Review by dtm666

"MK Competition Edition? More like MK Incompetent Edition..."

Ah, the original Mortal Kombat SNES video game. Released alongside three other ports on Mortal Monday as a Competition Edition (their words, not mine), the game had gone through several changes before finding a home on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Chief among these changes were the removal of the blood and gore that had popularized Mortal Kombat. Can the omission of a game's successful gimmick result in a similar feel to the arcade original? Obviously not, but a bit further playing time will reveal that the gore isn't the only thing missing from this so-called Competition Edition.

STORY: The SNES story is the same as the arcade story, so I'll just quote my review of that version: "Mortal Kombat features seven fighters of varying origins and agendas competing in a tournament held by immortal sorcerer Shang Tsung, who had corrupted the long-standing tournament to serve his own needs as well as those of his master." Nothing special. 4/10

GRAPHICS: The SNES's strong point would have to be the quality of the graphics. Like in the arcade version, MK's digitized actors move rather smoothly if not a tad slow and dated. The sprites also aren't as large as the arcade's sprites are, but that's understandable. Contrarily, the backgrounds seem like they're ripped from the arcade version with minimal quality loss. However, many intermission scenes from the arcade game are missing, replaced by scrolling text. This is a letdown considering the SNES could have achieved something like that. As far as the sweat goes... it's not much to look at and neither are the nurtured finishing moves (which aren't even called fatalities here!). Go figure. 6/10

SOUND: All the sounds, most of the voice-bytes, and music tracks have been ported without much compensation. Fairly acceptable fodder. 5/10

GAMEPLAY: All the unlabored strengths and weaknesses of the arcade version can be applied here to a certain extent. However, at certain times in the game I had experienced slight hints of slowdown here and there. Oftentimes, these mean nothing but then there are times when slowdown would throw my gameplan off. Also, the controls seem a bit more sluggish than in the arcade version. It is absolutely painful to pull off moves at a slow pace when they should have been done a bit more quickly. My only other complaint is the lack of a pause button or similar function, which is the definite sign that a game is bad. 7/10

CHALLENGE: Unlike the arcade version, the AI in this release isn't too frustrating or too stupid so there's a fairer chance of winning here. But aforementioned slowdown and sluggish controls will negate the fairness somewhat. And the matter of certain gameplay bugs that creep up here and there don't help matters either. 7/10

REPLAY VALUE: "Once you've mastered all the fighters, there is very little else you can do with Mortal Kombat. Unless you have a friend to play with, of course." I've said that for the arcade version and it still rings true for this version. 3/10

OVERALL: The original Mortal Kombat is a classic example of a game's gimmick overshadowing the weaker gameplay mechanics. Remove the gimmick and the only thing left to sell the game is on its gameplay. Unfortunately, removing the blood and violence that had popularized Mortal Kombat exposes it as a weak fighting game on its own. Add sluggish controls, slowdowns, and the occasional game-wrecking bug to the list and you're left with an incompetent Competition Edition that is easily destroyed by its competitors and peers. While the Genesis version looked like crap and was missing half the sounds, it at least played better and had all the gore from the arcade (albeit via a code). Fortunately, Nintendo would wise up by allowing MK2 to ported with gore intact, but they missed the mark with the original MK. If you really need your fix for classic Mortal Kombat, you're better off looking elsewhere. 3/10


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 07/27/06


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