ghoulish mutant with lethal arm blades. I also tried out the newly revealed Challenge Tower, a single-player mode that pits the player against a gauntlet of increasingly bizarre and difficult challenges in order to earn currency to unlock secrets and new content.

I played the game in the PS3-exclusive stereoscopic 3D mode, which plants the characters in the foreground and adds layers of sprawling depth to the colorful backgrounds. Mortal Kombat’s 3D implementation is clever because it the characters are rendered in 2D, which means that the action is playable whether you’re wearing 3D glasses or not. For more details on the 3D mode, catch up on my preview of the PlayStation Plus demo.

Mortal Kombat for PS3

What I didn’t see was the Big Bad himself, final boss and tournament overlord Shao Kahn. “Shao Kahn is ridiculous,” Creative Director Ed Boon told me at GDC. “We knew he had to be hard,” he said, revealing that his difficulty pushed the studio’s battle-hardened game testers to the brink. “Shao Kahn’s gotta be somebody you’re afraid of, he’s gotta have that crazy fear presence from the old games.” Shao Kahn’s famous rumbling taunts have also made the cut, and there are more than ever by Boon’s estimation. “He’s got all the old taunts, and a bunch of news ones too.” Feel the wrath of Shao Kahn!

Also missing in action was Kratos, the PS3-exclusive character who needs no introduction. Next week, we’ll be checking in with the team of Sony Santa Monica Studios, creators of God of War, for their thoughts on working with NetherRealm Studios to bring Kratos to life in the arena and how Mortal Kombat served as a major influence for their game development careers.

Until then, let us know what you think of the demo! Who’s your favorite character so far? What’s your best juggle combo? Let us know in the comments!

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10 Author Replies

  • This looks very nice.

    Hope to see more games have premiums like this.

  • I like scorpion he had nice combo flow…

  • cant wait really love the demo guys been a fan since the first and when will we see Kratos fight??

  • Looks like a nice fight stick, but I’ll stick with the regular edition.

  • Now THAT is a fight stick. It actually seems like something you’d expect to see in a Arcade. If I wasn’t broke, I’d pre-order this lovely piece of hardware.

  • Loved these games in the arcade … where have all the arcades gone?
    Anyway, demo rocked!
    3D adds that something extra that just makes you feel like your missing something when your playing without it, can’t wait have the bookend edition on pre-order.

  • tempted to get that edition. OMG i’m loving the demo and old school feel. Sticking with scorpion. Just beat the demo ladder on expert for a record time of 3:59. I keep trying to go through the ladder on expert faster and faster. now my goal is 3m 30s

  • Nice, wish this had Bluetooth though for wireless purposes. How long is the USB cable? Mortal Kombat looks and feels great. Definitely picking it up.

    Lots of bromance between Sid and Ben over Mortal Kombat :)
    The PlayStation Blog needs to challenge other outlets for superiority.

  • This edition is way overpriced, I’d pay at most $100 for this. Kind of a shame, I may have bought a reasonably priced CE of this (the $100 edition is even more of a ripoff than this).

    I’m still looking forward to the game though, wish the demo had Kratos!

  • “This edition is way overpriced, I’d pay at most $100 for this. Kind of a shame, I may have bought a reasonably priced CE of this (the $100 edition is even more of a ripoff than this).”

    Obviously you don’t realize how expensive high quality arcade sticks are to make.
    The fact that you can buy this arcade stick with a copy of the game at $150 is rediculous (even if I think the arcade stick is worthless outside of playing MK).

  • Just became a PS+ member yesterday and tired the this demo. I must i raelly enjoyed it. I remember MK back in the day playing on the Genesis. Im not hard core but as a more casual MK fan and with my all time fav Kratos coming on board I am thinking of getting this game now.

    • What I enjoy about MK is that it attracts the hardcore fighters and the casual folks. Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom are great with this, too.

  • Guys I am sorry that

  • @scorpio if you enjoyed the demo then get it. really has that old school feel in kombat. you’ll love it. we could fight and finish it off with a FATALITY

  • The demo is sick (in a good way) Cant wait for this to be in my PS3. I have the Kollectors Edition on pre-order but im might switch if to the Tournament Edition if i am able to.

    I’m anxious to see gameplay of Kratos in action! I can already tell with the demo this game is full of WIN! #WINNING #TIGERBLOOD lol

  • yea this is nice and i really like tha fact that u can store items within its housing compartment, price is right if u think of all that comes with it but its kinda steep for me at this point and time, the demo rocks, my boys and i been rockin it and Mortal Combat is gonna be crazy

    Side note:Japan has been rocked by Disaster and my prayer are with them, i know a few people out there so Recover w/ GODSPEED!

  • I am off topic here but shouldn’t you guys post info how to help Japan RIGHT NOW… you did it on Facebook but no action was taken by the blog… May I ask why? Are there people different from us? PlayStation I hope you guys know that Sony is your parent company… Any budget loss will effect me and you too.. Because you acting slow.. Why I in so much care for it?! I HAVE FRIENDS WHO LIVE THERE…

  • um…playstation is just a department…it’s still sony @igorrocks

  • That looks nice. Im a bit confused though is the 149.99 the price for the stick only or does it comes with the game also? i wouldnt mind getting the game with the stick since i need one for MvsC3 also.

  • @16 That’s what I try to point out

  • I just cant wait for that game to come out! I was thinking of subscribing to PS Plus just for that demo lol well then you announced Cloud saving so it is even more attractive. One thing I would have loved in this game tho is more new characters instead of crap characters like Johnny Cage or the annoying Lui Kang(well that is my opinion)Everything else tho looks fantastic, the challenge tower, the Xray moves, Noob Saibot lol

    April 19th is THE date to remember. Mortal Kombat with some Portal 2 and Socom 4 loll crazy day!

