Review by DJ_Mo

"Mortal Kombat on Sega CD, is it really better ?"

I am a big fan of the Mortal Kombat series, esp the classic title Mortal Kombat 1. Being a Sega freak, I saw there were two versions of Mortal Kombat 1 available, one for the Sega Genesis and the other for the Sega CD. I currently own an X'eye (Sega Genesis/Sega CD in one), so I was pondering which version is the best version and if there were any difference between any of the two ? Well I finally got hold of BOTH versions in hand..complete...and I played it all for a couple of weeks now...and finally decided to write a review and share with y'all Sega 16 bit fans

Its been a while since I have played the original Arcade version of the game. But let me tell you now that neither of the Sega versions are anywhere near arcade perfect...graphics wise anyway. The arcade version has larger, cleaner and more fluidly animated characters and better clearer backgrounds. We are dealing with Sega systems that have limited color palette and other limitations. Anyway so lets continue with the review...

GRAPHICS :

SEGA CD : 8

GENESIS : 7

In terms of graphics, the Sega CD version is better. You get this semi-cool FMV music video/ad for Mortal Kombat in the beginning with the ''Immortals'' version of the MK theme. The music video contains scenes of lots of kids marching, running towards the streets..yelling ''Mortal Kombat'' and doing fancy kung fu stuff and with some mixes of arcade screen shots. The FMV capability of the Sega CD is pretty grainy, but you have to understand it was pretty good for its time AND the Genesis version doesn't have none of the above obviously. After the intro, you get to see a slide show of character with info and pics (short movie clips actually!!). The Sega CD version has 5-8 seconds SHORT movie clips of each character (unlike just a pic on the Genesis version) which is way too cool.

The Sega CD version of the game, has the same size characters as the Genesis version, BUT with more frames per second of animations...giving the characters a smooth detailed look to em. Unlike the jerky animation on the Genesis version.

The background graphics on the Sega CD version is more detailed then the Genesis version, more blood and body parts lying around the Goro's Lair, lots of dead bodies and decapitated heads on the pit stage. On the second background (with the large Buddha statue), there are animated flame torches on the Sega CD version (not on the Genesis version). The Pit Stage, has lots more blood, dead bodies, body parts all over the ground on the bed of swords pit. Inside Shang Tsung's red interior palace, Shang Tsungs moves his head and watches your every move on the Sega CD version, and even claps when the round is over. Goro's Lair, has been retouched with more body parts and blood. All the enhancements not seem on the Genesis version.

Another note on the graphics department, the call signs ''FIGHT!'', ''FINISH HIM'', ''FINISH HER!''...zoom in and out on the Sega CD. Unlike the Genesis version, where it just pops in and out. A minor thing, but hey I plan to tell you every detail.

SOUND :

SEGA CD : 8

GENESIS : 7

Ok now to the sound department. Sega CD has the obvious advantage here as it is a CD format. The music is VERY different and more dynamic compared to the Sega Genesis. Lots of Chinese musical instruments and mucho bass..giving it a very Mortal Kombaty sound...dark gloomy and with enough beats to keep the game going strong. But music is overall a matter of taste, and the Genesis has better pumped up music then the Sega CD version. The Genesis is not CD quality, but the tunes are MIDI quality and I like it better then the Sega CD tunes. The only reason I own the MK Genesis version...other wise I would have sold it away.

More Sound FX (Screams, yells, blood spats, war cries, screaming skulls) has been added to the Sega CD version, which is never heard on the Sega Genesis version. Also the announcer/commentator of the game says out loud the character names when you choose one. He also announces ''(Player Name) WINS!'', ''FATALITY!'', ''FINISH HIM'', ''FINISH HER''...all with a very dreadful dark male voice. The Genesis version only has two voice samples ''FINISH HIM!'' and ''EXCELLENT''...with a slightly smoother cooler whispery male voice.

GAMEPLAY :

SEGA CD : 7

GENESIS : 9

Finally the game play (main reason why a game succeeds) overall there is a drawback in each versions. The Sega CD version has a flaw and there is no way getting around it...loading times. There is an average loading time of 8 seconds between every round, and DURING the match when you fight against Shang Tsung in the end...when Shang morphs..there is considerable hindering to the gameplay...but its still passable. And as you guessed, there is NO loading time at all on the Genesis version...giving it the biggest boost...on of the main reasons to own the game. But during the rest of the game, the Sega CD version is actually slightly faster then the Genesis, the characters move faster and is overall more fluid. So the game actually plays better on the Gensis version then the Sega CD version...mainly due to the fact the Genesis has NO loading time.

OVERALL :

SEGA CD : 8

GENESIS : 8

So in summary, slightly better graphics and sound on the Sega CD over the Genesis version. The differences are small, but its there...not an average gamer won't notice but a hardcore MK fan will. The Genesis beats the Sega CD on the loading time...which is a big factor for a lot of people. Thus giving both the versions, the same score...as the pros and cons of each..balances each other off. Currently if you have a Sega CD I recommend shelling $5-$10 for the Sega CD version. If you have the Genesis only, I don't recommend buying a Sega CD unit JUST for this game.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/15/01, Updated 03/15/01


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