Format reviewed: Game Boy
Submitted by: Alex Holmes
Now, the Gameboy version of Midway's arcade hit has recieved its fair share of flack over the years, and although its far from perfect, you cannot help to commend Acclaim's brave efforts on this port.
The subject of countless bashings from the gaming press and fans alike, Mortal Kombat was a painful lesson in licensing for Midway to learn. Yes, the controls are slow, jerky and somewhat unresponsive, the limitations of memory on the cartridge meant severe cutbacks, such as the line up of characters is missing Johnny Cage, the Pit doesnt have its infamous spikes fatality and the "test your might" minigame was removed.
However, like I said, Acclaim must be applauded for this effort, as it gave many beat em up fans the chance to get their Mortal Kombat fix outside of the arcades. They knew from day one the animation would be fairly choppy, especially when compared to the digitalized coin op original, plus with the "family friendly" approach taken by Nintendo regaring Mortal Kombat, meaning the violent content was heavily diluted or removed outright, the main appeal of the game was missing in the most part. But the end result is an acceptable attempt at bringing a then cutting edge arcade game to Nintendo's monochrome handheld.
Sure time hasent been to kind to this offering, where as other versions from the time, such as the SNES and Megadrive ports have held up well over the years. And even to this day videos spring up on Youtube slating this game, but I can only see the good in this offering. Yes its riddled with faults but for those willing to accept the game at face value, this is a repectable effort.
If only Acclaim had learned its lesson from this and left it at that, instead of churning out the terrible Gameboy port that was Mortal Kombat II, but saying that, make hay while the sun shines I guess!
Format reviewed: SNES
Submitted by: Alex Holmes
"its crap. theres no blood." Thats what i was greeted to from my Megadrive owning mates at school when the games mags of the day previewed the home conversions of Midways arcade hit. And yes, it is a tad disappointing to not have the violent content, but blood or no blood, Super Nintendo owners were treated with an excellent version of Mortal Kombat.
It seems most people are quick to highlight the drawbacks and fail to point out the games major strong points over the Megadrive conversion. Firstly, and most obviously, the graphics are bold, well animated and have a great deal of depth, especially when compared to the rather pasty visuals on the Megadrive. The sound is very faithful to the arcade and little touches like having Shang Tsung announce the winner and the clapping monks on the courtyard stage show that a great deal of effort went into this game.
The afore mentioned fatalaties are a bit of a let down, especailly when they were the main selling point of the game in the first place. The tamer finishing moves survived intact (Scorpion, Sonya and Liu Kang), some were toned down considerably (Kano and Raiden) and others were totally redone (Sub Zero and Johnny Cage).
But overall, the looks and sounds are great and the gameplay is fast and entertaining. And thankfully when the sequel appeared a couple of years down the line Nintendo let it appear it all its blood soaked glory.
Format reviewed: Arcade
Submitted by: Darran Jones
Mortal Kombat in the arcades is a bit like the Kennedy assassination: everyone knows where they were when they first saw it in action, and the first time they witnessed another player perform a fatality. For me it was on a trip to the cinema and, while I can’t remember what film I saw (possibly Batman Returns), I vividly recall seeing a new cabinet displayed in the mini-arcade outside. Two other youngsters were engaged in a tense bout, which finished with Scorpion ripping the skin from his face, followed by a fierce looking skull spewing flames and burning the unlucky opponent to a crispy skeleton. Little did I realise, but a whole new era in videogames had begun, an era where ultra-violence sells and shock tactics are the order of the day.
Of course, Mortal Kombat was never that great a game. A shallower experience than Street Fighter II it was sold on the back of all that gore, the highlight being the difficult Fatalities. Read that word again: Fatalities. Seeing those ten letters should erupt waves of nostalgia, of eagerly wasting pocket change in an attempt to pull them off and impress onlookers. It was a cultural phenomenon in the gaming world, and it’s a special feeling knowing you were there, at that point in time, contributing to the global atmosphere.
Now, in all likelihood, few have probably seen all the fatalities that the first iteration contained. So for maximum viewing pleasure, look to the right and find each of the death moves in all their gory splendour – except for Liu Kang’s “spinning-kick-followed-by-an-uppercut” fatality, since it was rubbish. Otherwise there’s Cage punching a head clean off; Kano infamously ripping a still beating heart from someone’s chest; Raiden’s lightning head-explosion; the aforementioned Scorpian skull flambeau; Sonia’s burning kiss-of-death; and finally our favourite, Sub-Zero ripping off the head of his opponent, with spine left dangling in the wind. FINISH HIM!