GAME REVIEW: `Kombat' fails Wii test

There's nothing wrong with making an infamously violent fighting series such as "Mortal Kombat" available on the family-friendly Wii console. Ultimately, the Wii could be the best machine yet for appealing to all types of gamers, including players who like the blood-and-guts genres.

But there is a huge problem with making a Wii-enhanced version of a game -- in this case, Midway's just-released update of "Mortal Kombat: Armageddon" -- that doesn't work well enough to justify spending five cents on it or five minutes with it.

The remote-activated motion controls are a mess. Simple gestures, such as making a half-circle motion with the main Wii remote, are supposed to initiate characters' "super moves" (a flying bicycle kick, for instance). But the gestures only register some of the time, or register as a different move than was intended. You can't engage in a fight with any confidence of being able to attack effectively, so what's the point of playing?

You also can use a GameCube or Wii "classic" controller, but that throws aside the basic reason for playing on the Wii.

To some extent, the motion-recognition may depend on how precisely each move is executed, explaining why the controls will seem more or less reliable to different people. But anything less than 99 percent dependability is disastrous for this type of game.