Review by dtm666

Reviewed: 12/26/06


In the early years of the Game Boy Advance, game developers saw fit to re-release some of their old 16-bit classics onto the handheld system. Games such as Contra, a few Mario Bros. games, and others were brought back in spectacular fashion. Naturally, the folks at Midway would want one of their own classics on the handheld and they decided to bring the world Mortal Kombat Advance. It looked to be a winner, just by the fact that the experience would be a substansial improvement over the previous handheld MK games, which were ugly messes of games. Even the fact that it was a port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 did little to dispute the fact that this can't be bad. I mean, it'd be better than what was on the old Game Boy, right?


Cut to some time later, as the game is released to critical and commercial failure. MKA is deemed to be such a cumbersome mess that gaming mag EGM gave the game its first 0 rating. It's a game so despicable that Ed Boon reportedly doesn't like the game. But really, despite all that bad press, the game can't be THAT bad. Can it?

STORY: One thing you've got to admire about Mortal Kombat is the fact that it's built a really smooth storyline. In the first game, they have a tournament. In the second game, they have another tournament which is really a ruse. In the third game... they have another tournament to save the world. Uh, now I'm confused...
In all seriousness, MKA follows the plot of MK3; Outworld king Shao Kahn, through a loophole in the Mortal Kombat rulebook established by the Elder Gods, breaks through dimensional barriers and takes over Earth Realm and now everyone and their pet monkey is brawling each other to save the world or conquer it. Okay, so it's not the deepest story in the world, but it's better than the five-hundred retroactive changes Street Fighter undergoes anyway. 8/10

GRAPHICS: The only strong point in the game is that the digitized actors and backdrops seemed to have been converted fairly well and things look like they animated fluidly to a point. I can't the in-game font they use here, though. It's this really blocky, ugly typeface that is better suited on a homemade PC game as opposed to a professional video game. There are some awkward animation moments here and there, but besides that, it isn't that bad... just not that great. 5/10

SOUND: The sound in this game isn't too bad, although there has been better sound in other games released at the same time. The music, while a bit off in terms of quality, is actually pretty decent. Of course, the real sound effects... the ones you'll producing having to endure the game - is the only clear sound of the game. 4/10

GAMEPLAY: I remember playing the original Mortal Kombat on a Sega Game Gear and recall the experience to bit total crap. Ah, the memories. The good news is that MKA has a couple more buttons to work with. The bad news is that two more buttons don't mean squat because the control is absolutely horrible here. You know things are bad when you can't perform even the simplistic of moves such as an uppercut with relative ease. Also, in my experiences with the game, there have been some slight delays in terms of move execution. Judging from other people's reviews, it seems that the common complaint was that it's hard or even impossible to pull off combos effectively. In any case, control is just awful here. And the game is barely scratching the surface of unplayability. 2/10

CHALLENGE: All the early MK games tend to have a cheap AI that beats on you quickly, although you do have some chance at survival. Not so in this game, where the AI will shoot combo after combo after combo, then invent some other combo that is humanly impossible to perform. The game is just too ridiculously hard when there shouldn't have been any reason to be. You have a choice of difficulty settings, but the feature is basically broken because I haven't seen much difference in difficulty. It's just too bad it had to be like this. 10/10

REPLAY VALUE: Fighting games generally have a sizable replay value. This doesn't because the game is barely playable to begin with. And if you do have friends to play Mortal Kombat with, chances are you'll be doing it on a home console as opposed to a handheld. Setting aside all the flaws and fluff, there is nothing here that will leave you crying for more plays. If anything, you'll be crying for your money back. 1/10

OVERALL: Consider this: if I was Midway and I wanted to port a Mortal Kombat game over the GBA, chances are I would have taken MK2, because that was the best of the old games. And if I just HAD to port Mortal Kombat 3, chances are I would taken the effort to put together a new version of MK3 similar to what was done with Super Street Fighter II Turbo... without all the gameplay bugs, of course.

Midway didn't go that route. Instead, they went to a developer who took a console version of a less-than-stellar MK release and somehow made it a lot worse. This game is just an insult to every card-carrying MK player and cheap artist out there. There is not one redeeming factor in this game worth mentioning, nor is there any reason you should shell out your hard-earned money on this tripe. The world may not need another review to bash this game, but then again, the world doesn't need drivel such as this. If you really need your MK fix, stick with the console versions. Don't touch this game. 1/10

Rating:   0.5 - Unplayable

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