Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks está basado en los primeros juegos Mortal Kombat y Mortal Kombat II. Comenzando como Kung Lao o Liu Kang (cada posesión tiene su exclusivo repertorio de estilos de ataque y fatalities), los jugadores tendrán la habilidad de interactuar con un montón de personajes clásicos de Mortal Kombat, tales como SubZero, Scorpion, Kitana, Goro y muchos más.
Experimenta la franquicia de Mortal Kombat desde una perspectiva completamente nueva de acción/aventura con el primer Sistema Multi-Direccional de Kombate y explora el universo de Mortal Kombat II como uno de los dos grandes favoritos de la serie Shaolin Monks: Liu Kang y Kung Lao.
The game centers on two members of the Shaolin Order, Liu Kang and Kung Lao, as they travel through the realms in an attempt to thwart Shang Tsung's plans to dominate Earthrealm. The player can control these two characters in either single mode or co-op mode as they venture through several environments fighting enemies. Despite being an adventure game the engine incorporates multiple elements from the Mortal Kombat series such as finishing moves and combos that can be upgraded. A versus mode also allows the players to fight against each other.
Midway developed Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks due to their desire to have an adventure game that would appeal to Mortal Kombat gamers. The game has sold over one million copies as of 2008 and it also received positive critical response.
The game features three main modes of play. Aside from a single-player mode, the game has a co-operative mode, where two players can work together through the game, with access to some areas and items that are inaccessible in single-player mode. There is also a versus mode, where two players can fight against each other in some of the arenas featured in the game. In addition, players can play a shortened, censored demo version of The Suffering: Ties That Bind as well as an emulated arcade perfect version of Mortal Kombat II (which is taken from Midway Arcade Treasures 2).
Shaolin Monks features a multi-directional combat system, which gives players the ability to attack any of the enemies that surround them fluidly. The engine allows the player to maintain combo attacks across multiple enemies, and even continue their combos after launching an enemy into the air through a powerful attack or a throw. The main characters also have many of their signature moves from the series. Combos and special moves are upgradeable through the earning of experience points. These are mainly gained through defeating opponents, with the combo system multiplying the value. The environment plays a vital role in the game, as there are several hazards that will instantly kill an enemy, such as pits in the floor or rotating wheels of spikes. Using some of the environment in this manner, as well as attacking or destroying certain objects, serve as a puzzle-solving element to unlock secrets in the game.
The game also includes Fatalities, a common feature of the Mortal Kombat series. Performing combos on enemies increases the Fatality meter. Once that meter has reached a certain level, a Fatality may be performed, regardless of an opponent's level of health. The main characters have the ability to perform several different Fatality moves, some of which are 3D updated versions of Fatalities from the first and second Mortal Kombat games. The player can also unlock the ability to do Multalities, which are Fatalities performed on multiple enemies at once. The concept of Brutalities from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3/Mortal Kombat Trilogy has also been brought back, though with a different function. Once the move has been performed, the player will be able to give more devastating attacks for a limited time.