"Mortal Kombat KO's the Gameboy"

Simply put, Mortal Kombat was just too good for the poor old Gameboy. Try playing Quake III on an old 486 and you'll understand what I mean.

Gameboy seems to have at least tried to make as much fit as they could; though Johnny Cage and a hidden character; both of whom appear in the SNES and Genesis versions of the game were removed from this one; they failed to make the response times tolerable.

The characters fight as if they're drunk and in some kind of time warp. They move so slowly, not only in how they fight, but how they breathe and walk. At times, after pressing the appropriate buttons to land an attack, three or four seconds will pass before you character in fact does anything. Is this Mortal Kombat or Mortal Freeze Tag? I did get confused myself a few times. Computer opponents are quite simplistic in their attacks as well. They will constantly walk into foot sweeps just praying to kiss the ground. Upon falling to the ground you may as well count to five before you expect them to get up. In fact, it takes so long you may in fact have enough time to miss with an attack and prepare a second one. Moves such as uppercuts, which are really only effective because they're fast and they hit under the jaw coming up are pathetic in this game. The entire punch and follow through takes in excess of two real time seconds. To further annoy me, it does insane amounts of damage in the rare event someone doesn't get out of the way of it.

You know, I would love to, but with the difficulty in figuring out just how slowly the buttons need to be pushed in order to get a finishing move; frequently leaves one to just kick them.

The tournament itself has six characters; you will fight them all including yourself before advancing to endurance matches and ultimately the bosses. You can also play against another human player via linking your Gameboys' together. Sadly, you'll end up fighting each other with frustration of how uneventful this game is.

Back to falling on the ground, it's about the only time in the game you'll hear anything that isn’t music. It's a 'thud'. Punches and kicks, if they even have sound, are completely drowned out by the bad, boring, repetitive music. I would go as far as to say the music is worse than being surrounded by an accordion band playing 'Roll out the Barrels' while watching young people square dance. Swift roundhouse kicks to the head may not make noise in real life; wait they do; however, for the sake of knowledge that your kick actually hit the head of your opponent, please make a sound since the characters don’t always fall down or get pushed back.

The graphics I must tip my hat too. While yes, they do make the game proceed at virtually unplayable speeds; they are also, for Gameboy, nice an appealing to the eye. You can see several details of the character even while you move. You can even see Scorpions thin harpoon attack. Some of the backgrounds, the pit for example, are done marvelously. Others, such as the sewers, seem to have been drawn in at the last minute. Still, we’ll give this the benefit of the doubt, the graphics are lovely.

There really is no replay value to this. The difficulty in landing any special attack forces you to use standard moves more often than in other versions of the game. In addition, the slow response time should annoy you enough to put it down after the first time through the game.

Scores: For those who prefer numeric data.

Game play: 1/10
Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 2/10
Music: 3/10
Replay value: 2/10
Challenge: Average, if the game didn't lag so badly it would be below average because special moves would be far easier to pull off.

If you see this game at a garage sale, I suggest you let someone else waste their quarter. This game is completely un-enjoyable. If you really want to play Mortal Kombat, get the Genesis or SNES version, they are far more complete and run at playable speeds.

Numeric Average: 4/10
Personal Average: 3/10

It was a nice try, Acclaim, but the Gameboy doesn't run that fast. Nintendo did still give you their seal of quality, which makes me; question how bad a game must be to not get it.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 04/26/03, Updated 05/03/03

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