Review by Mister Sinister

"Marred only by its keyboard control method, this is a perfect conversion of the arcade original - well worth a look :)"

FOREWORD

Having been what you might call a BIG fan of the Mortal Kombat arcade release, I picked myself up a copy of the PC version whilst on holiday in the US. I was rather concerned about how the PC - God of adventure and strategy games - would fare with something as intense and rapid as Mortal Kombat, so whilst I hoped for the best, I anticipated something modest.

Was I in raptures ? Or were my predictions correct ?? Read on ...

OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME

The ages old tournament called Mortal Kombat is once again to be fought. This contest, used to determine the fate of realms, has been fought for generations, and now you must take up the fight as one of the warriors competing, and pit your fists and feet against other warriors from our world (Earthrealm), and the forsaken land of Outworld, to determine the fate of Earth itself.

It's ... epic ...

Basically you pick your fighter, enter the contest, batter (and slay) your enemies, and fight through to the big bosses at the end, whom you must overthrow in order to ensure Earthrealm does not fall under the rule of Shao Kahn - Emperor of Outworld.

GRAPHICS - 9/10

Graphically this game is a clone (as in an exact duplicate) of the arcade version of the game. Every frame of animation, every blood-splatter, every fatality, everything - it's all perfectly and painstakingly reproduced on the PC in a manner that quite simply makes your jaw drop.

I have never seen a home computer so accurately reproduce an arcade game in all my days (and I can only hope that this is the first of many !!).

As long as you are running this game on a decently powered PC, the game runs along at a very healthy rate, with no appreciable lagging, sprite flicker or other, and the load times are virtually non-existent - it really is like playing an arcade machine on your PC !

They have even taken the liberty of including the animated introductions for each of the characters (which you will otherwise only find on the arcade version to the best of my knowledge) - just allow the game to play, and around about the high scores table and text introduction, you will find a brief (2-4 second) FMV animation of each fighter (one warrior per run through) posing above their profile. The attention to detail in the graphics on this port are first rate throughout.

SOUND - 9/10

As with the graphics, the quality of the sounds as ported across to the PC version of the game are absolutely perfect (provided you have a decent sound card of course).

Every bump, grunt, squeal, scream, blood-splash, head-rip and fireball is in there, as is the fantastic music.

The voice-acting (which is limited in quantity) is perfectly ported as well, so every time you are told to "FINISH HIM !" or her, or you are complimented on performing a fatality or a flawless victory, is exactly as rewarding as it was when you played the arcade original (which is great).

CONTROLS - 5/10

The controls, unfortunately, are where this title lets itself down. A keyboard is just not best suited to playing a fighting game unfortunately as, regardless of how ergonomic it may be in its design, rapidly depressing combinations of keys are not by and large suited to producing the intended results on-screen. Consequently you might find it harder to produce fireballs (fatalities are all fine as they are button taps - e.g. Towards, Towards, Towards and High Punch) than you would do on a console.

There is, of course, a very simple way of getting around this, but it does involve additional expense - just buy yourself a simple controller that plugs into the PS2 or USB port of your PC, and away you go !! That same controller should see you through plenty of games, and generally-speaking they do work very well on the PC.

With it, the controls for the game go up to an 8 in my opinion. Without it, they are definitely a 5.

PLOT - 7/10

Exactly the same as the arcade version - the universe is divided up into a number of realms of which ours (Earthrealm) is but one. Mortal Kombat is a tournament devised by the Elder Gods to oversee who would claim dominion over which realms. At the moment the contest is between Earthrealm and Outworld (a once beautiful land that lose Mortal Kombat too many times to the forces of Shao Kahn, and which has been corrupted by his influence ever since falling to his might).

Kahn has set his sights on Earthrealm, and you must prevent his demon Sorceror Shang-Tsung, and his bodyguard Goro (a half-human Dragon) from defeating Earthrealm's warriors, to prevent Earthrealm falling to Shao Kahn forever.

So it's yet again that tried-and-tested "enter a martial arts competition for fame and glory" motif, save that this time the fate of the entire PLANET hangs in the balance.

GAMEPLAY - 8/10

The gameplay here is just as good as the arcade original, all the way through. The blood flows freely, and there is plenty of it to keep you entertained, the sharp sounds and brutal violence are enough to make even the butchest men wince in pain (check out Johnny Cage's Package Check), and the fatalities are amazingly nasty.

All the stages are in here, with the original arcade way of getting to do battle with Reptile at the bottom of the Pit (if you are skilful enough). The test your might screens, the mirror match, endurance matches, it's all there, and it's all arcade perfect.

The only reason I have given it 8/10 rather than 9/10 is because of the control method (to be fair they have made the most of what they have to hand), and this score would actually go up to a 9 if you were using a controller with the PC.

REPLAY VALUE - 8/10

Whilst it is arguably harder to get to fight Reptile in this version than most of the other ports of the arcade version, that is the only real hindrance to the longer-term replay value.

The game is pretty much arcade perfect, and so you are as likely to come back and play this as you would be to go back to the arcade and pump that machine full of 50p's/quarters, any day !!

Over time of course, the replay value of the title will diminish, but not hugely. There have been a large number of Mortal Kombat titles released after this one, some better, some worse, and this one will ALWAYS hold its head up high as the Granddaddy of them all.

VALUE FOR MONEY - 9/10

You shouldn't have to pay the earth to get a copy of this game - the original was on floppy disk (shows how old it is), in fact there are a number of sites where you should be able to download it upon paying a fee I guess - I don't think the game's developers would willingly consider it abandonware QUITE yet ;)

So yeah - if you can get your hands on a copy (which shouldn't be hard), it does represent great value for money.

OVERALL - 8/10 (This is NOT an average)

Mortal Kombat on the PC is an arcade perfect port of the arcade original title. The only reason I am not scoring it 9/10 is because the default control method (of using the keys on the keyboard) is rather limited and unnatural, so the game is best played with a PS2/USB controller, which you can pick up on the cheap, but which does raise the expense a bit.

It's a great game, and one of the best home ports of the arcade CLASSIC.

MAIN GOOD POINTS

* Graphics are spot-on reproductions of the arcade originals
* Same with the sounds
* All the blood, guts and fatalities are in there

MAIN BAD POINTS

* Without a controller, the keyboard method kinda sucks a bit

SO SHOULD YOU GET IT ?

Yeah, if you can get yourself a copy (which should NOT be a difficult task in this day and age), then I would strongly recommend you pick it up and give it a whirl - I don't think you'll be at all disappointed with it, as it really is a first-rate conversion.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/23/07


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