Review by leeko_link
"Genesis Version on a CD Drive"
When the first Mortal Kombat debut in arcade, I had high hopes that the game would someday get ported to home consoles and on that very Mortal Monday it does. The game was ported to both the Sega Genesis and Super NES and both their portable consoles the Game Gear and the Game Boy as well. The only problem back then though was that both games were met with controversies, parents and critics outcry for the sheer amount of violence feature in the games and both console publishers had to decide for which they want to do with the port. Nintendo's versions lack the blood and gore and censored most of the fatality even down to the part about changing minor translation like the word "assassination" to "destruction."
The Sega versions on the other hands got the blood and gore securely locked which could be unlock through a button code and thus the arcade feature could be restored but something else is also missing. Though the Sega Genesis version of MK did outsell its Super NES counterpart, both games didn't make for a perfect MK arcade experience at home. For the Genesis, though blood and gore were feature and the gameplay is solid, the sounds and musical are a bit tone down and some were completely different from the arcade game, many frames of animation are being cut off, and the graphics are also water-down and compressed. For the Super NES, though it got the detail awesome graphics, simple control, and superior sound and music, the lack of blood and gore and the many tone down fatality really prevent it from being a perfect port. Then a few years after the released of these versions, Arena and Acclaim decided to make a port for the Sega Genesis add-on, the Sega CD. The CD version of MK game was to be the bigger, badder, meaner, louder version of the arcade game and it promised arcade comparable graphics, more blood and gores, bone-shattering finishers, solid control and a chilling soundtracks. So does the Sega CD version succeed where the other two ports failed? Read to find out...
The problem with the Genesis version of the game was that unlike the Super NES, the Genesis console can't possibly handle every visual details of the arcade original due to a lack of a higher color palette and also due to sprites limitation. It's exceptional that the Genesis port had the graphics tone down because of that but when this version of the game was released since many believed the Sega CD add-on is indeed a superior hardware, there's expectation for a graphics update and the result was not very good. What arcade MK fans want was the blood and gore from the Genesis game and the awesome realistic graphics from the Super NES version but this Sega CD version didn't do that, instead it feature the same graphics found on the Genesis and only add-in a few frames of animations for the characters. Sub-Zero and Scorpion no longer look-a-like as they were in the Genesis port, some of the backgrounds had a darker mood to them and had being updated to being more bloody than ever. Though, the game look better than the Genesis port, the graphics still doesn't beat those found on the Super NES version and that's a big disappointment there despite it being a port on a more powerful expensive hardware. Another letdown is that instead of focusing on what fans expected, the developers put in something that is really old and annoying, a grainy video of the Mortal Monday commercial; heck, all the gameplays feature in the video wasn't even from this game. That's just a big waste of memory space on a CD and they could have used those extra spaces to upped the graphics or add more features instead of wasting it.
Music and Sound:
This is the only thing good feature about this port, unlike the Sega Genesis game, this version got all the arcade perfect music and sounds. Where the announcer never announce a character's name on the Sega Genesis, the CD version finally got that and some character like Liu Kang got their trademark screams and shout from the arcade game back as well. One minor letdown was that even though the arcade music are in the game, they don't always play at the correct background they suppose to represent for example you'll hear the Goro's Lair theme playing at the Throne Room, the Courtyard theme playing at Goro's Lair, the Palace Gate theme playing at the Courtyard, etc. It's just not the perfect port all arcade MK fans had hope for, but if you compare these with the Genesis soundtrack of the same game, you'll be impressed that these even made it in here.
With a six-buttons controller, this game is perfect though the three-buttons controller still plays okay with this game since the low crouch punch hadn't being introduced yet so the are no controller issue in this game.
The gameplay in this game plays very much like the Genesis version except a bit slower due to load times. Though gameplays are fast and responsive during a match and the fighting mechanics are well balanced, the loading on both the start and conclusion of a match are very bothersome to get through from time to time. What's really annoying is fighting the final boss, Shang Tsung at the end of the game. Whereas on the cartridge version where he could morph with no problem, on a CD port he had to load the many character sprites he morph into thus making the match feel slow and bothersome.
Playing this on single player does get annoying once you get to the final boss battle due to the loading and because of that it's not that much fun to enjoy for another play through but multiplay is still fun for awhile. The original cheat menu code from the Genesis version still works with this game but it's disappointing that there isn't any option to limit Tsung's morph so that the game won't buffer to load a sprite in able to make the match a bit faster. If you are looking for a replayable version of MK, this MK isn't the one you are looking for.
Is it Worth Buying?
Yes, if you are a Mortal Kombat fan who already got a Genesis console with the Sega CD and wanted a better version of MK for that console, but if you are expecting this to be the Super NES version with blood and gore added this MK isn't that game.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 12/04/08, Updated 08/03/12
Game Release: Mortal Kombat (US, 05/26/94)
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.