Review by blueninja4444

"The Ultimate Mortal Kombat Game"

Mortal Kombat! Sound familiar? It should, it's been a pretty big thing in the video game world for almost two full decades. While originally one of the most successful coin-eating arcade games of the arcade era, the demand for Mortal Kombat at home became too great and ports of every Mortal Kombat have been released on nearly every home system from the old school Game Boy to the Super NES and even up to the PSP. This is Ultimate Mortal Kombat on the DS, a version of Mortal Kombat based almost exactly on the similarly titled Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 arcade game. The last attempt at creating a 2D era Mortal Kombat game on the hand help systems, was the critically lampooned Mortal Kombat Advance for the Game Boy Advance system. If Mortal Kombat Advance on the GBA was an absolute failure in everyone's eyes, how will this new Ultimate Mortal Kombat on the Nintendo DS fare? After all, you can't play old school Mortal Kombat with a stylus! And Puzzle Kombat? They threw in a mini-game just for fun? Who does Midway think they are? It's just another portable MK port that's destined to fail, right? Well let's examine Ultimate Mortal Kombat a little closer....

Graphics: 8/10
If you've played other ports of Mortal Kombat games, the first thing that'll come to your mind when playing this is “Wow, that runs smooth!”. The graphics aren't particularly scratchy, laggy or glitchy which is a very nice accomplishment. The projectiles are smooth, as are the shadows which has been a problem in the fast. Usually, you may come across graphics bugs when in a particular arena (Kahn's Kave) or when fighting the much larger Motaro character, he will occasionally glitch and flash and the such but these minor glitches are hardly noticeable when playing the fast paced 2D Mortal Kombat.

Puzzle Kombat which has been ported from the bigger, badder console version of Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Deception, and as such the DS version of Puzzle Kombat has been simplified in the graphics department, which is a shame because it's pretty simple looking to begin with. However, be it Puzzle Kombat or Ultimate Kombat the old gore and blood you know and love is there, so now you can sleep better at night.

Sound: 8/10
If you own any Mortal Kombat and it's not an arcade game, you may have a history of being disappointed with old home systems' limitations on sounds and BGM and as such usually end up playing on mute. While I can't guarantee you won't put this game on mute, you may be happy knowing most original BGMs and sound effects have made the transition to the DS. Nothing like hearing your opponent scream in pain, as the old fatality beat plays over the wicked cathedral music, and you rip his skull right off his body. And not to mention Shao Kahn demanding you to “FINISH HIM” is gonna send goosebumps down your spine. Good times, my friend, good times.

Controls: 9/10
Now if you're thinking “DS + Mortal Kombat = Stylus Kombat” you're mistaken, and quite frankly, we all know that would just fail horribly. The stylus/ touch screen is basically only used in the main menu, then never is put to good use again. Though you could chose to put your character's specialty moves and fatality button combination on the screen for visual use, you can do something like, say, touch the fatality's name and automatically perform it, which would be nice.

The rest of the controls feel nice, and classic and there's no complaints. R blocks, L runs, and the four face button are HP, HK, etc. It all feels natural on the Nintendo DS, and your hands will go with the flow be it the DS classic or the DS Lite.

Story: 6/10
So if you don't know a lot about Mortal Kombat you might think Mortal Kombat is a game about a group of ninja warriors sent to battle a group of robot warriors over who gets to take the hot female ninja chicks on a date. After all among the characters who appear in this game Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Ermac, Reptile, Smoke, Noob Saibot, Cyrax, Sektor, Robot Smoke, Jade, Milena, and Kitana are popular pallet swapped characters. But alas the story is actually about Shao Kahn trying to take over the world again.

In an interesting DS-exclusive twist after you beat the game and view a character's ending it stays unlocked for viewing at any time. Though it is most unfortunate to mention that if you care about Mortal Kombat's story it's all told through text after beating the game, and even then most characters' versions of the story's end contradict each other and aren't considered canon in future Mortal Kombats. MK was never well known for story elements, just ask the Mortal Kombat films' directors.

Gameplay: 10/10
Come on man, this is classic Mortal Kombat! This is what Mortal Kombat is all about! There is such a variety of classic characters here, a variety of classic moves, a variety of classic stages, fatalities and everything. But along with the good, you must take the bad. That bad? The enemy AI in single player matches. The AI is capable of reading your button commands, predicting your moves, pulling off huge combos, and doing tricks you wish you could do. Defeating the AI means you must master trickery and all of your moves and combos.

Puzzle Kombat is fun, and a great game on the road with the portable DS system. If you don't know what Puzzle Kombat is, it's like a head-to-head Tetris based game, where the loser gets a stage based fatality upon losing. You can chose from cartoon-looking versions of your favorite MK characters (even ones not in UMK like Bo Rai Cho) and each character has a signature move that affects the Puzzle Kombat status, such as removing rows of blocks on your screen or adding random blocks to your opponents screen.

But in reality the true gameplay comes when you and your best bro relive classic Mortal Kombat memories via ad-hoc or you try and take on the world via Wifi. You still the master of your ice clone? Think you can tell exactly when your bro is going for the infamous “GET OVER HERE!!” spear? Test your wits and thirst for blood head-to-head in classic Kombat or compete against each other in Puzzle Kombat. Gameplay? Flawless!

Longevity/ Replay Value: 10/10
Before you can play this game you have to create a profile. That profile keeps track of all your victories (and losses) CPU, multiplayer, classic Kombat, Chess Kombat and all that stuff. Let's just say by the time you're done with this you could have all those numbers up in the four digit category. Your record could be 2000 wins, 1000 losses it's all a matter of time.

Add to the replayability that the game is perfect for quick on the road mayhem. You may not realize this, but during your lunch break at work or school you can pull off quite a few wins and get right into action. This is a game on a portable system and this game can truly be played anytime, anywhere.

To add to the value unlockable such as locked characters and Shao Khans treasures stay unlocked permanently, exclusive to the DS. Kahn's treasures include the ability to watch fatality after fatality, fight dream endurance matches, and more. Hidden characters remain unlocked and can be played at any time. Needless to say with wifi features and the ability to play ad-hoc with a single UMK cartridge, replayability is not an issue. You won't be selling this game any time soon.

Overall: 9
It's exactly what you'd expect and it's exactly what you weren't expecting Ultimate Mortal Kombat is an exciting hand held Mortal Kombat from the 2D era that'll be a blast from the past for old school MK fans, and an interesting experience for the youngsters out there who didn't know that Motaro had 4 legs and couldn't be touched with a projectile. It might not be a perfect port but it does include a bonus Tetris Kombat game, wifi, and a whole lot more than you'd expect. Mortal Kombat Advance? Far from it! This is the Ultimate Mortal Kombat game! Almost a flawless victory! 9 out of 10!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/20/08

Game Release: Ultimate Mortal Kombat (US, 11/12/07)

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