  • Any chance of a template so we can switch out the art on the stick. I would like to give it a more classic MK1 look myself.

  • Also i wanted to say the Demo is sweet. great work on it. although i must say i really dont like Johnny Cage’s model. im just not likening the vibe with the tattoo. But still a great demo and i cant wait for the game to get released.

  • Hey Sid, sorry to bother you on this post but any news for White Knight Chronicles 2 for NA? Saw the post on PSblog Eu and they have both WKC2 and Wkc origins set for May. I’m assuming will be receiving both in the same time frame?

  • Custom Soundtracks In Mortal Kombat is Awesome! thanks for putting that in there!! :D

  • All of the characters in the Demo are great! Can’t wait to use the rest of the characters in the roster as well as DLC characters!!

  • Owww very old school!!! Niceee

  • The buttons aren’t proper on this stick. A real MK layout is squared with block in the middle. All they’ve done was use a standard 6 button layout and remove the middle buttons for a block button.

    $150 is way overpriced and it’s not a 1:1 arcade stick.

  • This layout is the same except for the placement of the stick I should know I use to own an MK4 Cab and I kept the CPO from it so it could be converted back to an MK2 and sold off.

  • that’s pretty cool, wish i didnt suck so bad at fighting games.

  • This is such a tease for aussies

  • I don’t really ever use fighting stick, but hey, that box-fight stick looks really cool :D

  • I’m no enthusiast but that is a way hardcore fighting stick. I know a guy who would flip out if he got on.

  • The tournament editions are selling out! Grab one quickly! Only 10,000 of them have been made available in the U.S.!

  • I know this isn’t the reason to be interested, but the amount of space in the box looks plentiful enough to allow me to store my Blu Ray disc case, Buzz! controllers, and possibly even my SingStar microphones.
    Oh yes – and the stick itself looks cool, too.

  • wow, now thats an awesome arcade stick.

  • i think sony should have a two day deal.If you buy off the psn store 100% of the money goes to japan releaf programe!!1

  • Just pre-ordered Mortal Kombat for PS3. Love the demo. scorpions fatality is sick. They really made MK fun again. I havent liked it the past few games.

  • I really hope there are enough of these to go around.
    I’ve been wanting to buy an arcade pad for awhile now and this is a cool arcade pad for one of my favorite fighting game franchises of all time.
    Also looking forward to experiencing Kratos in the new Mortal Kombat game.

  • Got the MVC stick, so I Look forward to getting my hands on this one too.

  • “Why I in so much care for it?!” lol. sorry. i feel awful for the residents of japan, hawaii, and everyone else who was affected, injured, or killed. but funny grammar is funny grammar no matter what.

    Anyways, this arcade stick looks bomb, and if it weren’t for the layout of the buttons i would have bought that mother yesterday. But I can’t afford to drop $150 on a controller that only works for one game. I imagine the other SFIV and MvC3 controller layouts are manageable playing MK, but this layout seems like it would work for MK alone. I love fighting games, haven’t found the fight stick for me yet, but I’m in the market per se.

  • Looks nice, too bad I won’t be needing any type of controller any time soon. I was upgrading to FW 3.60 this afternoon and BAM…3 beeps followed by a flash of yellow light and a permanent flashing red light. Never thought it would happen to me. RIP 60GB Phatty…….

  • Looks like a really cool fight stick! However, I will pass since it looks like it wouldn’t work well with Street Fighter IV, which is my other favorite fighter series. If I hear it does work for Street Fighter as well though I will be interested. I’m glad to see Mortal Kombat making the comeback this series needed. I miss the ultra violent Mortal Kombat games and the demo proved that you guys put a lot of effort into this game! My personal favorite characters to use are Scorpion and Sub-zero with a little bit of Milina when I feel like using someone else. I probably won’t be able to buy it at launch, money is too tight and I am getting the Hero edition of Infamous 2, but rest assured Mortal Kombat will be mine just like Shao Kahn will have my soul! lol

  • Oh yes, and sorry for almost forgetting to post this but my prayers are with the Japanese people affected in today’s earthquake. I plan on making some sort of donation the first time my church puts up one.

  • Ok people, this blog is about MK, not Japan!!!!! I mean hell stuff happened there. America as always does what it (we) can to help. But something to point out, when Katrina whiped out part of Louisiana, did we get help? We can’t do everything, let another country help out. I mean it’s nice if we do but…it’s not of my worries. Just all about the MK right now. Heck, Japan is full of cash :) They’ll survive.

  • Yes.

    This game cannot come out soon enough.

  • Looks awesome but with SOCOM 4 and Portal 2 also releasing on the same day it’s going to be hard for me to justify this purchase.

  • I wish I had enough money to buy this. btw Kratos is a PERFECT karacter for Mortal Kombat
    – had a terrible past
    – comes from some of the bloodiest and goriest games
    – has his own weapons
    – name starts with a “K”
    – Only On PlayStation

  • This looks very cool!

  • IMO, releasing this demo early for PS+ was pretty sorry on Sony’s part. PS+ users are paying for exclusive content and discounts… not making the rest of us wait to play a demo. Demos should be released to everyone at once. Let PS+ have the 3D demos, and the regular users have the regular game demo. That’s a bit more reasonable.

    Sorry Sony, getting demos a week earlier than average users isn’t enough to make me purchase PS+, try again.

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