Review by DeAdMaNRoLliN

"The Only Decent 3D Fighting game for the PC, and a Good One, too!"

This is perhaps the only decent 3D Fighting game for the PC Platform, and it's a great game, too.

There was a time when PC was the most preferred platform for most game developers. The consoles were far inferior in graphics producing, and developers would attach visual enhancements and other experimentations with the PC release of a console game. But things have changed drastically now. MK4 is a really, really old game, and yet it remains as the last 3d fighting game that came out for PC.

MK4 was a courageous shift from a dying, yet respected and adored 2D franchise to a promising 3D one. Most people know about MK: Deadly Alliance and MK: Deception, but few know that MK4 was the first 3D Mortal Kombat game that gave Midway the confidence to desert the 2D platform and go ahead.

Long term fans of the series (including myself) were skeptical about the 3D transition in the beginning. There were new characters, and not too impressive ones. Some old favorites were there, but they were also modified to some extent. There was no Shang Tsung, there was no Kitana, Kano, Kung Lao, but there was Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Raiden, Reptile, Sonya, etc.

But my initial skepticism vanished as soon as I started playing the game. The game was fast, the AI was shrewd, and there were lots of moves and strategies to play around with. The game supported both styles of play. It had a lot of elements for the combo happy people, as well as for the old-school players.

The coolest feature perhaps was the ability to take use weapons during a match. Each character had its unique weapon, and weapon spawning could be initiated via a special button combination (unique in most cases). Some of the weapons like Scorpion's sword, Sub-Zero's ice club, Reiko's Spiked Club and Reptiles double sided axe were deadly effective, and the characters also had special moves involving weapons. One could throw the weapon at the opponent anytime during a match. Such attacks were high life consuming, and fairly effective if timed properly. There's was nothing more satisfying than knocking off an opponent with the weapon, just after he had landed from a mistimed jump attack.

Also, some environmental objects (mostly rocks) could also be picked up and thrown at the opponents. Some familiar stages like the talking forest and Goro's lair is featured in the game. The other arenas are also cool. Two stages allow stage fatality, and both of them look really cool, in a sadistic way, though.

Extreme blood and gore has always been the main selling point for MK games, and MK4 lives up to this name quite well. Every single hit or combo names your opponent spew some blood, and most predictably, the fatalities in 3D are highly detailed, and damn bloody. Kano's descendent Jarek pays his homage to his master by pulling out the heart from his opponent, and Liu Kang's famous Dragon fatality got better than ever. It felt really good when I made Scorpion turn into a real Scorpion and sting and bite his opponent.

Each character had a decent storyline, which would reveal once the game was completed with that character. These end sequences were detailed FMVs and once viewed, they could be viewed over and over through a theater feature, which is a great addition.

The game also featured 2 vs 2 mode, tournament mode, and a practice mode. All these features are useful and fun, in their own way.

There are a number of difficulty levels as well, which further increases the replay value. Many popular fighters from MK3 had been dropped here, but the new characters weren't bad at all. Reiko, Fujin, Tanya, Quan Chi turned out to be very memorable characters, and Quan Chi even managed to be the co-boss of the next title in the series.

Now in year 2005, there is not much point to go back to this game. But it still remains as a masterpiece PC game, and it will remain being one until a better game gets released for this platform. The game was originally developed during the 3dfx era, and was specifically optimized for glide.

I guess one will need an old PC to play this game now.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/17/05


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