Review by Guile176
"An Advanced Piece Of Fecal Matter"
Ahh Mortal Kombat. There has perhaps never been a more controversial game on the planet. Since the series debut in the 90s, we've seen countless other titles on various platforms attempt to copy its success in almost every area from its digitized graphics to its gory death moves. Of course, none have ever quite reached the success the MK series has enjoyed. Also, despite the series great success, it has seen a rather steady decline in its fan base over the years. I guess that blood and gore in games is so commonplace today, that the novelty of blasting someone's head off with lighting has just worn off. Whatever it is, Midway knows that the series still sells well. So, it was only logical that they release non other then MK Advance for Nintendo's uber popular Gameboy Advance console. And oh boy, what a release it is.
Now, if you've ever read any other reviews on MK Advance anywhere, chances are they were pretty negative towards the game. There's good reason for this of course. MK Advance is total crap! Now, not only is this the second to worst fighting game (Shadow on 3DO takes number 1), but its also one of the worst games i've ever played as well. Why, what's so bad about it you ask? Read on.
First off, MK Advance seems to be based off non other then Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. You get a pretty decent selection of about 23 characters to select, including series favorites such as Sub Zero, Scorpion, Kitana, Jax and Sonya. However, if your familiar with the MK series, then you already know that most of these are nothing more then palette swaps. If you don't know what this means, i'll explain. The developer takes an existing character in the game like Sub Zero, re-colors him in yellow, and then gives him different special moves. This game is filled with palette swaps such as this. A very lazy way of programming if you ask me. Still, this is not where the games fault lies. Palette swaps has been something that's bugged me about the series since its early days.
Now, the actual gameplay in MK Advance is what bugs me. While this game seems to try to imitate the feel of Ultimate MK 3, it fails miserably from its horrid collision to poor control. Hits don't seem to connect properly, projectiles will pass right through opponents like they weren't even there. Its really amazing how this game actually got passed for approval to ship to market. Actually, this is Midway were talking about here. If you've ever played the choppy and unplayable mess Arctic Thunder on the PS2, then you have the same idea of the quality put into MK Advance.
To make matters even worse, the game features the typically spastic AI that the MK has been famous for. This means that at time the CPU will let you beat it in silly and barely attempt to retaliate one match, then the next it will pummel you silly. And trust me, it can get cheap by blocking almost any and ever attack you perform while pulling off attacks on you that are damn near impossible to defend.
For playmodes, you simply get a single player 1 on 1 Arcade Mode, a 2 player 1 on 1 Mode, and a 2 player 2 on 2 Mode. No practice, Time Attack or anything to be found here. Now, I wouldn't ordinarily mind this lack of modes, but since the rest of the game sucks so much, it just left me wanting more. Well, not that I wanted to play this piece of trash anymore.
So, why would Midway go and release a game that was so poor out to market? Wouldn't that hurt their reputation as a developer? The reason Midway knowingly released such a poor quality game to market is simple. They wanted to make a quick buck. Sure they knew the MK has lost steam over the years, but they also knew it would still sell well. So, they passed the project to a low quality developer like Virtucraft, and then they gave it an ultra small budget to create it. Then they simply rushed it out to stores on the unsuspecting masses, knowing that it would sell on the name alone. Companies do this all the time with movie based games, so why not with a popular series such as MK?
In the still shots, MK Advance looks quite amazing. In fact, it looks almost exactly like the arcade game. Well, once you start up playing the game, its a totally different story. While the backgrounds all look pretty good, the animation is pretty choppy at times and the collision is simply horrid. To be honest, I could barely tell what was going on in the tiny and dark GBA screen. Characters just seemed to almost randomly skip around the screen at times. It was horrid.
Wow, if there is 1 single thing positive to say about this game, its the sound. Virtucraft actually did a pretty good job here. The haunting style music sounds almost as if it were ripped strait out of the arcade unit. More good news is that most of the voices seemed to have been retained as well. From the cool sounded announcer, to Scorpions ''Get over here!'', mostly everything seems to be intact.
Yes, you read correctly, I gave the control a whopping zero for a score. The only other fighter, or game I can recall playing with such poor control was Shadow on the 3DO. The controls are unresponsive as can be. Go ahead, try pulling off a special move. Pretty tough huh? Funny, I don't recall these simple tapping motions ever being this difficult to do before. And no, I don't believe its the fault of the GBA's tiny D pad. Its the fault of Midway and Virtucraft for making such a crappy product.
Overall, I would not recommend MK Advance to anyone. If you need an MK fix, then I would advise getting any other version before this one. Yes, even the horrid Black and White original on the first Gameboy is better then this. About the only way I could recommend buying this is if your into collecting garbage games. Heck, this game sucks so much that it makes Rise Of The Robots look good. Yeah, its that bad. Also, in the future I would advise you to check out some reviews on anything from Midway before you go out and purchase one of their games. This, along with the PS2 version of Arctic Thunder, prove that Midway won't hesitate to sell you what it knows is total trash, just so they can make a quick buck. Shame on you Midway.
Reviewer's Rating: 0.5 - Unplayable
Originally Posted: 11/15/02, Updated 11/15/02
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