Mortal Kombat

It’s time to flex those thumbs because Video Games Plus is here with your weekly dose of gaming goodness. This week’s edition looks at the bloody good summer in store for Mortal Kombat fans, a quirky sports/fighter mashup found in the upcoming Tekken, Nintendo's 3DS
eShop opening for business, and a certain casual game company Bejeweling consoles later this year.

Skarlet Makes Mortal Kombat Debut

She’s a redhead, she’s mysterious, and she carries a sword. What else would you want from a woman? Skarlet, a female ninja, is now available to download on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. She is one of four new challengers that WB Games and Netherrealm Studios will be offering as DLC over the next couple of months.

The Skarlet pack, which includes retro costumes for Sektor and Cyrax, costs 400 Microsoft points ($5). WB Games is also offering a Season Pass discount program on Xbox Live that will enable you to download all characters when they become available for a onetime cost of 1200 MSP.

We got some hands-on time with Skarlet and were impressed with her style. She’s got blood powers, which means she's equipped with unique attacks such as one in which she cuts herself and then throws globs of blood projectiles at opponents from her wound. Skarlet can also teleport behind opponents and use a variety of different blades – two swords and several small daggers called kunai -- to deadly effect.

Finally, prepare yourself for some of the most gory fatalities yet in Mortal Kombat. One fatality in particular stands out: Skarlet stabs herself, morphs into a puddle of blood and slides underneath her opponent. She then conjures up four pillars, which puncture each individual arm and leg and elevates her opponent into the air.

Skarlet proceeds to slice their stomach and bathe in the blood and guts that pour out from the gash. Ouch!

Bowling For Tekken

We’ve heard of turkey bowling, but Tekken bowling? Yep, it’s for real. If you’re looking to take a breather from cracking skulls in the upcoming Tekken game for PlayStation 3, you’ll also have the opportunity to take a crack at scoring 300.

Bowling, with flashy neon lights and golden Heihachi pins and all, is a mini-game in “Tekken Hybrid,” a Blu-Ray disc bundle that includes the CG animated movie “Tekken: Blood Vengeance 3D” and a high-definition remake of the PlayStation 2’s “Tekken Tag Tournament.”

The bundle is scheduled for release in November, a few months after the release of the movie. Blood Vengeance is scheduled to appear as a special one night only event in 375 theaters across America on July 26.

eSHOP Online for 3DS Owners

It’s a bit late to the show, but the Nintendo 3DS’ eShop is finally up and running. The downloadable online games store is similar to previous editions on Wii and DS, but launches with a few new additions.

The most interesting add-ons include a free Pokédex 3D application and the 3-D version of the NES classic "Excitebike," which is free for download the first 30 days that the shop is online. The system update also includes the promised internet browser for the 3DS.

Meanwhile, a new 3D TV video app also went live this week for Nintendo’s handheld, but there is a slight catch -- it’s only available in Japan.

Bejeweled 3 To Make Console Debut

PopCap Games’ master plan of casual gaming world domination may soon be complete. The company announced this week that it is delivering the puzzle game “Bejeweled 3” to several major consoles (PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS) and Xbox Live and PSN by the end of the year.

Bejeweled isn’t exactly spoken in the same breath as Call of Duty or Super Mario Brothers in the video game world, but it’s still one of the most played franchises in history. An estimated 8 billion hours have been spent playing Bejeweled across 17 platforms from iPhone to Xbox to airline seatbacks, according to PopCap, and the game continues to sell at the rate of one copy every 4.3 seconds. According to our calculations, that’s a lot of Bejeweled.

Follow Ryan Smith on Twitter: @RyanSmithWriter



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