Review by Sour
"A nerfed version of a classic game."
While the arcade and Sega Genesis versions were simply fantastic in terms of game-play, Nintendo wanted to keep their clean, family-friendly image. As a result, the Super Nintendo version of Mortal Kombat underwent some serious changes that did not go over well with fans. Thankfully the sequel for this game, Mortal Kombat II, would retain all of it's original, intended game-play as this game cost Nintendo quite a bit because more people preferred the Sega Genesis version when it came to the home console market. Mortal Kombat for the SNES is still pretty fun as it is mostly the same game, just not as good as the original or Genesis versions.
Story: 10/10: In the realm of Edenia, a realm similar to that of our own, the dark Emperor Shao Kahn and his forces invaded, reducing Edenia to a forsaken, barren land called Outworld. Shao Kahn devised that his next conquest would be the realm of our own, Earthrealm. The Elder Gods of Earthrealm were alerted to Shao Kahn's plans, and thus set a rule that must be obeyed to invade the realm of Earth. Shao Kahn and his warriors must win ten straight victories in a fighting tournament to be allowed into Earthrealm. Shao Kahn and his forces have won nine in a row. This game is the story of the tenth tournament, the battle for Earthrealm. Among the participants are Liu Kang; descendant of former Mortal Kombat champion Kung Lao, Raiden; the thunder God, Johnny Cage; a martial arts actor from Hollywood, Sonya Blade; a government agent with a bone to pick with one of the other combatants, Kano. On Shao Kahn's side are Shang Tsung, the Emperor's right hand man and powerful sorcerer with the ability to capture souls, Goro, Prince of the Subterranean Realm of Shokan and half-man, half-dragon. And two ninjas from rival clans, Scorpion and Sub-Zero, who are under Shang Tsung's spell.
Gameplay: 5/10: This is where the removed content comes into play and is the defining feature that most fans hated about the SNES version of the game. This version features absolutely no blood, taking away from the realism of how brutal these games are. Four out of the seven selectable characters had their fatalities changed because the original ones were deemed to violent. This resulted in heavy backlash from fans, and deservedly so. For the most part, this game retains it's fun game-play but let's be honest, it's not true to the original.
Mortal Kombat being a fighter game and all, you have the typical, basic fighter game moves. High punch, low punch, high kick, low kick, and block. Every character however has a special ability or two, another thing it has in common with fighting games. Sub-Zero can shoot ice projectiles that will freeze the enemy (don't try to freeze an opponent twice in a row though just to make the effects last longer as it'll freeze you in return!). Scorpion can shoot a spear from his hand that when it connects, will pull the enemy to you while he yells out his trademark "GET OVER HERE!", and leaves the enemy stunned for a moment, giving you a danger-free opportunity to attack. If the spear misses however, you're left open for a pretty good period of time, so be careful! He also has a tele-port punch moves that will make him disappear off of one side of the screen and come out from the other which often makes for a good surprise attack. Raiden, the thunder God, as you would expect, can shoot lightning from his hands. He can also tele-port by phasing into the ground and re-appearing on the other side of the character.
A lot of this may not sound so different from other fighter games. The gimmick this game has, as I mentioned earlier, is the fatality system. Unfortunately, these were heavily nerfed from the original versions to reduce the level of violence. Upon beating an opponent for the winning round, you'll be told to "FINISH HIM/HER!". When this prompt appears, you have a short amount of time to execute a button combination that will dispose of the enemy in some grueling and gory fashion. Sub-Zero for instance will rip off the enemy's head, with the spine still attached, leaving blood dripping from the head and spine, on the arcade and Genesis versions. In the SNES version, however, he simply freezes the enemy and punches them to make them shatter with no blood whatsoever. Scorpion removes his face, revealing his skull, and breathes fire to burn the opponent to a crisp. The level of violence in this game mostly produced from the fatalities had a major effect on the industry, as I've mentioned before, spawning the ESRB as it sparked large amounts of controversy with parents and the media. The fatalities would become a staple of the series and even the game developers themselves would parody the violence in later installments.
Graphics: 10/10: The graphics in the game are excellent, and bit better than the Genesis version because of slightly superior graphics, resulting in look that's much more crisp. Like every 2D Mortal Kombat game, the characters were digitally inserted by the programmers. The images obtained and put into the game were from real life actors who put on the costumes and performed the moves while being motion captured. Each character also has an intro if you sit at the main menu long enough, which portrays the actor in character in front of a background. And the backgrounds and arenas were designed very well. Especially Goro's dungeon which has glowing yellow eyes in the background and skeletons chained to the walls. One of the arenas also features Shang Tsung sitting on a throne, watching you fight. He even turns his head a bit depending on how far left or right the fighting is going on from him. They put a lot of detail into this game and it doesn't disappoint.
Sound: 10/10: The actors who portrayed the characters lent their voices for various screams and groans as you beat them to a pulp. To top that off, the game has great, foreboding music. Almost giving the game a horror feel to it. It's a very dark-themed game and the music helps emphasize this. Fighting over The Pit with a full moon in the background and a creepy tune reminiscent of 80's horror movies is just grand. Another track worth mentioning is Goro's lair. To add to the creepy visuals, the music that plays while in the arena *sounds* like death, if death ever had a background music to it. It's all very well composed and the actors did a great job by lending their voices to the game to help add a sense of realism. This is the other area in which the SNES excels more so than the Genesis version because of the superior power of the SNES sound chip compared to the Genesis.
Overall: 6/10: It's still a pretty fun game and if you're looking for better graphics, then get this version. But if game-play and the core essence of Mortal Kombat appeal to you much more, please get the Genesis version. The Super Nintendo version just isn't the same and takes away from the brutality of it all. Nintendo ripped out the core essence of Mortal Kombat here but thankfully they wouldn't do it again. I'd have to say give this game a rent if you can if you feel that you just have to play it. But it most certainly isn't worth buying in my opinion.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/29/10
Game Release: Mortal Kombat (US, 09/13/93)
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